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Dalnaspidal, Coire Luidhearnaidh, Sgairneach Mhor, Hidden Valley, Pass of Drumochter, Scotland.
[15.9 km] Wed 24 May 2023

Lat/Long: 56.832314, -04.222891
OS Grid ref: NN 64384 73391
Iíd spent the night in th small car park at Dalnaspidal and was woken by the dawn chorus around 4am. I stayed snoozing for a while then got up for coffee and breakfast so I could make an early start around 05:30am. The weather was gloomy and overcast with a chilly westerly wind as I headed across the railway level crossing towards Loch Garry. Before the loch I turned right up the adjacent glen and followed the track up to the bridge across the river. I continued up to the ford where Iíve crossed previously.

View of the fells from Baystone Bank.
I wasn't going that way today but continued up the left side of the river to the end of the stoned track. It's the first time I've been this far up the glen and I continued upwards initially following a quad bike track that eventually petered out. It was still relatively easy underfoot as I continued the climb up to a flat high point on the ridge. There was no summit cairn so I put a couple of stones on a boulder outcrop. I turned right to head to Sgairneach Mhor which was hidden in cloud above. I had to descend to a burn then start about 200 of climbing. It was easy at first but I soon started to cross a boulder field with no alternative route. The boulders cleared as I reached the grassy plateau area and when I reached the main path found it was also used by quad bikes, presumably from the estate management.The summit trig post at 994.8m (3,263ft) was surrounded by a low stone wall but I was now in cloud and didnít have any views. The wind felt cold and when I checked it was only just above freezing at +1degC.

Sgairneach Mhor 994.8m (3,263ft)

Sgairneach Mhor 994.8m (3,263ft)
I continued east to follow the main path down. Eventually I could see the way ahead and the main decent route. The unwary walker could easily go wrong here as the official path shown on the map descends to the left but isnít marked on the ground.

Glen Garry.

I wasnít going that way and continued down a bit to the right to the head of the hidden valley. This is the first time I've descended the valley and I found it easy and very enjoyable. I was reversing a route Iíve used to climb up the alley a few times previously.

Hidden Valley.
I was glad to have the whole place to myself and wander slowly around the stones. It dates from the late N

Down at the Coire Domhain I crossed the bridge and joined the main track down the glen. I met a couple walking up the track and stopped for a chat. They were English but heading north to where they lived in Scotland. I continued down to the ford which was easily crossed then on to the railway underpass. I was then on the old abandoned A9 route and followed it back to the car.

Dalnaspidal, railway,
old A9 and nw A9.
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