Tucked away in a hidden corner of quiet Glen Lyon is a fabulous rock feature called The Praying Hands. I'd been desperate to visit since first becoming aware of it as the photos I saw online looked very atmospheric. A spring camping trip provided the opportunity to finally get there.
It wasn't a long walk to The Praying Hands but it was a pretty walk through springtime woods alive with bird song and the call of the year's first cuckoo. The track crossed the River Lyon by a vehicle bridge then traveled west before heading into the hills at the idyllic cottages of Balmenoch. A short pull alongside gently tumbling waterfalls soon had us standing below The Praying Hands.
I was mesmerised. It was such a beautiful spot with the rock perched precariously on a prominent plateau that gave a commanding view of this part of the glen. Their situation and their very appearance must have made The Praying Hands an auspicious place for the ancient people who lived close by. It was hard to drag ourselves away as they seemed to have some magical pull on us as well.
However the short walk to The Praying Hands was not enough to fill a weekend trip, so we continued further up the glen and pitched the tents at an inviting spot by the river. Freed from our heavier camping kit, we set out to climb the Corbett that rose above the head of the glen, Meall nam Maigheach. A shallow gully with craggy boundaries provided a pleasant pull onto the ridge and revealed a ring ouzel, also known as the Mountain Blackbird. It looks like a blackbird but has a necklace of white feathers and inhabits these higher, wilder places.
We sat a while on the top beside a little lochan that reflected the blue sky above before making a more direct descent to the glen. Eventually the faint outline of a path alongside the river guided us back to the tents. The short evening left enough time for cooking supper, sipping tea and watching the sun set behind Meall nam Maigheach.
A slow start the next morning allowed the rising sun to clear the ridge to the east and dry the dew from our tents. It was then a short amble back out though we couldn't resist their pull as we passed and made another visit to The Praying Hands.