Location: Cam Chreag, Perthshire

Grade: Moderate hill walk

Distance: 9 miles/14km

Time: 5-7 hours

Above Glen Lyon

It was only as I prepared to leave the car park at Innerwick in Glen Lyon that I realised I had left the map at home. But the sun was shining, the hills were clear and I knew the route from a previous visit so I decided to go for it anyway, sans map – the unpardonable sin. I could almost see the headlines – “well known hillwalker lost without a map.” However, my i-Phone had a full charge and had the appropriate maps downloaded onto it thanks to the excellent Viewranger.

I’ve never found Glen Lyon the most welcoming of glens, but thankfully many of the signs that told hillwalkers to go elsewhere appear to have been removed – one of the bonuses of the Land Reform Act. Indeed, the hamlet of Innerwick looks as though it’s now trying to attract walkers. There’s a car park with interpretive signs beside the start of the right of way that runs over the hills to Rannoch; and the little church is well worth a visit to see the ancient bell of St Adamnan.

The bell has been dated to 800AD and apparently lay in the churchyard of St Brandon’s Chapel in Glen Lyon for centuries before being rescued. St Adamnan travelled here from Iona, setting up Christian cells on ancient pagan sites of worship.

Reflecting on those ancient times, I climbed steadily towards Cam Chreag, a 2828ft/862m Corbett that neighbours the Munro of Meall Buidhe high above Loch an Daimh. I wanted some photographs of the loch and the wild land beyond it and remembered Cam Chreag as a pretty good viewpoint. I was also aware that the recommended route given in most guidebooks was less than satisfactory and a better route was possible by following the hill’s south-east ridge, returning to the start via its lowly neighbour of Meall nam Maigheach, a pleasant horseshoe of about 9 miles round the glen of the Allt a’Choire Uidhre.

This glen has a bulldozed track running up its length to a corrugated iron hut just below Cam Chreag’s eastern face, the guidebook route, but the first bonus of my horseshoe route became apparent as I topped out on Ben Meggernie, at the end of Cam Chreag’s east ridge. This little bump offers a fabulous view right down the length of Glen Lyon and from here it’s easy to understand why Tom Weir, and others, have described this as Scotland’s loveliest glen. On one side of the glen the peaks of the Ben Lawers range rise high into the sky, the pointed culmination of long, steep ridges. On the other side, the blunter Carn Mairg hills rise on equally steep-sided flanks. The glen itself is well wooded with the River Lyon flowing gently through.

Lovely as Glen Lyon is, I was more impressed with the views from Cam Chreag itself. To the west, the big Munros stood clear – Stuchd an Lochain and Meall Buidhe, one on either side of Loch an Daimh, with behind them the wild hill country of Mamlorn and Orchy. To the north-west, across Rannoch Moor, Ben Nevis was clearly visible. There’s plenty of wild land here, an empty place tamed only by the West Highland railway line until you reach the A82 road.

The north-east face of Cam Chreag gave an interesting descent down some old snow patches (no map and no ice-axe, I was really doing well) and argo-cat tracks took me over the rounded hump of Meall nam Maigheach back to the bulldozed track. Great spotted woodpeckers were drilling in the woods and oystercatchers were piping from the green flats below. I hadn’t seen another soul all day – one of the advantages of the Corbetts over the Munros.

Cameron McNeish


Map: OS 1:50,000 Landranger sheet 51 (Loch Tay & Glen Dochart).

Distance: 9 miles/14km

Time: 5-7 hours

Start/Finish: Car park at Innerwick, Glen Lyon (GR: NN587475).

Public transport: None to the start.

Information: Perth TIC, 01738 450600, www.walkhighlands.co.uk

Route: Start on a bulldozed track that runs W above the Allt a’Choire Uidhre. At end of forestry plantation leave the track and climb SW on to the ridge of Ben Meggernie. Follow this ridge NW to the top of Cam Chreag and its rocky summit. To descend, backtrack a little and drop down the steep NE face of Cam Chreag, avoiding the craggier sections of the slope. Aim for the red-roofed hut in Coire Odhar. From the hut follow an Argocat track over Meall nam Maigheach and descend by that hill’s SE ridge back to Allt a’Choire Uidhre and the track back to the car park.