Sgiath Chùil + Meall Glas
Thursday 26 July 2012
13.8 km/1172 m/08:00 hrs
Munros: Sgiath Chùil + Meall Glas (Nos. 249 + 250)
“By Kenknock Farm and just by a cattle grid there is a walker’s car-park. Do not drive to the road end and park beside a bridge where some curious cows lurk to lick your car!”
With that quote from Steven Fallon‘s website in mind, I duly parked in the car park about one km E of Kenknock Farm, hoping to bag all five Glen Lochay Munros within the next two days.
The hill tops were covered in low cloud, but it was dry and quite warm. After walking past the resident cattle herd without incident, I crossed the bridge over the River Lochay and followed the track S up the hillside.
At the first hairpin bend I left the track and climbed up directly along the pipeline.
After reaching a small dam with a nice waterfall behind it, I continued up the open hillside, roughly following the Allt Innis Daimh.
The ridge leading to Meall a’ Churain is not very well defined to start with.
Looking back along the wide ridge.
Shortly after entering the cloud and passing the top Meall a’ Churain, I suddenly heard voices. A minute later I came across a group of walkers who were sheltering in a little dip and having their lunch break, they had come up from Glen Dochart and showed me their ascent route on the map. It looked a lot steeper than my route!
I walked a few hundred metres further to visit Sgiath Chùil’s summit cairn – unfortunately I didn’t get any views in the thick cloud.
I returned to the place where I had met the other walkers. They had finished their break and we all made our way down the steep grassy slopes towards the Lairig a’ Churain.
When we got below cloud level, we could actually catch a (hazy) glimpse of Glen Dochart.
The bealach between Sgiath Chùil and Beinn Cheathaich is quite featureless, and I was glad when the clouds started to lift and I could see the opposite hillside. The other group, who were only carrying light daypacks, were soon way ahead of me.
Looking back to the (now cloud free) ridge of Meall a’ Churain and Sgiath Chùil.
It had become very warm by now and I needed a rest. After a lunch break in Coire na Saobhaidhe I reached the ridge about 300 m SW of Beinn Cheathaich. From there I could follow a path towards Meall Glas.
The other group had taken a NW route from the bealach and had climbed Beinn Cheathaich from the N. Now I could see them in the distance, they were just a few minutes ahead of me.
Creag Mhòr on the opposite side of Glen Lochay.
Looking back to Beinn Cheathaich.
At the summit, I found the other walkers sitting on and around the cairn, and after a little chat I continued on my way (completely forgetting to take a summit photo).
Although it is supposed to be “a detour of only half an hour”, I gave the Corbett Beinn nan Imirean a miss.
From the summit of Meall Glas, I walked a few hundred metres NW and then descended the steep slopes to the W, aiming for a track zig-zagging down to the river.
A few crags need to be skirted during the descent.
Down in the glen, I forded the River Lochay and joined the track on the opposite bank.
View back to the zig-zag track coming down the hillside.
Walking along the glen, I kept looking for a suitable camp site, and finally found one a bit SE of Stob a’ Bhiora, which would give me good start point for my ascent of Beinn Challuim the next morning.
I was pleasantly surprised that, although the pitch was quite sheltered and near the river, the midges were not too bad.
Friday 27 July 2012
16.3 km/713 m/06:00 hrs
Munro: Beinn Challuim (No. 251)
In the morning, I followed one of the streams up the hillside towards the rather undefined E ridge of Beinn Challuim.
Glen Lochay and the site of last night’s camp.
Above Stob a’ Bhiora, looking NE into Glen Lochay.
At this point dark clouds appeared, and the weather turned windy and cold.
I followed the ridge towards the summit, and soon entered the clouds.
Higher up, the ridge becomes steeper and I had to find a way between boulders and crags.
When I arrived at the summit cairn, the wind was so strong that I was struggling to stay upright. I sheltered behind the cairn for a short break and to decide what to do.
This was certainly not the “light wind” that had been forecast, and in these conditions I didn’t really feel like bagging the two remaining Munros, Creag Mhòr and Beinn Sheasgarnaich. With no views and feeling cold and miserable, I decided to cut my walk short and come back another time.
On a compass bearing I descended along the NW ridge towards the Bealach Ghlas-Leathaid.
Looking back up the ridge.
Walking along the Allt Challum.
I was glad when I reached a solid track which runs parallel to the one further down in the glen.
A few glimpses of sun in Upper Glen Lochay.
Sunshine in the glen – but Beinn Challuim still covered in cloud.
At Batavaime I joined the lower track that’s running along the river.
Glen Lochay track.
Further along the glen, a herd of cattle were blocking my way, and I had to make a detour around the walls of a sheepfold…
Apart from that, the return to the start point of my walk was uneventful. Maybe I should have kept going and included the two last Munros of this round, but somehow I had lost my motivation after the unpleasant ascent of Beinn Challuim.
The whole trip was much more strenuous than expected, the terrain is almost completely pathless and very rough going. I have done similar routes in the past, but for some reason I didn’t enjoy this one very much – hopefully it will be better when I come back for the remaining two Munros…