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Stùc a' Chròin from the south east - a brilliant route!

Stùc a' Chròin from the south east - a brilliant route!


Postby HalfManHalfTitanium » Sat Jan 29, 2022 9:53 am

Route description: Ben Vorlich and Stùc a' Chròin

Munros included on this walk: Stùc a' Chròin

Date walked: 20/01/2022

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This easy walk to a magnificent Munro summit has rewards out of all proportion to the effort. But there’s a dearth of recent TRs for the route.

So, for anyone interested, I have added details that may help you find the way at a couple of key places. But overall, there is a clear path, and route-finding is very simple. Here's the map.


our_route.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



Although it was January, there was practically no snow on the hills, and just a slight frost in the glens. I drove up the minor road in Callander that leads past the golf course and the start of the Bracklinn Falls walk, and onto the open moor. I parked in a space near a row of wheelie bins, where the road forks into two private roads to the two farms (637107).

The morning sky looked beautiful - the promise of a good day!

ImageIMG_5083 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Braeleny Farm, and its surroundings, aka Little House on the Prairie

ImageIMG_5093 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

ImageIMG_5129 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The track led me easily and quickly towards the hills, with Stùc a' Chròin looking fine in the distance.

ImageIMG_5133 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

TRs from a few years ago mention having to ford the river (or two!) because of a bridge collapse. There are now two new bridges to make life easier.

ImageIMG_5155 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Keltie Water and the upper glen.

ImageIMG_5176 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

As the track turned away from the river, I had my first view of Beinn Each.

ImageIMG_5201 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The track rises to the farm buildings at Arivurichardich. Here I left the track - going straight ahead in the photo below, into the old farmyard.

ImageIMG_5202 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

ImageIMG_5209 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

A faint path leads toward the ruined buildings ahead...

ImageIMG_5206 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

...but it is easier to go left, through this gap, onto an initially narrow but clear path.

ImageIMG_5211 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The path keeps level for a short distance, then rises to this prominent boulder.

ImageIMG_5234 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

This path is a delight. It's easy on the feet, and easy to follow, all the way to the final summit slopes of Stùc a' Chròin. It begins by contouring below a new-looking fence, with great views of Beinn Each...

ImageIMG_5245 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

...Ben Ledi above the reservoir below the farmyard...

ImageIMG_5232 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

...and the head of Gleann a'Chroin.

ImageIMG_5235 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The path led to a stile near a gate, then crossed a stream at this charming little ravine.

ImageIMG_5436 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The stream drains the Bealach Beag-Laraich, which is a broad area of peat hags. Beyond the ravine, the path goes a little uphill, alongside the stream, then sensibly turns left to avoid this soggy area. Instead, it climbs a short steep grassy bank, beyond which a steady plod took me to the rounded top of Stiol nan Tarbh (only named on the OS 1:25000).

The sky was now more grey. But this prominent rock near the 709m spot height was still a good place to pause and look around. The view was now much wider.

ImageIMG_5274 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The Forth valley, Dumyat and (far right) the Wallace Monument.

ImageIMG_5281 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Western giants - Cruach Ardrain, Stob Binnein and Ben More.

ImageIMG_5276 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The ridge from here was an easy stroll, following the fine path, past the odd interesting icy puddle, with Ben Vorlich and the grand eastern flanks of Stùc a' Chròin in view ahead. In the first photo, the distant hill beyond the bealach is Meall Ghaordaidh.

ImageIMG_5288 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

ImageIMG_5418 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

ImageIMG_5311 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

ImageIMG_5315 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The ridge (Aonach Gaineamach on the OS 1:25000) gives fast progress to where the final summit slopes of the hill start to rise more steeply, above the massive leaning boulder in the snow at the bottom right of the next photo. It was a good spot to stop and admire the winter sky. Although I could faintly see parts of the faraway southern uplands, my eyes were drawn to the distinctive outlines of Meikle Bin and tiny-looking Dumgoyne in the Campsies.

ImageIMG_5324 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Along the ridge, there had been tantalising glimpses of Lochan a'Chroin in its secluded basin. I decided to clamber up the contorted rocks on the left, to get a better view of it.

ImageIMG_5326 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Ben Lomond in the distance

ImageIMG_5342 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

I soon reached this prominent pointed rock, from which easy slopes led to the summit.

ImageIMG_5343 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

But, for anyone who has enjoyed the grassy path so far and wants the easiest way to the top, then take note of this boulder (the one with my sticks on it) in the photo below. It is by the path, at the very foot of the summit slope, near the big leaning boulder I mentioned earlier.

From here, go up the slope, following the easiest line on grass by zig zagging past the rashes of stones. The continuation of the path can be seen in the photo, just below the skyline and directly above the handles of my sticks.

