Shee may be the face I can't resist: two from Ardtalnaig

Corbetts: Creagan na Beinne
Grahams: Shee of Ardtalnaig

Date walked: 19/02/2019

Time taken: 7 hours

Distance: 17.5km

Ascent: 1150m

I'd had my eye on this nifty South Loch Tay Graham-plus-Corbett combo for quite some time, and given a slightly random February midweek Annual Leave day to use up what leave I had left before the end of the financial year, and a mwis.org.uk forecast that looked a lot better east than west, I thought that today might as well be the day.

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I got a reasonably early start, and got parked at the parking area just west of the Ardtalnaig bridge without any bother - one of the advantages of midweek walking, I suppose :D . I walked back SW a short distance along the South Loch Tay road, then started up the Craggan farm track. There was a lovely view north over the loch to the snow-capped Munros of the Lawers range: sadly the last I'd see of them today, as they soon had their heads buried deep in cloud :roll: !
WR1 - Loch Tay & snow-capped giants of Lawers range from near start of route.jpg

It wasn't much further up the track to Craggan farm itself - presumably it gets its name from its neighbourhood Corbett, Creagan na Beinne - where I took the signed track ("footpath") that bypasses the farm buildings. My first target, the Shee of Ardtalnaig, was looking a tad intimidating from here …
WR2 - the Shee from Claggan Farm.jpg

It was a fairly brutal ascent right enough, particularly since the slightly gentler direct route straight up the nose led through knee-deep heather, so that I opted for a steeper ascent up a long grassy rake just west of the nose, and it was a real relief when the gradient eased fairly suddenly as I gained the crest of the ridge.
This Graham proved to be a real delight, taking the form of a lovely long steep-sided ridge, although sadly the Clag had decided to descend by this point, robbing me of much in the way of views. The only downside was that the Shee is big on peat hags, as the SMC Grahams book warns! This was a particularly fine example: there were plenty more :roll: !
WR3 - massive peat hag with Loch Tay in distance.jpg

Fortunately, I soon picked up a rather intermittent wee path that cuts along the west side of the ridge, close to the steep edge down into Gleann a' Chilleine, and picks a cunning way past the worst of the Hags. It is well worth trying to locate this path, I'd say, for it gave excellent going in what could otherwise have degenerated into Peat Hag Hell.
Without much ado at all, I found myself nearing the final summit cone. Just across a final massive peat hag, I came to a very impressive Feature of Interest: a huge rock cleft known as Bual a' Claidheimh (which I think is Gaelic for something like "sword slash" - this makes perfect sense, because it really does look as though some gargantuan Zorro type has taken a hack out of the hill in a random fit of pique :shock: ). Apparently it is the result of a landslip in the rather unstable underlying mica-schist rock: not so much a peat hag as a Schist Hag, I suppose!
WR4 - the Chleibhimh thingey.jpg

The Shee's summit cairn was only a couple of hundred metres further south: rather bijou, but not a bad effort I suppose, given the dearth of rocks on this ridge, and the difficulty of constructing a cairn out of peat :roll: ...
WR5 - hazy view to Creagan na Beinne from Shee summit cairn.jpg

I made my way carefully down the Shee's steep but grassy southern nose, picking up another useful path en route, that headed almost directly for the cottage at Dunan. There was a lovely view over some impressive ....um, I think they are known as "drumlins"; heaps of glacial moraine, basically, forming a miniature range of tiny wee grassy hills at the head of Gleann a' Chilleine just north of the cottage.
WR6 - Dunan Cottage & Drumlins.jpg

Nice Drumlins, if I may be so bold!
WR7 - lovely drumlins on final descent.jpg

I headed straight across the big track that runs up to the head of the glen, and soon I was deep in Drumlin Country.
WR8 - in Drumlin Country.jpg

It was another steep initial ascent up onto the Corbett's south ridge, which is known as Dunan Hill, but at least there was a grand view back across the glen to the Shee by way of distraction:
WR9 - Shee and Glen on initial ascent.jpg

