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The Loch Lochy Two, & back in time for Tee

The Loch Lochy Two, & back in time for Tee


Postby bobble_hat_kenny » Wed Aug 01, 2018 10:32 pm

Route description: Loch Lochy Munros from Kilfinnan

Munros included on this walk: Meall na Teanga, Sron a'Choire Ghairbh

Corbetts included on this walk: Ben Tee

Date walked: 24/07/2018

Time taken: 10.2 hours

Distance: 20 km

Ascent: 1720m

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Day 2 of a three-day outing for a bit of walking in the Invergarry area: and the forecast was improving steadily :D ! Since I was staying just up the road, I thought this might be a good chance to get the two Loch Lochy Munros bagged. Given that they looked a relatively short outing on their own, and since I had the opportunity for a fairly long day, I was hopeful of maybe adding on the adjacent Corbett Ben Tee too, if time and energy allowed :? .

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Ben Tee was certainly a tempting add-on: it is the attractive, well-defined, conical hill that is visible from miles away in all directions. In fact, due to its Schiehallion-like habit of photo-bombing any montane photographs taken in this area, it seems to have acquired the monicker “The Schiehallion of the North”. It has a lovely name too, meaning The Fairy Hill.
There are in fact many Fairy Hills around various parts of Scotland, including Beinn an t-Sidhean (S2K Marilyn near Strathyre), Cruach an t-Sidhean (the Awkward Customer amongst the Luss Grahams), Ben Hee (a Corbett further north) and of course Schiehallion itself. The common Gaelic root is of course “Sith”, pronounced “Shee” (plural “Sidhean”), meaning the Fairy Folk. Fairies appear to like isolated conical hills, geomorphologically speaking. Fairy Nuff :lol: .
Staying in Invergarry meant that I could have a bit of a lie in and still be at the start point of the walk, at the end of the public road near the farm buildings at Kilfinnan, just after half eight in the morning :) . The sun was shining and the scenery was looking tempting!
WR1 - start of route at Kilfinnan.jpg
I set off in good spirits up the continuing private track, taking the higher of two forestry tracks at a fork, to head north-west along the north shore of Loch Lochy. Eventually I reached the path off on the right that heads up the glen towards the two Munros. This is marked by a Scottish Rights of Way Society sign (it is apparently an ancient right of way to Tomdoun, as indicated by a bigger sign at the start of the forestry track):
WR2 - start of path branching right off forestry track.jpg

The fairly well-maintained path made for rapid ascent up through the forestry, high above the tumbling Allt Glas Doire below. About halfway up through the forestry, it crossed a pleasantly steep tributary burn, where I paused to top up my water.
WR2A - nice tumbling burn in forestry.jpg
Once I eventually emerged from the Christmas trees, there was a grand view back down towards Loch Lochy:
WR3 - looking back to Loch Lochy.jpg

The path continued to give easy progress up the rather narrow and gloomy glen between the high hills on either side, and it wasn’t long before the high bealach came into view.
WR4 - bealach in sight.jpg

Soon enough I was up at the bealach, with clear side paths branching left and right towards the two Munros, and another fine view through the Bonny Blooming Heather, back down the glen towards Loch Lochy.
WR4A - looking back to Loch Lochy from vicinity of bealach.jpg

Since it was in the opposite direction from Ben Tee (which I hoped to do at the end of the day), I’d decided to get Meall na Teanga out of the way first. It is the lower of the two Munros by a narrow margin, but it doesn’t have quite such a good path up from the bealach as Sron a’ Choire Gairbh’s excellent stalkers’ path. The Meall na Teanga path is still perfectly serviceable, but it is a wee bit steeper and stonier. It initially slants to the right, around the side of the intervening top called Meall Dubh, to reach a higher bealach from where Meall na Teanga itself is visible as a rather fine cone on the right:
WR5 - Meall na Teanga from flanks of Meall Dubh.jpg

The path then made a slightly steeper, zigzagging ascent up to the right to eventually gain the summit ridge. From there, it was an easy walk on up to the cairn. Grand views awaited!
Back south towards Loch Lochy:
WR6 - to Loch Lochy from Teanga summit.jpg

The impressive montane panorama to the north:
WR7 - montane panorama N from Teanga summit.jpg

A big sea loch (? what? – perhaps the far end of Loch Linnhe? I'm never any good at summit views :lol: !) visible out to the west:
WR8 - looking west I think - sea in distance - maybe Loch Linnhe.jpg

Looking north-eastward towards Sron a’ Choire Gairbh, with an interesting rocky blobble visible away in the distance: answers on a post card, please; I'm still stumped even after prolonged consultation of the map!
WR9 - looking back to Sron a' CG with interesting blobble in distance.jpg

