Author Topic: loch einich circular via argyll stone  (Read 3104 times)


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loch einich circular via argyll stone
« on: 12:01:13, 15/08/11 »
Well I guess to start with, I'd have to say that this isn't a walk for those who like having definitive paths to follow - on the map there looks to be plenty but unless my mapping skills are not upto my usual as remarked about by my kids, me being the 'master of the map stuff' then some might tend to think that I was just reencating again what my wife thinks 'I've never known any one whose short cuts are actually the longer scenic route' - no sir, in my defence (and I probably need a good one) the GPX file below will show distinctive dotted lines over areas which in reality were dotted lineless.
The adventure today begins at the car park of Loch an eilean, a location which in some respects is breathless, espcially early in the morning as the low fog drifts around the ruined castle on the island. Not just that but this is in rothiemurchus forest full to overflow with those great looking scots pine I keep harping on about - and I make no apologise for doing so, their look, feel and smell as a hot sun radiated pine sap and ground needles is.....soothing, ye I guess thats as good a word as any.
As some may know (or have guessed from my countless relentless comments about it) I have been under a forced denial of the hills for a few weeks (say ah!) due to a monsoon in these parts but as me and the pup ventured forth from the car park into the radient blanket of pines surrounding the loch, the sun shone down throught the branches draining all the morning mositure and turning the loch surface into a bed of diamonds.
Oh better mention for those who like the basic's then are off like bats of hell - this route goes;
eilean - loch gemhna - argyll stone - along ridge - back under ridge to foot of loch einich - follow track back to eilean - overall 18 miles, 850m upwards.
For those conisaurs of detail and adventure of the highest degree - read on!
As you wander via the wide levelish firm tracks around eilean, your probably find yourself marveling at the purples of heather and berries from the heather and bilberry bushes. If you started early enough you might glimspe the dashing and darting scamperings of red squirrels up and down the pines which in my humble opinion have a certain allure amidst a place which radiates with quiet reserved slowness - most wild animals are reserving of their energy where as this one is like a yound kid. full of it and an adventourous spirit to match - I have tried on countless occasions to photograph them, normally when hidden but to no avail just like jumping salmon - always a second or so behind.
Follow this track round to loch gamhna over a bridge but not before venturing to the loch from which you could take a photo like number 2 below.
After the bridge take the narrow path on the right where the wilderness around you starts its slow and mesmerising hold on you - views start to open up to your right along it of the small loch and the crags beyond it under kennapole hill. As you gaze at the vistas your come to a small quiet river altho its probably more the size of a stream called allt coire follias. once across this you can either like the idiot writing this believe that the track up it starts from a small wooden hut and enjoy the experiance of clambering over thick heather and fallen tree's or take the first even narrower track on the left after the river/stream.
Being as your all intelligent masters of your own maps I guess your take the even narrower path - which ever you do is not the important point here tho, Oh no what is is once your on the track you start the long ride upto the argyll rock over ground and via views that to me seemed much different to what I had experianced in the cairngorms before.
This experiance involves going through four distinct zones as far as the environments concerned while you follow the river/stream up its soothing churning journey from ages past down the hill side. So while trying to forget that the path is exceedingly narrow and over grown with heather remember that back at eilean you started the journey under tall scots, which changed to those small christmas tree like pines around about the river/stream. After awhile you come out of these and enter a clear zone of just heather and grass from which if you turn round your get rewarded already by a great panoramic from ben alder to kingussie. Ye I know your thinking as I did that your wait and take a picture higher up where it would look better - wrong, take it now. Above this short clearing you re-enter the scots pine again where these last galent soldier trees of the mountains hang onto the hill side unwilling to give to the forces of wind and rain forming a line of defence just at the point where a no mans land exists between the two.
A no mans land left to the bell heather and grass's plus a fusion of bilberries, scabious and bearded bell flowers. You can even feel where this no mans land stops between the two when after the river finally melts away into the hillside to its many collection points, the wind arrives, cool, soft and deceptive for the moment.
If and I mean probably you lose the path, the argyll stone can clearly be seen on the skyline once your out of the scots pine, so its just a matter of heading striaght for it, you will cross a few paths following the gradient of the hill side, just cross over these as none seemed to lead to the stone rather between cadha mor and clach chout (finally a path that is marked on the map).
