A long hard slog up Loch Earn

This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
Attachment(s) Munros: Ben Vorlich (Loch Earn)
Date walked: 14/03/2022
Distance: 12.4km
Ascent: 1120m
Views: 20

A long long walk

Route: Beinn Dearg from near Blair Atholl

Munros: Beinn Dearg (Blair Atholl)

Date walked: 02/03/2022

Time taken: 8.5 hours

Distance: 27km

Ascent: 1233m

What a day out this was. The longest hill walk I’ve ever done and without a doubt the fastest winds I have ever walked in. Nonetheless, a fantastic day.

The days adventure started at about 07:45 at the Glen Tilt car park. My 2 friends and I set off for this epic journey into a quite remote area. Walk Highlands describes this route clockwise, but we did it anti-clockwise.
The first section of this walk, from the car park was stunning, with some nice, wooded areas, cracking views and nice path up to just past the rifle range.

Heading up to the rifle range.

Walking past the rifle range.

Heading onwards past the rifle range a gate was passed through leading into the moorland. As the path continued onwards, the coverage of snow on the path increased considerably and at points the path was covered for large sections. We sauntered on towards our first planned stopping point of the day, the bottom of the valley just before the zig zag ascent up the mountain.

Walking up into the wilderness.

A herd of deer on some higher ground.

Looking over the vast expanse to our left hand side as we walked toward the valley at the foot of the mountain.

Heading down into the valley for a bite to eat.

The path we had come down, to the right across the river and the path on the left was our return past the bothy. We had a bite to eat here on the way up and down.

We sat in this little valley, where the inward path meets the outward path and had a little bite to eat. It took us 2hr 38mins to get here so it was only about 20 past 10 but given by this point we’d covered 6 odd miles we were all a bit peckish. A short snack break over and we began the climb up Beinn Dearg. The zig zag path was covered in snow but and the areas that weren’t were covered in ice. Luckily the snow was not too soft but not too hard and provided, to me, a surprising amount of grip. We plodded up the initial steep ascent to where it briefly flattened out before the final ascent to the summit. It was at the far end of this flattish section that the whiteout conditions hit. My last Munro before this was Meall Chuaich and up there I encountered what I thought was whiteout conditions, well up there was nothing like this mountain. The ground had a blanket covering of snow and when the cloud moved over the conditions were total whiteout. It was a real test of navigation, but we made it no bother to the point marked 931 metres on the OS map before taking a slight right turn to follow a bearing up to the summit. I have never seen a white out like this before, the ground and the sky indistinguishable from each other with no idea what direction your looking in. Not a situation you want to find yourself in if you don’t have the skills to navigate through it.

From the 931 metre point we followed the compass up to the summit. Although generally a whiteout, there were brief moments where the cloud base lifted and you could, as quickly as you could, try to take in some views.
Exposed on the summit ridge, the winds were really ferocious and without doubt the fastest winds I have ever walked in. The wind howled and walking was really quite challenging. Rather than it being strong gusts the wind was continuously strong. I have never until now experienced the feeling of being blown off balance by the wind. Despite the wind hampering the walking pace quite a bit we continued steadfastly to the summit and eventually reached it. It was a job and a half getting into the summit shelter for a seat because of the wind! Time taken from car to summit, 4 hrs and 5 mins.

Reaching the level ish section after the steep climb from the valley.

Whiteout. Hard as it is to believe, some of this picture is ground and some is sky, about a 50/50 split.

Approaching the small cairn at 391 metres.

Approaching the summit.

The summit.

The three of us at the top.

The mercury at the top was reading -8 and after 5 mins at the summit (4 mins too long in that wind) we made our way back down the mountain, walking at what seemed like 45 degrees into the wind so we weren’t blown over, and after another 1hr and 5 mins we had descended back down to the valley at the bottom of the zig zag path and again had a light snack.

Heading down the final bit of the zig zag path to where the path splits in the 2 routes which can be taken to and from the Glen Tilt car park.

We now headed back towards the car but rather than returning the way we came we took the path to the right which would lead us down past the bothy. Another first for me today was being able to nip into a bothy to see what it was like. We had a wee nosey about inside and climbed into the loft sleeping area to see what like. It was also a very welcome chance to indulge in the luxury of sitting on a chair and taking the weight off our feet.

