Sunday, 23 January 2011

Balquhidder and Kirkton Glen

I love walking in the Trossachs because there are many “gems” to be found just off the beaten track, both from a historical and scenic point of view. Our national hero’s like William Wallace, Robert the Bruce and Rob Roy MacGregor all knew the Trossachs well and roamed its hills and glens fighting battles with other clans as well as the English.

Yesterdays walk actually started on the last day of last year 31st of December. I was full of too rich Xmas food and also recovering from a bout of flu when I first ventured out to discover the Kirkton Glen at Balquhiddar. I was hoping to climb to the top of Meall an t- Seallaidh, a Corbett of 852 meters high and reputed to have some of the best views in the Trossachs. The walk starts in the heart of Rob Roy country. In fact you park at Balquhiddar church where Rob Roys grave is.

Balquhiddar Church. If its a Sunday, I park further down the road to allow the congregation to park at the church.

Rob Roy’s Grave. He still has a great following as I often see coins and other small tokens left on the grave stone.

The path into Kirkton Glen is the forestry access road that runs behind the church. In December, the snow was right down to road level.

Although the OS map shows the glen as heavily wooded, there has been a lot of tree clearing in the past and its a very pleasant open woodland track for walking on. However, it was very slippery and icy in December, so I put on my crampons to assist my stability.

Half way along the glen the views of the cliffs at Leum an Eireannaich and the ridge leading to Meall an t- Seallaidh start opening up. Well the views normally appear unless the mist is down. I was disappointed to see the ridge was in the mist. Its a rocky ridge full of steep crags and I was not looking forward to navigating along it, having never been there before.

Looking back along the length of Kirkton Glen, I could see the mist was closing in even more.

I continued to the head of the glen and as I reached the top of the pass beside Lochan an Eireannaich, I came into the full force of the northerly wind. I could hardly stand it was that strong and it was also bitterly cold.

I have survived a life time in the Scottish hills without getting into trouble and I put that down to knowing my capabilities and when to turn back. Although the ridge was not much higher, I knew it would wait for me. I turned back having enjoyed my walk. The wind had blown my xmas cobwebs away

I knew I would return to complete that walk and I did.. it was a great day on the hills yesterday.. to be continued :-D

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