A few months back there was a 2-part documentary by Cameron McNeish on his new Scotland National Trail (SNT) and this part caught my eye as it looked great and was an area where we were going on holiday. With the Missus supplying drop-off and pick-up service, and the weather decent for a change this Spring, we were all set.
We started in Glen Lednock at the car-park for the Ben Chonzie walk. The route follows the track but where it heads off for the hill we carry straight on following the stream. Eventually the track gives way to a path as it climbs to the bealach at Carn Buidhe. At this point the upper reaches of Glen Almond open up with the mountains of the Ben Lawers ridge in the background. We then head towards Dundornie for a decent but steep track descending to the valley floor.
At this point we join the Rob Roy Way (RRW) as it makes its alternative track down Glen Almond. The track along the valley floor is very easy walking but with a lot of sheep around Jazz is on the lead a lot. And therein lies a story. I had left behind her usual 15m expandable thing and was left with the short backup one. This would be awkward on a hill walk so the Missus offered her handbag strap as an extension. This worked very well but the lack of auto-retraction meant that the finest Mallorcan leather was often dragged through peat pools and worse 1.
We follow the track downstream meeting no-one until we get to the main estate house at Auchnafree where the RRW makes a turn heading for an impressive gash in the hills leading to Glen Lochan. Here the path is rougher but still easy going, and at the moment, not well-frequented. After it passes the lochans it starts dropping down towards Loch Freuchie in Glen Quaich. We know this glen well as often take the minor road down the glen heading for Kenmore. This is one of the classic drives with lots of switchbacks and signs warning you that if you breakdown don’t expect anyone to rescue you for months.
The path drops down through a grouse moor that is obviously thriving given the numbers of birds we could see and hear. With nesting going on Jazz wasn’t allowed to do her usual mucking about in the heather. At one point a grouse lifted from beside the path and flew off. This was too much for Jazz and she blasted off after it. And this is where we cast doubt on the quality of Mallorcan bag straps because with a suitable twang the clasp gave up and Jazz bolted. Luckily she can only manage 5m at this pace and so I managed to get her before she disappeared. So for the last km we were on short-lead but this meant we had plenty of time to get our excuses ready for the Missus: “a big grouse did it and flew away” being the best.
- Not a word to the Missus. ↩
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