The Shee of Ardtalnaig really is an unusually shapely wee Graham, and I couldn't resist taking a whole series of photos of it on the way up the Corbett (and down, for that matter).
WR10 - Shee on ascent.jpg

A bit higher up, I'd unfortunately encountered the Clag again. There was a huge herd of deer ahead in the mist, eyeing me nervously as I approached...
WR11 - first glimpse of deer on ascent.jpg

Creagan na Beinne isn't nearly as shapely as the Shee, being a massive rounded hill of many false summits - and many peat hags! Again, however, I picked up a faint and intermittent but extremely useful path that did its best to avoid the worst of them.
Another look at the Shee, with Loch Tay in the distance:
WR12 - the Shee and a glimpse of Loch Tay on ascent.jpg

A bit higher up, I encountered the deer again:
WR13 - big herd of deer in the Clag.jpg

A nice view of the parallel ridges of the Shee and its other adjacent Corbett, Creag Uchdag, to the west with a glimpse of Loch Tay in the distance:
WR14 - the Shee & Creag Uchdag & Loch Tay.jpg

To my delight, the Clag suddenly started to lift just as I approached the summit environs, to reveal … a very funny-looking cairn indeed, resembling nothing so much as a giant snail from a distance.
WR15 - Funny-looking cairn in distance at last.jpg

On closer inspection, the "horns" of the snail turned out to be made of a couple of old iron fenceposts. A nice effort!
WR16 - Creagan na Beinne cairn like giant snail with Loch Tay in background.jpg

A nice vista over Loch Tay from the cairn:
WR17 - Loch Tay from Creagan na Beinne summit.jpg

...And looking back west towards the Shee:
WR18 - Creagan na Beinne cairn looking towards the Shee.jpg

The inevitable Summit Selfie:
WR19 - me at Creagan na Beinne summit.jpg

I headed off down to the north, on another useful wee path, doing my best to avoid the peat hags and passing a smaller non-summit cairn en route. The Corbett's broad north ridge (it only has broad ridges, to be honest!) takes a nice sweeping line, first northwards and then curving to the west, giving grand views back up to the flat summit environs as well as west to the Shee.
The Shee and Creag Uchdag again, from just a bit north of the cairn:
WR20 - The Shee & Creag Uchdag with Loch Tay in background.jpg

Creagan na Beinne may admittedly just be a massive rounded lump of a thing, but it does have a certain presence when viewed from halfway down its north ridge. It is one of the higher Corbetts in the area, and not that much short of Munro height.
WR21 - view back to Creagan na Beinne on descent.jpg

The Shee, however, is an altogether more elegant beast :) :
WR22 - full-length view of the Shee on descent.jpg

I bypassed the minor hump on Creagan na Beinne's north ridge, Point 658, and did battle with a colossal peat hag at the next bealach to eventually gain a grassy track that descends from there all the way back to Ardtalnaig. From the final bealach, there was a final interesting view of the Shee, almost end-on with Craggan Farm nestling at its foot:
WR23 - the Shee almost end-on with Craggan Farm.jpg

The grassy track gave straightforward going back to the car, although I lost it for a bit where it passed through a gap in a wall and seemed to disappear completely. However, I just headed straight down the steep grassy hillside, and I picked it up again soon enough, further down the hillside, having I think cut out a couple of zigs and a zag.
Loch Tay as seen on the final descent:
WR24 - Loch Tay on final descent.jpg

A very enjoyable outing, on the whole, and very handy for this time of the year, being less than 2 hours' drive from Glasgow :D .

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Comments: 1

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User avatar
Activity: Walker
Pub: Kilchoan Hotel
Mountain: Cir Mhor
Place: Arran
Gear: walking poles
Member: none at present
Ideal day out: A multi-peak walk with good views.

Munros: 176
Corbetts: 31
Grahams: 34
Donalds: 19
Hewitts: 2
Sub 2000: 23

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