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Bealach nan Corp – A Highland Corpse Road

August 6, 2014

I am rather fond of walking corpse roads, those ancient tracks along which people long ago carried their dead. There are several famous ones in the Lake District and, of course, the Lych Way across northern Dartmoor.

Bealach nan Corp - (C) John Bainbridge 2014

Bealach nan Corp – (C) John Bainbridge 2014

Finding ourselves back in the Trossachs, we wandered up through the Braes of Balquidder, to Inverlochlarig – passing the house where Rob Roy died. An important path in more ways than one. Dorothy and William Wordsworth, in the company of Coleridge, walked this way from Glen Gyle to visit Balquidder, as did James Hogg. William Wordsworth used the area as an inspiration for his poem “The Solitary Reaper”.

Bealach nan Corpach (c) John Bainbridge 2013

Bealach nan Corpach (c) John Bainbridge 2013

It was a fine, mostly dry day and rather hot, though there was a light shower when we were half way up the glen. We saw no deer, and the birds – apart from Wheatears – were curiously absent.

Some good heights in this area – Ston a Choin (the mountain of the cloven hoof)  – and the mighty pointed peak of Stob Binnein.

Walking the old corpse road is a very pleasant and remote walk, like something out of Kidnapped. We saw no other walkers, except at the start and they were clearly heading for the Munros.

Coming back to Inverlochlahrig there are grand views over Loch Voil, for a moment quite blue in the sun, and then dark as the clouds swept in.

We wandered back down to Balquidder to visit once again the grave of Rob Roy.

Interesting to walk a track he would have known so well.

Rob Roy's Grave (c) John Bainbridge

Rob Roy’s Grave (c) John Bainbridge

7 Comments leave one →
  1. August 6, 2014 5:38 pm

    What beautiful photos. I wasn’t familiar with the phrase “corpse roads” – interesting.

  2. August 7, 2014 8:55 am

    I’ve come across one of these in Cornwall. Called a ‘coffin’ route down there. Had handy flat stones on the top of stiles where the coffin could be rested as the bearers clambered over.

  3. August 7, 2014 9:10 am

    Interesting – I had never heard of corpse roads either. Something to look into!

  4. August 7, 2014 2:47 pm

    Worth looking at the Coffin Stone on Dartmeet Hill on Dartmoor.

  5. August 7, 2014 2:55 pm

    A good example above Haweswater in The Lakes, and between Grasmere and Ambleside – Park at Rydal church and walk up the lane taking the first path on the left.

  6. August 12, 2014 8:55 am

    Thanks for the tips! I will try the Scottish one above first as it’s more local.

  7. August 12, 2014 10:09 am

    I think there are a number of others. Both longer routes and short parish ones as well.

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