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Solo on Meall an t-Seallaidh

Solo on Meall an t-Seallaidh

Postby GillC » Sun Jul 12, 2020 1:25 pm

Corbetts included on this walk: Meall an t-Seallaidh

Date walked: 11/07/2020

Time taken: 5.5 hours

Distance: 18.8 km

Ascent: 820m

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Been pondering a walk of some description for a few days. The hills are seeing a post lockdown surge of the masses aiming for anything obvious with a name and a top. I was looking around lesser known yet easily reached routes. My reports are usually a reliving of the day, wandering the paths and tracks again in my head, so here is a rough spewing of my train of thought :lol: :lol: :lol:

Plan A - I had previously climbed Creag Mac Ranaich in the Lochearnhead Corbetts and decided to hit it's southern pal, Meall an t-Seallaidh, forever now known as Aunt Sheila.

Plan B - I had a kind offer of company to join Karen and Stirling Davo on a big circuit from Balqhuidder, but due to time constraints in dropping the dog off etc, it was unlikely i would make their start time of 8am so I reverted to my Plan A.

I had checked out a couple of routes, a short sharp shock from Balquhidder, a la Rodmeister or the good track in from Lochearnhead, as I wanted a good long day out, I opted for the latter.

Dog dropped off at mums without waking her (mum,,,not the dog) food in bowl, bed on the floor,,,BOLT before he notices I'm gone lol. Diesel stop then back on the road around 7:30am. About half an hour in, realised i hadn't packed socks with my boots and was only wearing sandals so didn't even have normal socks with me. :shock:

3 Options,
1 - I was 07:50am, pretty close to Cotswolds, do they possibly open at 8am? no,,,they open at 9.
2 - Lynne lives in Callander,,,,quick WhatsApp to ask for socks, (she didn't get the message until 3:10pm,,not much use but thanks for the offer when you got it lol)
3 - Nina in Doune. Called as I drove past Blairdrummond Safari Park, reeeesult, dropped in, socks and a quick chat and arranged to pop back in on the way down with what would then be my dirty washing lol.

Arrived at Lochearnhead and opted to park at the wee church rather than the public car park. They allow you to use the carpark when there are no services on and ask only for a small donation. The 2 £1 coins in my pocket were adequate I hope. I had packed porridge and fruit for breakfast and enjoyed this here before booting up to head off. 2 chaps and a dog passed as I laced up so I anticipated having company in sight for the day. Heading up through the houses before dropping down before the bridge however, they took a left towards Balquhidder on the old rail track, where I took a right.

At this point, I was mulling over a circular route by dropping from the Corbett, down to Balquhidder then following this same track back round to Lochearnhead, decided to check it out and make a decision at the summit.

The first few hundred metres zig-zag steeply up a path way with intermittent views down Loch Earn before arriving at the upper level and the disused rail track which then continues as a recognised cycle route and on up Glen Ogle. For me, turn sharp left and through the high gate.

Down Loch Earn

Can't really go wrong now,,,just keep walking :lol:

The only slight issue I had was at the point where the description says just before the bridge over the line, follow a track to the left to take you over that bridge. I walked right up to the bridge and couldn't see any track. Walked back to an old gate and had a look around, sure enough, the track is in there, well hidden and overgrown, prob not helped by a lack of footfall during lockdown. There is a sign, but it's hidden and only visible from the other side. :roll: Through the gate, replacing the tight old chain hook then headed up to and over the bridge.

Back down from the bridge

Straight over at the other side and on up the track. Views up and down Glen Kendrum were great, it was a bit windy but no sign of any rain etc. Creag Mac Ranaich looks very impressive with its craggy face. Aunty Sheila is positively humdrum in comparison, nothing really stands out about this hill lol. The path just keeps on winding its way up the glen, no brainer.

Looking back down the track in Glen Kendrum

Fording the burn with Creag Mac Ranaich above

Following the track up to the highest point between the summits

Upwards and onwards with the steep zig-zags in sight ahead as the track veers right. Dropping slightly I forded the burn, very low and no problems, scaled the steep zig-zags and I was keeping an eye open for the descent path from the summit to the left, as I had considered using this as my ascent if the option to return via Balquhidder was still on the cards. On up but no sign of a path or marker cairn etc, found out why when I re read the WH description later. Found a water bottle here, anyone lost this? Took it off the hill of course, #takithame, and it's now washed and in my cupboard, makes up for the one I lost on the Ben Alder range :clap: :clap: :clap:

Anyone lost a water bottle?

As no obvious alternative ascent path was jumping out at me, I decided just to carry on to the highest point of the Beallach above Glen Kendrum. a very obvious high point directly under Creag Mac R.

