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Dalnaspidal, Pass of Drumochter, Coire Dhomain, Sow of Atholl, Scotland.
[11.0 km] Thu 20 Apr 2023

Lat/Long: 56.832318, -04.222905
OS NN 64383 73391
 
As Iíd spent the night in the small car park near the old Dalnaspidal Railway Station site I was able to get an early start, which was needed as Iím driving home after the walk. I was on my way just before 6am under a cold clear sky. I headed north along the line of the old A9 road for about 2 km until I came to the entrance to the Dhomhain valley. I turned left down the track and under the Highland Main Line Railway and followed the track up to the river ford. The last two times Iíve been here it's been too deep and Iíve made a detour via the rail bridge. Today the water is low so I had no problems hopping across the boulders.

Sub zero in the Hidden Valley.
Heading west up the valley I came to the left turn that drops down to the bridge over the main river. This is the route taken by most people heading up Sgairneach Mhor as just over the bridge is a faint path heading diagonally up the mountain. Today Iím returning to the unnamed valley I call the Ďhidden valleyí. I followed the stony track up then turned right up a muddy quad bike track for a short way. I left it to head down to the left and to the entrance to the higher valley. I reached a quad bike track which goes part way up the valley but there is also a narrow path but no sign of any boot prints. I continued up to the site of a pond I saw in Nov last year. When I got here it had vanished completely. Last month it was little more than a puddle in the bottom of the basin. Further up I took a different way out of the valley.

Sub zero in the Hidden Valley.
I climbed a bank to the left to a high flat area with a faint path heading to the top head of the valley. My original plan was to head for a track to the SW but as it was such a nice day I decided to turn left and head NE up the steep slope of The Sow of Atholl. It was steep and rough at first but I soon came to the unmarked path and continued to the low summit cairn. There was clear sky all around and Schiehallion was clearly visible 20km away. The summit area is relatively flat with nothing to see other than the cairn.

Summit cairn on Sow of Atholl, Schiehallion on the horizon 20km away.

Looking east down Glen Garry


I headed SE to start my descent across the open hillside and started to descend to rougher ground. I was glad to reach the shooters track and impressive stone build shooting butts. I reached the main stoned track by the river and followed it back to the railway crossing and once across my car.

Nicely built sooting butt.

Towards Loch Garry.

Penstock wheels.
 
 
 
 
 
 
   
 
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