Opportunity Knocks: An evening on Meall Odhar & Beinn Chuirn
by Graeme D » Tue Jun 21, 2011 11:09 pm
Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn Chuirn
Grahams included on this walk: Meall Odhar
Date walked: 20/06/2011
Time taken: 4.5 hours
Distance: 13 km
Ascent: 995m12 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Debbie had taken Ailsa and herself off to her mum's for a couple of days so yours truly was left home alone with the dug! Might as well take the opportunity to fit in some evening hill time. I'd just be sitting at home watching TV and drinking beer otherwise!
I had a few notions, many of which I dismissed during the course of the day as being too fanciful and, not to put too fine a point on it, long for a Monday evening after a day at the chalk face. If only I didn't have to get at least some sleep before showing up for work again on the Tuesday morning. It was actually johnnyhall's report http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=12452 about his overnighter in a bivvy on Beinn a'Ghlo between clocking off and back on again the next day which had put the idea in my head originally.
So I left work as early as I legally and contractually could and headed home to pick up Lucy and my pack before heading off. I was heading along the A85 towards Crieff but my final destination was as yet still unknown. The route was lined with options but I eventually settled on the Graham/Corbett pairing of Meall Odhar and Beinn Chuirn from Tyndrum.
I was parked and away from the Tyndrum Lower Station car park by 17.25 hours, across the railway and along the track to the right heading for the path up onto Sron nan Colan. After a few hundred metres the track crosses what appears to be a very wide, dried up stony river bed, before turning to the left and heading steeply uphill. The explanation for the river bed is immediately obvious - the scene ahead of me is a kind of lunarscape of scree and rocks, the remains of the mining operations that used to go on on this hillside and which have obviously been steadily washed downhill over the years and deposited and built up at the bottom in the stream.
It is a brutal start to the walk, but one that is quickly rewarded with views back across Tyndrum to the hills between the village and Loch Lyon, and further north towards Bridge of Orchy.
The old mines are all fenced off with some seriously heavy duty looking fencing - these signs say keep out and they mean it! I for one don't fancy a closer inspection and I'm glad these fences are Lucy-proof!
Eventually the scree and boulder slope comes to an end and gives way to easier grassy slopes which soon ease off and give views across the top to the Ben Lui group of Munros.
From here it is a pleasant walk up onto the 590 metre summit of Sron nan Colan, where the evening's two objectives can be clearly eyed for the first time. The Corbett really looks like it might take some doing tonight and I begin to wonder whether my recent Corbett-free run might yet last a bit longer.
Anyway, quickly onwards around the furthest point of the forestry and onto the very obvious protruding rocky spine that runs all the way up the back of Meall Odhar. The conditions now are absolutely perfect and the light is stunning - the whole feel of the evening kind of reminds me of last September and my evening walk up onto the neighbouring Fiarach. Only that evening I was going to be camping out on top - if only I was doing the same tonight!
The summit cairn of Meall Odhar is, as the Grahams book points out, remarkably large and significant for a fairly insignificant hill. But as it also points out, the real attraction and feature of this hill, as with many Grahams (Fiarach, Meall a' Mhuic and Cnap Cruinn being another three classic cases in point that I have experienced in the last 18 months), is it's location nestling amongst other bigger, more illustrious hills, and providing a different and unique vantage point for them.
Now I have a decision to make. Quit now and head down through a firebreak onto the track by the River Cononish and back to the car, or continue with the original plan and go for the Corbett as well. What the hell - might as well go for it. If I head back now I'll just go home and drink beer. Might as well do the Corbett. Then go home and drink beer.
From the descent west off Meall Odhar, Beinn Chuirn looks like a formidable beast of a mountain, but it actually turned out to be a lot less problematic than it appeared. The hardest part was actually getting to it! There is a (clearly very new) deer fence that looks bullet-proof as well as deer-proof in the bealach between the two hills. Keen to observe the countryside code if at all possible and use a gate/stile e.t.c., I walk along the fence first in one direction then the other, but there is no sign of the walker having been given any thought by the builders of this particular structure. Nothing else for it then but to clamber over. There's no way that I'm going to be able to launch Lucy over this one though. Fortunately I find a spot where there is a bit of a gap at the bottom, albeit one that is filled with bog water. Poor Lucy is all but submerged as she squeezes under - she could have used a mask and snorkel for this one.
I settle on a route up the rocky spur to the right side of the huge coire on this side of the hill, stopping half way up for dinner (a petrol station sandwich and packet of cheese and onion).
Remarkably soon and with a minimum of fuss I emerge near the small lochan to the north west of the summit before climbing around the rim of the coire and up to the summit cairn to claim my first Corbett since the snowy days of January.
After a couple of quick snaps I head south east past the edge of the vicious looking gully (you'd want to be careful coming off here in the clag!) and scope out a manageable line of descent down the side of the Eas Anie waterfall to the huts and clutter of hardware around the mine.
From here it's a straightforward yomp down to the farm at Cononish and along the side of the river, remembering to cut off onto the track through the trees that leads back to the station and not continue on to Dalrigh!
I have to admit to being a bit worried that I would suffer a slow and painful death by midgification in the trees but it was surprisingly free of the little buggers.
by Jock McJock » Tue Jun 21, 2011 11:35 pm
by ChrisW » Wed Jun 22, 2011 12:12 am
by Graeme D » Wed Jun 22, 2011 8:45 am
by kevsbald » Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:24 am
by malky_c » Wed Jun 22, 2011 10:05 am
I love a good after-work walk if I can squeeze it in. This one looks pretty substantial though!
Good info too. I have a full round of the Cononish (Meall Odhar round to Fiarach) in my sights as soon as I get the chance, and negotiating the various mines and deer fences will be pretty significant to its success I think
by rockhopper » Wed Jun 22, 2011 12:58 pm
by pollyh33 » Wed Jun 22, 2011 1:26 pm
by Johnny Corbett » Wed Jun 22, 2011 1:48 pm
by gammy leg walker » Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:24 pm
by Graeme D » Wed Jun 22, 2011 10:07 pm
rockhopper wrote: I see the brashers are being put to good use
Aye, you've gotta use 'em or lose 'em rockhopper!
pollyh33 wrote:Were you not even tempted a wee bit to have a closer look down the mine-shaft??
Errr, in a word, no!
Johnny Corbett wrote:I noticed the lack of stiles/gates on the deer fence as well. Maybe they didn't expect anyone to combine these 2 when they put the fence up
Fair enough, it's no Tourist Track up the Ben but it's an obvious route between two listed hills that a lot of people will try to combine. A little bit of joined-up thinking and planning wouldn't have gone amiss.
gammy leg walker wrote:Any sign of when you may start back on your muro round,or is that wee bundle of joy still keeping you close to home
I still hope to finish before I pop my clogs....or maybe even before I retire. Got a couple lined up next week with Kev and hopefully I'll get allowed a bit of slack over the summer holidays, but it'll not be like last year......sigh!!!!!! Still, like you say gammy, the wee bundle of joy will make up for it.