Sgiath Chuil & Meall Glas
by yokehead » Thu Mar 26, 2009 5:08 pm
Route description: Sgiath Chuil and Meal Glas from Glen Lochay
Munros included on this walk: Meall Glas, Sgiath Chuil
Date walked: 20/03/2009
Distance: 16.9 km
Ascent: 1132m1 person thinks this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
It was a misty start as I set out from Kenknock farm in Glen Lochay but I expected the mist to burn off. A chap doing ground works said to me ‘you won’t see much up there today’ but I assured him that the weather would improve; he just looked at me as if I were mad. Probably not far off the truth, at that! I walked along the track alongside the River Lochay, expecting to cross the river at the footbridge at Lubcharran Cottage shown on the OS map, there was no footbridge; gone, it is no more, deceased, an ex- footbridge! No matter, I used the ford where the track branches to Lubchurran and it was only 3 inches deep at most today. I expect the ford will be kept well maintained because the cottage is being renovated; a decent job has been made of it too. A van that had passed me on the track earlier was here and there were men (hard?) at work in the latter stages of the renovation. A lovely remote spot it is here.
The track leads toward the cottage then passes it on the right; I followed it up for just over 1km. The OS 1:50000 map shows the track ending here but in fact it continues for some way, however I took the branch to the left that leads to a small dam (the 1:25000 map correctly shows the full track). I crossed a minor burn coming from the right then crossed the main burn just above the dam to head east. I sat for a moment to check the map and compass bearing that would get me onto the south ridge of Sgiath Chuil. Out of the corner of my eye... what’s this, a bit of blue sky, a bit more, a bit of the ridge visible, snow-covered peaks visible across the glen – yaayy a mini inversion happening.
With the mist coming and going I made a lung-bursting dash for the ridge to see if I could get high enough before the mist cleared completely. I just made it.
My onward route up the ridge became visible as well as the later part of the route down from Beinn Cheataich. Across the glen Creag Mhor and its ridges looked fine with plenty of snow still on the east face. Spurred on by the improvement I scampered up the ridge through its bumps and soggy hollows that added a bit of interest, stripped off but still roasting as I walked into the sun.
Expecting the heat, yesterday at the pound shop in Killin I’d bought a nice soft tea towel to mop me down as I climbed. Guess how much it cost; 99p, £1.01, no, £1 exactly fancy that! It worked perfectly on the climb and proved to be another key part of the kit. Over a false top then I reached 900m on Meall a’Churain followed by around a further 1km along the ridge to the cairn of Sgiath Chuil. Views were great but it was very hazy making photos difficult. The breeze was surprisingly cold so I got the coat on and found a brilliant sheltered spot with a dry, grass-covered boulder that gave a proper level seat with convenient footrests, a mountain throne in fact. Here I stayed for an age whilst I had a big lunch and soaked it all in.
In my short walking career I’ve climbed only 30 or so hills and mountains but even so I’ve had quite a range of experiences. However it occurred to me that up to now I’ve been detached from them, they are there and I get to their tops by whatever route takes my fancy at the time. But as I sat there enjoying my lunch, looking all around from my perch, for the first time I felt part of the mountains, like I belonged, at great peace. Odd that it was little Sgiath Chuil where this transition came about, my revelation came as surely as the mists had lifted as I climbed. Have you felt this? Apologies for the outburst, I digress!
On my route-planning the night before I’d thought that I didn’t want to go over the ridge from Beinn Cheathaich to Meall Glas then retrace my steps so looking at the map I’d planned a little variation. With the weather now completely clear I could see my planned route and it looked feasible.
So back along the ridge south just a little way then a slant down left across stony ground to the start of a steeper descent to the west. A boulder field aided the descent, it was enjoyable threading through this and the gradient reduced towards the bealach. From here I climbed to Coire na Saobhaidhe below the ridge. This little hanging corrie was a delightful place, probably never visited, being sheltered and with running water would probably make a fine wild camping spot.
