Author Topic: TR - Lochgoilhead walks  (Read 1446 times)

richardh1905

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2127
TR - Lochgoilhead walks
« on: 14:15:27, 28/03/19 »
We were late arriving at our long planned family gathering in Lochgoilhead due to bad weather causing ferry cancellations, but we did get there in the end, despite snow on Rannoch Moor and at the top of the 'Rest And Be Thankful'. Slush on the single track road down to Lochgoilhead made it hard to determine where tarmac ended and grass began!

Sunday 10th March

After saying my Hello's, out for a late afternoon walk with the dog, who was crossing her legs after our long drive 'Sooth'. I wandered south up into the forests, then doubled back, passing above Lochgoilhead village. There's an arboretum to the east of the village, which would be worthy of further investigation, but daylight was ebbing away so I pressed on, eventually joining a newly made riverside walk which wound between mossy oaks; this took me south back into the village as darkness was falling. A modest 4 miles, but very welcome after driving for 7 hours!


Lochgoilhead from the east

Monday 11th March

Family meal in Inverary planned, but I did manage to squeeze in a 4 mile Lochside run with my youngest son in the early morning sunshine; a lot of snow on the hills. After the meal, we had a stroll up into the forests to the east; lots of frog spawn about, and some nice waterfalls in Glen Donich. 2.5 miles.


View from our holiday let, lots of fresh snow on the hills

Tuesday 12th March

Determined to get at least one day of decent walking in, my wife and I set off westwards into the hills on our own; the rest of the family heading off to Benmore botanical gardens near Loch Eck. The day started well, with bright sunshine and the snow covered tops clear of cloud. We took a short cut past the 'Village Green' and crossed over to the western shore of Loch Goil, where there is a large holiday park - wooden chalets and static caravans. I really can't understand why anyone would want to own one of these - each to their own, I suppose.


Lochgolhead Village Green. Note the eucalyptus tree to the right.

At Lettermay (below Corrow on the map below), we headed up a farm track away from the loch, following the course of the Cowal Way into the valley of the Lettermay Burn. We climbed steadily through rough pastureland, and good views unfolded around us, with the very top of The Cobbler peeping out from behind the shoulder of Ben Donich.


The way ahead. The hill is the eastern spur of Beinn Lochain.


Ben Donich (left), The Brack (centre), Cnoc Coinnich (right), Lochgoilhead below.

After crossing the burn, we followed a diversion up onto a forest road, and continued westwards. Easy walking, but we were surprised when a timber carrying juggernaut appeared out of nowhere and sped past us on it's way to collect a load - Tess, our spaniel, gets a bit overexcited around large vehicles.


One of many fine waterfalls on the rain swollen Lettermay Burn

The road continued for about a mile up to the head of the valley, where there is a fine cascade tumbling down the hillside from Curra Lochain above. At this stage I still harboured hopes that we would climb a hill, either Beinn Bheula (779m) to the SE, or Beinn Lochain (703m) to the NE, but I was beginning to have my doubts as the weather was starting to deteriorate (heavy rain was forecast for mid afternoon). The track doubled back upon itself and climbed steeply north east, before taking another sharp turn to the west, this zigzagging  took us around the cascade and adjacent crags, and we broke out into more open country, where the trees had been clear felled.


Beinn Bheula and the cascade descending from Curra Lochain

A short struggle into the teeth of a strong rain laden westerly took us to Curra Lochain, where we took shelter amongst some spruce trees for a breather and a snack. Unfortunately some wannabe survivalist types had been there, signs of a fire and several beer cans scattered about.  >:(


Curra Lochain. We sheltered in the trees to the right.

We unanimously decided to forget about the hills, as although the rain had stopped, the wind really was picking up. We decided instead to find a different way back through the forestry. So back down the steep zig zag to the forest road, which we followed around the hillside into Gleann Beg, where we were delighted to spot a Roe Deer. The forest road wound around the hillside, climbing in places, and we began to realise that we might have quite a walk on our hands! But no problem, the wind was at our backs and the walking was easy, and we had some fine views down to the loch below.


Lochgoilhead far below, with The Brack and Cnoc Coinnich in the background.

On and on we walked, surprised again by the forestry truck coming back for another load, and by a rather bedraggled and lonely stray cow!


Northwards through the forest, snow covered Beinn an Lochain (another one) visible to the right (901m)

The road twisted and turned, but we had no option to carry on at this stage - it must break out onto the road somewhere, but we were in a race against the weather, which really was starting to deteriorate. Thankfully the track started to descend with a purpose, and after passing through some pleasant deciduous woodland, we reached the valley bottom.

