Allan and I were up and about early after a comfortable night at Ben Alder Cottage bothy...and as expected the only sounds of footsteps and activity through the night were of the mouse, and not the ghost variety. We emerged into a gloriously bright morning...
...and soon after breakfast had our boats packed and ready to go. Both boats were somewhat lighter as we'd brought in firewood for the evening, some of which was left for the next occupants. One small advantage of fresh water paddling is that boats don't need to be lifted above a high tide mark, so there's less distance to carry them back to the water...though this isn't always the case....
As we paddled out of Ben Alder bay we got a great view back up the loch. There was hardly any breeze and our paddling seemed effortless; a nice contrast to the effort we'd had to put in the previous afternoon.
The first leg of our return journey along Loch Ericht took us across the loch and up the eastern shore to land in a bay north of Corrievarkie Lodge; another of the Ben Alder estate properties. As we passed a fairly narrow part of the loch the breeze got up considerably; something we'd note for later in the day. We changed into walking boots for a short diversion; first steeply up an estate road to a bealach, then a turn to the west ups very steep ground. It was a bit of a steep slog, but we think worth it....
...for the stunning view up the length of Loch Ericht. There's no enhancement in this image, the water was really this vividly blue in the crystal clear air (which we were sampling at a copious rate having climbed 500 metres in one steep lift!).
When we arrived at the summit of Stob an Aoinach Mhoir - at 855m/2805ft one of the "Corbetts" the views just kept coming.
Back down the loch into Perthshire, with the entrance to Ben Alder Bay on the right
And across the loch to Ben Alder itself - at 1148m/3766ft it's one of the highest hills around and visible from much of the central Highlands. The nearest transverse ridge links Ben Alder's plateau to Beinn Bheoil - it makes a superb round and possibly all the better because it's a fair day's walk just to get to the base of these hills.
To the south east the skyline was silhouetted in the morning sunlight. Schiehallion is prominent on the left - a pointy hill standing apart in a central Highlands view is pretty likely to be Schiehallion.
Instead of returning to the road, we took the north ridge off Stob an Aoinach Mhoir; appropriately the name is peak of the big ridge and kept to the crest to maintain the view for the longest time. We reckon comparatively few people climb this Corbett via the loch route, the vast majority will use the estate road from Loch Rannoch.
The last steep decent was rough and at the base of the ridge there's dense forestry to negotiate, but it made for a good descent. There's a good view down to Corrievarkie Lodge - our boats were in the bay near to the hydro station in the far right of this image.
It had been a very well worthwhile diversion from the paddling to climb the hill - the effort was more than well rewarded with the view - save the hill for a good day!