walkhighlands

Lord Berkeley's Paddling Pool - Toll An Lochain

Route: Toll an Lochain

Date walked: 08/07/2011

Time taken: 5 hours

Distance: 10km

Ascent: 500m

After a great week in Ullapool and visiting the nearby Assynt mountains, i wanted somehow to squeeze in a visit to An Teallach and with a 5 hour window and us being knackered from 3 mountains in 2 days, a ridge attempt was not on the cards however a friendly local did mention the Loch in the heart of the beast was a spectacular sight so we didnt hesitate.

I noticed the Lochain has not been reported on by anyone so in order to get folks to visit it (im sure many of you already have) i hope to provide half decent instructions on how to get there in one piece :lol:

An Teallach is about as pretty as a mountain can get and dominates the road up to the start of the walk.

The walk starts off at a little layby on the west side of the A838 if approached from the south you will see it on your left approx 250m after the turn off to Badrallach. I dont believe any 2 routes would be the same with all the pathless sections involved. :)

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Correct path, note the stream just to the left of the picture. Simple start, the fence's remains suggesting that this is an 'adopted' path.


There are 2 paths that are visible from the layby 1 either side of the stream the one you need is the on the north side of the stream. (not the one right next to the layby)

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Path turns into a wall (which you walk along) then back into a path again, David Blaine has nothing on this path.


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The path continues past this minor stream.


Initially the path seems ok, very overgrown and with an easy stream crossing after 30m, but just after the stream the path turns evil and you are welcomed by ankle deep mud/bog which is truly horrid in some parts. after a large mud pit you will walk through an opening in the bush/trees to a small 'field' of mud the route described by WH suggests walking straight on into a rhododendron bush which is tunnel like in nature, pretty but very boggy in places. What we did was go up a path to the immediate right which goes up a grassy hill it is very indistinct but less boggy and seems to rejoin the route at a point where a post reassures you that you are not lost :)

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This is why walking boots dont come in white i guess. The path enters the 1st tunnel of rhododendrons and exits at the start of this 'little mud field'. Straight ahead is the path through the 2nd larger and more dense rhododendron tunnel I opted to go to the immediate right of this pic and up the hill.


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What the 2nd tunnel looks like up close, incase you opt for this route (it is pretty in there)


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The path i took (up the hill to the right of the 2nd tunnel) its hard to miss but after 15-20m the path is quite faint aim is to get to high ground where you will meet the original path again.


The little wooden shed is also visible straight ahead (off path), you will follow the path right (wsw) uphill where the bog is replaced by slabs of rock which are linked with a easy to follow path many cairns on route will keep you right.

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Looking back down the path at the point it reaches the original path.


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The little wooden shed is straight on (you do not head towards it your path is towards the right up to the first short section of stone slabs)


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To your left (east) is the 'reassuring post'.


Soon you will see the first of a few waterfalls it was pretty but slightly marred with the inclusion of a wierd rusty pipe in front of your side of the drop (wierd fence maybe? more likely a unearthed fluid pipe out of use for many years) The path continues uphill without drama the views looking back becoming more distant.

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To the right (west) the first short section of easy to navigate stone slabs have to be climbed, route is consistently marked with small cairns.


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Shortly after turning right (west) The 1st waterfall is seen to your left.


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nice views looking back....


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You wont miss them anyway because ahead awaits some spectacular sights.


Before too long another reassuring wooden post will come into view and soon after a gateless fence is crossed the path now splits but you want to stay close to the stream (heading south west, even though the path this way is uglier) which heads towards a second waterfall you will see on your left, the path that heads right (west and initially good) i believe heads into Glas Tholl.

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This smaller but more attractive waterfall is where you also begin to see your destination in the background.


