Date: Sunday 27th March 2011
A bit of an irritating start to the weekend – had to turn on Friday due to car problems and return to home. Saturday was an Edinburgh wander waiting for the car.
Released on Sunday we headed for Glen Artney –the B827 was a great drive – red kites above the car and a probable hen harrier.
Parked up at the Glen Artney church car park NN 761 161 booted up to the sounds of spring all around – curlews, lapwings and oystercatchers.
Had a serious discussion as to whether to climb a hill or walk low in the glen but the hills won out.
Walked back to Dalchruin to take the road down to the bridge at NN 718 170 – from there we carried on NE over the next bridge and then N on a track.
Head N on the east of the fencing for about 1km before turning west and climbing the deer fence at about NN 714 183 (there is a gate but it is heavily wired in).
From there a fairly direct line up Beinn Dearg.
Lots of dry grass on the approach was filled with the characteristic sound of escaping common lizards – only one appeared for long enough to see (but not photograph).
Carried on up the crag line for the summit.
Decent view – sat for a good 45 mins.
On a down side our first ticks of the year were crawling all over the gear – downer. 😦
Had a discussion about where to go – we’d liked the look of the horseshoe of Beinn Dearg descending Sron na Maoile, but to make a decent day’s walking we decided to cross to Mor Bheinn.
The NE ridge of Beinn Dearg is a cracking descent route.
Spotted a weasel scurrying for cover at the top of the ridge and stood for a while watching a pair of buzzards displaying with steep stoops and climbs.
Quick progress to the glen floor and then another fence climb over the deer fence NN 708 204. Steep but easy terrain takes you quickly to the bealach between Ben Halton and Mor Bheinn.
From there a bobbly 400m with a final steep pull to the summit of Mor Bheinn.
Still in glorious sunshine we sat for another long break taking in the views. Quite open views to the SE.
Dropped back to the bealach and then crossed the shoulder W of Ben Halton to drop down to a gate in the fence above the start of the quarry road (NN 714 198).
Quick progress back to the glen.
On the return started a bird from just to my right – heard the wing-snap but silent thereafter – through the binos could see plainly that it was an owl, which dropped into the heather. We were just pondering a wander that way when the second owl that was behind us took off!
This one (a male) flew around a bit and then climbed, flying high and occasionally hooting. The female then flew back and was flying around.
Had about 45 minutes of watching these Short-eared owls at fairly close range before we tore ourselves away.
The return was easy terrain all the way. Lovely mild night with a large variety of birds calling. If we’d had the tent we’d definitely have stayed.
Left the glen about 20 minutes after sunset. Stopped the car on the B827 to listen to the snipes calling – weird calls.
Odd for me to think that the hills in this area are labelled boring/unmemorable by not a few (led by Ben Chonzie in the munros). The sheer scope of wildlife on offer in the area near Loch Earn and Sma’ Glen makes these hills firm favourites for us. 8)
A great day. A return to Glen Artney is a must.