Footprints Across Scotland
Why not make a few of your own!
13th & 14th July 2013
A walk up Glen Almond to visit the Hill of the deer forest.
Auchnafree Hill forms the high point of a wide, rather featureless plain of heather and grass situated between Glen Turret and Glen Almond. Glen Turret provides relatively easy access from the dam on Loch Turret but I was looking to extend the walk somewhat and take in an overnight camp, a walk up through the very pleasant Glen Almond seemed to fit the bill. It was far from an early start and it was gone lunch time as I pulled into the Amulree Tearoom for a bite to eat. There was a fine selection of snacks and cakes on offer here and my hunger was soon satisfied. After leaving the Tearoom I continued the short distance along the road to park up at Newton Bridge.
The River Almond at Newton
This seems a popular parking spot for people to sit and enjoy a picnic on the banks of the River Almond as it stretches along the tree lined Sma' Glen. Having crossed the road I passed through a gate to take a track west along Glen Almond following the river upstream. There are some nice pools along the river course that offer up some ideal spots in which to take a dip, an invitation taken up by at least one couple I passed along the way. The glen forms part of a right of way leading through to Ardtalnaig, above Loch Tay but I was only going as far as Auchnafree Farm a little way after Conichan. The Auchnafree Millennium Circle and ancient remains at Clach na Tiompan added interest to the early stages of the walk.
Auchnafree Millennium Circle
Upon reaching the farm I decided to paddle across the river to cool my feet instead of taking the bridge that crosses to the cottage at Larichfraskhan. The path then follows the side of a burn as it zig-zags quite steeply up towards Crom Chreag. I dropped off the path temporarily to fill my water bottles before following the switch-back above the crags to reach the crest of the ridge. The track turns west just before the summit so I took to the open hillside and despite the descending mist located the prominent summit cairn. The heathery hillside is broken occasionally by grass and I was soon pitching the tent on a suitably flat spot. I was hoping that things would clear but the mist stayed stubbornly in place until the morning. However I didnít have to wait too long after waking to find the mist rolling back to form an inversion and offer up some nice views west to Ben Chonzie.
The weather continued to improve over breakfast and there were promising signs that it would be another fine warm day. Having packed I wandered south to pick up the track heading onto Choinneachain Hill and its fine summit cairn.
I then followed a line around the top of Blue Craigs before the rounded ridge to the lip of Coire na Coinnich just as a group of deer crossed the corrie floor.
Skirting around the edge the ridge narrowed a little on the way to Meall Dubh before broadening again en-route towards to Meall Tarsuinn.
Coire na Coinnich
After enjoying lunch on top I started down following the north shoulder of the hill, working toward the burn lower down and eventually the banks of the river Almond.
It was now just a short riverside walk back to Newton Bridge, stopping along the way to take in a cooling dip in the river; after all it would have been rude not too!
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