From Dalnaspidal on foot; the path less travelled

Corbetts: Stob an Aonaich Mhòir

Date walked: 15/06/2022

Time taken: 9 hours

The write-ups and reports all seemed to recommend and describe a long cycle in from the south (Rannoch) side, a quick up ‘n down the hill, and a long cycle ride back to the “main” road. Given that I prefer hill walking to cycling, and was currently at Dalwhinnie, the approach from Dalnaspidal seemed to tick my boxes; but the SMC Corbetts book was not very encouraging, “The journey by the Allt Feith Gharuiareagan and Allt Shallainn is long and demanding, crossing trackless country that gives heavy going”. Or, to quote Walkhighlands “It is also possible to reach the hill from Dalnaspidal Lodge on the A9, but this route is long and the terrain from Loch Garry onwards gives very hard going.” Red rag…. bull. It can’t be that bad, surely?!
Starting from a large parking area off the cycle way down from the A9, over the railway level crossing, and past the Dalnaspidal estate buildings I was soon striding towards Loch Garry, being serenaded by swooping lapwings and oystercatchers ~ it’s that time of year. Progress along the loch was steady, only interrupted to pause and reflect by the poignant memorial to Alison Halcrow, taken too early at just 41 years.
The mile or so across the bog (easy enough to avoid by traversing up a bit) beyond the end of the loch was probably the low point of the journey; but I was soon back on an extended hydro “road” via some recent native tree planting to end abruptly at an intricate sluice / dam hydro set up in the middle of nowhere; my mind having meanwhile been distracted by watching a family of ducks and wee ducklings metaphorically white-water rafting, without the rafts bit of it, down the fast-flowing allt beside me. Remarkable fluidity of movement.
Now on the “trackless country that gives heavy going”, it was far more a pleasure than a pain; very gradual ascent, with so much to take my mind off any unpleasantness underfoot, the probably-hardly-ever-visited northern flanks of Corbett Beinn Mholach up to my left. Sticking close to the east bank, and past the junction with the Allt Cro-chloich, it is still too wide and deep to chance a river crossing; but I am now surrounded by frogs. Slight exaggeration, but there are lots; care is needed to avoid treading on them.
Shortly before the waterfall it is now easy enough to boulder hop across and start following the Allt Feith Gharuiareagan, one of the highlights of the day, criss-crossing back ‘n forth from one bank to the other to get the best line of gradual ascent. I pause for something to eat and drink. No midges! Very strange; there is a very slight breeze; but it does seem prime midge territory. Maybe the frogs have eaten them? Eventually the burn becomes a trickle, then a bog, my far distant summit hoves into view, with the wee tarmac road snaking across c 250 metres beneath. The summit, and what looks to be the high point on the road in line with it, look to be the most direct approach, and not quite as flat and boggy as other lines. By jumping, and judicious use of assorted tussocks and hummocks, progress is in a reasonably straight line ~ wet feet yes, but no “immersions” in water or bog. I hit the road by a wee cairn of stones at the high point, pause briefly; then a steady diagonal line straight to the summit. 4 hours 30 minutes.
Worth every penny; what a great panoramic view! For miles in all directions. Ben Alder’s head is in cloud, but everywhere else is clear. Loch Ericht is huge; I don’t see anyone on its western shoreline. In fact I don’t see anyone at all.
Having soaked in all the ambience the return journey is pretty much back via the outward, made somewhat easier by knowing what all is in store. There’s some delay at Dalnaspidal where several hundred sheep, ingathered yesterday from all over the 30,000 acre estate, have priority over me as they are moved from a field on my right to a field on my left. Journey’s end, the round trip taking 9 hours

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Enjoy staying high on the boundary line

Munros: An Sgarsoch, Càrn an Fhìdhleir (Càrn Ealar)
Date walked: 04/09/2021
Distance: 44km
Ascent: 1400m
Comments: 1
Views: 895

4 Swiss francs, hundreds of geese, rubbish.

Date walked: 19/03/2019
Views: 926

Murdo Mc

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Trips: 1
Corbetts: 1


Trips: 1
Distance: 44 km
Ascent: 1400m
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Last visited: Jun 23, 2022
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