Loch Lyon and Gleann Cailliche

The upper reaches of Glen Lyon has, until now, not been high on the list of places I have been keen to visit, but with one trip I have been converted. That was a trip involving a paddle across Loch Lyon to Gleann Cailliche to visit the pagan shrine of Tigh nam Bodach.

Looking at the map of the area previously, one impression that struck me was that the small, featureless reservoirs surrounded by generally rounded peaks didn’t immediately seem interesting as targets for walking. How wrong I was, the reservoirs, though not the prettiest bodies of water, allow access and short approaches to alternative routes on to the hills and in to the glens which are a bit more off-the-beaten-track than the usual. The views of the hills themselves from the water were actually impressive and if anything these small hills seemed bigger and more imposing as a result of the narrowness of the glens separating them.

Loch Lyon with Beinn Mhanach in the distance (left). Gleann Cailliche lies directly above the canoe to the right of BM.

Loch Lyon with Beinn Mhanach in the distance (left). Gleann Cailliche lies directly above the canoe to the right of BM.

We set off, hugging the southern shore at first, before crossing over to the northern arm of the loch at the foot of Gleann Meran, a distance of about 6km. As we arrived some birds were crossing in front of us in the distance, grey and duck like with reddish heads. Only later was it possible to have a go at figuring out what they were, female Red Breasted Mergansers I think.

Heading along Loch Lyon's southern shore

Heading along Loch Lyon’s southern shore

View over to the gorge on the north shore.

View over to the gorge on the north shore.

Female Red Breasted Mergansers (I think)

Female Red Breasted Mergansers (I think)

Running out of water in the shallows of the Allt Meran, the canoeing was over for this half of the journey. A quick lunch by some exposed, skeletal tree roots, leftovers of the woodland which would have existed here before the reservoir, then we were off on foot, following the burn all the way up to the shrine.

Allt Meran meets Loch Lyon

Allt Meran meets Loch Lyon

Beinn a Chreachain

Beinn a Chreachain

Tree root remains on the reservoir's exposed bottom.

Tree root remains on the reservoir’s exposed bottom.

Gleann Meran

Gleann Meran

Cascade on the Allt Cailliche

Cascade on the Allt Cailliche

Cascade on the Allt Cailliche

Cascade on the Allt Cailliche

We were both surprised by the good condition of the stone structure and the quality of the stonework, it had clearly been attended to relatively recently and we were taken with the overall scene, both the little stone figures themselves and the continued attention they receive twice a year in moving them in to their shelter and back out again.

Tigh nam Bodach

Tigh nam Bodach

Tigh nam Bodach

Tigh nam Bodach

Heading back out towards the dam with Meall Ghaordaidh in the distance

Heading back out towards the dam with Meall Ghaordaidh in the distance

Our retreat back out was along the northern shore with a brief stop to explore a gorge about half way, something which had caught our attention from across the loch on the way in. This proved to be a worthwhile break, what looked on first approach like a dead end, turned out to be a secluded, twisting stream bed with an interesting waterfall at the back, a lovely spot to linger awhile.

A quick detour in to the gorge on the northern shore.

A quick detour in to the gorge on the northern shore.

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Play time!

Play time!

Along the way, we saw lots of potential walking and camping for future trips and also realised that these featureless areas on the map are not so featureless in reality and there are more of them in the area to explore.

Coo having a dip in Glen Lyon

Coo having a dip in Glen Lyon

Coos having a dip in Glen Lyon

Coos having a dip in Glen Lyon

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