I headed west towards Glen Almond in Perthshire today, arriving mid-morning at the end of the Sma’ Glen. After putting my boots on and packing my bag, I walked up the road to the Newton Bridge over the River Almond and looked towards the car, the sky looking ominously dark and heavy.
After walking along the road for a short distance, I crossed a small bridge over the Newton Burn and started walking on the remains of General Wade‘s military road, which was pretty water-logged.
Thankfully I wasn’t wading for too long, as I turned off the road and started climbing up the rocky slopes of Meall Reamhar. It was tough going, and after several breathless pauses I finally reached the summit, where I stopped for my lunch in a beautiful spot, looking out over the Sma’ Glen.
There were patches of old snow at the summit, and as I moved off towards Geal Charn they started to get deeper and more frequent. A pair of large hares resplendent in their winter plumage were running around, but they were too quick for me to take a photo of. When I got to the summit of Geal Charn I caught my first glimpse of Loch Freuchie.
There’s a bit of a dip between Geal Charn and it’s unnamed neighbours to the north west, so it started to get quite boggy for a while, the melting snow being added to by the sleet that had started falling. Between one of these unnamed summits and the pronounced ridge that is Creag Grianain the snow had collected in a gully, and was up to waist deep.
I climbed up towards the summit of Creag Grianain and looked down over the snow-lined hollow of Coire Grianain to Lochan a’ Mhuilinn and beyond to Loch Freuchie again.
Creag Grianain really towers above the surrounding area, and the view gives you a real idea of how the landscape was formed by the movement of the ice thousands of years ago, carving out routes through the rock. Lochan a’ Mhuilinn is fed by the Glenlochan Burn which also flows through Lochan Uaine below Coire a’ Chearcaill.
After a “second lunch”, drinking in the magnificent views as light snow fell around me, I turned around and set off for the summit of Beinn na Gainimh, following a series of old metal fence posts that lead the way over the featureless ridge between Beinn na Gainimh and Sròn Bealaidh. The snow turned to hail, then sleet, then rain, and then it stopped, the sun coming out and bathing Glen Almond in light.
I followed a sheep track down from Sròn Bealaidh and along a ridge to a cairn and an obelisk high above Conichan farm. The obelisk looks like a standing stone but I don’t think it’s ancient. That’s not to take away from it’s amazing setting, looking over Glen Almond below.
There didn’t appear to be any obvious tracks down off the ridge but I could see a farm track further down, so I scrambled my way over a rocky section and started my descent into Glen Almond.
Eventually I was down on the floor of Glen Almond itself, following the River Almond, just in time to see my fifth rainbow of the day, this time at the mouth of the Sma’ Glen.
The walk along the flat of Glen Almond was most welcome after the tiring walk I’d done. Along the way I stopped to take a photo of the waterfalls on the Allt a’ Bhurnie, making its way down to the River Almond.
On the opposite bank of the river was another walker, who was being followed by sheep, obviously thinking that he was the farmer and he was going to feed them. We exchanged bemused looks then continued on our separate ways.
The track twists its way through Glen Almond, and it wasn’t long before the sides of the Sma’ Glen came into view, meaning I was almost at the car – I’d been walking for over 6 hours, and was more than ready for my tea!