Another route from the pen of Ian McGregor.
OS map 57
Circular route from Brig o'Turk along Glen Finglas reservoir to Glen Buckie along Loch Lubnaig and back to Brig o' Turk.
There are a number of alternative parking spots and starting points dependant on whether you want more or less road work at the end of the route. The alternatives are to park near Kilmahog in the picnic parking spot, somewhere along the road towards Brig o' Turk, or in Brig o' Turk at the end of the public road.
Wherever you park, turn in at the Brig o'Turk Tearooms and continue to the end of the public road where you come to the start of the Water Board road up to the dam. Turn up to the right and enjoy a strenuous cycle or walk, dependant on your fitness, up the hill to the reservoir. Continue along the landrover track gradually gaining height, although as always, there are some wee descents to lose your hard-gained altitude.
You will soon come to a junction; the right hand option is signposted as the R.O.W. to Balquihider,the track that drops down to the right goes to the Finglas Water.
If time does not permit the full route out to Balquihidder and back to Brig o' Turk, the shorter option is to take the R.O.W. route but instead of turning off the track, at he Coll, keep following the track round Creag Faharsuinn and back to the R.O.W. junction.
This variation is not without its potential difficulties in times of heavy rain. The Finglas Water crossing may not be fordable giving the alternatives of going back the way you came, uphill, or bushwhacking along the trackless west shore to get back to the dam head.
From personal experience this bushwhacking option is not to be taken lightly, we were waist deep crossing what would normally be dry ditches running down the face of the hill into the loch.
Assuming the longer route is on, follow the R.O.W. signpost to Balquhidder, and climb up to the coll above Glen Buckie. The point to leave the landrover track is indistinct.
There are a few large stones that look like they are an embryonic cairn, just above the track. The landrover track continues on up and round Creag Fharsuinn at this point.
There is a wee burn which drops down parallel to the steep section of track you have just climbed; where the burn disappears onto the Coll the cairn can just be seen.
It is more common for this cairn to be hidden in mist than to be visible. The cairn is at map reference (519 140). The last clue is a dirty wet mark on the ground (i.e. the path!) heading towards the cairn.
Drop down into Glen Buckie by following this path.
Another odd but again difficult landmark to find is a little further on to the coll; this is two gates in the fence which crosses the Coll, the path going through one of them.
In Glen Buckie at map reference (512 170) cross the burn near an area obviously used by cattle as a gathering place. Pick up the landrover track on the other side of the burn and head down the Glen.
After a while your progress will be halted by a deer fence and a notice prohibiting your entry.
The R.O.W. is actually on the other side of the burn but progress down the landrover track is far easier, at least until you come to the fence.
Abandon the track and follow the fence up to the left until you can see that you are clear of the enclosure, climb over the deer fence (no stile)and make your way along the hillside above the enclosure. The enclosure continues all the way along the track to just above a cottage. When you are sure you are past the end of the enclosure climb over the deer fence, this time at a locked gate to rejoin the landrover track and continue out to Balinmore on tarmac.
Continue on to Balinluig turning right to Stoneslaney and Strathyre on single track road.
At Strathyre pick up the cycle track along the side of Loch Lubnaig and the river Leny to Kilmahog and your waiting transport.
This is a route where a modicum of navigational skill is required. The coll is difficult to find and in mist can prove more than difficult. You have been warned.
ian mcgregor, clackmannan