The Rob Roy Way 2013

Day Four: 7th June

Weather: Fine once more. Sunny all day.

Route: Killin to Ardtalnaig – 12.7 miles with 1710ft of ascent

The middle day of seven dawned bright and sunny again. I had around 12 miles to do today with a fair bit of ascent. I faffed around having a lazy breakfast – lots of tea, and got my backpack from the car as I have to lug my own gear today before being picked up tomorrow. I wondered about the factor 50 today as both my legs look like milk bottles, but you can’t see them under troos anyway, so I slapped it all on again. I was pretty slow again faced with some incline, but I’m in no rush anyway and didn’t want to arrive too early for my B&B lift. I lugged my bag up on my shoulders and ambled out into the bright sunshine – I must have been good boy lately as karma was on my side. Crossing over the bridge above the Falls of Dochart, past the pub, and then it was uphill all the way for the next 4 miles or so, Tarmac for three of them, not my favourite surface. I walked on the grass verge when it was available which wasn’t very often, and it was a mile up the road, passing by freshly harvested timber and stay out signs before I reached the turn off. then up another access road that runs all the way up to the top reservoir at Lochan Breachiach. A real grind of an ascent with limited views across to the mountains to the north, Ben Lawers being the biggest at 3984ft. I passed a look out post, not sure of what it was looking out for, and an SSE van passed me – too fast to stick out the thumb for a lift. There were one or two nice burns to look at, but I noticed when I stopped that the midges were beginning to gather, so I didn’t wait around too long. After climbing for just over a mile I reached some deer gates and nipped through them, out of the forest at last. There wasn’t a lot of wildlife around today, just the birdlife to keep me company and the cuckoo. Although I was now out on open ground the views down to Loch Tay were restricted to my left by trees that aren’t going to get smaller anytime soon. But I contented myself with the occasional glimpse across Loch Tay and views back to Ben More, all 3851ft of him. A mile of steady ascent followed, tiptoeing along on the verges – the roads and tracks are hard on my soles – good job there wasn’t two of us other wise ‘our’ might have been used. The straight line of the dam could be seen ahead and the path went up by the left side of the reservoir – Lochan Breaclaich. I was surprised at how low the water level was as this water powers three power stations by hydro-electricity. After the dam wall, the damn Tarmac disappears (for a while at least) and the path turned to graded stone and a little easier on the feet. The views back from the top were superb looking down Glen Dochart and over Loch Tay. From a distance the dam wall looked like a bunch of solar panels. There were plenty more hills and mountains to look at but I don’t know any of their names – yet. The top of the route today was at a second telecoms mast just below Creag Gharbh and from this point down to Ardeonaig it’s all downhill. This was my favourite part of the day as it was much more open countryside and I got to walk on some actual grass – I’ve missed it this week! The turn off point was at the end of a big Hydro water pipe with newly installed Rob Roy Way marker posts showing the general way down the hillside. A path is now being seen on the ground and will become more defined as people use it more often, a little soggy in places but OK In general, and my boots have never been so clean. There is a little higher ground to walk down above the wet, with many remnants of old shielings and farm buildings. It was really pleasant looking ahead down on Loch Tay, with Big Ben Lawers in the background – easy walking on a grassy track, and a treat for my feet. It didn’t last too long though, maybe a mile before I was back onto rough track followed by Tarmac for the last 4 miles or so. Down towards the Brae Farm, the Newton Burn has cut deeply into the land and many of the riverbanks are suffering erosion and collapse. The fields are full of mixed stock and I managed a good shot of a black long horned highland cow – I think they all used to be this colour in Rob Roy McGregors day. Maybe he dyed them red when he rustled them? I’m so used to seeing the red ones that the black ones are quite a surprise – don’t know which is the best colour though. A short walk through the farms led me lower down the road to an outdoor centre. It looked well kept and there was a succession of vans arriving as I walked downhill, followed much later by a procession of young girls carrying paddles and life jackets – they didn’t look best pleased at the long walk back up to the centre. I was soon down at Ardeonaig and resisted the temptation to pop in for a pint – I might not have escaped so easily and I still had 3 miles to go. I phoned the B&B to inform Liza that I would be at Ardtalnaig by 16:00 – an easy Lochside stroll thinks me. Wrong – uphill for what seemed like miles and I was starting to hurt. I was overtaken by a mini and then I caught it up – to be fair it was blocked in by a lorry (so that's a car and some cyclists that i've caught up with this week). The walk along the Loch was ok, again the views were intermittent, but that didn’t take anything away from another enjoyable day on the Rob Roy Way. I arrived at Ardtalnaig as my lift did and I was ferried to the B&B at Acharn. One shower later and I had a lift to Kenmore, sitting by the river for some well earned nosh and a couple of glasses of red, watching the world go by – another great setting – I’m doing very well so far.

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 across the Dochart Falls once more, glistening in the morning sunshine

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from the road the views are predominantly over to the Tarmachan Ridge, when there's a clearing  

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a view back down Glen Dochart - that's either Ben More or Ben Lui in the distance  

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cleared ground offers some cracking views to Sgiath Chuil and others - 919m. Another odd hut on a platform?  

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on the forestry tarmac - a road all the way up to the reservoir at Lochan Breaclaich. Restricted views for a lot of the way  

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the gradient eased off after a couple of miles where the track passes by the comms mast  

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only occasional views across the glen as the trees are getting taller  

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looking back along the track to the mast with Ben Lui in the distance  

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looking up at the hills to the south of the track  

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the road wanders up and down through the moorland  

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before reaching the reservoir the views open up over to the Ben Lawers range  

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leaving the road at last the track winds up the north side of the reservoir - surprisingly low considering the time of year  

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looking back down on the track up from the reservoir, across heather moorland  

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cracking wide views back to the west on a clear day like today  

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up over the watershed and it's all downhill to Loch Tay. Rolling moorland over to Ruadh Meall  

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looking south down to Sron Mhor  

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Loch Tay appears in the distance  

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the water pipeline marks the start of a short section of off road walking - bliss to have some cushioned turf  

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quite big this pipe, but it didn't sound like much water was rushing through it  

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some wonderful coloured lichen on the concrete corner. This is where the path leaves the track - hooray  

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there are a series of tall marker posts to lead across the boggy ground, you can see the next ones as you reach the posts  

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a path is beginning to develop across the pasture - easy enough to follow  

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looking back uphill to the pipeline and a circling curlew  

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passing through some old shielings  

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down by the Newtown Burn  

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past the outdoor centre and down the road towards Ardeonaig  

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a good watering stop if you have time at Ardeonaig  

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looking across to Ben Lawers which dominates the view across the Loch. The odd standing stone here and there  

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a long steady ascent goes on for about a mile out of Ardeonaig  

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with occasional good views down Loch Tay to the west  

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Meall Greigh is the dark lump  

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the end of the day at Ardtalnaig  

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