I made my way back down the path to the bealach, and started the ascent up the excellent zigzagging stalkers' path towards Sron a' Choire Gairbh. The path made for relatively effortless height gain, and it seemed like no time at all before I was at the second Munro summit (I think it was actually well over an hour, though :lol: !). This second Munro is really a more impressive hill than Meall na Teanga, all in all, throwing out two grand, sweeping side ridges, one heading directly eastwards towards a subsidiary top called Sean Miall, and the other one initially heading north to a second subsidiary top known as Meall a' Choire Ghlais, then curving northeastwards towards Ben Tee. The two side ridges are almost level for most of their length, and enclose a vast corrie known as Coire Glas.
According to a couple of locals who I spoke to after completing this walk, Coire Glas is earmarked for a vast and somewhat controversial pump-storage hydroelectric scheme in the relatively near future, with a big new dam and everything: I'm not entirely sure how I feel about that, to be honest; desipte the "green energy" that it will generate, it will change the local landscape significantly and may complicate access to all of these hills :? . Anyway, for the time being at least, the tranquillity of this monumental corrie remains undisturbed. This was the view across the corrie towards Ben Tee, with that interesting rocky blobble visible in the distance again:
WR10 - looking across Coire Glas from Sron a' CG summit to Ben Tee & distant blobble again.jpg

The view northwards from Sron a' Choire Gairbh's summit cairn, towards Meall a' Choire Ghlais:
WR11 - looking north from Sron a' CG cairn.jpg

I didn't linger too long at the Sron's summit, but headed off down that rollicking northern ridge, first northwest to Meall a' Choire Ghlais where I stopped for a bite of lunch, then northeast in the direction of Ben Tee. The ridge gave excellent going and made for a very enjoyable stoat, all in all :D .
At Meall a' Choire Ghlais summit cairn, and looking towards Ben Tee, with the dreaded Rocky Blobble in the distance yet again:
WR12 - at Meall a' Choire Ghlas cairn looking towards Ben Tee with that blobble again.jpg

And looking back across Coire Glas towards Sron a' Choire Gairbh:
WR13 - looking back across Coire Glas to Sron a' CG summit.jpg

The end of the northeastern ridge of Meall a' Choire Ghlais ends abruptly at some substantial crags, with no safe way directly down to the bealach with Ben Tee, so that it is necessary to descent a fair distance down a northern side-spur before it becomes safe to cut down eastwards to eventually cross the substantial area of peat-haggery at the bealach.
The west face of Ben Tee was looking rather intimidating as viewed from the top end of Meall a' Choire Ghlais' NE ridge:
WR14 - Ben Tee from end of Meall a' Choire Ghlais E ridge.jpg

I headed off down the northern side-spur, having to descent a fair old way before I found a safe descent route to the bealach. Thankfully, once this does arrive, it is fairly clearly visible from above. This is a view taken from ascent of Ben Tee, back towards the northern side-spur of the Meall a' Choire Ghlais E ridge: the descent route is the obvious grassy ramp to the right.
WR15 - descent route from northern spur of Meall a' CG ridge.jpg

Almost down at the bealach now, with a grand vista over all those entertaining peat hags, and with Ben Tee looking no less threatening from this angle :shock: !
WR16 - almost down at bealach with Ben Tee looking intimidating.jpg

The peat hags actually turned out not to be nearly so bad as they looked from above, and soon - all too soon! - I was huffing and puffing my way up the steep heathery slopes of Ben Tee's west face. Although relentlessly steep, it was actually straightforward enough, and I just took my time on the way up, with regular rest stops to enjoy a handful or two (or six) of the plentiful wild blaeberries that grow amidst the heather on this side of the Corbett :D .
At one of my rest stops, I spotted an impressively pointy hill away out west: I'm fairly certain that this was Sgurr na Ciche. Here's a zoomed shot:
WR17 - zoomed shot on Ben Tee ascent towards Sgurr na Ciche I think.jpg

Despite the fine views and all those free blaeberries, it was still a decided relief to top out at last at Ben Tee's rather sprawling summit cairn :lol: !
WR18 - me looking relieved to be at Tee summit.jpg

This well-defined conical hill has predictably fine views in all directions. This was the view north to various large lochs (Garry, Loyne and Cluanie I think; maybe the east end of Loch Arkaig?? - the topography is a tad confusing) and with the Kintail hills in the distance:
WR19 - looking north with Lochs Garry Loyne Cluanie towards Kintail hills I think.jpg

