Sunday, 23 January 2011

Balquhidder and Creag an Turic

Having recently walked up and down Kirkton Glen, I was a bit reluctant to do it again so soon and wondered if there was another way onto the top of Meall an t- seallaidh by a direct assault from the southern slope. I couldn’t find any reference of a route from this direction but noticed it could be ascended from Lochearnhead via Glen Kildrum. Yesterday, as I drove to Balquhidder church, I surveyed the hillside and saw no great difficulty tackling it direct from the south assuming I could avoid the cliffs and trees at the start of the walk.

I wondered if following the forest walk to Creag an Turic, which was the ancient gathering place of the Maclaren clan on top of the cliffs, would lead to a way through the trees and onto the open hillside.

Incidentally, although Rob Roy MacGregor is a national hero and is generally thought of a good guy, he and his kin stole the lands in this area from the MacLaren Clan after being ousted from Argyll by the Campbells. But then again , the Maclarens were no great good guys either as they slaughtered the Buchanan clan at a battle on Creag an Turic. Such was life in those days. I guess everyone had a neighbour from hell.

The walk starts behind the church and after a short distance leaves the forest road for Kirkton Glen by heading east. The path is not very clear but there is a gate through a fence there and a little further a bridge crosses a stream.

After half a mile or so, the path opens out on the top of the cliffs at the monument to the Maclaren Clan on Creag an Turic. The views over Loch Voil make it a worthy walk.

Don’t go too close to the edge of the cliffs as its a long way down. I imagined the Maclarens throwing the Buchanans over the edge here as not one Buchanan survived the battle.

Behind the monument I could see the open slopes of the hill I wanted to climb. I just needed to find a way through the trees.

In reality the trees did not cause a problem. It is a very old part of the forest and it was quite open making for easy walking.

Once clear of the trees, I saw the open hillside in detail and although it looked quite steep, I could see a way to the top by going diagonally across the slope towards the top right in the photo.

I was please to see it possible to go this way as it meant I could get the climbing over and done with early in the walk and do a circular route returning via Kirkton Glen. A distance of approx 7.5 miles and around 2800ft in total ascent .. to be continued

No comments: