walkhighlands

Stuchd an Lochain

Route: Stuchd an Lochain

Munros: Stùcd an Lochain

Date walked: 10/05/2024

Time taken: 4.75 hours

Distance: 8.5km

Ascent: 726m

Having got a reminder recently on Mayar that I struggle a bit in warm weather I was looking for a relatively short walk to add to my burgeoning Munro tally. I finally narrowed this to a choice between Meall Buidhe and Stuchd an Lochain and eventually decided on Stuchd an Lochain because of its ostensibly more dramatic architecture.
I'd only been in the western end of Glen Lyon once before as a passenger but I had driven in the other direction and remembered this as being a slow drive so I decided that a route via Killin and over the Lawers road might be better than what AA Route Planner was trying to tell me. Either way I find it is a long and slow drive demanding patience, time and concentration.
So I ended up taking over five hours to get there but it was a beautiful morning and I wasn't in too much of a hurry as the forecast was for skies clearing around midday and it was still only twelve Celsius by the time I got parked.
As I set off for the hill my heart sank a bit when I saw the reality of the path ahead -a rising traverse across a steep hillside. On the map it had looked a mere formality but now I found myself thinking ahead to the ascent possibly being problematic and the descent certainly being challenging for the knees.
I did consider contouring round the eastern flank of the crags but decided to keep going as description of a steep and loose ascent didn't sound terrible, just bad. And I could always reverse out of it if necessary,
In fact the initial east-west half kilometre stretch of path turned out to be fairly easy going 100m climb but the abrupt turn south afterwards directly uphill was indeed steep and loose but, crucially, with plenty of options for finding good foot placement. So, in fact, no problem at all for the steeper part of the ascent -at least on this warm, dry day. That took me up to about the 800m contour and I realised that this first 400m of ascent was all of the difficulty over with.
Still, the view from the 888m top revealed a long looking way to the summit but the map told me that was only 2km away with only a few ups and downs of 50-70m in between. That ought not to have appeared very grand but it somehow did.
On the way up the northwest running spur Creag an Fheadain had loomed impressively over Loch an Daimh and, now, on the descent from the 888m top it was Sron Choina Choirein to the south that provided a grand backdrop for the stroll along the ridge as well as fine but hazy views over Coire an Duich towards Ben Lawers. To the right (west) the summit of Stuchd an Lochain itself promised more drama.
It was an easy walk along the ridge and, at last, there was some welcome wind to keep me cool. I eased my way up and over the 927m top and then diverted slightly away from the path to try to get better views of the crags above Lochan nan Cat.
Despite the haze obscuring the more distant views this was a very enjoyable walk as there was enough of interest close to the summit to make the views absorbing. At the summit itself it was exciting to see hints of Rannoch Moor and Buachaille Etive Mor though these had to be guessed at to some extent.
Well I was very pleased to have climbed yet another bonus Munro but I still had the descent to contemplate and then execute. I again entertained thoughts of contouring round the eastern flanks but gave in to the idea of a quick if possibly painful descent. In the event it was again easy to find good foot placement but that was possibly in part due to my deliberately slow descent; if I was going to have a slip or trip it would be here and there was no need to hurry.
Drove back via the low level route. Not sure which is better really -probably more care needed via the Lawers road but the low level road does seem to take a long time.

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Loch Tay from Kenmore.

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View east from the other end at Killin.

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Barnacle geese and goslings.

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I decided to drive via the Lawers road as this minimised the amount of single track to negotiate. This view of the Tarmachan slopes brings back memories of a summer's night beneath the stars which started beautifully but deteriorated into shivering within the minimal amount of protection we had against the cold. Didn't sleep very much but a memorable trip nonetheless.

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Interesting profile of the Tarmachan ridge.

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And magically here we are at the Loch an Daimh dam. That is, after half an hour of very careful driving on the narrow roads to get here.

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Doesn't take long to walk up to the dam and from here the path across the hillside is clearly visible, if a little bit off-putting.

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The path is off-screen to the left but you can see a bit the steepness of the hillside above the boathouse which is where the path veers directly south and up.

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Looking back at the dam from the start of the steeper part of the path.

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The steep, eroded and loose section of path heading directly south and up. It isn't that bad in the dry conditions as there are plenty of options for reliable foot placement i.e. doesn't feel hazardous.

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Looking back (north) at Meall Buidhe.

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There is something very pleasant about the blue sky and fair weather cloud reflected in the loch even if the more distant views are a bit hazy.

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Looking east along Glen Lyon.

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The moderate effort of 350m direct ascent above the boathouse sees me onto the shoulder of the 887m top or 888m top depending on which map you look at, just as the summit appears marked as Stuc and Lochain, Stuch an Lochain or Stuchd an Lochain depending on where you look. Anyway, time to relax as there's nothing more than 50-70m of ascent or descent between this top and the summit albeit the ridge ahead does look quite long and grand.

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View south.

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View east with a hazy Ben Lawers visible on the right.

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There's a good view into Coire an Duich from the descent of the 887m top though it doesn't show up too well in this photo.

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Looking back at the 887m top from near the 927 bump a kilometre to the south, From here it's just another 1.5km west to the summit but the ridge feels much grander than the numbers would indicate or conjour up in the imagination.