ImageIMG_5404 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

As soon as you pick up the path again, you are nearly there - there is a fork in the path, and the right branch leads almost immediately to the summit cairn. The quartz stone made it look like a lighthouse as I approached it.

ImageIMG_5382 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Summit views

ImageIMG_5355 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

ImageIMG_5377 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

ImageIMG_5374 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The western cairn, with all seven of the Crianlarich munros (well, parts of them) visible beyond.

ImageIMG_5353 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The return to the car was easy, and the sun came out a bit as I descended. This photo shows, on the left, the ravine that I mentioned. The path, just beyond it, can also be seen.

ImageIMG_5428 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Looking back to Stiol nan Tarbh

ImageIMG_5434 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The reservoir again

ImageIMG_5444 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

Sunset near Braeleny Farm

ImageIMG_5459 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr

The end of a perfect day.

ImageIMG_5465 by Half Man Half Titanium, on Flickr
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HalfManHalfTitanium
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Re: Stùc a' Chròin from the south east - a brilliant route!

Postby jmarkb » Sat Jan 29, 2022 12:36 pm

Some lovely photos there! I am also a fan of this approach, done it a few times.

Your notes are very helpful - finding the start of the path at Arivuirichardich is not obvious! (I'm sure the path used to be marked on OS maps, but it seems to have been deleted?).

Other good options are to do the full circuit over Beinn Each for a longer day (the SE ridge is pathless but fairly easy going, and these days there is no river crossing issue at the end thanks to the new bridges), or descend past Lochan a' Chroin - there is a newish track on the S side of the Allt a' Chroin which leads back past the reservoir to the first bridge.
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Re: Stùc a' Chròin from the south east - a brilliant route!

Postby Sgurr » Sat Jan 29, 2022 2:40 pm

Looks a much better route than the one we took with our US friend in 2013.(He bribed himself to come once a year with the thought of a mountain). I had already climbed it twice, once solo and once when we were re-doing all my solo Munros(40 or so) so we could say we had done them all together. We went round Glen Ample from the norrth. Should have known, having had a great time on Beinn Each. NIce report.
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Re: Stùc a' Chròin from the south east - a brilliant route!

Postby Hillbeback » Sat Jan 29, 2022 6:40 pm

Tim,

Enjoyed your well detailed report and lovely photos. I climbed it many years ago by the "usual route" combined with Ben Vorlich.

Hopefully when I'm able to go up the hills once again l will certainly consider the route you did if l ever decide to climb it again.

Moira
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Re: Stùc a' Chròin from the south east - a brilliant route!

Postby KatTai » Sat Jan 29, 2022 8:38 pm

Looks like a nice route! How long was it distance-wise?
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Re: Stùc a' Chròin from the south east - a brilliant route!

Postby AndyHam » Sat Jan 29, 2022 10:54 pm

Excellent report. I've climbed Beinn Each and Ben Vorlich but on both occasions the weather prevented me carrying on to Stuc a Chroin. This route gives me a great alternative to going back over ground already covered.
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Re: Stùc a' Chròin from the south east - a brilliant route!

Postby HalfManHalfTitanium » Mon Jan 31, 2022 1:57 pm

KatTai wrote:Looks like a nice route! How long was it distance-wise?


About 5 1/2 miles each way - but it seemed less due to the good approach track (which could easily be done by bike), and the excellent path from the old farmyard onwards.

For many people on WH it would not be a full day - but I tend to go slowly with lots of stops to admire the view!

Tim
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Re: Stùc a' Chròin from the south east - a brilliant route!

Postby Dave Hewitt » Mon Jan 31, 2022 3:09 pm

HalfManHalfTitanium wrote:For many people on WH it would not be a full day

It's a good route as you say - and has become easier since the new bridges across the Keltie went in. The old (single) bridge was one of the victims of the August 2004 deluge that also took out the Edinample bridge, and there was a spell of something like a decade when it was a wading/fording job, quite problematic at times.

Just Stuc from Braeleny is really only a half day, as you suggest. I've gone from there plenty of times and a visit in November 2020 with a friend who is in his 70s only needed 4hr40 including 20 minutes for lunch on top and various other stops. Rather than treating it as a straight out-and-back, there's now the useful option of coming back along the high ridge for 20-30 minutes then heading down right into the main glen where there's a newish woodland track. It's pathless but pleasant off the ridge and the river can usually be crossed without much trouble - there's an island just below where the track starts. If doing that it makes for a very enjoyable amble out to the main track and back to Braeleny.