At the rock you start getting the views to reward the effort of the climb, all the way along this ridge the views to the west of the cairngorms are fantastic, for me who spents more time seeing views to the east of the cairngorms is was like having travelled to the other side of the world and seeing a night sky full of completly different stars. I swear if the pesky clouds over towards ben nevis had cleared that I would of got views of her, of course the dark clouds were probably more then an inconvience to those climbing her at the time! with some heading my way so without further ado off along the ridge I went.
before that tho, the argyll stone is a place like many up here named after something or another, this one being something to do with a battle and being the place where 'argyll' I guess saw his enemy, for some reason I always thought it had something to do with giants putting it there but for a hiker none of this matters much conpared to its use. Because being a sort of large box with four sides, even in high winds there will always be a side to shelter from it.
On with the walk, I was seeing that apart from the different views along it that the whole appearance differed even to the ridge along braeriach seen to the left just a hop skip and a jump away. here the ground sloped easily away to the right down into the beginning of glen feshie, but the edge on the left was not as sharp or defines as above the lairig ghru with the top being more rounded as you would find on the monoliaths, seen in great detail on your right. In actual fact you do not even get a glimspe of loch einich below until you reach the last munro sgor gaoith - but what a glimspe. You would'nt think being on a mountain top that you'd see something to make you feel as if you've just come out of a confined space, but loch einich looks huge, her expanse, width, depth, everything - even looking into the larig does'nt give off this sort of feeling and as you follow the ridge down off the munro to around the head of the loch, it just gets better along with the mass of rivers feeding her every need. You may wonder if like in an empty arena that if you shouted ' two packest of crisp and a pint of lager' if the echo would resinate down her length - and no I did'nt try, there was other walkers around!
The next part of the walk is what I'd call the most adventourous where as other would probably call it 'mental'. As shown on the map there is a track leading up from the loch but does'nt show where it comes off of the plateau your on (did,nt find this track either). I was going to go further along to the track (that does exist as I've used it before) leading down the other side of the glen but after awhile did see what I thought was the track from this vantage point. In fact it was just one of many deer tracks and got access to it following others. All the way around the loch, the mountain sides are very steep, the corries offering great grade 1 climbs in winter but to climb down the slopes down just before the main river are the least steep and fairly easy to asend following the deer track altho there is alot of loose stone making the going all the way along to the beaches at the end of the loch very time consuming and wearing on the old legs.
As for the pup managing this, she's like a deer I swear jumping over it all with ease and everytime I looked up to see how she was doing I was greeted by that 'Oh come on and hurry I wanna swim' look. reaching the beach was a great feeling I can't possibly explain unless you know, the pup was splashing around and I was looking forward to rest after the last river crossing before the wide dry, safe, level track back to eilean.
If you look at photo 8 your see that last crossing but what you also have to imagine is the sound of the water cascading over the rocks, the mellow gurgling and smooth movement as it passed on its way. it delved me into a sort of contentment only experianced after another rewarding day in the hills. I remembered the countless time in my youth when I wild camped next to similar rivers whose sound always soothed, relaxed and then gently eased me into sleep - of course the countless midges sometimes ended up being part of the dinner arrangments but still better then the most expensixe silk sheeted 5* hotel room.
So before I went to sleep we got up and made out way down the long almost straght track to the end it is 7 miles long altho felt longer. it was here that the heat of the day really showed it self along with no wind plenty of midges, nats. It did rain a few times during the day as the weather forcasted but nothing serious and apart from wet feet again I ended the walk a very happy chappy.
The two links below are to the panoramics I made; - taken at the head of loch einich showing its size, location is near where we climbed down into it. - taken from argyll stone, on the left can be seen chalamin gap, middle is sgoran dubh mor and right is the monoliaths.
seems it did'nt wanna show the image of chamain gap either, so here goes;
Loch an Eilain                                                                                                                  Loch Gamhna
 view from below argyll rock                                                                                              argyll rock
view further along ridge towards argyll rock                                                                     looking east to chalamain gap
 from last munro to head of loch einich                                                                          last river crossing and beach at end of loch
« Last Edit: 12:05:36, 15/08/11 by troy »
Last night while I laid starring at the stars, I wondered.....where the hell is my ceiling!!!!


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Re: loch einich circular via argyll stone
« Reply #1 on: 12:04:44, 15/08/11 »
Great TR and really nice photo's O0 . Looks like you had a corking time O0 .
R.I.P. Dave.