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Dalnaspidal, Pass of Drumochter, Coire Dhomhain, Hidden Valley, Sow of Atholl, Scotland.
[11.5 km] Wed 25 Jan 2023

Lat/Long: 56.8305180, -4.2213910
OS Grid ref: NN 64551 73205
There had been overnight rain and it was quite windy as I left my camp and drove via Trinafour to the rail level crossing at Dalnaspidal off the A9 near the pass of Drumochter. I waited for full daylight before setting of after 9am. The wind was strong and gusting so I took the Drone out of my pack and left it in the car.
I headed north along the old abandoned A9 that is now a cycle route. I was walking into a headwind and for part of the time it was raining. I turned left at the track that runs under the railway and followed it to the entrance to Dhomhain Valley. The river to my left was running high as I expected and I wondered what the ford would look like. When I got there it was too deep to use the stepping stones but there were 2 smaller tributaries feeding it.
The ford was too deep.
In the past Ive been able to jump across the first but today it was too high and wide. I followed the river bank to the railway where I was able to cross by the bridge then back down to the second tributary which was much smaller and easy to hop across. There was a log laid across it to hold an animal trap cage. t looks like it was set to catch stoats or similar. The trap was sprung but there was nothing in it. I continued up the track and thankfully the weather began to clear but the wind continued gusty. At the first left junction I descended to the river and crossed the bridge then up the other valley side. Higher up the stoned track gave way to just muddy ruts caused by the quad bikes used for access. The entrance to the hidden valley was up ahead and eventually I realised Id climbed a bit too high and had to descend the steep valley side to reach the minor path at the bottom.

Heading up the valley track.

Small loch in the Hidden Valley.
The river was too high to get across to have a closer look. Further upstream I had to make some detou.

Head of the Hidden Valley.

Looking down the Hidden Valley.
It was a delightful walk up the valley but the strong wind meant Id made the right decision leaving the drone behind. There were several snowfields to cross but they were firm enough to pass over without problems. At the head of the valley I emerged to nice sunny views but the -1 degC temperature and measured wind speed of 18 m/s (40mph) meant it was no place to hang around. I turned NE to start the steep climb up the Sow of Atholl.

Across the Hidden Valley to Sgairneach Mhor.

Summit of Sow of Atholl.
The strong wind made it difficult going for a while but then I came across a narrow path which made it much easier. Eventually the gradient eased and I reached the low summit cairn. I was treated to some great views. I turned SE to start my descent across a couple of large snowfields before joining a wet quad bike track. Following it down I stopped to admire some of the shooting butts that were made of dry stone walling and very well made. I reached the main track and had an easy walk back to the car.
Shooting Butt.
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