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The third day of our trip based in Pitlochry - what to do that Ruth hadn't already done? Well, a few years before she'd climbed the two Munros above Loch an Daimh which are usually climbed together - Meall Buidhe and Stuchd an Lochain. The problem was that it was in very poor visibility and after studying guidebooks and maps later on she was pretty sure they had never got to the real summit of Meall Buidhe. Not sure exactly how many sleepless nights she had had over this, but this was clearly a good opportunity to put her conscience at rest. She was very happy to do both of the Munros again, especially since it looked like another beautiful sunny day, with no visibility problems whatsoever.
A bit of hydro-electric history. The Loch an Daimh Dam was constructed in the 1950s at the same time as the two dams in Glen Lyon, at Lubreoch and Stronuich. The result was that Loch Lyon, previously quite a small loch, grew much bigger, and the two small lochs here in Gleann Daimh, Loch Daimh and Loch Giorra, were joined into one larger loch. The proper name of the dam is apparently the Giorra Dam, while the loch is marked on the OS map as Loch an Daimh.
So off we went on the long drive to Glen Lyon again, this time continuing all the way to Loch an Daimh. We didn't actually set off walking until ten to eleven, climbing Meall Buidhe first. It was mostly a long gentle climb, very nice in the sunshine although there was some cloud around as well.
Climbing towards Meall Buidhe
Looking west along Loch an Daimh
A lochan in Coire Beithe
Looking over to Stuchd an Lochain
Approaching the summit ridge of Meall Buidhe
Stuchd an Lochain
We had the hills pretty much to ourselves, although there was a couple up ahead of us whom we passed as they were coming back along the summit ridge of Meall Buidhe. On the first part of the southeast ridge there are three cairns, which we soon spotted - one of them is ridiculously large, but none of them mark the actual summit of Meall Buidhe which is some distance out along the ridge away from the loch. This was where Ruth's party had gone wrong last time in the mist - they had visited all three of these cairns and decided that one of them must have been the summit, but they had never made it out along the ridge to the real summit.
There was no mistaking the summit today. We sat there for at least half an hour having our lunch and enjoying the views.
Meall Ghaordaidh and Stuchd an Lochain from the summit
The video got cut short because my camera ran out of memory, but the hills visible at the very end are of course the Lawers group. The hill that I identified as "possibly Beinn Heasgarnich" is in fact Meall Ghaordaidh. Beinn Heasgarnich is to the right of the summit of Stuchd an Lochain.
It was time to get going again - we still had another Munro to do. The descent back down to the dam seemed pretty quick, but we'd had a late start and we didn't start out for Stuchd an Lochain until about twenty past two.
Looking along Loch an Daimh
South shore of Loch an Daimh
The dam from the south
In contrast to the ascent of Meall Buidhe, Stuchd an Lochain is a bit of a slog, especially the steep section to get up onto the ridge. Here we are having a snack stop to give us a bit of energy on the way up. Incidentally, the hill in the background is Meall a' Choire Leith at the northwest end of the Lawers Ridge. At the bottom of the ascent we had noticed an old bicycle - a bizarre-looking contraption with rusty extra parts welded to the handlebars. We met the owner as he was coming down the steep section, an eccentric character whom Ruth suggested was probably a lecturer from Edinburgh University - well she works there so she would know better than most! This by the way was still a university holiday.
Looking over the loch to Meall Buidhe
Stuchd an Lochain up ahead
Not having studied the map properly in advance, we were a bit surprised by the unexpectedly large dip in the ridge. This seemed like a bit much extra climbing.
Looking back along the ridge
Lochan with Ben Lawers beyond
Lochan nan Cat below the summit
Despite the unexpected dip the ridge walk was actually very pleasant and the last pull up to the summit wasn't too strenuous either.
Lochan nan Cat from near the summit
Looking back from the summit
We sat at the summit of Stuchd an Lochain for a while too. There were still beautiful views all around, including of course the view down to the lochan which gives the mountain its name.
Looking southwest to Beinn Heasgarnich
On the way down we made sure to go over the subsidiary Top, Sron Chona Choirein, which involved hardly any detour at all. The steep section was pretty quick coming down and finally we got back to the car again just after six o'clock.
Looking west along Loch an Daimh
Descent by fenceposts
Looking north across the loch
The slopes and the loch
The dam from the descent
The dam with Meall Buidhe beyond
Back at the car again
The weather was still holding out with beautiful evening sunshine as we drove back down Glen Lyon. We arrived back at the hotel to find that Mum was getting hungry waiting for us! We had a bar meal in the hotel again and we even had time for a last game of Scrabble although we didn't get to bed until about eleven. Ruth and Mum were returning to Edinburgh the following day while I was planning to drive to Glen Muick and camp. I was hoping to climb Lochnagar on the Thursday and perhaps Mount Keen on the Friday.