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Ben Alder via the Long Leachas Ridge

Ben Alder via the Long Leachas Ridge


Postby jester » Sun Jun 28, 2009 2:57 am

Route description: Ben Alder and Beinn Bheoil from Culra

Munros included on this walk: Ben Alder

Date walked: 28/06/2009

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Getting There
This route starts at Dalwhinnie which can be accessed by road or by rail. Parking is available near the level crossing at Dalwhinnie ( NN 633 846). If travelling by train and bringing a bike it is vital that you book your bike on board for your inward and outward journey, as cycle space is limited (usually two bikes per train). This does have the disadvantage that you are tied in to using particular trains, so ensure that you leave enough time for your return journey plus a bit extra for dealing with the occasional puncture. The track itself is not bad, but bumpy. With construction currently going on at Ben Alder Lodge the track is fairly busy, so beware of traffic!

General Description.
This route involves either a long walk or cycle in from Dalwhinnie (9.5miles). While it can be done in a day many people who make the effort to get in to this part of the country will stop over at Culra Bothy. Culra is a fantastic bothy with three rooms, two of which are equipped with fires. Coal is available in Dalwhinnie at the petrol station, or dead wood can be collected en-route to the bothy. For obvious reasons the bin lorry can’t get in to Culra, so please take your rubbish out with you. The ascent of Ben Alder is by a scramble up the Long Leachas Ridge.

Image
Ben Alder from the dam at Dalwhinnie

Dalwhinnie to Culra Bothy
Set off from the level crossing and proceed south west on the track, past the dam, where if the weather is clear you will get a great view of Ben Alder down the loch. Carry on past the “Monarch of the Glen” style buildings for around 5.5 miles until you reach Ben Alder Lodge. At this point the path heads uphill to a bridge. Just before the bridge is a gate, and on the right hand side is a side gate, handy if you have a heavy bike. Over the bridge, and follow the track over the brow of the hill and down towards Loch Pattack. At Grid NN 548 786 a small path shoots off across the moor, and this can be walked or cycled to the bothy, although in very wet weather it may be advisable to stick to the main track round Loch Pattack. Follow the path, which shadows the Allt a’ Chaoil-reidhe, to the new bridge at NN 525 764. This bridge is easily negotiated over the fast and deep burn, but unlike it’s predecessor is very difficult (if not impossible) to spot from a distance. From the bridge it’s only a few hundred yards south-west to the bothy.

Image
Leaving the track to go over the moor

It’s worth noting that from Culra looking towards Ben Alder two clearly defined ridges can be seen sweeping up, with a large corrie in between. Facing Ben Alder, the left hand ridge, although appearing longer, is the Short Leachas Ridge, while the one on the right is the Long Leachas Ridge.

Image
Ben Alder from Culra, the Long Leachas is on the right of centre

Culra to Ben Alder
From the bothy cross the Allt a’ Chaoil-reidhe at the bridge, and then head south-west along the south bank of the burn along a clearly defined path. This then heads south, uphill and Grid NN 515 744 is a good point to break off from the path and head towards the Long Leachas Ridge.

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There are ptarmigan on the ridge

Head across towards the ridge, dropping down to cross the burn at around NN NN 51086 74097, before moving up and onto the Long Leachas Ridge itself. This is a good scramble, and I found a few points which would concern me coming down, but it is all fairly well marked and it doesn’t seem long before you will have reached the top and reached a large rocky plateau. Skirt round the top of the corries and it’s a steady climb of a mile to the trig point which marks the summit.

Image
Looking back to Culra

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The top is pretty rocky

Ben Alder to Culra
It’s possible to return the same way, and there are a few options available here, Beinn Bheoil via the Bealach Breabag being one, but I prefer the route off to the west, as it is not so tricky.
From the trig point head west for about a mile, to the west side of a corrie.

Image
Stick to the west side of the corrie to avoid coming over here

Drop down, heading north, avoiding the rocky crags on the other side of the corrie, and over the top of Meall an t-Slugain and join the path which runs through the pass. At Grid NN 48052 73204 you should see, if you look carefully, the remains of a Wellington bomber, which crashed here in 1942. There was one survivor, who managed to get assistance at Corrour. At this point head north east along the Bealach Dubh, following a good path for just over three miles, following the burn back to Culra Bothy.

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Bealach Dubh

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The Long Leachas from the corrie marked Bealach Dubh

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Wreckage

Note
In poor weather, or for those who dislike scrambling, reverse the above section of route for the outward and inward journey.

Culra to Dalwhinnie
A reverse of the route in.
Last edited by jester on Sun Dec 09, 2012 1:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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jester
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Re: Ben Alder via the Long Leachas Ridge

Postby mountain coward » Sun Jun 28, 2009 11:49 am

The Ben Bheoil route makes a great return - I really liked that Munro and top. To say I'm a mountain coward, I didn't really find anything to be concerned about on the Long Leachas but thought the short one looked a bit mean! I kept thinking it would get bad when a bit more of the ridge reared up in front of me but there was always a path taking a comforting route up everything. I didn't think there was any exposure either. Just shows how everyone sees things differently I suppose - I know my mate Mark was surprised I didn't have any 'moments' while ascending it. Unfortunately I didn't take my camera as I was bothying at the time and didn't want the extra weight - got any photos?
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Re: Ben Alder via the Long Leachas Ridge

Postby jester » Mon Jun 29, 2009 10:33 am

Photos now included above.
Last edited by jester on Sun Dec 09, 2012 1:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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jester
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Posts: 477
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Re: Ben Alder via the Long Leachas Ridge

Postby Paul Webster » Mon Jun 29, 2009 10:58 am

Stunning photos jester - a great part of the Highlands. Heading up to Culra tomorrow with Bio-man so hope we get that sunshine!

I've done the Long Leachas years ago and remember it being a great route - hope to get a chance to do that again as well.
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Re: Ben Alder via the Long Leachas Ridge

Postby jester » Mon Jun 29, 2009 11:24 am

I'll see you tomorrow then, as I'm going too!
:D
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jester
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Posts: 477
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Re: Ben Alder via the Long Leachas Ridge

Postby Paul Webster » Mon Jun 29, 2009 11:24 am

:lol:
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Posts: 5182
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Sub 2000:113   Hewitts:133
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