Regular readers of this nonsense will know that planning is our watchword and so it will come as no surprise when we say that this little jaunt came to life one evening while perusing the OS map and helping along the Chilean wine industry while on holiday on Highland Perthshire. I’d spotted a walking sign at the end of Glen Artney and by following the paths managed to get a nice linear walk over to Loch Earn. Despite yesterday’s handbag-strap incident, the Missus was willing to do the car bit, and we were even joined by a friend (who we’ll call “Michael” for convenience): did no-one warn him?
The “road” from Comrie down picturesque Glen Artney comes to an end at the drop-off point and so we thanked our driver and headed up the track sign-posted for Callander. This wanders around the base of Carn Labhruinn with views over Am Beannan and friends to the Ochills. This was easy walking with lovely weather and scenery, and I had even remembered to bring the proper lead for Jazz. All was well.
However, as we turn and head up Gleann an Dubh Chorein I get the feeling that Michael isn’t paying full attention to my pearls of wisdom 1. You see, he is a fisherman and his eyes were now focussed on the stream while he made comments about salmon runs and trout somethingorothers. It is a very attractive stream but there are limits. Luckily at this point the splendid horseshoe of Ben Vorlich and Stuc á Chroin come into view and we get his attention back. At one point the path has been washed away 2 and we cross the stream twice 3. At roughly the point where the path enters the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park 4 just below Ben Vorlich we have lunch. Once again, Michael shows his unfamiliarity with the protocol as he failed to share his sandwiches with Jazz – the look of shock and incredulity on her face was heartbreaking – there were schisms developing in the team.
So we push on around the base of Ben Vorlich with its impressive boulder field towards the gap leading up to the Bealach Gliogasnaich. The promised path has disappeared but the heather isn’t too bad and the walk was fine. We even spotted 5 a herd of roughly 70 Red Deer high on Meall na Fearna. The path up is faint but easy walking with the bealach itself very impressive. However, the nice weather of the start has gone and with the wind in our faces we could see what’s coming.
The path down is, let’s be charitable, missing. Someone has put in some wooden markers and so we followed them: a good plan as we later discover they are a “route” to try and minimise the erosion on the hill. By now we can see Loch Earn below us and the various Ben Lawers hills beyond for some of the time: the rest is obscured by some short+sharp hail showers. One of our party kept making noises about the hail hurting his ears: honestly, the youth of day! However, on our way down Glen Vorlich I spotted a male Ring Ouzel flying in front of us. I haven’t seen one of these in years and it made my day: Michael and Jazz were very good at hiding their excitement as I pointed it out to them despite it being a “lifer” 6 for both of them.
By the time we reach the lochside (with lots of Common Sandpipers and fish, apparently) the showers had passed and we had a pleasant wander along the south shore road awaiting our pick-up. This was a very enjoyable walk in some pretty stunning scenery that won’t stretch you too far (unlike the yomp over the two Munros).
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