I had had enough, and was tempted to just walk back along the road, but we decided to take a shorter route down the west side of Glen Goil. This was pleasant to start with, a well made track to a house, but after entering the woods the path became a boggy morass, and to make matters worse, the rain started. After maybe a mile and a half of squelching, we spotted some hardstanding in the gloom ahead - the start of a decent forest road. In a final twist, this was guarded by a moat of bog around which we could see no way - water went over my ankles whilst trying to circumvent it. I was tempted to kiss the dry land! To cap it all, the heavens really opened as we walked back through the village.

All in all a very satisfying walk though; 12.5 miles.



We couldn't do this overlooked area justice due to poor weather and lack of time, but I do feel that it has a lot to offer the keen walker.
« Last Edit: 07:46:52, 29/03/19 by richardh1905 »

Ridge

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6698
Re: Lochgoilhead walks
« Reply #1 on: 14:34:19, 28/03/19 »
Lovely pics and report Richard.  O0


A friend of mine used to have a static caravan just outside the Lake District NP. For him, and us when we stayed, it was a base from which to enjoy the hills but some people hardly ever left the site.
Over hill, over dale. Thorough brush, thorough brier....
I do wander every where

richardh1905

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2127
Re: Lochgoilhead walks
« Reply #2 on: 15:19:38, 28/03/19 »
Lovely pics and report Richard.  O0

A friend of mine used to have a static caravan just outside the Lake District NP. For him, and us when we stayed, it was a base from which to enjoy the hills but some people hardly ever left the site.

Thanks Ridge - not a part of the country that gets much mention, so I thought that it was worth a trip report even though we didn't get as much done as I had hoped.

When I was young, we returned year after year to rent a static caravan on the same site at Watermillock, Ullswater - never did understand why when there are so many other places to discover.

adalard

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1357
Re: TR - Lochgoilhead walks
« Reply #3 on: 15:50:46, 28/03/19 »
Really enjoyed the TR, Richard - what stunning scenery, you got some great photos.  O0

richardh1905

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2127
Re: TR - Lochgoilhead walks
« Reply #4 on: 16:06:45, 28/03/19 »
Thanks adalard - the weather wasn't the best.

Dovegirl

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1933
Re: TR - Lochgoilhead walks
« Reply #5 on: 20:25:29, 28/03/19 »
Lovely photos    :)    I especially like the one of Lochgolhead village green

April

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6753
Re: TR - Lochgoilhead walks
« Reply #6 on: 21:01:40, 28/03/19 »
Great stuff Richard, lovely photos  O0 I remember seeing some of those mountains on the train back from Fort William, it does look like a fantastic area to walk, thank you for posting  O0
"Who would've thought...... you are light and darkness coming through" words by Tim Armstrong

richardh1905

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2127
Re: TR - Lochgoilhead walks
« Reply #7 on: 22:49:41, 28/03/19 »
Thanks Dovegirl, April.

This area really is quite unique in Britain, with long sea lochs penetrating deeply into the forest clad hills. The mountains may not be the biggest, but they are rough, tough and little frequented; no soft option.
« Last Edit: 07:42:03, 29/03/19 by richardh1905 »

astaman

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 154
Re: TR - Lochgoilhead walks
« Reply #8 on: 06:03:20, 29/03/19 »
A lovely report and pictures. And yes, a neglected area and one I wish I knew better. Thanks for posting it.

richardh1905

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2127
Re: TR - Lochgoilhead walks
« Reply #9 on: 07:43:14, 29/03/19 »
A lovely report and pictures. And yes, a neglected area and one I wish I knew better. Thanks for posting it.



Thanks astaman, a pleasure.


Well worth a visit - such a contrast to Orkney and Shetland - all those trees!

vghikers

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 825
Re: TR - Lochgoilhead walks
« Reply #10 on: 10:53:55, 29/03/19 »
A great walk with grand scenery and photos, if rather wet at the end.

I remember well Curra Lochain with the Sruth Ban cascade and the descent to Lettermay from my Cowal Way backpack a couple of years back, but looking at your waterfall photo and route map, it seems thet maybe your ascent line followed the old CW route alongside the Lettermay burn. When I descended it was all on a forest road well away from the burn.

Quote
The road twisted and turned, but we had no option to carry on at this stage - it must break out onto the road somewhere...
Probably, but in our experience we wouldn't count on it, sometimes they twist around for miles and stop at a turning circle in very dense conifers!.

richardh1905

  • Veteran Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2127
Re: TR - Lochgoilhead walks
« Reply #11 on: 13:42:34, 29/03/19 »

A great walk with grand scenery and photos, if rather wet at the end.


Thanks for the feedback - yes a great area with a lot to offer.


Quote
Probably, but in our experience we wouldn't count on it, sometimes they twist around for miles and stop at a turning circle in very dense conifers!.



Ah, but an empty forest wagon had come up the track, and we spotted it returning with a full load of logs, so we knew that the forest road must come out somewhere - all we had to do was follow the tracks!
« Last Edit: 07:54:41, 30/03/19 by richardh1905 »