A longer - and I would say better - day from Braeleny is to take in Ben Vorlich as well. Head for Stuc then cross the ridge at the first main col and head down into the middle glen - a surprisingly remote and rough-feeling place. Then go up the back ridge of Vorlich which is a great route, and so round to Stuc etc. This is a considerably longer day of course but still not massive - I did it again in April last year and got round in 6h40 of which 70 minutes were spent sitting about. It took exactly three hours to the top of Vorlich without any rush.

I like doing the longer round on a nice spring day with a few bits of snow here and there. They're a great pair of hills, Stuc particularly, with lots of excellent routes from all sorts of directions - the masses who just trail round the standard circuit from Ardvorlich will have a good time, for sure, but they're also missing out on a lot.
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Re: Stùc a' Chròin from the south east - a brilliant route!

Postby KatTai » Mon Jan 31, 2022 3:29 pm

HalfManHalfTitanium wrote:
KatTai wrote:Looks like a nice route! How long was it distance-wise?


About 5 1/2 miles each way - but it seemed less due to the good approach track (which could easily be done by bike), and the excellent path from the old farmyard onwards.

For many people on WH it would not be a full day - but I tend to go slowly with lots of stops to admire the view!

Tim


Thank you :D Think I will have a go at this route at some point this year :D
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Re: Stùc a' Chròin from the south east - a brilliant route!

Postby Robertgee » Tue Feb 01, 2022 12:52 am

Great report, this was the way I went many years ago, near the start of my hillwalking career...nearby Ben Ledi was my first "proper" hill.
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Re: Stùc a' Chròin from the south east - a brilliant route!

Postby NeepNeep » Tue Feb 01, 2022 10:30 am

Looks like a great route and one I'll keep in mind. Ive done these hills a few times and like to do an A-B with two cars taking in Vorlick, Stuc and Beinn Each on the way. This is a great day out as the walk in is easy on good path, the scramble adds some spice (especially if you keep left looking up) and the route over the Corbett has a more remote feel about it. The descent off the final summit is steep and relentless though for tired legs.

Looking forward to taking some on this alternative route. Thanks for posting.
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Re: Stùc a' Chròin from the south east - a brilliant route!

Postby prog99 » Tue Feb 01, 2022 10:44 am

Good to see the non trade routes being done. Also good from Glen Artney with various combinations possible.
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Re: Stùc a' Chròin from the south east - a brilliant route!

Postby HalfManHalfTitanium » Tue Feb 01, 2022 9:47 pm

jmarkb wrote:Some lovely photos there! I am also a fan of this approach, done it a few times.

Your notes are very helpful - finding the start of the path at Arivuirichardich is not obvious! (I'm sure the path used to be marked on OS maps, but it seems to have been deleted?).

Other good options are to do the full circuit over Beinn Each for a longer day (the SE ridge is pathless but fairly easy going, and these days there is no river crossing issue at the end thanks to the new bridges), or descend past Lochan a' Chroin - there is a newish track on the S side of the Allt a' Chroin which leads back past the reservoir to the first bridge.


Thanks jmarkb!

Good point re the other options. I am a bit of a slow coach and was taking my time too, enjoying every step.

Many readers on WH would have ample time to do a different return route - which would make an even more varied day.

Tim
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Re: Stùc a' Chròin from the south east - a brilliant route!

Postby HalfManHalfTitanium » Wed Feb 02, 2022 6:48 pm

Hillbeback wrote:Tim,

Enjoyed your well detailed report and lovely photos. I climbed it many years ago by the "usual route" combined with Ben Vorlich.

Hopefully when I'm able to go up the hills once again l will certainly consider the route you did if l ever decide to climb it again.

Moira


Thanks very much Moira!

You would also enjoy, I’m sure, the Meall an t-Seallaidh route which I’ll post a TR for shortly.

Tim
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Re: Stùc a' Chròin from the south east - a brilliant route!

Postby HalfManHalfTitanium » Thu Feb 03, 2022 7:29 pm

Sgurr wrote:Looks a much better route than the one we took with our US friend in 2013.(He bribed himself to come once a year with the thought of a mountain). I had already climbed it twice, once solo and once when we were re-doing all my solo Munros(40 or so) so we could say we had done them all together. We went round Glen Ample from the norrth. Should have known, having had a great time on Beinn Each. NIce report.


Thanks Sgurr! This was my first time on this hill. In future, I am probably not up to doing the 2 Munros together, and the Beinn Each ridge looks quite an up-and-down job, so I will probably repeat this route next time I climb Stuc a’Chroin, I enjoyed it so much. If I have more time I might try to visit the Loch, it looked really interesting. In years gone by I’d have tried camping there - but these days I like a roof over my head!

Tim

Tim
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