Archive for Loch Lyon

Loch Lyon and Beinn Heasgarnich

Posted in Hiking, Hills, Open Canoe, Paddling with tags , , on April 16, 2016 by Jinja Coo

My first time in the canoe for ages – more than a year and a half – as time just has been passing too quickly and other commitments taking up weekends.

IMG_2334

Two of us headed to Loch Lyon to take advantage of its sheltered setting, which would allow us to paddle without too much trouble despite some forecast winds. We set off from the dam at the loch’s east end, loaded with comforts and both dry – after sitting out a shower in the car for a few minutes. Winds above were clearly evident as clear patches and ominous clouds swept across the sky, warming us one minute and cooling us a few minutes later.

IMG_2338

IMG_2344

Within a couple of hours we had paddled all the way to the west end, including a lunch stop at the north arm of the loch, and having discounted a potential site suggested by the map at the west end, we retreated back to another one we had passed en-route. It offered a good starting point for a hill walk and looked to have some flat ground too.

IMG_2350

Flat ground does not necessarily mean dry as with so much runoff from the wet hills above, we struggled to find a suitable pitch and we ended up on the well drained gravel of the shore instead. All good so far, but a snapped pole and consequent hassles meant it was a cold hour before we were able to get changed and into warm clothes … and the fire on too. Chairs up and food on the go, we could properly relax and enjoy the noise of curlew flying about as darkness set in. The fire did its job keeping us warm on what was a cold night. Cold enough for snow to fall and lie as low down as the lochside. We woke early to a much wintrier scene with the hills white against a blue sky.

IMG_2354

IMG_2359

IMG_2365

Over breakfast we made use of the firebox again, using some of the wood and coal leftover from the previous night and were in danger of not getting up the hill behind us, Beinn Heasgarnich (Sheasgarnich), but motivation returned as the sun rose and soon enough legs were straining up the steep ascent, gaining height and views as we went. Views were coming and going with the wind driven cloud up high clearing every now and then. Up top we had a quick bite, but views to the south stubbornly refused to reveal themselves and it was just too cold to hang about any longer, only clearing after we had descended to the flat shoulder sitting to the north, still impressive even from there.

IMG_2369

IMG_2371

IMG_2386

IMG_2392

IMG_2393

IMG_2402

IMG_2403

IMG_2406

IMG_2422

IMG_2423

Most people approach this hill from Glen Lochay in the south, so our ascent might well be a route less traveled, but no reason for that as there is a good 4×4 track in from the Loch Lyon dam and our route seemed to avoid the bogginess referred to in route descriptions from the south.

Advertisements

Back to Gleann Cailliche

Posted in Hiking, Hills with tags , , , on February 19, 2014 by Jinja Coo

A few months had past since our first trip in to Gleann Cailliche to visit the pagan shrine of Tigh nam Bodach, and having seen it in summer with the little stone figures out sunning themselves, we were keen to return in winter to see the shelter closed up and the figures hidden away inside.

IMG_2401

Being winter, the relatively remote road had the potential to be a major obstacle in our path and as it turned out it was quite icy for a lot of Glen Lyon’s length on the way in. Thoughts of getting stuck miles from a phone signal occurred more than once as we descended steep bits of road along the way and I was quietly keen to get back before sundown to avoid any more freezing on the road for the homeward journey.

IMG_2403

This time we left the canoe behind and instead opted to walk all the way from the same starting point by the dam on Loch Lyon’s eastern end. We followed a good vehicle track pretty much all the way along the north shore of Loch Lyon. Though the track was largely buried in snow, the walking was easy at first until we came to a softer covering in Gleann Cailliche.

IMG_2418

We had great views of the hills around us, well coated in snow and with changing light highlighting various features on them over the course of the day. High above us countless deer watched our progress in and out between grazing on the few bare bits of hillside still remaining. The wintry coat had softened the edge of the loch too making it look more natural than it had in summer on our last visit.

IMG_2422

IMG_2424

IMG_2426

IMG_2447

IMG_2452

On that last visit, we had both been impressed by the quality of construction of the shrine and on reaching it this time, we were again, this time by how well the entrance had been sealed up to form an entirely closed structure.

IMG_2467

IMG_2488

Not long after turning back the sky darkened and soon snow started to fall on us, at this point thoughts of the road came back to me, but we would just have to see what would come later and enjoy things for the next couple of hours first. As it happens, the shower was short lived and soon we were enjoying some warmth and bright sunshine on our walk out. A thaw was evident underfoot with less snow on the track on the way out but better still on the road too, all evidence of ice was long gone thankfully.

IMG_2491

IMG_2511

IMG_2530

It is not every walk I come back from that I pour over the map looking for more options to enjoy the same place, but I did after this one and am looking forward to going with a few new ideas in mind.

IMG_2538

Loch Lyon and Gleann Cailliche

Posted in Hiking, Hills, Open Canoe, Paddling with tags , , , on August 28, 2013 by Jinja Coo

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.

IMG_4632

IMG_4639

IMG_4647

IMG_4653

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