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Sunday, 28 August 2016

The 2016 Challenge, day 4: Tyndrum to Killin (3)

We followed the West Highland Way - which was easy walking - as far as the ruins of St Filian's Priory, and then we turned left off the Way and headed up the hill.

John's route - one which had never occurred to me when I had studied these maps in the past, but which I have to say struck me as pure genius - was to climb to about 500 metres (essentially, the minimum necessary to pass the top of the pine plantation) and then to contour round into grid square 3929. From here we would angle down across the open hillside to the shielings by the head of Lochan Chailein and collect the track to the Glen Lochay road. It was a very fine piece of route planning which produced, I must say, a most enjoyable piece of hillwalking. Indeed, I think that morning spent contouring round the open hillside with John Hooper may well have been one of the most enjoyable pieces of walking I have ever done, on the Challenge or not.

But first ... we had to ascend to 500 metres; and before we could do that, we had to cross the railway line. There is a choice, at this point, of a level crossing or a bridge. We opted for the level crossing, only to find ourselves hemmed in by fences. We could have crossed them in all probability, but it seemed to make more sense to go about, recross the railway line using the level crossing, and then to use the bridge. To get to the bridge we had to cross a little stream in a deep defile, but this was not particularly problematic. And then it was just a steady old haul up the hillside.

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