Glen Finglas and the Mell
An early start this morning in glorious sunshine to head up to the Trossachs for a day walk that turned out to be bang on 17 miles.
The walk is a part linear, part circular – a walk past the Finglas Reservoir, to where the route splits, then a big circle climbing to over 600m, all on farm track. The walk itself starts near Brig O’ Turk, and while it is tempting to cut a little distance off the route by parking at the dam, it is really worth the extra effort starting just up the road at the “Glen Finglas Car Park”
So it was here I started, in an empty car park – not particularly early, starting to walk just before 9 – in glorious spring sunshine, with perfect light and not a cloud in the sky. Driving up over Dukes Pass, it was so tempting to stop and take a few snaps – and I regret not doing so now – a couple of magic moments were missed.
The first section of this path is fantastic, and shares a waymarked route with some woodland trust trails – there are plenty of shortish routes that can be walked from here. Climbing fairly steeply, the path pops out from the trees, rewarding you with panoramic views towards Loch Ard and beyond. It is easy walking, and there has been a generous allocation of benches along the path for those that want to sit and enjoy the quite fantastic views. Again, I was tempted, but with rather a long way to go, it was a case of snatch a few photos and press on.
Once on the hill, the path contours round into the Glen itself, again with plenty of viewpoints and seats – this really is a section of the walk not to be missed. Eventually it drops down to an access road for a farm (run by the woodland trust I think) that sits on the reservoir, mettled at first, then just a stony farm track. The walk along the reservoir is very pleasant, and with it being so still, the water made for some great reflections from the surrounding hills and sky. A number of Canada geese were wandering about on the track here, and started honking loudly as I approached, before flying off in perfect formation over the water (another photo opportunity missed). Near the head of the reservoir there is a junction, right takes you towards Balqhuidder and is signed “the Mell” and is the route I took as the clouds started encroaching on the perfect sky.
The glen here was not so interesting, and a little bland, so out came the ipod and on went (a rather eclectic) mix of music – much of which I don’t have a clue how it managed to get onto it! It does however wander along the lower slopes of Benvane, (the little brother of Ben Ledi), which towers above it to the right.
Once at the head of the glen the track climbs quickly, and looking back you begin to get a reward, the reservoir just peeping out at you in the distance. Views open up to the North as well, Ben More and the Stob looking like they were getting a bit of a pasting from the vanguard of cloud that seemed to have appeared from nowhere.
Dropping into Glen Finglas itself, after passing a cairn that marked the high point, again was a tad bland, although some grand views began to open up over the reservoir as the track contoured round its upper slopes.
Once the reservoir was in sight again, it was a very enjoyable tramp to complete the circuit and return along the outward route. Looking back though presented the sight of a rather large cloud, spewing its contents over Glen Finglas and heading at speed in my general direction. Out came the waterproofs, away went the camera, only for it to pass quickly and the sun to appear.
It was probably inevitable then, that when I gave into the excessive heat of having the cag on – it started raining heavily – all the way back to the car.
Day Rating 6.5/10
The good bits are great, the not so good bits are meh! Worth it for the views at the top of the Mell and over the reservoir. However the first mile or so is worth doing on its own. The weather made it a good day – just a pity the sun didn’t hold on to the end. Hey-ho!
Plenty of options for different walks here – Benvane or Ben Ledi are easily accessible, although it is a bit of a walk in.