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Weekend in Argyll taking in the Cruachan Horseshoe

Weekend in Argyll taking in the Cruachan Horseshoe

Postby Iain99 » Fri Jul 08, 2011 6:03 pm

Munros included on this walk: Ben Cruachan, Stob Daimh

Date walked: 02/07/2011

Time taken: 7 hours

Distance: 16 km

Ascent: 2000m

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Here goes the first post..!!

After a tough week at work, what better way to chill out than camping and walking..!!

Headed for Oban Camping and Caravan Park straight from work arriving in Oban around 1900hrs just in time to have a wee drink while preparing to pitch the tent and cook the dinner..

Tent pitched and food cooking..

Weather was that good after food (and a couple of wee drinks) we sat up outside until 2330hrs having a great time with wonderful views of Kerrera and the Sound of Kerrera. Midges seemed to be behaving, which from my memories of this area is amazing :) How lucky great weather and very few midges..!!!!

Anyway, woken up by the sun beating down on the tent at 0730hrs, breakfast and pack the tent ready for our departure from the site at 1000hrs...

Parked up in the layby just east of the visitors centre at 1040hrs, gear on and here we go.. What a day, sun shining and temperature at 1045hrs 14 degs..!! Summer at last..

We headed off from approx 60m above sea level and walked under the railway bridge at the Loch Awe railway station and along the steep and punchy narrow track through the wooded section, my god did this get the legs burning and the heart pumping. Not to long in to the walk we got to the end of the first ascent and if the views were this good at 300m we couldn't wait to see them at the top of Ben Cruachan :)

View across Loch Awe after 1st ascent

We continued along the track which by now was leveling out slightly, over a precarious stile and onward to the Cruachan Dam. The track still remained quite narrow and reasonably steep in parts.. Approaching the Cruachan dam the track levelled out slightly. The view of the Dam was amazing, being a Civil Engineer I was amazed at the overpowering view of the dam..

We took the westmost track and headed up to the near vertical ladder up on to the dam, heading west then north along the wide track was a nice relaxing walk after the punchy start to this munro.. Getting closer to the start of the DIRECT ascent to Ben Cruachan we started to see (in closer detail) the walk ahead of us..! We had planned to do this walk in March 2011 but due to the high winds and the previous photos we had seen of the ridge we decided to stay low level in the Pentlands (Good move we feel).. Not being overly confident of the ridge on the horseshoe only when approaching the base of the hill could we appreciate what was ahead of us..

Anyway we continued, on reaching the solar power panel thingy on a pole we turned due west and headed up the steep ascent, the views we amazing... Having only bagged a few munros prior to this, I thought we had biten more than we could chew.. We plodded our way up the ascent up to the saddle between Ben Cruachan and Meall Cuanail, this was an amazing hike and we don't think we have had the legs burning as much before. On to the saddle and then a serious ascent up over a boulderfield to the summit.. A little scrambling near the top, but well worth it

Cruachan Dam from the Summit

View of SW Argyll from Cruachan Summit

Joanne having a wee seat at the summit of Ben Cruachan

We had a little break at the top and then decided to continue along the ridge taking in the full horseshoe... Really delighted we did... Looking ahead the walk did look worse than it actually was..

We desended from Cruachan down the rocky section which was quite fun if not slow...

Descent from Ben Cruachan

The views from the ridge North, south east and west were amazing and breathtaking... From here the route was pretty straight forward with a couple of steepish ascents (nothing compared with the ascent to Ben Cruachan).. I would like to point out for two people that looked at previous photos of this route, it actually wasn't as bad as we had thought..

We continued on to Stob Diamh and followed a reasonably straightforward route to Stob Garbh and then down towards the east side of the Cruachan Dam... Boggy in places, probably because I led us off the beaten track not on purpose.

I would say that this is probably one of the best walks we have done, possibly due to the weather but more to do with the amazing route.. I have added a few of our other photo's taken on route.

Would recommend this walk to anyone, your breath will be taken away due to the views and the ascents...

View back to Ben Cruahan

Me with Ben Cruachan in the Background

Me and the Wife to be at Stob Diamh

Cruachan Dam from Stob Diamh

Ben Cruachan from Stob Garbh

Looking forward to the next walk..
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Re: Weekend in Argyll taking in the Cruachan Horseshoe

Postby davetherave » Fri Jul 08, 2011 11:00 pm

Great 1st report, great day for the pictures Ehh.
We still have unfinished business with this route.

We planned the horseshoe in the winter months, and got beaten back just past Cruachans summit. We have done all hills in the area now,but the bit of ridge between both Munros still eludes us.

All the very best with the wedding.!
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Re: Weekend in Argyll taking in the Cruachan Horseshoe

Postby steven671 » Fri Jul 08, 2011 11:12 pm

great mountain cruachan,it look`s better from coire chat,we left the backpack`s on cruachan summit and nipped over to chat and back up cruachan,then drochaid ghlas and daimb,great view`s
summit coire chat with cruchan
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