Two short routes, the same starting point, which way first?
The car park is right in the middle of both of these hills which flank either side of Loch An Daimh. Which one first will depend on if you are sure you will do both or not. If you know that you’ll do both then it really doesn’t matter (but I’d go with Stùc an Lochain). But if you are setting out on your first munro, perhaps you’ve brought kids with you or someone that you’re unsure how far they will walk. Then Stùc an Lochain is certainly the first one to do. Why?
It’s the slightly tougher of the two, so if you were to do Meall Buidhe first and then have slightly tired legs, by the time you’d get to the start of Stùc an Lochain you’d be questioning completing it.
For example I had two of our kids with me and by the start of the Meall Buidhe the younger one was complaining/slowing down occasionally. But it was OK as the gradient is much more easy going, so progress was always being made – even if slowly. Had it been the other way round I don’t think she’d have kept going.
- Height – 960 m and 932 m (combined ascent 1269 m) – Stùc an Lochain and Meall Buidhe
- My Time – 11 hours (with children)
- Season completed – late spring
- Difficulty – 3 / 10
- Weather – Very good. High levels of cloud, not too hot or too cold.
- Just want to see the photos to get a feel for the hike – click here
- Route Map
Minor tip: as I missed the turning while heading along the minor road, I ended up at Loch Lyon…! So as you’re driving along keep an eye out for a small sign with “Lochs Estate” on it. See photo. It’s up that road.
Stùc an Lochain
For both hills starting at over 400 m, is a real gain which should easily enable both. So your in the car park, head down the road to the dam and there is a gate. It may be the case that it isn’t always locked – but it was for us. Annoying, but not hard to get over. Shame it’s locked and there certainly didn’t appear to be a means for walkers to get passed without using it. Once over it, you carry on through the trees until you reach the dam itself.
Head down the path until you reach a small cairn which marks the path to head up.
From here the path/route is a little on the steep side. The path can be ‘missing’ in parts, and others the ground very much eroded. But if you carry on in a fairly diagonal upward direction you’ll soon see that you’ve gained a fair bit of height and the views Glen Lyon start to be clearer.
Should the weather be wet then the ground could well be boggy/muddy, but for us it was pretty dry. As a point to the ground conditions, we only found out our son had outgrown his hiking boots before we went, but using sturdy trainers for him was fine.
The gradient levels off a little at around 800 m, then the first plateau section follows shortly after. By now you will be getting treated to views such as this – looking down Glen Lyon.
A few more hundred meters walking in a southerly direction along what is now fairly solid ground, with a slight gain in height will get you almost level with the summit. See the image below of the photo looking west towards the summit. Awesome views.
You can see that the ground is solid and the route ahead is pretty flat. Enjoy the views while walking, you can see for many miles around. You’ve got Ben Nevis on the north and Ben Lomond to the south, Ben Starav to the west and Schiehallion to your east. Views are brilliant.
The route back is just the same, which on a day like we had is just great.
Meall Buidhe (Glen Lyon)
The path and route to the summit of Meall Buidhe isn’t as obvious as many hills and munros I’ve done. I dare say that if the weather was really bad, then going off track would be fairly easy to do with this hill. It’s a gradual increase, and yes in places the track is very clear but in others the exact route is a bit of a, hmmm lets just go up. You’re not going to get wildly lost, you just need to head in an upwards trajectory and then the way is clear. But a map is still definitely required! There is next to no difficult sections – below is about as ‘difficult’ as it gets.
Underfoot, the start is a hard track then you veer of to your right and uphill. At no point does it become steep, but certainly up at the 900 meter level there are spots where if you navigated incorrectly then you’d know about it. But once up at that level the path or worn out ground is clear.
Overall the route is good, and not boggy. So much so that if you were to take family, kids, people that are new to hiking that perhaps do not have hiking boots then a pair of sturdy trainers would be more than enough for these hills in the summer months when it’s drier. Certainly didn’t come across any boggy parts.
The views as you climb looking at Loch an Daimh are beautiful. If the weather is good then you’ll be able to see for miles, all the way up the Gleann Daimh.
The top portion is reached once you hit just above 900 m, after that it will be roughly a kilometre fairly flat walk to the summit. It’s great underfoot so you’ll be able to motor on all this path. If you’ve got the time and the energy, you can always do that extra distance to the minor summit of Garbh Mheall. You drop down a little and then back to 912 m. This will give you excellent views towards Loch Rannoch and Rannoch Moor.
The views are amazing from the top of Meall Buidhe! Sun was getting lower, visibility couldn’t have been better. Click on the below images for full sized photos.
After that, you head back the way you came. No deviation required
Final view of the dam at the end of a beautiful day