Heading down the return path towards the bothy.

The bothy.

A river to be crossed at the back side of the bothy.

Inside the main room of the bothy.

The front of the bothy.

We bumped into another walker whilst we were at the bothy, she had stopped in for a snack and wasn’t staying. Later on in the day she would do us a really nice favour which was very thoughtful of her.

After 10 mins in the bothy we continued along the path back towards Blair Athol and the car. We were beginning to feel tired and somewhat sore in the feet, but we plodded along down the very long return route. The rain which was also forecast arrived an hour early and slowly turned heavy enough.
One of my friends out with me that day had a few aches and pains that were really hampering his progress and it was noticeable that he wasn’t having the best of times. The woman who we had bumped into at the bothy raced past us after about two hours, speaking to my friend briefly and hearing about his pains. She continued on past us and wished us well for the final few kilometres of the walk.

Continuing from the bothy to the car park.

Continuing from the bothy to the car park.

Continuing from the bothy to the car park.

Continuing from the bothy to the car park.

We passed the cairn which sits looking down over the path and reached the gate that took us into the forest signalling the final part of the walk. I always enjoy a walk through the forest, so this was the perfect way to finish our day.

Heading down into the forest, just after passing through the gate at the edge of the forest.

An abandoned shack in the forest.

Continuing through the forest.

We had walked a chunk of the way through the forest, probably just over a kilometre and I could see the lights of a car coming up the track. Assuming that this was a private road I thought it must be an estate worker doing his or her thing. The car approached and it was none other than the woman who had passed us and, owing to the discomfort my friend was in, thought we’d like a lift down to the car park! (Hence why the route map ends in the forest and not back at the car park). After such a long day we took the lift (having walked about 27km by this point I don’t think this last little bit by car takes away the days achievement). This probably knocked about 30 mins off of our walk (30 mins equates to about 30 hours for us given that we were so tired and wet) and we reached the Glen Tilt car park. The total time from car to car was 8hrs and 29 mins.

A very long walk but worth every step of it and I shall close this report by saying to the woman who gave us a lift, if you are on Walk Highlands and read this report my 2 mates and I were very grateful for your act of kindness, thanks.

our_route.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Click to mark this as a great report. Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).


Attachment(s) Munros: Meall Chuaich
Date walked: 09/02/2022
Distance: 14.3km
Ascent: 666m
Comments: 3
Views: 563

Galavanting in Glen Lyon

Attachment(s) Munros: Meall Buidhe (Glen Lyon)
Date walked: 26/01/2022
Distance: 8.47km
Ascent: 597m
Comments: 1
Views: 404

Dalwhinnie Duo with Storm

This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
Attachment(s) Munros: A' Mharconaich, Geal-chàrn (Drumochter)
Date walked: 11/01/2022
Distance: 10.8km
Ascent: 743m
Views: 72

A Fyne Day out

Attachment(s) Munros: Beinn Bhuidhe
Date walked: 21/12/2021
Distance: 20.9km
Views: 354

Sunrise to sundown

Attachment(s) Munros: Beinn Ìme, Beinn Narnain
Date walked: 21/11/2021
Distance: 13.4km
Ascent: 1399m
Views: 305

Ben Chonzie

Attachment(s) Munros: Ben Chonzie
Date walked: 13/11/2021
Distance: 12.6km
Ascent: 735m
Views: 383

Clegs, Midges & Thorns

Attachment(s) Munros: Beinn Chabhair
Date walked: 24/07/2021
Distance: 10.14km
Ascent: 945m
Views: 354

Between rain and snow

Attachment(s) Munros: An Socach (Braemar)
Date walked: 08/05/2021
Distance: 15.44km
Ascent: 663m
Views: 492


User avatar
Activity: Mountain Walker
Place: Dundee

Munros: 26
Tops: 2
Corbetts: 1
Grahams: 1
Sub 2000: 3
Islands: 6

Filter reports



Trips: 5
Distance: 72.97 km
Ascent: 4359m
Munros: 6


Trips: 5
Distance: 72.48 km
Ascent: 3742m
Munros: 6


Trips: 12
Distance: 125.62 km
Ascent: 2913m
Munros: 15
Corbetts: 1


Trips: 1
Grahams: 1

Joined: Dec 28, 2019
Last visited: May 16, 2022
Total posts: 34 | Search posts