I had always wondered if an approach up the 'longest, loneliest and loveliest glen in Scotland' (Walter Scott) would be better? Thankfully I didn't need to drive all 34 miles of it, but did have to cross from Killin to the Bridge of Balgie over the high pass that is the Lawers access road. This ascends to over 550m, and can be very troublesome in winter conditions. I took my 4x4, and though it was icy and covered with a light dusting of snow, it was fine, taken slowly.
Eventually, (this route may be short and sweet, but the drive isn't), I arrived at the far end of the public road, just below the dam and hydro station. Parking so as not to block the narrow road or any gateway, I set off on foot up the track on the north of the loch. I had read that you can use a MBK for the 6k ride to the fording of the Allt Meran, and now having walked it both ways, I would recommend doing so - I was just too lazy to dig out the bike, load it up, and moreover clean it afterwards, so taking to Shank's pony, I marched it in about 75 mins.
The stepping stones over the one and only burn crossing, the Allt Meran, are excellent. Real big ones, testament I suspect to how high the water can get. I would think if it was ripping through and you were teetering on the boulders, a good set of poles would be more than welcome, probably essential.
From then on, it was just follow my nose up. I had spotted on the map a nice easy to follow burn, and that did have the least-wet ground. It was easy-angled, but relentless, and totally off-piste. Typical Scottish terrain, boggy and strength-sapping. As I got higher, the snow increased, and freezing level was around 800m, where the snow was like icing on the grass.
As you approach the summit, it narrows nicely, with a lovely coire to your right, so is a much better ascent than the featureless slog from Auch in that respect too. There were cornices building on the leeward lips of the coire, and it had a really wintry feel up there. I waited a few moments hoping for a view, but it was cold, so I made short work of the descent, back the way I came. The soft ground made it very quick indeed, and I was soon back at the burn.
After a snack and a tea, it was just the tedious slog back, (I detest track walks out, but what can you do?). As I said, a mountain bike would make it a lot easier.
A nice day out, a nice tick, a nice recce, a nice alternative route. And back in time for my dinner.....what's not to like?