Route: as planned > Meall nan Caorach (Ma)(G) > NE to join track at NN 939 346 > around Findowie Hill to Auchmore > SE to Little Glenshee > track to Loch Tullybelton > Glack > Balquharn > minor roads to Bankfoot Inn
Distance: 22 km (Cum: 207)
Ascent: 520 metres (Cum: 7600)
Time taken: 6 hrs including 1 hr breaks
Weather: warm, calm, no midges, dull until 11 am with 600 metre cloud base, then rain, becoming heavy
I woke to heavy cloud, but the rain seemed to have passed for the time being, so it was easy (after another very early night) to be up and away by 7.45. It was 6°C outside but the barnacle geese appeared to be on heat.
After 45 minutes I was standing in a cloud on top of Meall nan Caorach at 623 metres. The cloud base was about 600 metres. So no chance of an inversion today!
The scenery was good (apart from a nearby sea of wind turbines) - rolling hills rather than jagged peaks - and I admired that as I yomped north east through clumps of cloudberry flowers, accidentally missing out the acclaimed summit of Creag Ghorm. I'll leave it for Gibson to do as my proxy at some future date.
After yomping through an area full of mountain hares and the occasional startled deer, a grassy track was picked up. This headed to an abrupt conclusion at the head of Glen Shee.
Another quite easy yomp took me into Glen Shee to another track leading past a farm to a roadhead beyond Little Glenshee.
By now it was raining again, but I'd had three hours of dry weather and the path past Loch Tullybelton and Drum Tick to the Glack was a delight.
The bird life on the lochans was impressive, with swans, ducks, geese, sandpipers and numerous other birds. I'm out of my depth identifying them all, but I know a black grouse when I see one, and there were plenty here.
Another destination for Ken and Anne.
I reached the Glack only to be surrounded by barking dogs. They were soon under the control of a local man, and the owner, a retiree from New York, arrived. They wanted to know what I thought of their expensive new metal stiles over the deer fences. There had been complaints that they are too steep. I found them fine, albeit steep. The American had owned the place for nine years and claims responsibility for turning it into a sanctuary for wildlife. But as I walked the final 3 km down a dead straight lane to Bankfoot, past numerous (probably justified for farm access) no parking signs, I wondered about the lack of parking facilities for visitors. The car park at the roadhead by Little Glenshee would need to be used to avoid the walk in from Bankfoot.
Bankfoot is a village approximately 8 miles north of Perth and 7 miles south of Dunkeld. It had a population of 1,136 in 2001. We usually rush past on our way north, but tonight it's my home.
I'm in the Bankfoot Inn, a restored 18th-century coaching inn which has real ales (I like the Hogs Back Ale), and a lounge bar with fire and a restaurant. All very convenient as it's still raining.
Until 1931 Bankfoot had a railway station, but now the trains take a different route north. So with the A9 also out of sight, it's a fairly peaceful backwater.
The summit of Meall nan Caorach
The long road from the Glack