Footprints Across Scotland
Why not make a few of your own!
24th May 2009
Ben Chonzie by way of Glen Turret
There are two main starting points that give access to Ben Chonzie, one starts in Glen Lednock, at Invergeldie, which allows for a straight up and back approach to the hill. The other, starts at the car pack just below Loch Turret dam and provides for a very enjoyable day out. Ben Chonzie or Ben-y-Hone may not be very highly ranked in many peoples list of top Munro's but this route has many redeeming factors that contribute to an excellent hill trek. The water board access road leading up through lower glen Turret helps to shorten the route and removes a reasonable amount of the ascent required. From the car park we set off past the dam's pump house to take a good track along the east side of the loch.
Loch Turret Dam
The guys were keen to stretch their legs after the long car journey down from Aberdeen and set off in high spirits.
Abhi, Karthik, Bushan and John lead the way
It was very pleasant walking as we worked our way along the length of the Loch in the lee of Auchnafree hill.
Carn Chois, Creag nan Uan and Ben Chonzie
The wind had cleared the mist from the tops and was now pushing cloud shadows across the steep cliff faces of Carn Chois and Creag nan Uan on the opposite side of the loch.
The path continued beyond the loch to reach a small section of concrete slab on the edge of the boggy ground that surrounds Lochan Uaine in upper Glen Turret.
Loch Turret, Carn Chois and Creag nan Uan
Glacial deposits were much in evidence with some impressive erratics strewn around this end of the glen under the eastern crags of Ben Chonzie. Our next target was to reach the low point in the north eastern ridge of Ben Chonzie where it forms a bealach with Biorach a' Mheannain. We squelched our way through the flattened grasses that provided a watery pathway between the heather. The whole area seemed to be sittings on a very wet base. As we approached the crags below Biorach a' Mheannain some fence posts guided us around the base of the hill to a more defined path. This wound its way through some rocky outcrops before rising steeply up the head-wall of the glen following beside the small burn that tumbled down toward Lochan Uaine.
Looking back to Lochan Uaine and Loch Turret
At the bealach we turned south west for a steady climb on firmer ground that opened up views to the Lawers mountains in the northwest. It wasn't long after topping a couple of false summits that we emerged onto the main plateau and then on to find a welcome wind break cairn marking the top of Ben Chonzie. The level top and expansive views added to the feeling of wide open spaces.
Loch Turret from Ben Chonzie
Out of the strong wind we enjoyed the warmth of the sun while taking time over our lunch break.
Ben Lawers from Ben Chonzie
To make a more circular walk our choice of return took us southwest alongside fence posts before another set of posts sent us off to the southeast along the high grassy area toward Meall na Seide. A few sections of peat bog was negotiated before a short rise elevated us onto the top of Carn Chois. During our brief stop at the trig point the town of Comrie could be seen below illuminated from the surrounding grey under a broad beam of strong sunlight.
Comrie from Carn Chois
Continuing on the same line for a short distance gave a bird's eye view over Loch Turret with Auchnafree hill beyond.
Auchnafree hill across Loch Turret from Carn Chois
Changing direction we contoured the hillside toward Ben Liath for a while before dropping down in a easterly direction to a gate and then across more wet grassland to reach a more defined path that led back to the dam. Spots of rain accompanied us as we crossed the dam toward the car park and a survey of our days route up the glen revealed low cloud had returned to the hill tops.
Loch Turret from the dam
The gathering gloom was of little concern to us now, the day's walk was at an end and had been completed under fine conditions for the best part. We stopped at the Glen Turret distillery for a drink and bite to eat before our trip back up the road. Our tipple of the day was only tea but the shop did see the purchase of at least one bottle of whisky.
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