On Thursday last week, I climbed the 879m summit of Creag Uchdag with Chris, a colleague from work. Both of us have climbed all the larger and more well-known summits near Edinburgh, so we decided to climb something a bit more out of the way. The weather forecast was also not that great, and a less ambitious walk than we had orginally planned seemed like a good Idea. More anonymous and smaller hills are also free of the hordes of Munro-baggers that congregate on other hills, so we were guaranteed a peaceful walk.
The walk started from the village of Ardeonaig on the south shore of Loch Tay, which is a place that has a strong memory for me. In 1985 when I was at boarding school in Dunblane, a group of us (there were no adults) started a walk from here to Comrie through Glen Lednock, with the intention of camping overnight. This is not a particularly long or ardous route, and it is a right of way, but on the day we chose to do it was raining hard, despite it being in the summer. We were not properly equipped for the weather and by the time we got to the Loch Lednock Reservoir I was soaked through. We decided that the trip was a washout and walked on to Invergeldie. By the time we got there I was suffering with shivers and fatigue – probably the start of hypothermia. We had to knock on a door at Invergeldie and ask to use a phone to get our housemaster to come and bail us out. I got on the school minibus in a shambolic state but was largely cured with a hot shower back at school. The whole trip was a disaster really, but it did teach me a valuable hillwalking lesson and ever since then I’ve always made sure that I take the right kit with me and check weather forecasts before I venture into the hills.
The route we took last week on the walk to Creag Uchdag only followed the Glen Lednock right of way for a few hundred meters before heading in a south-easterly direction up towards Meall nan Oighreag. From here to the summit of Creag Uchdag the route was difficult, over boggy peat hags and slushy snow, and this made for a longer and more tiring walk than we expected. We walked back to Ardeonaig following the right of way along the Finglen Burn. It was a great walk with excellent views of Loch Tay and Ben Lawers, and the weather stayed dry and clear all day. We saw no other walkers all day and had the hill all to ourselves.
After the walk we went to the Kenmore Hotel for a drink and Chris showed me where Robert Burns had scribbled a poem directly onto the wall above a fireplace in the bar and which has been preserved since then.