Loch Ard

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Attachment(s) Date walked: 11/01/2014
Distance: 12km
Ascent: 250m
Views: 595

Gaick Pass Corbetts

Route: Gaick Corbetts: An Dun and Meall Creag an Loch

Corbetts: An Dùn, Maol Creag an Loch (A' Chaoirnich)

Date walked: 08/05/2013

Time taken: 5 hours

Distance: 27km

Ascent: 1120m

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What a pair of corbetts
Edendon Water and the two Corbetts
Climbing Maol Creag an Loch, all heather and grouse
An Dun from Creag an Loch ridge
Miniature Cairn on Maol Creag an Loch - the real summit
Toad in a hole
Allt Loch an Duin - braided burns from An Dun ascent
Maol Creag an Loch from An Dun
Sronphadruig Lodge by the Edendon Water

Ascent: 1120 metres
Distance: 27 kilometres (13km by bike)
Time: 5 hours 41 minutes

c Maol Creag an Loch 875m 2hrs 13mins
c An Dun 827m 3hrs 58mins

Another rare good day was forecast and initially, I thought it a good opportunity to climb Garbh Bheinn in Ardgour, a mountain I had been saving for a good day. However, the forecast was suggesting that the visibility would be hazy and I would probably have a 3-hour wait for the evening bus at the Corran Ferry. So my next option was to look at the Gaick Pass Munros. They are steep and difficult hills at the head of the Edendon Water just off the Drumochter pass. Although up at 6:30 am, I faffed about loading the bike and gathering lightweight gear for the warm weather predicted. In the process, I forgot to put in my jacket so I had to hope the forecast would hold.

I stopped at Perth for diesel and had a look at the new Tiso store sitting at the start of the A9 leading out of Perth. It was well equipped but sadly I am not currently looking for gear. Needless to say, the A9 was playing its usual tricks, lorries travelling at 45mph on the single lane sections accelerated to 60mph on the dual carriageway sections thwarting any overtaking. The Scottish Government contractors had chosen the morning busy period to close some of the dual carriageway sections for grass cutting and then brought traffic to a halt for patching operation on the single lane section. It took well over an hour to travel the 45 miles or so to Dalnamein Lodge, where I mistakenly parked and cycled a couple of kilometres up the track before realising it should have been Dalncardoch Lodge where I parked, just by the Trinafour road. It was one of those days and this was confirmed when I followed the most travelled track at the first junction on the track up to Sronphadruig Lodge and ended up at a private house, another about-turn was needed.

Once on the track that runs along the quite splendid Edendon Water, I was relaxed and happy. I met three Dutch walkers who loved the tranquillity and solitude although they came from a town below sea level, minus 20 metres apparently, and they seemed to be struggling for oxygen. I remained open-minded about which way round to climb the two corbetts until almost reaching the derelict Sronphadruig Lodge. I decided to cut up to the right before the fenced forest and then climb the less steep Maol Creag an Loch first. It was tough going with thick heather and steep ground but the views across to An Dun were good. The colours were startling, the deep brown of the hillsides from the dormant heathers, the straw coloured the grasses, the deep blue of the loch and the patches of snow, brilliant schistose in the sunshine.

There is a long convex summit plateau, the type where you never quite see the top and having walked along the ridge overlooking the loch, I was confronted with a drop and climb to what I assumed was the summit. There was no cairn visible and when I eventually arrived it was possibly the smallest cairn on the flattest ground that I have encountered. I had some lunch and noticed a bigger cairn about 600 metres away to the south-east, I remembered that other walkers had been confused by the true summit. I felt obliged to walk over and check it out, during which I was buzzed by a low flying helicopter. The big cairn is set 10 metres lower than the mini cairn according to my altimeter and apparently marks the boundary between the old Perthshire and Inverness-shire. The highest point is definitely the mini cairn* at the grid reference shown on the OS map.

I headed off to the north-west with Meall Chuaich acting as my lodestone whilst admiring the Cairngorm summits through the haze to the north. Trying to find a suitable route down to the wonderful topography of the Allt Loch an Duin where it drains Loch an Duin was not easy. The slopes are relentlessly steep and there is much debris and landslip. I then had difficulty crossing the river and had to walk almost to the loch before crossing. I was then faced with 375 metres of excruciating ascent, so steep that I was using hands on some sections. A descending toad gave me chance to have a breather and I was again mesmerised by the braided burns forming a wonderful natural design on the valley floor below.

Reaching the ridge was a relief and there was a gentle incline onto the plateau. It was formed with a spirit level and gave an easy walk to the cairn which sits at the southern end. This is an armchair viewpoint for the resplendent Edendon glen below. The Highlands in all their majesty are splayed out in map form with Sronphadruig Lodge sitting proudly at the head of the glen.

The descent is steep but there is a twisting path through the heather that eventually leads to the small dam across the Edendon Water. I crossed this and walked back down the west bank enjoying the gorgeous sound of the river, the late afternoon warm sunshine and admiring the Lodge which is sadly dilapidated. I eventually came to the new concrete ford, crossed and walked back up the other side of the Edendon Water to collect the bike. The descent was fairly brisk although the track surface is mainly course gravel; the front suspension took a real hammering as did my hands which were numb by the time I crossed the A9 and headed down the Trinafour road where I had parked. I was tempted to take the back roads to Kinloch Rannoch and Fortingal but for once the A9 was traffic free so it was a remarkably easy journey south as the shafts of evening sun played with the Perthshire landscapes and made the journey south unusually relaxing.

Looking back in awe

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Comments: 4

Hermit Corbetts in the Rannoch-Ericht-Drumochter Triangle

Attachment(s) Corbetts: Beinn Mholach, Stob an Aonaich Mhòir
Date walked: 30/04/2013
Distance: 40km
Ascent: 1325m
Comments: 4
Views: 3274

Foula: Bonxies and Marilyns (Shetland)

Attachment(s) Sub 2000s: Da Noup (Foula), Da Sneug (Foula)
Date walked: 15/07/2011
Distance: 11km
Ascent: 840m
Comments: 6
Views: 4371


Location: Stirling
Occupation: semi retired
Interests: Running, walking, outdoors, reading, politics, photography
Activity: Munro compleatist
Pub: Old Inn, Carbost, Skye
Mountain: Half Dome in Yosemite
Place: Torridon
Gear: An old KIMM windtop
Member: SMC,
Camera: Sony RX100
Ideal day out: A long day on an airy ridge with excellent visibility and a pub still serving food when I get down. Nowadays this means nowhere near the North Coast 500, It has curtailed my trips to the far north and I only now go on wild camping trips. No longer is there accommodation, food or quiet roads for cycling.
Ambition: Compleat Corbetts,
Munro rounds: 5

Munros: 37
Corbetts: 212
Grahams: 22
Donalds: 15
Wainwrights: 214
Hewitts: 112
Sub 2000: 29
Islands: 36

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Trips: 1
Distance: 12 km
Ascent: 250m


Trips: 2
Distance: 67 km
Ascent: 2445m
Corbetts: 4


Trips: 1
Distance: 11 km
Ascent: 840m
Sub2000s: 2

Joined: Nov 12, 2011
Last visited: May 01, 2021
Total posts: 12 | Search posts