Happy Mondays: Week 3 - Running (ahem ... walking) up Schiehallion.
When I was growing up we lived on the Western slopes of the Sidlaw Hills from where Schiehallion appeared as this stunning conical-shaped mountain amongst the plateaux of the Eastern Grampians. It's almost got mythical status because it was so different to the other mountains. When I was younger I thought it was a volcano because of it's conical shape. Despite it's mythical status, I've never climbed it before, so what better microadventure for week 3 than to go and run up Schiehallion.
It's positioned right at the heart of Perthshire, and pretty much stands alone as an isolated hill. It's 1,083 m high, but you start climbing from about 600 m on the eastern side. The mountain is rich is flora and fauna on the lower slopes because of the limestone rocks, but the upper slopes are covered in quartzite blockfields, a relic of colder times when cryogenic processes broke up the quartzite bedrock. The hill is also famous for some scientific experiments where they tried to work out the weight of the world from the gravitational attraction of the mountain.
It is also one of the most popular Munros to climb and can have to 20,000 people climb it per year. It was certainly busy yesterday. There must have been at least 50 people on the hill - even on a Monday! It's not a hill where you will feel you are in the wilderness, but if you like company, then this is the hill for you.
It's not a long or a hard walk/ run. The newish path that leads you up to the ridge line makes the walking easy, but after that the constructed path is replaced by the quartzite blockfield. It's not a challenging or difficult walk over the blockfield, it's just really awkward, and it's easy to see why people call it an ankle breaker. It is difficult to follow the path on the way up and I found myself meandering across the plateaux trying to find the path. It's much easier to follow on the way down.
The views from the top are stunning. You see all the western Munros including Ben Nevis across Rannoch Moor and south to Ben Lawers. I was able to spot some future microadventures, with the hills immediately to the south.
If I hadn't been filming, I think the whole round trip would have taken me about 3 hours, so perhaps it's a 5 hour round trip for people who are just walking. I headed back home via Aberfeldy and stopped in at the amazing Glen Lyon Coffee Roasters for a bit of a chat. Their coffee is great and I can thoroughly recommend the Guatemalan coffee.
Now, what to do in Week 4? Any suggestions are always welcome - www.morroccomedia.com