Sron a Chlachain and Meall Clachach

By Colin Hogarth

Killin sits on the northern fringe of the new Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. There's no shortage of good walking country in these parts and this route leads up to one of the best local viewpoints, offering excellent vistas over Loch Tay and to the Ben Lawers range and Tarmachan ridge.

A good path climbs from Breadalbane Park in Killin to the top of Sron a Chlachain. For those looking for a bit more of a challenge and who can navigate safely over open ground, it is possible to continue over the moor - with no path - to Meall Clachach and make a circuit of the route, descending into Glen Lochay. This is best done when visibility is good.

Set off from the hall and head west across the park to a wooden stile spanning the fence at the back of the park. Cross and enter an open field, used for animal grazing. Climb towards woodland above but bear gradually left as you go to reach a grassy ride in the bracken. A path leads up through this to a wooden stile spanning the fence at the top of the field.

Once over, a good path climbs quite steeply through oak woodland, pink foxgloves adding a tint of colour to the forest floor. The way leaves the trees higher up and continues to rise through bracken, passing under two electricity pylon lines.

The ascent remains strenuous, although the path does flatten off for a short way higher up. However, there is more climbing ahead, the route rising to some large rocks on top of a knoll, another good viewpoint.

From here it dips briefly, crossing a patch of ground that can be boggy. It then climbs again, weaving a course up through crags and over open ground to a prominent cairn. A little way on from here, a much larger cairn marks the summit of Sron a Chlachain. Loch Tay and the Tarmachan ridge dominate the view east and the Ben Lawers range can also be seen. To the south, beyond the heavily wooded slopes of Beinn Leabhainn, is the head of Glen Ogle.

Over to the west is Meall Clachach, the next peak on this route. There is no obvious path to follow, but the going is not too difficult, crossing a moor of heather and grass - just watch out for patches of mossy marsh. To assist with navigation, keep your eyes peeled for a line of rusty fence posts that come in from the left about 500 metres from the top of Sron a Chlachain. These run all the way to Meall Clachach (although they don't go to the actual summit). As you near the peak, the posts dip into a flat and particularly boggy swathe of land immediately before the ascent begins and it is worth bearing right and staying on more solid heather-clad ground. Climb over open ground to the summit cairn.

From the top, descend north-east over open ground to pick up the burn that rises in the boggy ground to the east of the peak. The stream sits in a narrow rocky gorge, a handful of rowan trees poking up. Stay on the west side of the burn and carefully descend the grassy slope. Where the ground flattens out below the gorge, cross the water but stay close to the burn until a muddy path is joined further down. The way is not particularly distinct but it leads to the more obvious remains of what was an old peat road, the edges of which are built up with rock. Follow this as it descends to a gap in a stone wall. Cross a fence here and continue on the old peat road as it twists down, entering trees below. There are a few muddy patches but on the whole the going is good.

Stay with it until you near the Glen Lochay road, then head across the open field towards the red-brown corrugated iron roof of a long cottage. Opposite this, a gate in the electrified fence leads on to the public road.

The building is a rare surviving example of a traditional longhouse. In the care of the National Trust for Scotland, it is open to the public from May through to September.

On the single-track road, turn right and follow it past an electricity sub-station. Less than a kilometre from the longhouse, it joins the A827. Go right here and walk along the pavement into Killin.


Distance 5 miles/8km.
Map OS Landranger sheet 51.
Start Breadalbane Park, Killin.
Parking: Free parking next to the village hall, adjacent to Breadalbane Park
Grading The ascent of Sron a Chlachain is short but strenuous and there is a good path all the way to the top. The route from here on to Meall Clachach is over open ground with no path and is best done by experienced hillwalkers. The descent from Meall Chlachach into Glen Lochay requires some careful route finding and the terrain is rough. There is sheep grazing over much of the route and the farmers request no dogs. From August 12 there may be grouse shooting on the moor between Sron a Chlachain and Meall Chlachach - check at Killin TIC or go on a Sunday, when there is no shooting.