From here I contoured easily below the ridge then climbed about 100m up a spur from the ridge toward the 908m spot height. Just as it became stony I then turned west and for about 1km followed a convenient sheep track toward Meall Glas that had now come into view. I climbed the final slopes from the south east, up a continuous line of snow that went almost to the summit cairn and searching out the steepest places.
Still decent amounts of snow about on this modest hill and my alternate route from the bealach had been well rewarded by the all of the terrain and places encountered.
After a few photos I plunged down the snow slopes and along the ridge to Beinn Cheathaich, stopping a while for some fuel halfway along.
I had a final look around at the views from the trig point then went at a gallop down the south ridge. I found a patch of snow that was firm enough and at just the right angle to give me a couple of small sections of standing glissade, pushing off with the walking poles I had a great laugh to myself and with the mountain. Magic, and still these hills deliver for me!
I kept a little way to the right on the descent and hit bang on the top part of the track that comes up from Lubchurran. I didn’t follow it since it doubles back for a little way so kept on down the ridge. Once again there were enough variation and steeper sections available to keep the interest and I came upon a nicely built pile of stones pointing the way with Lubchurran directly below. I saw the van leaving Lubchurran, it was only 4.45 so the bu**ers had knocked off early!
I rejoined the track just above the cottage, back across the ford and a stroll back to the car in a hazy sunset rounding off yet another great day. At the car I realised I’d lost my tea towel on the way down, sorry for littering the mountain but if you find it (it’s white with grey stripes) please return it to me.
by canisp » Thu Mar 26, 2009 6:12 pm
I was 15 miles north east of you on the Corbett, Beinn Dearg above Camusvrachan. My morning started much like yours, misty, then as i gained height blue patches started appearing overhead and i knew it was going to be a temperature inversion but very hazy as it turned out
yokehead wrote:But as I sat there enjoying my lunch, looking all around from my perch, for the first time I felt part of the mountains, like I belonged, at great peace. Odd that it was little Sgiath Chuil where this transition came about, my revelation came as surely as the mists had lifted as I climbed. Have you felt this?
I’ve often felt like that, it’s the sort of peace and contentment i can’t find in normal everyday life.
by cjwaugh » Thu Mar 26, 2009 7:03 pm
by yokehead » Thu Mar 26, 2009 7:20 pm
Thanks cj, happy hunting!
- mountain coward
by kevsbald » Fri Mar 27, 2009 9:55 am
I lay on the summit on a large boulder and had total peace for about 15 minutes - it was wonderful.
Have you ever read 'Mountains of the Mind'? Some of what is written in there does hint at why we love the mountains so. I agree with all posters that there is something about being in the hills that cannot be replicated elsewhere. Nice description of the route.
by cjwaugh » Fri Mar 27, 2009 9:59 am
- mountain coward
by Julie » Sun May 03, 2009 9:34 pm
Just a wee line, i'm just back from a snowy day out (thought it was summer?) on Sgiath Chuil & Meall Glas and guess what i found? A gray and white, forlorn, lost wee tea towel, all alone just about 200 ft below the summit of meall glas, i rescued it and took it home and it's currently having a wash and brush up in the washing machine,
Would you like it back?
Send me your adress and i'll post it on to you once it's dry, it won't be ironed though, that's a step too far
Anyway , let me know, they were lovely hills by the way
by sloosh » Mon May 04, 2009 11:53 am
Julie wrote:... and guess what i found? A gray and white, forlorn, lost wee tea towel, all alone just about 200 ft below the summit of meall glas, i rescued it and took it home and it's currently having a wash and brush up in the washing machine
That's so funny!
by yokehead » Tue May 05, 2009 5:14 pm
Glad you liked the hills, hope you enjoyed the late snow! Are you going to put in a report?
by Julie » Tue May 05, 2009 10:15 pm
just in from work and got your message, i actually read your post the day before we went up the hill but we went from glen dochart and i wasn't looking for the now famous tea towel, it was just there and i remembered your post and david thought i'd gone a bit mad when i went on about the tea towel of the man on the newsgroup/ website....
anyway i'll post it to you tomorrow,
Glad to hear it'll be reunited with it's twin
Take good care of it,