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View of main summit from path contouring round the 927m top.

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Looking back.

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Cloud breaking over the summit.

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First clear view of Lochan nan Cat.

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I detour away from the path slightly to get a view of the crags above the lochan.

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On the last short steep rise to the summit.

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Looking back at the 927m top.

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Steep drop to the right (east).

Views from summit:

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Doesn't look like great views from the photo but it felt like great views.

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On my way down. Figure on summit.

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Cloud breaking above again. As much as there has been haze around at summit height the air has looked clear in the breaks above.

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Lochan near the 927m top.

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Unrepresentative view of walk.

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A better photo of Sron Chona Coirean, the eastern spur of the 927m top that overlooks Coire an Duich.

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View east from re-ascent of 887m top.

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Apprehensively preparing for the final descent.

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But there was nothing to worry about on the steep part of the descent because there was always a way to find good foot placement, thanks in part to the relatively dry conditions.

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Back at the lochside.

A highly enjoyable walk despite the haze. Some knee twinges in the days since but not bad. Walking football tomorrow so it will be interesting to see how that goes.



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litljortindan


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Activity: Ambler
Mountain: Alligin
Place: Assynt

Munros: 158
Corbetts: 67
Fionas: 29
Donalds: 1
Wainwrights: 10
Hewitts: 12
Sub 2000: 47



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Statistics

2024

Trips: 14
Distance: 119.6 km
Ascent: 7080m
Munros: 9
Sub2000s: 1

2023

Trips: 55
Distance: 537.5 km
Ascent: 26715m
Munros: 19
Corbetts: 7
Fionas: 2
Sub2000s: 10

2022

Trips: 40
Distance: 347.9 km
Ascent: 18833m
Munros: 9
Corbetts: 4
Fionas: 2
Sub2000s: 8

2021

Trips: 50
Distance: 410.05 km
Ascent: 19613m
Munros: 12
Corbetts: 5
Fionas: 1
Sub2000s: 7

2020

Trips: 39
Distance: 226.7 km
Ascent: 11266m
Munros: 4
Corbetts: 4
Fionas: 2
Sub2000s: 3

2019

Trips: 31
Distance: 204.5 km
Ascent: 10853m
Munros: 3
Corbetts: 3
Fionas: 2
Donalds: 1
Sub2000s: 1

2018

Trips: 28
Distance: 191.9 km
Ascent: 12074m
Corbetts: 5
Fionas: 2
Sub2000s: 4

2017

Trips: 31
Distance: 226.75 km
Ascent: 8838m
Munros: 1
Corbetts: 2
Sub2000s: 4

2016

Trips: 20
Distance: 229 km
Ascent: 9236m
Munros: 2
Corbetts: 1
Fionas: 3
Sub2000s: 5

2015

Trips: 39
Distance: 286 km
Ascent: 12583m
Munros: 4
Corbetts: 2
Fionas: 3
Sub2000s: 9

2014

Trips: 29
Distance: 164.25 km
Ascent: 8347m
Munros: 2
Corbetts: 2
Sub2000s: 9
Hewitts: 3

2013

Trips: 29
Distance: 136.75 km
Ascent: 9700m
Munros: 1
Corbetts: 5
Fionas: 4
Sub2000s: 4

2012

Trips: 12
Distance: 73 km
Ascent: 5261m
Munros: 4
Corbetts: 1
Fionas: 1
Sub2000s: 2

2011

Trips: 6
Distance: 55 km
Ascent: 3917m
Fionas: 3
Sub2000s: 1

2010

Trips: 7
Distance: 28 km
Ascent: 2950m
Fionas: 1
Sub2000s: 1

2009

Trips: 4
Distance: 24.5 km
Ascent: 2194m
Munros: 1
Corbetts: 1

2008

Trips: 3
Distance: 24 km
Ascent: 3189m

2007

Trips: 5
Distance: 31 km
Ascent: 1896m

2006

Trips: 3
Distance: 37 km
Ascent: 3730m

2004

Trips: 4
Distance: 44 km
Ascent: 2706m
Corbetts: 1

2003

Trips: 5
Distance: 50 km
Ascent: 5760m
Fionas: 1
Sub2000s: 2

2002

Trips: 3
Distance: 29 km
Ascent: 2449m

2001

Trips: 6
Distance: 46 km
Ascent: 4245m
Munros: 2

2000

Trips: 1
Distance: 16 km
Ascent: 1300m
Munros: 3

1999

Trips: 1
Distance: 28 km
Ascent: 900m
Corbetts: 1

1998

Trips: 1
Distance: 8 km
Ascent: 1055m
Munros: 2

1997

Trips: 1
Distance: 27 km
Ascent: 1400m
Fionas: 1

1995

Trips: 4
Distance: 80 km
Ascent: 4322m
Munros: 3
Fionas: 1

1994

Trips: 2
Distance: 35.5 km
Ascent: 2477m
Corbetts: 2
Fionas: 1
Sub2000s: 1

1993

Trips: 1
Distance: 10 km
Ascent: 1100m

1992

Trips: 2
Distance: 46 km
Ascent: 2345m


Joined: Dec 11, 2011
Last visited: May 18, 2024
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