Footprints Across Scotland
Why not make a few of your own!
22nd May 2013
From sea to summit, following the course of Abhainn Sron a’ Chreagain from the banks of Loch Linnhe to the top of Stob Coire a' Chearcaill (Peak of the rounded corrie).
This hill is normally climbed from beside Loch Eil, but I had read that an approach from the east gave access up a wonderfully scenic glen; I wasn't to be disappointed.
Gleann Sron a Chreagain
Even this early in spring, Gleann Sron a Chreagain is delightful and given a few more weeks of the growing season I’m sure it would be even more so. A good variety of broad leaf trees feature heavily at the entrance to the glen while ageing pines line the side of Abhainn Sron a’ Chreagain further up.
Stob Coire a' Chearcaill at the head of Gleann Sron a Chreagain
The track eventually began to rise across some moor land leaving the riverside as it did so. It became a bit indistinct but I followed some flattened grasses down hill back to the burn and onto a fading bull dozed track. Opposite the fenced hillside was showing good signs of tree regeneration.
Stob Coire a' Chearcaill
The going became a little rougher as I followed deer tracks alongside the water course.
Abhainn Sron a’ Chreagain
There was plenty of birdlife chattering way and going about their business, darting in and out of the trees and the damp recesses of the some shallow gorges.
The stream dropped down over numerous cascades gushing into pools and sparkling in the sunlight as I continued to gain height.
I swapped sides of the burn to follow the grassy banks of a section lined with birch before reaching a steep sided gorge.
Rocky river bed
After a scramble up through some heather I picked up a deer track which soon dropped back down to the river before leading up onto the hillside as it rounded the base of a large crag.
From here numerous deer tracks cut distinctly into the heather clad hillside giving fairly easy going as I made my way into the upper corrie. I was now confronted with the steep head wall and rocky face of the final reaches of Stob Coire a' Chearcaill.
Coire a' Chearcaill
I choose a steep grassy runnel to follow toward a breach in the rocky edge of the ridgeline.
I enjoyed some lunch and a brew just below the lip of the ridge and took in the views back down the glen and across Loch Linnhe to Ben Nevis.
Final steep slopes
An eagle appeared below me and glided into the heart of the corrie but was soon hidden from view. Seagulls making a high passage were almost at eye level with my rocky seat before catching an updraft to soar up and over the far ridge seemingly on the way to Loch Eil.
Looking down Gleann Sron a’ Chreagain to the Ben
As I emerged onto the ridge a little south of the summit I immediately felt the force of the strong wind. There were good distant views all around albeit a little hazy.
The clouds were fairly racing across the sky and dotted amongst them darker storm clouds lowered grey veils as they shed their cargo. Most showers seemed to be catching distant hills but finally I got my share of weather as I was pelted with hail stones. I made my retreat down the broad ridge of Braigh Bhlaich buffeted and cajoled on my way to Cean Caol. After avoiding crags on the south side of the ridge I dropped back into the glen heading roughly for Alt Tarsuinn and then the main track. A heavier incoming shower had me heading for the shelter under some welcome tree cover. Soon though the sun was shining again, allowing me to slowly savour the delights of the lower glen, the sights and sounds of spring Cuckoo and the mist shrouded Ben.
Ben Nevis from Gleann Sron a Chreagain
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