Walk of the Week: Beinn an t-Sidhein, Strathyre

Beinn an t-Sidhein. Picture: Nick Drainey

Beinn an t-Sidhein. Picture: Nick Drainey

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BEINN an t-Sidhein dominates Strathyre; it is only 1,877ft high but its steep slopes make it a prominent feature of the landscape, and a wonderful viewpoint.

Sat on the pointed summit, Ben Vane is closest to hand but you are surrounded by mountains, with Ben Ledi, Ben Vorlich and Stuc a’Chroin all easily visible.

The steep slopes mean it is more than a stroll to reach the top, but the rewards are great – as well as the views, there’s a wonderful array of summer flowers currently in bloom higher up.

Note that there are a variety of ways to spell the mountain (some use the form Ben Shian) but Beinn an t-Sidhein is the way the Ordnance Survey does it.

DISTANCE 9 miles.

HEIGHT CLIMBED 1,750ft.

TIME 2∫ to 3∫ hours.

MAP OS Landranger 57.

PARK There is a Forestry Commission car park next to the A84 at the southern end of Strathyre.

IN SUMMARY Go left, along a path on the far side of the car park. Cross a wooden suspension bridge over the River Balvag then go right at a couple of marker posts with blue flashes on them. Go right again at a narrow road (don’t be tempted to cross and go on a path straight up into a forestry plantation).

Just after a primary school, join a path on the left and a little further on go hard left at a marker post, up into the forest.

A very steep path goes straight up to a track, where you go right. About 100 yards along this, a marker post indicates a wide path, left, back into the trees. The gradient is still steep as you go up through forestry. As views of Loch Lubnaig open up in a cleared area of hillside, the path bears right – ignore a path on the right and continue uphill.

The route then swings further right and you turn your back on the loch. (A smaller path does lead over a little burn before skirting a forestry plantation, but it is quite overgrown.) The main route becomes a mixture of grass, moss and heather underfoot as you carry on up. There are a number of minor paths at this point but basically you are going to the right side of the bulk of An Sidhean, ahead. Once at the base of the hill go right after a small rocky outcrop, up a muddy path – this leads up at a very steep gradient. Then, at a small bealach, a stony path goes right, to the top of An Sidhean, the best viewpoint of the walk.

From here, most are happy to begin their descent, but if you want to get to the very top drop back down and, before swinging round to the left, go right and follow a narrow path up to a stile in a fence. The true summit is about a third of a mile further on – the second rise you come to. Retrace your steps all the way to the start – there used to be more Forestry Commission trails to vary the route back but these have been closed.

REFRESH The Broch Café is next to the car park and The Inn is on the main road through Strathyre.

WHILE YOU ARE IN THE AREA In Balquhidder is Rob Roy’s Grave, by the old church. To the south, signed from Doune, you can see one of Scotland’s most beautiful birds of 
prey at Argaty Red Kites. argatyredkites.co.uk

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