The pathless Munros- a nightmare perfection in Glen Dochart
by Mountainlove » Sun May 10, 2015 4:36 pm
Route description: Meall Glas and Sgiath Chuil from Glen Dochart
Munros included on this walk: Meall Glas, Sgiath Chuil
Date walked: 10/05/2015
Time taken: 6.5 hours
Distance: 16 km
Ascent: 1233m10 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Setting off I walked past the farm buildings and it was lovely to read the signs that Walkers were welcome. The path was well indicated and stopping for some photos my camera told me that I was shooting without a memory card. Noooooo I shouted out. Note to self, downloading photos while having half a bottle of wine is a bad idea, as I just remembered that my memory card was still laying next to my empty wine glass in the living room. Doh!
The only way to take pictures at all, would be to reduce the size and use the internal memory…it would not produce good photos, but at least photos to remember the day.
By the time I had my camera issue sorted I was on the way up hill. Alongside a deer fence and through that kind of bog, which lets you cling to the deer fence in order to avoid the worse bits. But the day was lovely and warm and I loved the wee signs which indicated that I was on track. Once past the forest plantation, I was once more back to featureless moorland that stretched as far as I could see. The path, barely visible at the start, had disappeared after a few hundred yards and what was left was the lump of a mountain ahead.
The path behind the farm alongside the burn
Looking back towards Ben More
and towards the west
The boggy path
Signs which will reassure you, that you are on the right path
The Munro comes into view
Looking back once more
Some mountains have natural paths up, but Sgiath Chuil looked rather uninviting with steep grassy slopes. Moving along I got to the wee bridge and saw the wee damn in the distance. A strange place for it and following the burn for a while I found a suitable place to cross it.
From then on it was an uphill climb of energy sapping grassy slopes. If there was a path I did not see it, but because of it, it felt that I was the first person ever setting foot on the mountain. Once up Sgiath Chrom it was another wee climb up the summit of Sgiath Chuil. 2.5 hours had passed since I left the car and feeling hungry I sat down for a lengthy lunch, while watching the clouds above Ben More across the valley ahead of me.
The bridge with Sgiath Chuil on the right
From the summit looking south
and towards the next Munro of the day
All the way down and then back up
Packing my gear I studied the map and decided to walk straight down to the bealach. It was a steep drop and a painful thought to lose all the height, before having to climb it up again on the other side. Once I reached the bealach I looked up towards Beinn Cheathaich. Big sheets of snow covered the right hand site of the mountain and it seemed that a straight up approach would be the best. The first half of the mountain was climbed easily and then the hard work started. What had looked like a rounded lump was a near vertical slope up grass. If there was a path, I certainly wasn’t on and having to use my hands, I crawled up the slope. I had always thought that the two of those mountains would make a great winter outing, but the steep slope down and steep slope of the other side, made me thank my luck, that I never attempted them in full snow cover.
From below up towards Beinn Cheathaich
From the way up, back towards Sgiath Chuil
The direct approach did not look bad
On the way up, before it got even steeper
With a last push I finally stood on Beinn Cheathaich and was surprised to see a cairn. On the plus site the real summit of Meall Glas was only a bit over a kilometre away. Once I had gathered my breath I saw another person approaching the summit in the distance- wow! I wasn’t alone after all. Moving along swiftly, great views towards the 2 Munros Beinn Sheasgarnaich and Creag Mhor and the Lawers range could be enjoyed. By the time I had reached the last summit to climb, I met up with the other hill walker who was on his return. He like me that taken the same steep approach to climb up Beinn Cheathaich and had cursed it just like me. After I brief chat I set off, walking through some large snow patches and finally stood on the summit of Meall Glas. The views were amazing and sitting down to have the remaining coffee I was glad that I did not had to rush home.
The summit cairn of Beinn Cheathaich
Towards Beinn Sheasgarnaich and Creag Mhor
The same two closer up
The ridge towards the summit
On the last push towards the summit
Summit cairn of Meall Glas
Views are there to be enjoyed
Getting up after another lengthy break, I walked down towards Meall Glas Beag. The downhill walk even though it was lumpy moorland was rather pleasant, as for the first time in ages, the decent was gentle. I enjoyed myself so much that by the time I had reached the damn again, made the decision to follow a track down the other site of the deer fence. BAD IDEA! The path started out in a gentle decent, which bypassed all that bog I had experienced on the way up. It was perfect until I got to a gate which lead into the plantation. As the path seemed to continue through the gate, I crossed the gate and made my way down. For a while it all worked out perfectly until the path stopped and I was surrounded by bog myrtle, bracken and young trees. Following a burn down the path turned from bad to nasty and by the time I stepped into a knee deed bog hole and had needed 5 attempts to free my legs, I felt like crying. With half of my leg covered in mud and god knows what else, I continued until after what seemed like ages saw the path again. Unfortunately between me and the path stood a 6 foot deer fence. Looking for a suitable place to climb over it (horrible things to climb) I managed and nearly burst out in a dance by the time I stood on the path back to the farm buildings again.
The gentle down hill walk
Looking back up
and towards Sgiath Chuil
The wrong side of the fence- it looked so innocent
The walk through the plantation
Finally through the gate and the deer fence I had to climb over to reach the gate
Close to the farm again
by simon-b » Sun May 10, 2015 8:22 pm
by JimboJim » Sun May 10, 2015 9:00 pm
Great pics despite your memory lapse! Sort of thing I am good at, too
by kaye.cantlay » Sun May 10, 2015 9:49 pm
Like you - I was very relieved not to have decided to tackle this pair in Winter - I can't imagine trying to get down that steep side of Sgiath Chuill in ice and snow and bad visibility - eek!
went up the snowy right hand side of Beinn Cheathaidh and it was fine - Like you I thought I might tackle the steep snow-less way straight up from the Beallach instead, but decided against in the end.
I retraced my steps from the dam - sounds like the better option after reading your report
by Silverhill » Sun May 10, 2015 9:49 pm
by PeteR » Sun May 10, 2015 11:31 pm
Some nice photos you got despite the memory card issue too
I did Meall Glas from this side a few winters back.........hard work I seem to recall. Have since returned to the hills from the north. Still hard work but less boggy, but then there's the river crossing
by J888ohn » Tue May 12, 2015 5:07 pm
I then did Meall Glas a year later and found it to be an uninteresting slog, especially the final pull up the ever steepening grass slopes. But hey ho, they're done now and I don't need to go back to them.
PS for parking there is a parking area at the forest access approx 420m east of the entrance to the farm.
- Farm and parking map
by matt_outandabout » Tue Aug 18, 2015 12:56 pm
by Backpacker » Tue Aug 18, 2015 1:01 pm
by jmarkb » Tue Aug 18, 2015 1:13 pm
by nickadamgu » Thu Aug 18, 2016 9:29 pm
by Graeme D » Thu Aug 18, 2016 9:45 pm