The Rob Roy Way 2013

Day Five: 8th June

Weather: Sunshine just for a change, glorious weather

Route: Ardtalnaig to Amulree – 17.8 miles with 1563ft of ascent

What can I say but a glorious day in all aspects of walking. It started out at the B&B at Acharn with the lovely Liza and her Jack Russell, breakfast laid before me in the kitchen and she sat down for a chat as I ate. What a fantastic view down Loch Tay from her kitchen sink. Pack ready and boots on, she gave me my sandwiches and ferried me back to Ardtalnaig where I stopped walking last night. As I left the car I was faced with a long 1 1/2 mile ascent, steeply at first before easing off, and I paused often as I worked up a good sweat, with the views back over Loch Tay to Ben Lawers and his chums. It was tarmac road again for the first mile to Claggan farm (some lovely old barns in the farmyard), then through a gate and onto the farm track up to Dunan. The ascent eases right off at the old buildings of Tullichglas, with the last views across the loch as the route turns to the SE. I’ve been in some peaceful places and this one is right up there - hard to believe that the loudest thing in the valley was me breathing, and the haunting cries of the Curlews whenever I strayed too near to their nest sites. This quiet lasts for about 3 miles as the path runs alongside Gleann a’ Chilleine, between the hills of Creagan na Beinne to the east and the Shee of Ardtalnaig to the west. There were two things to delight my head today – one was the many glacial features on display in this landscape, and two was the abundance of birdlife with many ground nesting birds seen – Oyster Catchers, Curlew, Lapwing, Sandpiper, Skylark, Pheasant and Partridge – and I didn’t squash any of their nests thankfully. The odd Buzzard or two was seen quartering the valley, and these were chased away by all manner of birds if they got too close to their clutches. Other things to see along this remote-ish valley were the old shielings, newly planted Scots Pine clumps protected from the deer by large box enclosures, and plenty of evidence of newly planted forest by the FCS all surrounded by glorious sunshine – what a day to relax (although I did have a bit of a time schedule as I was picked up at Amulree due to no facilities there). The shooters lodge and old sheep pens mark the turning in the route and a short section off the old tracks – good to be on grass once more. The pens were grass topped and perfect for nesting with the Oyster Catchers – one pretended to have a broken wing to lure me away from the path. The route now swung gradually around to the east as I walked on into Glen Almond, descending gradually into another peaceful valley. The track reappears as the hydro works appear by the River Almond, but they are not on any grand scale and don’t really intrude on the landscape. At Lechrea an old farm stands deserted, but I noticed that the windows were boarded up to provide slots for the brave shooters of game bird, and at Dalriech a shooters lodge looks in good condition ready for the inglorious 10th or whenever it is that the season begins. Further down the valley stands a small cairn monument to WW1 soldiers at the site of the old Stuck Chapel, a former farming community thought to have been here since medieval time – a small highland township. The landscape here is superb several different levels of lateral moraines, deposited as the last ice age glaciers receded. After walking 4 miles down the Glenn, including a stop for lunch, it was time to turn north at Auchnafree. So relaxed was I at this stage of the walk that my uphill plod past the new works for the hydro or power company turned into an extra mile all uphill into Glen Shervie. The alarm bells didn’t start to ring until the track dropped away to my left. Realising I was temporarily misplaced, I pegged it back downhill in record time, cursing my lack of thought all the way. My 16mile walk now turned into an 18 mile walk and my knees were non too pleased about it. The new works had obliterated the start of the path into Glen Lochan – that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. The path climbed steadily, very thin on the ground above a dry burn, through banks of heather and elder. Flies were buzzing and it was very warm in the still air – thank heavens for the factor 50 suncream and my ‘Water Tap’ which saved the day by being able to top up and drink from the burns. It was a long haul down Glen Lochan, with some boggy spots to pass by, but most of the small Lochans had some water in them. After Lochan Uaine I nipped up the hillside to a shooters track I spotted and that saved me some rough walking across reed beds, and tussocky grass. This track led me down all the way to Croft Mill and the road. There is a lot of work being done by SSE up here, and I guess the new tracks will eventually grass over and blend in with the landscape – no doubt all the shooters will be happy with even more access to the high moors and game estates. To the north it was peeing down on Pitlochry, and how I laughed in the face of the dark clouds ahead as my sunshine followed me down the hill. At Croft Mill there is a ‘Beaters Hut’ and the door was open, so I popped in and topped up with some fresh water. In the fridge was a case of beer and believe me I was very tempted to ‘borrow’ one and leave some money – but I didn’t. Then it was just turn to the east and follow the road back to Amulree for a couple of miles – more tarmac and unforgiving for tired legs and feet. Another grand day on the RRW, and probably the best section as you miss out the road walking from Ardtalnaig (or Ardeonaig if you stop there) all the way to Acharn. More about that when I sum it all up at the end.

