It’s March – time for a weekend away with the boys! Last weekend we were at the Luib Hotel between Killin and Crianlarich. The cloud was quite low on the Saturday morning and it was raining a little. Strong winds were forecast and possibly some snow. I suggested a local walk in the hills behind the hotel and, somewhat to my surprise, there were several takers for that suggestion. We started on the course of the old Callander to Oban railway line, which made for pleasant easy walking with one awkward section where the bridge over the Luib Burn has been removed and we had to splash across the burn (not too deep) and duck under an electric fence. We continued then until we reached the viaduct over the Ledcharrie Burn. We paused a while to admire the views first from and then of the viaduct, and then paused under the viaduct because it was magnifying and distorting the sounds of the tinkling burn. I assume that it was something to do with the shape of the arches focusing the sound waves in the way that a parabolic dish, or the whispering gallery in St. Paul’s, will.
There’s a good path up the valley of the Ledcharrie Burn, although we missed it to begin with by sticking too close to the burn itself. Although that had its compensations. Just above where I took this photo, a narrow little dry ravine just to the side of the present course of the stream looked like it might be interesting to explore.
The path climbs at a steady rate, marked by large posts at regular intervals. We stopped just above the snow line for a drink and snacks, assuming that the cold winds and spindrift we were already experiencing would only get worse as we climbed further.
I’d been looking at these hills south of Glen Dochart on the map last year when we were here and thinking that I’d like to explore them sometime, but the principal reason I’d suggested them for this day’s walking was that they offered a number of possible options once the ridge had been reached. Our first target was Lochan an Eireannaich.
We pushed on a little past the Lochan to look at the towering crag named, on the OS 1:25000, Leum Eirreannaich, the Irishman’s Leap, and a sizable boulder called Rob Roy’s Putting Stone. In the process we discounted the option of continuing eastward to the Corbett of Meall an t-Seallaidh because it would mean continuing into the wind which was proving to be hard, unpleasant work.
Westward instead then. The Hardman took a bearing….
…and we contoured around to the col below The Stob. Quick and easy to write that, but not quite so quick and easy on the ground.
Just above the col, discovering relative shelter, we stopped for our ‘official’ butty stop.
The ascent of the Stob was initially steep and then became slightly difficult because there were large patches of old snow, frozen and compacted into hard névé. I’d left my crampons at home – I don’t have boots rigid enough to take them. Fortunately, the Shandy Sherpa had not only crampons, but also a pair of Kahtoola microspikes which he lent me, superstar that he is. What a fabulous piece of kit they are! With those on I was soon racing to the top! Well, plodding slowly without falling down anyway.
The Crew on the Stob: The Hardman, Geordie Munro, Old Father Sheffield, The Shandy Sherpa, The Tower Captain.
Fence post rime.
In between the patches of lying snow, every blade of grass was thickly coated with ice. It was like walking through a chandelier factory after an earthquake.
The cloud had been lifting gradually through the day and from the summit, and as we descended, we had expanding views. Predominantly grey views, but views none-the-less.
Looking back at the Stob.
Leum Eirreannaich and the ‘Three Sisters’.
We followed the valley of the Luib Burn down. Some members of the party reverted to childhood pleasures by attempting to dam the burn (with little success).
And finished the day by taking the railway line back to the hotel for a cracking meal and a wild night of revelry. Well. Half of that is true. The revelry will have to wait for another time, when we’re not so tired.
Incidentally, the Suie Lodge Hotel is very welcoming, very reasonable, and has great home cooked food. Thoroughly recommended.