Meall Glas

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I had intended to climb Meall Glas together with Sgiath Chuil in September 2017 but the River Lochay was in spate after heavy rain so, as crossing the river would have been dangerous, I had to content myself with just Sgiath Chuil.

In May 2018 I returned to attempt Meall Glas but decided this time to climb the hill from the Glen Dochart side starting from the small parking area on the lane to Auchessan. As I started the walk at 7.15 am mine was the first car there - there are other parking spaces by the A85 in a layby a few hundred yards east of the unmarked Auchessan junction and also in the wide area where an access road goes into the forest.

Just a short distance down the lane is the track bed of the old Callander and Oban line that carried express trains to Oban (including a sleeping car service to London Euston) until the 1960s. What a pity it closed.

The lane crosses the River Dochart...

....and heads towards the hamlet of Auchessan. Markers and signs show walkers which route to take.

The way to Meall Glas turns off to the left by the farm building..

..and climbs past a mini HEP generating building by the side of the Allt Essan... pass an old dog kennel building complete with very high pens. Were the dogs here especially wild or good at jumping?

Looking back, Ben More dominates the scene and will be visible for virtually all the walk.

The lane ends at a sheep fold...

...and a path heads up the hill ... a deer fence...

...and clings to the hillside above a small tributary stream of the Allt Essan.

It then emerges onto more open moorland...

....crosses a stile near to where a new access road from the HEP building comes up the hill.. this small dam. As usual I've put waymarks into my GPS for the main locations on the walk. This is about NN446 288.

The path continues along the stream...

...and is a really pleasant walk...

...past several small waterfalls.

Over to the right Sgiath Chuil has a cloud cap but so far it hasn't rained and the wind is still a gentle breeze.

Meall Glas appears over the hillside and it looks as though I'm not going to have any summit views today.

As I walk up to this point I have a feeling that the path is about to disappear as it gets much fainter. I mark my position in the GPS as NN44035 29990.

And yes, I was right because the path stops and the bogs start! On my way back I'll be able to use the GPS to hit the beginning of the path accurately in a way I wouldn't with just a compass and map.

Over to the right the bogs stretch towards Sgiath Chuil...

..and towards Meall Glas Beag which is at the south east end of Meall Glas. I'm now walking towards about NN431 313

Over to the left is the Corbett Beinn nan Imirean which I've vaguely thought could be climbed after Beinn Glas. In the end the weather deterioates and I abandon that plan!

Progress through the bogs and peat hags wasn't too bad as the ground is relatively dry and as I get closer to the crags on Meall Glas Beag I notice these small drumlins.

The Allt Glas has to be crossed but today it's really low so I can just step across.

The climb proper starts after the stream ...

...and I'm heading for NN431 317

Another view of Beinn nan Imirean... I climbed around below the crags on Meall Glas Beag.... hit the main ridge at about NN433 319

There are a couple of small lochans here with a view of Sgiath Chuilm beyond.

Now it's a case of climbing the last few hundred metres up to the summit. At this point the weather decided to take a turn for the worse and I had to shelter behind rocks to put on my waterproofs. A couple of other walkers joined me at this point including one wearing shorts who had left his bad weather gear in the car......

Sadly, I'd climbed into the mist but it was only a short distance to the...

....summit cairn at NN431 322. The climb had taken three and a half hours and because I'd started early it was only just after 11.

I had intended to carry along the summit ridge to the Munro Top of Beinn Cheathaich but, given the strength of the wind and the lack of visibility, it didn't seem worth while so I dropped down to a more sheltered spot for a break and food.

Looking across the expanse of bog and peat hags with Ben More in the background.

After rejoining the path using the GPS to locate it, I decided to use the new hydro track down from the dam rather than going down the path.

This joins the outward route near the HEP building at Auchessan. There is probably no time saving as the road twists down the hill but it does give slightly different views across Glen Dochart. I was back at the car park just under 7 hours from starting the walk. This route isn't the most inspiring one but is relatively easy provided the ground isn't too wet.