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the road out of Ardtalnaig is a steep ascent for a couple of miles  

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pausing often to look back across the Glen to the Ben Lawers range  

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about halfway up the road, the gradient ease a bit  

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the old farm at Claggan  

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the left fork is the Rob Roy Way, the right up to the Shee of Ardtalnaig  

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looking back down to Claggan  

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plenty of burns tumble down the hillside to join the Allt a Chilleine  

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the abandoned farmstead at Tullichglass - that would make a fine lodge to stay at  

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Gleann a Chilliene - very quiet and peaceful here  

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looking back to big Ben Lawers, all 3,982ft (1214m)  

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passing old shielings on the way, feeling a lot more remote now  

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looking back down the Gleann, Ben Lawers has disappeared  

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up ahead is Ben Chonzie and Auchnafree Hill  

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there are a few planters along the way protecting newly planted Scots Pine  

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another watershed reached at Dunan and the shooters hut. Remote but easily reached if you have a 4x4  

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Oyster catchers were nesting on top of these walls at Dunan  

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offroad at last for a mile or so to walk into Glen Almond alongside the River Almond  

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there is a feint path / quad bike track to follow down the valley  

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the view back up the valley to Meall nan Oighreag and the Shee of Ardtalnaig  

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a small weir across the river marks the start of a hydro pipeline down the glen - mostly hidden from view  

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back on stone track again  

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an abandoned farmstead at Lechrea, now used as a shooters hide?  

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Meall nam Broighleag up behind Lechrea  

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I'm sure that slot is for the guns  

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looking back up the Glen, all is quiet, with just the birds for company  

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just past the house at Dalreich is this cairn marking the site of the old Stuck Chapel  

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some great glacial features down in the valley floor, with plenty of drumlin moraines  

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Glen Almond widens out at Auchnafree, where Glen Shervie Burn joins the River Almond  

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the farm at Larichfraskhan below Auchnafree Hill  

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looking back down on the farm at Auchnafree and on the new track up the hillside  

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crossing the Shervie Burn and this is where I should have turned to the right  

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more work and the digger that obliterated my path  

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even so it was quite a nice diversion for an extra mile uphill, and one coming back  

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the narrow track up to Glen Lochan  

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soon led me up towards the start of the downhill stretch  

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the first small Lochan in Glen Lochan  

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they get bigger as you go down the Glen. Loch Uaine is at the end of the grassy flat you can see  

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Loch Uaine where I crossed over to the other side. Meall nam Fuaran towering above  

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the feint path leads down to the north side of the Lochan a Mhuilinn  

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back on the usual stone track the views down to Loch Freuchie are good  

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some miles to the north it was absolutely throwing it down  

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just about down to the small road  

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the beaters hut looking nice and tidy - beer in the fridge at the far end  

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back on the road at Croft Mill  

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one of many construction sites around the area owned by SSE  

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almost at the end  

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Amulree Hotel sadly shuttered and not likely to be opened up. There was a tea room beside this but better be there before 5pm!  

Where now:                                                Home        :        Long Walks Menu        :        Day Six >>