Confession time.In all my years I`ve never walked in the Sma` Glen despite having driven through it on umpteen occasions.I always preferred weekends away rather than day trips and that usually meant passing through or speeding up the A9 to somewhere that I thought more interesting.How wrong I was 🙂
I had decided on Saturday that I was going to rectify this and take a walk in the hills there the next day and when Bob phoned he said he`d come along also.I thought he may have been put off hillwalking for a while after our day out in Galloway last week but he`s made of sterner stuff 🙂
He left his car in my driveway and we bundled our stuff into my car for a change.Well,to be honest,I was sick to the teeth of his idea as to what passes as good music and thought I`d inflict my less “esoteric ” selection on his ears for a change 🙂 It`s was only sixty miles to the starting point at Newton Bridge and we were there in an hour or so and pulled over into the empty car park.
The forecast had predicted a wee spot of rain around lunchtime which would usually have been enough to have us scurrying somewhere else in search of better weather.Indeed we tried to remember the last time we had been out in the rain and reckoned it might have been in summer 2009 although we agreed we may have undergone the indignity of suffering a small shower somewhere last year for a few minutes but couldn`t remember where.
We had a pleasant hours walk up the track alongside the River Almond which was pleasingly flat and well surfaced…….
……until we reached the path that branched of to Beinn na Gainimh where Bob stopped for his first lunch of the day.A buzzard was interested enough to swoop down for a look…
A packet of almond slices and two packets of crisps later we got the heads down and started up the steep track which rises 1,000 feet towards the plateau.Big black clouds and a curtain of rain were heading our way from the west . I stopped and put on my waterproofs but Bob seemed elated by these unusual conditions.”This brings back memories of Munro bagging..!” he shouted . I managed to negotiate the boggy ground in my trainers with dry feet so we were both happy 🙂 The rain passed over and so did the happy cloud shortly thereafter.There was a bundle of rocks that had an unusual look about them just off the ridge so I took a detour over to have a look.I spotted something underneath through a gap and on prising the top rock off there was what looked like the remains of a hare caught in an illegal gin trap.Now the hare had been there for a considerable time but had definitely been trapped long after these bloody things were outlawed.The rocks had been put together to make an entrance and encourage something to go inside where the trap was situated.Reported.
We went over to the summit and then down a bit to get out of the wind and give Bob the opportunity of a second lunch 🙂 By now the sunshine was back again.Bob had a packet of almond slices and two packets of crisps again while I complained about my sore foot and took a few pictures.This a zoomed shot of the great looking Coire Cruinn on the othr side of Glen Almond….
The best viewpoint hereabouts is the small unnamed top of Creag Grianain to the north east so we wandered over there passing this well constructed cairn on the way.Pity folk have ruined it by piling some extra rocks on top as it`s original shape would have provided a perfect seat for old folk like ourselves 😀 Beinn a`Ghlo in the background….
The summit of Creag Grianain…
Neither of us could be bothered traversing over the plateau to Meall Reamhar so it was quickly down to the Henzie Burn to pick up the track back down to the glen again.We took our time and stopped every so often,Bob for almond slices and me to complain about my foot.Lovely walk out it was..
Rather than drive straight home we had our usual wee exploratory wander around the neighbourhood and ended up at nearby Buchanty Spout where passed half an hour or so watching the salmon trying to jump up.Bob had the misfortune to suffer a small accident here 😀
Will definitely be back this way to do Auchnafree Hill and Ben Chonzie again as it`s a far superior looking way to the boring ascents from the south.Excellent biking road as well.