About 1hr 55 from the car, stopped at the Beallach for a breather, refreshment, wind layer and a change of hat, the skip was getting blown off already in the stiff breeze.

Climbing up to the beallach before the summit

The WH description has you heading south west, crossing over the "boggy ground" but thankfully after a very dry spring, even the recent rains did little to hamper progress. Crossed towards the route up between Creag Loistge on the right and Cam Chreag on the left before a sharp ascent up on to Cam Chreag and a decision to go up over the craggy top at 812 mtrs instead of the documented skirting route.

Still smiling on the steep stuff

Mac Ranaich from my ascent

The top of M an t-S now in sight with great views to Vorlich and Stuc a Chroin, Loch Earn etc.

One of several wee lochans on the top with Stuc a Chroin in the distance

Marched on and reached the summit about 55 mins after leaving the track.

Made it!

Scanning the panorama, spotted quite a lot of 'weather' approaching from the north west, rain showers and clouds moving in. Took a couple of pics before donning full waterproofs and continuing on the ridge for a short way.

A panorama for smir coming at me

Sunlight and showers over Balquhidder

The rain did indeed come in, but nothing more than a light squally smir. John phoned at this point and in my chatting, I overshot the point where i should have dropped off to the left and was on the path that I reckoned would then have lead back down to Balquhidder (which by now I had decided not to take) I realised my mistake but had a look at my position and continued for another 75 mtrs or so then followed another natural drop to the left and opted to contour back round the hill to meet up with the "right" route.

On a bad day, this could have been a bad decision as I ended up traversing across the side of a 45 degree slope. Nothing too difficult today as even the recent smir attack had dried in the breeze. Sun was now out and blue skies overhead, but it would have been very different in the wet.

Back to why I couldn't see a descent option from the track earlier.....there isn't one. You simply make your way across the heathery ground towards the track, aiming just above the zig-zag section. I was a bit concerned that it would be difficult under foot and I had probably lost 20 mins or so in my tricky contouring scramble but not so, heather was relatively short, any peat hags were small and easily avoided and an hour after leaving the summit, I was back on the track.

Time for a proper lunch stop, pasta, cheese, chicken, coffee and a biccy and a wee bag of grapes for the return leg.
Out of waterproofs and headed off as 2 mountain bikers passed on their way up, carrying the bikes,,ouch.

Really lovely day and soon dispensed with the long sleeve top and back to the skip cap as I munched the grapes.

Passed a couple walking up the Glen and another group of 4-5 bikers having a breather.

The walk down was extremely pleasant, lots of birds, flowers, cloud formations changing the light on the surrounding land, Just lovely.

Flower 1

Flower 2


Off down the track in the sun, Mac Ranaich in the background

Vorlich and S a Chroin

Through the last gate and sharp right to the path down, Got quite busy here now that I was back on the main cycle route, I had to inch through the same group of people 4 adults and a child 3 times in the space of 100 mtrs as they kept stopping to have a chat,,,how rude !!! :crazy:

Still,, back at the car at 14:40, good enough. 5.5 hrs including breaks and enough time to take my dirty socks (ok,HER dirty socks) back in to Nina :lol:

So glad I made the effort. Lockdown has pushed me into a comfort zone that I am very concerned I wont break out of. I had just reached the end of a weight loss challenge and had recently started running again (punctuated by a slight hamstring injury but back on it this week) Today proved I still had the singular motivation to push myself. Although the day wasn't necessarily physically challenging, mentally, it felt good to be able to follow through with my plans.

Here's to more trips in the not to distant future.

Route and stats
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Posts: 1531
Munros:282   Corbetts:44
Grahams:31   Donalds:30
Sub 2000:19   Hewitts:5
Joined: May 14, 2010
Location: Chryston

Re: Solo on Meall an t-Seallaidh

Postby IreneM » Tue Jul 14, 2020 8:50 pm

We got lovely weather for these hills too, Gill.

Like you, we couldn't find any trace of a path back to the track so just made a bee line back to our bikes.

Isn't it great to be back out in the hills? :)
Posts: 188
Munros:282   Corbetts:177
Grahams:12   Donalds:12
Sub 2000:10   Hewitts:1
Wainwrights:1   Islands:12
Joined: Oct 8, 2008
Location: Dunfermline

Re: Solo on Meall an t-Seallaidh

Postby GillC » Tue Jul 14, 2020 8:52 pm

IreneM wrote:

Isn't it great to be back out in the hills? :)

It is indeed... Dont fancy biking that track lol.. Thoroughly enjoyed the walk though x
User avatar
Posts: 1531
Munros:282   Corbetts:44
Grahams:31   Donalds:30
Sub 2000:19   Hewitts:5
Joined: May 14, 2010
Location: Chryston

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