June seemed pretty busy, but I’d put on my List Of Things To Do, a visit to Marilyn/Munro Section 2 for the bagging of one or two Marilyns and, since Corbetts are also Marilyns, any hilltops visited would get a really Big Tick.
So, stopping only briefly at Fort Linney, Dawn’s seaside hideaway, to collect Dawn (obviously), we spent the next severalteen hours battling traffic to arrive , eventually, at the Cruachan campsite about three miles East of Killin City Centre. Cruachan campsite is huge and, when we arrived, empty of any other tents. This was good.
Our bagging campaign started on the Monday with a gentle introduction to the delights of the lower lumps around the North-Western edge of Ben Lawers. This mainly included Meall nam Maigheach 779m (Never bag anything you can’t pronounce by the way), with it’s two outlying lumps Meall Luaidh 778m and Meall nan Eun 635m. Unfortunately, I made the schoolboy bagger’s mistake of climbing a hill I’d already climbed – the Mhaigheach one. Dhuuhh. Never mind, Lucky and Dawn got three ticks and I just got two.
These hills are a bit Pennine, to be honest. That is to say they’re grassy and peaty and heathery but with extra Butterwort and a few deer skeletons. We kept an eye out for Brian, a missing Jack Russell. Everybody was looking for Brian, apparently. Back at the car, a shepherd, lusting after our parking spot, expounded his theory that the dog was “long gone”. We hoped not.
This expedition, in gloomy and overcast conditions, took just three miles and 900 feet of up. And whilst most of the “Up” was quite steep, overall, an easy introduction.
Tuesday dawned blue and sunny and a bit sweaty. We pointed the knipemobile over the slightly scary bealach into Glen Lyon and marched off from the Meggernie Estate car park at Innerwick up the extensive estate road that leads to the very last steep bit up to Cam Chreag’s lovely ridge.
We battered our way up this, stopping only to allow Lucky to eat some snow and have a little bounce around and we were soon on the top of Corbett #2 Cam Chreag 862m. Cam Chreag’s summit has a few sheltering rocks in which to hide and scoff cheese and tomato butties whilst gazing at the superb all-round vista of snow-flecked mountains and big lochs.
We retraced to the bealach which holds a large tin hut, in which there is a table and benches, but it’s a bit mucky inside. Dawn waited and had a little explore whilst me and Lucky marched off to bag another Meall nam Maigheach 741m – this one not a Corbett, though, but which has a cairn on a slab and a specially cracking view of Rannoch Moor.
Feeling fairly smug so far….
This walk was 9 miles and 2400 feet of upness.
Wednesday morning dawned to the sound of rain on the fly. This went on till ten o’clock-ish. I’d contracted an episode of Caledonian drizzle lassitude and couldn’t really be arsed going very far – so we went to the Falls of Dochart, thus fulfilling Dawn’s current interest in snapping waterfalls. The falls are quite impressive, though and we killed time around Killin by following a railway path for a bit, lunching in the dog-friendly Cappercaille restaurant and having an exploratory mooch or reccy up Glen Lochay during which it failed to rain much more but always looked like it might start at any minute.
Thursday was our last chance to bag another Corbett, so orf we jolly well went back over the scary rod to Glen Lyon and, once again, marched off from Innerwick up the Kirk Road which leads to Rannoch. This was a right sweaty do and, at one point, I had to steal Lucky’s new dog Buff (more about this later…!), so I could wear it to stop the sweat stinging my eyes.
We couldn’t find a path onto the ridge and all exits from the estate road seemed to be defended by steep and deep and very rough tick-filled heather. Not the kind of place to venture on a warm and sweaty day like this.
Eventually, we had to strike off uphill and Dawn did a fine job of finding the easiest was through the Calluna Vulgaris and, eventually, we emerged almost uninjured on the little knobble of Meall Glas 713m, but not a tick.
A line of fence posts took us to the summit of Beinn Dearg 830m, and Corbett #3. It was cold on the top and threatening to rain, so we spent little time there and lunched briefly (steak pie for me!) a little way down the hill out of the wind.
The Corbetts guide advises that the walk along the ridge of Creag Ard would be nice, so this is what we did. And it was.
We returned whence we came after 8 miles and 2200 feet of uphill.
And that was that.
I suspect that Dawn may have rediscovered her Highland bug following this trip.
And since I managed to bag absolutely none of the hills on my List Of Hills To Be Bagged, but repeated one and managed two different ones, I’m obviously going to have to go back for another go. Every cloud has a silver lining (unless its a cloud of midgies with a blood-lust)
Its a while since I had a purely hill-walking/bagging visit to the Highlands and, whilst the bag for this trip wasn’t huge, it’s a good start. So – in the words of Crichton … “Smug Mode!”