Footprints Across Scotland
Why not make a few of your own!
15th and 16th May 2010
Meall Greigh, Meall Garbh and An Stuc on the Ben Lawers ridge and Creag Uchdag on the south shore of Loch Tay.
I met up with Ann and John at the lovely village of Kenmore situated at the eastern end of Loch Tay. Ann then kindly drove us to Lawers for the start of our walk up onto the Ben Lawers ridge, our three intended mountains lying within the bounds of National Trust for Scotland territory. Following the track behind a small shop selling deer antler carvings we followed a couple of signs directing us through Machuim farm and onto the hillside beyond. The track leads through a very pleasant bit of woodland with a mixture of Pines, Birch and Alder. After following the line of the Lawers burn for another couple of km we turned our attention to steep grassy slopes to begin our ascent up Meall Greigh, the hill of the horse studs.
Ben Lawers, An Stuc & Meall Garbh
Our line of ascent took us up along the edge of Sron Mhor, a prominent gash in the hillside and onto a broad ridgeline which gave good views back down Loch Tay to our meeting point at Kenmore. We were greeted at the summit by a light hail shower which stung the cheek bones and had us continuing on our way after a fairly short break. Gentle slopes lowered us down to a col before we followed fence posts on our way to Meall Garbh, the rough rounded hill.
Ben Lawers, An Stuc & Meall Garbh
Lochan nan Cat sparkled in the corrie below Ben Lawers as we were treated to a spell of sunshine. An Stuc, the steep peak, certainly lived up to its name from our view point, presenting a bold craggy face.
Lochan nan Cat, Ben Lawers & An Stuc
The path down to the col below An Stuc steepened towards the bottom before leading over to the left and through a few boulders. Work on the path certainly helped the steep ascent which provided some light scrambling but little difficulty apart from some looser bits of ground in mid section; coming down however would require a bit more attention. With the hardest part of the walk over and all of the climbing done it was now time for a spot of lunch. From the top of An Stuc we followed the main ridge south and best part the way down to the col below Ben Lawers. We then turned east under some crags and followed grassy strips down the side of a boulder field.
Lochan nan Cat
A last steep section soon had us down on the shores of Locan nan Cat which gave a fine viewpoint for the surrounding rocky cliffs and buttresses, it was time for a brew and some cake. It was a bit of an effort to rise from our comfortable seats on the grassy bank of the lochan, but time was moving on and we still probably had a couple of hours walk to reach our meeting point.
Lochan nan Cat & Ben Lawers
After working along the shore we soon reached the Lochans outflow into the Lawers burn which we traced down to a small dam before crossing the river and working our way over the hillside to pick up our outward path.
After dropping back through the wood and farm it was now along the road to the Lawers hotel to meet with Ann and a welcome pint of beer.
After kindly being treated to lunch I was dropped back at Kenmore as John and Ann headed for Blairgowrie.
Sunday dawned bright with lighter winds than Saturday but they were still on the cool side. After breakfast I made my way along the single track road on the south bank of Loch Tay until I reached Ardeonaig. En-route I spotted a large brown hare in one of the fields, my second sighting of one of these fine animals in just a few weeks. After parking in a small lay-by opposite the hotel I headed back east along the road a short way to a sign indicating the start of a footpath to Glen Lednoch. There seemed no sign of a path so I just headed up through the field in the general direction of the path marked on the map. I passed by an old cemetery in the second field before continuing up hill through the pastures using the gates to pass from one to another. Eventually a path formed from one of the gates higher up and headed along the Finglen burn.
After a final gate in dry stone wall I decided to head up the grassy slopes passing under the crags of Creag Ghlas and onto the ridge of Meall nan Oighreag were I picked up another track. Like many hills in the area there was a number of mountain hares about, most in the summer coats but one still of a more speckled appearance, retaining some whiter patches.
Ben Lawers from Meall nan Oighreag
From the grassy summit of Meall nan Oighreag it was a further 2km across some rough peat hags to the top of Creag Uchdag. Out of the cool wind south of the summit I enjoyed the sun and a bite to eat. Creag Uchdag, the crag of the hollows, presumably gets its name from its south west face which presents a jumble of large boulders and crags to Glen Lednoch and the damned lochan there in. It was a short but pleasant walk along the grassy ridge north west from the trig’ point before dropping down the steep slopes to the bealach at Tom a’ Mhoraire. Some boggier mossy ground lead to a jumble of grassy tussocks before I reached the rocky top of Creag Ghlas and its views down loch Tay.
Creag Uchdag from Creag Ghlas
From here I tended west to meet up with a burn that would take me down to Braentrian. Stopping at a pool in the burn to wash my face I was surprised to see a couple of newts resting on a stone just below the surface. Further on a couple of grey wagtails entertained just before I left the water course to join a farm track that would lead down to the outdoor centre. A little further on I looked back to see Creag Uchdag rising above the trees populating the lower Finglen burn. It was now just a short distance back down the road to Ardeonaig.
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