Looking northwestwards, with Sgurr na Ciche (I think) visible again in the distance:
WR20 - WNW to end of Loch Arkaig and distant Sgurr na Ciche.jpg

The view back across Coire Glas to Meall a' Choire Ghlais:
WR20A - looking back to Meall a' Choire Ghlais and Coire Glas itself.jpg

Anyway, it was time to be getting home, so I headed off down the initially clear path down Ben Tee's gentler east ridge that forms the standard ascent route. Not far down from the summit, there was a pleasingly long view along Loch Ness, with a nice wee fish-shaped lochan in the foreground: Lochan Diota, according to the map.
WR21 - long view of Loch Ness on descent with wee fish-shaped Lochan Diota in foreground.jpg

The path initially made for rapid progress, but unfortunately it faded away lower down the ridge and eventually vanished altogether. Now, how to get back to Kilfinnan Farm :? ? A glance at the map suggested that the best approach was to head down just a bit east of the Kilfinnan Burn, to avoid the steep gorge of the burn itself (complete with crags and a large waterfall). There is a handy hillock just at the east end of the head of the burn, that was clearly visible on descent and which made an easy navigational target. After crossing some fairly rough moorland (pathless, but actually giving better going than it initially looked), I crossed a hole at the corner of two bits of deer fence, where a pile of old fenceposts and assorted other bits of wood allows one to clamber up and through the hole - the website's route description calls it a "stile", but what I found couldn't really be dignified with such a description! - maybe there was a better crossing point that I missed :lol: ...
Anyway, on the far side of the hole in the fence, a fairly clear path appeared, that headed down high above the east flanks of the Kilfinnan Burn to eventually head down towards the farm. Inevitably, the path fizzled out again lower down, but by that time the way down was obvious, and soon enough I was back at the car.
A grand round, this: apart from the fact that Ben Tee is a great hill in its own right, including it with the two Munros also gives an excellent excuse to walk that grand northeastern ridge of Sron a' Coire Gairbh. Definitely recommended :D .
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bobble_hat_kenny
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Re: The Loch Lochy Two, & back in time for Tee

Postby arjh » Wed Aug 01, 2018 11:12 pm

Great report as always. Wireframe panorama site gives the Rocky Blobble as the Graham Meall Fuar-mhonaidh.

http://www.udeuschle.selfhost.pro/panoramas/makepanoramas_en.htm
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arjh
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Re: The Loch Lochy Two, & back in time for Tee

Postby gld73 » Thu Aug 02, 2018 10:18 pm

I did Ben Tee recently and had similar thoughts about the "stile" - if you go hiking with a hammer and nails in your rucksack, you could probably assemble the assorted jumble of parts into one?!
APDC3979.JPG
Build Your Own Stile (Ben Tee in background)


(However, on the way back, I did see that there was a lovely new stile further up the fence, it just seems to have been built at a more inconvenient place for walkers, certainly for the route I took!)

Sounds like a great walk combining all 3 hills though :D
gld73
 
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Re: The Loch Lochy Two, & back in time for Tee

Postby bobble_hat_kenny » Fri Aug 03, 2018 4:01 pm

arjh wrote:Great report as always. Wireframe panorama site gives the Rocky Blobble as the Graham Meall Fuar-mhonaidh.

http://www.udeuschle.selfhost.pro/panoramas/makepanoramas_en.htm

Thanks! I've never had much luck running virtual summit panorama software on my antiquated old PC, but I recently treated myself to a new machine and it runs fine now, so thanks for the link :D .
I agree, Meall Fuar-Mhonaidh right enough. It looks an impressively steep wee hill from this angle. Who knew?
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bobble_hat_kenny
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Posts: 324
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Re: The Loch Lochy Two, & back in time for Tee

Postby bobble_hat_kenny » Fri Aug 03, 2018 4:02 pm

gld73 wrote:I did Ben Tee recently and had similar thoughts about the "stile" - if you go hiking with a hammer and nails in your rucksack, you could probably assemble the assorted jumble of parts into one?!
APDC3979.JPG


(However, on the way back, I did see that there was a lovely new stile further up the fence, it just seems to have been built at a more inconvenient place for walkers, certainly for the route I took!)

Sounds like a great walk combining all 3 hills though :D

Aha - yes, that's the badger!
As you say, a sort of trendily post-modern, deconstructed sort of stile. That Jacques Derrida has a lot to answer for :lol: !
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bobble_hat_kenny
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Posts: 324
Munros:183   Corbetts:33
Grahams:34   Donalds:19
Sub 2000:23   Hewitts:2
Joined: Sep 3, 2011

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