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Dalwhinnie, The Fara, Ben Alder Lodge, Loch Ericht, Scottish Highlands.
[22.1 km]  Sat 19 Oct 2019

Lat/Long: 56.935663, 04.245607
OS Grid ref:
NN 63458 84954
There was a lot of overnight rain. I left the Schiehallion Road and drove to the A9 and the car park by Ballsporran Cottages. I had breakfast here then drove on to Dalwhinnie. It was still dark so I had a look at the railway platform to take a photo. The guide notes I was using said limited parking was available near the level crossing but signs along the road say residents only.

Dalwhinnie Rail Station
I left my car by the railings in another area of rough road. There was light drizzle as I set off over the level crossing and along the estate road. I came to the Gate House Estate Building but there was nobody about. Then I passed another empty estate building before reaching the point where I left the road to start the steep direct climb up the hillside towards The Fara. There is no path shown on the map and no marker sign to show the start of the route. It was steep and very wet at first with many tree roots in the way.
Tree roots on the climb

Fara Cairn

Small Tarn near the ridge
Higher up the going became easier underfoot. I came to the top edge of the tree line where the gradient eased a bit. I then followed and old post and wire fence line where higher up it joined a substantial stone wall that took me steeply up to the huge Fara cairn. It wasn't quite on the summit. There was misty at first and cold at 0degC. Slowly the cloud blew away and I had some hazy views at first that slowly improved. My route now headed SW along a long ridge heading into the distance.
View south to Loch Ericht
I couldn't see the full length as it was a series of climbs. Coire Anaic, Meal Cruaidh. It was short grass underfoot and mostly very easy walking. The views increased steadily with good views down to Loch Ericht. I was surprised to see a solo figure approaching towards me. We said a short good morning as we passed. He must have started early to have reached that position from the south. Over the final rise I started an easy descent which wasn't too steep. A wide vista was in front with Ben Alder away in the distance mostly in cloud.

Ben Alder gatehouse

Ben Alder
Below was the Loch and Ben Alder Lodge buildings mostly obscured by trees. Above the tree line was a deer fence but following it to the right was a gap where a gate had been. The gate hadnít been fixed for a while so the fence isnít doing anything. A short steep descent took me to the estate road. I came to the impressive gate house to the main Ben Alder buildings. All gates were closed and no access.
Gate house
Higher up the path I came to

Loch Ericht
I was surprised to see that I had a full signal for my phone and 4G data connection. As I walked the 5miles back along the estate road I kept a lookout for a mast but couldn't see one. The weather was changeable with some sunny patches. A few estate vehicles passed both ways. Back at the car it started to rain again. I drove to the 3.5miles to the car park by the A9 at Balsporran
Forestry machinery
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