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Closer to the fall you notice the path becoming yucky, the minor tree furthest to the right is your next destination after crossing the stream which is on the right of the fall (blocked by the foreground)


the path becomes patchy but perservere with it a stream needs crossing at this point (right in front of the waterfall to the west) after this crossing a small climb up to the top of the waterfall needs to be made which is easily seen the path at the bottom seems to go both ways but if you head right it disappears into very thick bush but left and up the stone climb/mild scramble is the way to go.

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The short scramble that leads to the top of the fall, note the tree on the right.


At the top, the path again remains patchy but stays close to the stream and sections of the path further on are easy to see.

The paths eventually disappears at a point when you need to leave the stream you may have to rough it heading west across bogs towards long stone slabs which are dotted with small cairns indicating the route, the path makes very brief appearances between slabs but best referring to cairns and if your unfamiliar with the area use a map of course.

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The path stays to the right of the stream for a while eventually disappearing at which point the 2nd much longer slab hopping begins on your right, this section is the hardest navigation wise with infrequent cairns that are sometimes hard to spot. Spot the cairn?


Looking to you left the wall that leads to the top of Sail Liath begins to hug the landscape and brings the whole place towards Toll An Lochain. As you aproach the corries the peaks of the ridge become gradually more and more clear teasing you in.

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Heading up the slope you leave the stream behind you wont meet it again until the Lochain. Sail Liath begins to wrap his long arm around you.


After much 'slab-hopping' you will reach an indistinct path which heads up hill at a more steeper gradient (not too challenging) and to you left the ground will slowly fall away taking the stream with it, this path has its pathless sections and crosses a few small 'land crevasses' but nothing challenging for a regular hill walker. This path will eventually disappear at the top but from that point common sense will dictate your route to the Lochain.

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At the end of the path to the top, the easiest way to reach the Lochain is to head directly towards the immense crags.


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Views back down are simply stunning. meanwhile, my wife does her impression of a cairn.


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Blazing hot sunshine at the top, Oh the suspense is killing me!


The corrie is immense and has spectacular views of the ridge, the lochain is crystal clear and is dotted with little 'beaches' where sarnies can be enjoyed. The walls that surround the west side of the corrie are vertical and provide much neck straining to view the top.

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The dam made by bodybuilding beavers, with our little lunch spot on the 'beaches' in the background.


Sail Liath, Sgurr Fiona and Glas Mheall Liath are all easily seen but its that ridge dominated by Lord Berkeley's Seat which are imposing they look down at you with a watchful eye as though you are not worthy of being in such surroundings.

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You have arrived at your destination...


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Wow...


Views out of the corrie (Eastwards) are just as great and at certain vantage points one can see the towering mound of Sgurr Mor and north east towards Beinn Dearg.

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Do you think i could get planning permission here?


The route back retraces your steps, I personally lost the path a few times but knowing the general direction first towards the stream and then following it back towards the start will keep you safe and you are very likely to bump into the path again en route.

To sum up the walk, it is not as easy going as other corries but so worth the effort. It is not a long walk and in good weather the route although pathless in parts is in my opinion is straightforward. This is very much Tick country so socks over trousers the whole way is advised. There are routes up to the ridge from the Lochain too via Chockstone Gully and the stream that enters the Lochain from the north west side (decending down from Bidean A' Ghlas Thuill) although the latter was a suggestion from a local and not one I personally have read about.

An Teallach has so much character you dont need to visit the ridge to really enjoy this place. Saying that, i will be back to test out that last statement. :lol:

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Salahuddin


Activity: Munro compleatist
Mountain: Suilven-UK Mankial-World
Place: Lochinver
Gear: Digital Camara!
Ideal day out: Currently a sunny one!

Munros: 21
Corbetts: 8
Grahams: 11
Hewitts: 2
Sub 2000: 35



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Statistics

2011

Trips: 2
Distance: 14 km
Ascent: 1112m
Grahams: 1

2010

Trips: 3
Distance: 26 km
Corbetts: 1
Sub2000s: 1


Joined: Nov 02, 2009
Last visited: May 31, 2019
Total posts: 30 | Search posts