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Beinn Achaladair & Bien a Chreachain

PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2011 10:41 pm
by seamus0
This was a bit of a dreich walk if ever there was one ! With the saturday being a complete washout, we were determined to do something on the Sunday, given that it was supposedly the better of the 2 days. so we chose these 2 hills for no other reason than we wanted to do 2 hills! From the other reports, there were warnings that a ford could be a bit difficult to cross near Achalladar farm, so rather than take the recommended route of going clockwise from the farm, we went anti-clockwise, to leave the river/ford crossing when we got back to the car-park. Was that a good decision or what!
The walk starts from Achallader farm (322442), which is easy to find as there is a B&B sign on the A82 next to Loch Tulla. Turning off at that track, leads to a gate. Going through a gate, leads to a large car park, so theres plenty of space to park. An old ruined castle is next to the carpark and the farm house.
Car Park

Walk up through the farm going past the sheds, eventually leading to a gate, with a helpful upside down sign, showing you the way to the hill.
Sign to hill

The track leads up to the railway line, and a bridge crosses over it.
Track to Railway Line

A rather sodden and muddy path follows up the Coire Achaladair. The going was slow due to the wet sludge we were walking through. The further we climbed the more wet and claggy it got. There were a few decisions to make with regard to when to cross rivers given most of them were full and fast flowing. We decided to stick to the right and not follow the sodden path which crosses the river at one point.
Trak following up the Coire

Following the river up to the Bealach

We eventually reached the bealach at around 750m after 1.5 hrs. No views were to be had. We did get a glimpse of the ridge ahead of us towards Beinn Achaladair.
At Bealach, looking towards Beinn Achaladair

The ridge was broad and easy going. We did get some view of blue sky, but not many! Thoughts of the weather breaking just as we got to the top inspired us to keep going through the miserable weather!
Was that blue sky I saw!??

The broad ridge up the beinn

After 1/2 hour climbing you pass a small cairn, this isnt the top, the hill goes down a bit and then carries on climbing. Eventually we got to the top, to a smaill cairn next to a cliff drop on the north side (not that we could see the cliff)

Top of Beinn Achaladair

We headed in a SE direction (without taking a bearing!) and after about 15 mins walking we thought something was a bit odd, as we didnt find the large steep slopes on the north face. What we actually had done, without knowing it was slowing headed more south, rather than more east and were now more on the southerly side of the mountain, rather than using the NE slopes as a handrail. We quicky got our compasses out (which we should have done in the first place!) and headed back in a NE direction. This took us back on course, thankfully! There was a large drop off the NE end of the hill, which required a bit of bum sliding in the wet conditions. The path thankfully takes you down a safe route.
Large drop off the NE side of Achaladair


Once we got to the Bealach, the path slowly started climbing up Meall Buidhe, which is a steady slow climb of 100m or so. In the clag it seemed like longer! This was our view....
Is this Dreich or what!

A small cairn marks ths spot, we were keen to move on as the light was fading. Eventually we got to the top of Bienn A Chreachain, wiht the help of more compass work.
Top of Bienn a Chreachain

From there we took another bearing to make sure we wouldnt miss the NE ridge down. As it hapopens there wasnt a problem as a good path takes you down the ridge.
NE Ridge path off Chreachain

We eventually started to get some views as we decended of the Lochan a Chreachain and the moors beyond.
The Lochan

As the route flattened we though it would make a good wild camp, as the views would be spectacular any other day.We took a NW route off the slopes heading towards Alt Coire an Lochain. The sloopes flattened out and teh decent was easy going (but wet). The river itself must be a lovely site on a good day, and there were plenty of pretty spots to rest (on a good day!)
Alt coire An Lochain

We kept to the right of the river all the way, until we got to the railway track. We couldnt find any way to cross it, so we walked across it, narrowly missing a train! So not to be recommended. Once we crossed over we crossed ther river by the track, and came down the bank we say there was a tunnel under the railway track. Therefore, I assume you are meant to decend by the left of the river to access this tunnel!
Tunnel under track

We kept heading in a NW direction towards the Waters of Tulla River, eventually you reach a good brdige that crosses the river, and a small walk takes you onto the only dryness we found on the day i.e the track back to the farm!

Remember, to head back to the farm, take the track which heads south after about 2 km, otherwise the other track will take you onto the A82. En route, we did see several areas for getting our feet wet further as there was no way of crossing without boot filling time! Well, at least we were prepared for it, and it wasnt at the beginning of the walk!

Ford No.1

Ford No.2

We eventually got back to the car park around 7.5 hrs from the start, wet, sodden and in need of some succour of the alcoholic variety! will have to do this route again one day, on a dry day!

Re: Beinn Achaladair & Bien a Chreachain

PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2011 5:05 pm
by skuk007
Nice one Seamus, real shame about the weather, looks so soggy. :)

Re: Beinn Achaladair & Bien a Chreachain

PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2011 5:24 pm
by seamus0
yeah, u win some and lose some! still it was a day's exercise:-)

Re: Beinn Achaladair & Bien a Chreachain

PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2011 5:43 pm
by Steve B
Well done on getting out and sticking with it. Good info, Thanks.

Re: Beinn Achaladair & Bien a Chreachain

PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2011 10:40 pm
by snodland
Hope you get a better day soon. They are cracking hills - as the ground falls away looking over Rannoch Moor and you get one of the widest mountain paoramas anywhere in Scotland. And for my money you did it the right way around. I'd hate to be coming down the bog fest of a path up Coire Achaladair at the end of the walk.
Top report

Re: Beinn Achaladair & Bien a Chreachain

PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2011 11:11 pm
by Johnny Corbett
Pity you got a bad day for this one as it's a great walk in good weather,i really enjoyed the Achaladair ridge when i did them

Re: Beinn Achaladair & Bien a Chreachain

PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2011 11:52 pm
by pollyh33
This is a great report, love the misty/clag/cannae see a thing photo- you could be anywhere, made me laugh :lol:

Thanks for all the detail, really helps people like me who will pretty much always take the wrong turning if there is one to be had!!!! :lol: :lol:

Re: Beinn Achaladair & Bien a Chreachain

PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 3:42 pm
by seamus0
Thanks for all the comments. I think I might have to do this again in the winter on a nice crisp day! Lets Hope!

Re: Beinn Achaladair & Bien a Chreachain

PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 12:51 am
by rockhopper
seamus0 wrote:Thanks for all the comments. I think I might have to do this again in the winter on a nice crisp day! Lets Hope!
Certainly brings back memories :shock: :? :think: but yes, great route for a snowy winter walk :D