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Beinn a'Chreachain but not Beinn Achaladair

PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:48 am
by gman
SPOILER ALERT: didn't do both Munros.

MWIS forecasted snow on hills and I had seen it on Ben Lomond yesterday. Didn't look too bad when I drove past but got thicker on hills further North, Ben More especially. First time in snow so I was a bit cautious about trying it, but it would probably just be a light powder, right? :-)

Road to farm signposted, single lane farm track with pot holes. Already a car in car park, box for donations to mountain rescue near gate. Went clockwise, so through gate & easy long walk along valley (photos need straightened - blame the gloves!)
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Burn crossing wasn't too bad after 5mins choosing a route.
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Train & Beinn an Dothaidh
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Nice day for a stroll.
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Over bridge at derelict farm.
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Then over footbridge, I missed this & had to go back.
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through edge of forest, then head for the left of fenced area, bit muddy. Beinn Achaladair:
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Look out for this pole from edge of fenced wood, leads to railway underpass.
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Then it's upwards along side of burn - doesn't look too bad up there, hmm...
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Beinn Achaladair again, looks a bit steep up left hand side.
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Views on way up:
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Today's route along the ridge, starting to look a bit daunting but plan was to turn back if things got dodgy.
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Fine (squint) view over Rannoch Moor:
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Up to Beinn a'Chreachain, snow has drifted to the left. Looked uniform depth but one step could be an inch, the next knee-deep. Had walking poles to test depth & for grip.
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Frosty cairn. Had done first hill in the snow by this point & got nice photies so thought about calling it a day. Snow is harder going & full route would take longer so running out of daylight might be an issue. Descent to ridge was supposed to be steep, but thought I'd see how it went & turn back if needed.

Nice views from top:
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What's this approaching across Rannoch Moor though?
Beinn a'Chreachain_19Oct2011_0058.jpg

Anyway, headed onwards. Found it much slower descending in snow/ice but could make out the path below the ridge, would give some shelter from the wind and, hopefully, would be easy to follow. Then the weather came in - strong winds with snow/hail. Was walking along ridge path by this point and kept going, would probably blow over and I could always retrace footsteps in snow to retreat. Lost the path so headed up to ridge but had reached critical level of dodginess - poor visibility, winds & hail. Followed footsteps back, although they were already getting covered by blown show.
Hail had stopped so got a photo:
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Then back up & over Beinn a'Chreachain, of course it had cleared by this point so I was considering a second attempt - looks fine over there now:
Beinn a'Chreachain_19Oct2011_0065.jpg

Decided to be sensible & return same way - bit disappointed but had nice squint photos to compensate - return route looking over moor:
Beinn a'Chreachain_19Oct2011_0068.jpg

Didn't seem too bad in snow, walking poles & boots OK for grip - one ice axe would be less stable but could stop a tumble hopefully. Didn't have gaiters though, so had wet feet on return. Would budget extra time & make best use of daylight - saw another couple of guys coming over the ridge in the opposite direction, they took ages to get over Beinn a'Chreachain & might have been walking home in dark. Was fun, but legs definitely feeling it today.

Re: Beinn a'Chreachain but not Beinn Achaladair

PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2011 3:41 pm
by kevsbald
Pic 65 - outstanding.

Re: Beinn a'Chreachain but not Beinn Achaladair

PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2011 4:04 pm
by pollyh33
Scary but undeniably beautiful :clap:

Re: Beinn a'Chreachain but not Beinn Achaladair

PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2011 4:53 pm
by Gavin99
Lovely photographs gman and a wise choice retracing your steps ,even after reaching Beinn Achaladair it's still a long ,boggy drag back down the farm .

Re: Beinn a'Chreachain but not Beinn Achaladair

PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2011 9:57 pm
by snodland
2 of my favourite mountains for the way the ground falls away in front of them - as per pic number 41- so you can see right up to Nevis and the Grey Corries.
Glad to see the snow is still the soft walkable type.
Lovely report and some top pictures