Footprints Across Scotland
Why not make a few of your own!
19th February 2017
Creag an Dail Bheag and Carn Liath from Keiloch.
It had been sometime since I had been up Carn Liath, 2007 in fact and since they had moved the summit of the Corbett to the nearby top of Creag an Dail Bheag, I thought it was maybe time for a re-visit. Recollections of my previous visit are a bit hazy, maybe it was the weather!
I remember my approach clear enough crossing the bog and heather from the main track to reach the southern ridge to then handrail the wall in the mist to gain the top. There is then a vague suspicion that I had headed out and back to the other top 800m to the north west. This is the considered suggestion in my copy of the SMC guide but I was not entirely sure that this was the approach I had taken. I continued my journey that day out toward Culardoch along the eastern ridge stopping for lunch as I dropped out of the mist, enjoying the views across to Ben Avon.
Today I decided on a different approach so after leaving the car park at Keiloch I took the standard route out toward Beinn a’ Bhuird up the Slugain. However after passing Altdourie I headed North up the track just before the Slugain turning. My old map has the route marked as a single path, it was a pity I had not looked at a more up to date version as this marks the pathways more accurately and as I eventually discovered them to be. After a short while I came to a small quarry with an old track heading away to the right of the quarry. I decided to keep left knowing that the there is no track joining the Slugain from above. This part of the track appeared well used and when I reached its end I could see signs that maybe selective tree felling had taken place, there were plenty of wheel marks indicating entry into the forest. A makeshift wooden bridge forded a burn and after looking at the map I realised that on reaching this point I should have been at the edge of the tree line. Trees had been felled along the sides of the burn and some replanting had also taken place. I decided to follow the stream up hill and soon emerged from the gorge at a gate and on the track I believed I should have taken.
Intrigued to discover my missed turning I turned downhill back to the quarry. Just after the quarry a cairn marked the junction were I should had taken a right up the old track, I’m not sure how I missed it.
Take the 'right' way
The way back up through the trees was very pleasant and I was soon up and through the gate to continue along the edge of the forest.
I paused a few times to watch numerous tits dropping from the pines to feed in the heather.
Looking back to Lochnagar
Another gate led me out away from the trees as a lone Roe Deer appeared then disappeared back into the wood. I could now feel the strong breeze that the waving tree branches had suggested earlier. The path hugs the base of Meikle Elrick before following the line of Glas Allt Beag up into a grassy corrie. On the opposite hillside of Meall Glasail a large herd of deer stirred them selves into motion as they became aware of my presence.
Creag an Dail Bheag
After following the track almost to its end I dropped down and crossed Glas Allt Beag before climbing onto south ridge of Creag an Dail Bheag.
Glas Allt Beag
The grass and heather became shorter and cropped once on the ridge proper helping to ease the way. There were fine views over to Beinn a’ Bhuird and Ben Avon to enjoy as I made my way to the summit.
Beinn a' Bhuird and Carn Eas
The stiff cool breeze was back in evidence after the shelter afforded in the glen but it was still quite pleasant in the hazy sunshine. As I approached the top a sudden gust managed to extract my map from were it was partly wedged in my camera bag, it somehow managed to unfurl itself forming a nice sail in order to catch the wind. I gave chase before pausing to drop my rucksack then again to leave my camera. After a hundred meters downhill racing I was about to give up but the map then partially foldered again and looked to have dropped to the ground. Fortunately the slopes were not too steep and lower down sheltered from the breeze. After retrieving the map it was a couple of hundred meters back up to bag and camera, excitement over.
Ben Avon from Creag an Dail Bheag
Carn Liath from Creag an Dail Bheag
GlenShee from Creag an Dail Bheag
After crossing the saddle I took shelter behind the wall that runs past the top of Carn Liath to have lunch.
Creag an Dail Bheag from Carn Liath
Lochnagar from Carn Liath
After a nice break it was time to head south before turning a little east and heading to Creag a’ Chat.
Carn Liath from Creag a’ Chat
Over the top and down the south east ridge I made the main track west of Meall Gorm following it around the south side of the hill and onto the return leg of the Craig Leek circuit.
Meall Gorm from Creag a’ Chat
From the bealach between Meall Gorm and Craig Leek the track continues east dropping downhill before crossing a flat grassy plain and the Felagie burn.
Lochnagar from Meall Gorm
Another good track then leads gently back to Keiloch passing the cottage at Felagie.
Lochnagar through the pines
Once home I took another look at the photos from my previous visit and with memory refreshed I could confirm that I had indeed also been to the top of Creag an Dail Bheag last time. It had been a good day and I must say I preferred the route I’d taken on this visit, a much better approach than last time.
Full Photo Slide Show
Top Of Page
© 2007-2008 Paul Sammonds. Template Design by Andreas Viklund.