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Bricking it on the Dalmally horseshoe

Bricking it on the Dalmally horseshoe

Postby weescotsman » Fri Apr 27, 2012 10:46 am

Route description: Ben Cruachan and Stob Daimh

Munros included on this walk: Ben Cruachan, Stob Daimh

Date walked: 14/04/2012

Time taken: 9 hours

Distance: 14 km

Ascent: 1376m

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Catching up on a previous outing.....

Annual weekend away with the lads - 9 of us - started with an overnight stay on the Friday in bunkhouses in Tyndrum. Safe to say we won't be staying there again. Ok they were cheap and cheerful but having to pop 50p's in a meter to run a small fan heater is taking things too far, especially as it was a freezing cold night.... At least we had a coolbox filled with ice and beer to make things a bit more homely...

Breakfast.... what's that. The overnight stay was bed only so we had to make do with what we'd brought with us. In hindsight, I'd have been better popping into the cafe at the Green Welly for a couple of bacon rolls.

Onwards we went and the party had grown to 9 by the time we set off on the trek to Cruachan on a very pleasant morning. Got parked up by the roadside so at least that saved a long jaunt back to the start point.

Our lead navigator led the way up the path, then inexplicably veered right and up and we missed the path to the left. And by gum that was a steep route up..... lots of peching and panting till we reached the fence at the top and we managed to get over it at least. As usual I was the tail wagging the dog by this time.... no change there really.... :lol:
It's away up there....

At least the walk along to the dam was pleasant enough and the path that we could now see clearly was quite busy. Some of us went down and joined the path but 3 of us just kept on walking on the road to the dam and across it.
Getting closer....

So far so good really, no major incidents to worry about.....

On past the dam, I do so love walking on generally flat ground, but the worst was to come as we approached the point where we leave the road and start the steep ascent. Jings it's steep all the way up, no easy breaks at all. At least it was still dry if a little chilly but still no need to don heavy jackets. Quite boggy in places, we had to zig zag across to miss out the worst of it. Plenty folks out this weekend soon overtook me but I didn't mind; I always just go at my own pace.
Looking magnificent

Got about halfway up and decided it was time for a food break and equally time to get the jacket and waterproofs on for some protection even though the wind hadn't really got up much, it was still quite cool.

Only 1 small patch of snow to get over but as it was quite steep the lead guys told me to go around the side. So I did and nearly got stuck on a slab. This is where I created a ventilation gap in my trousers with an overstretching manouevre...... :lol: Once onto the bealach I looked up and probably cursed at how far I still had to go. The wee 6 yr old mountain goat boy mentioned a couple of weeks back was in his element with all the boulder scrambling. Sure beats playing on an Xbox. Wasn't really too difficult to reach the summit, just a bit of slow progress through deep snow.

Last up - no surprise there - the others were champing at the bit to get going. But I needed more food since breakfast had just been a coffee and 2 slices of bread and jam, not my usual porridge and toast.
Got there eventually...

I'd not looked right from the top of Cruachan at the route to Stob Diamh, but 3 of the party decided it wasn't for them and went back down. Kev didn't fancy the route over the top either but went down a few metres and found a side ledge we could use.

This is where the bricking bit came in. Not sure how long this ledge was but it was maybe 2 ft wide, sloping down slightly and snow covered. With a 900 ft drop at the side if you slipped there was only one way you would end up.... :shock:

Slowly, very slowly I inched forward using my pole for balance. Had a cold sweat running until I got past that ledge and could breath a sigh of relief. The rest really was a doddle until I got onto some large ice-covered sloping slabs which were a bit awkward but still managed to get over them. Up and down I kept on going, trying to keep pace with mountain goat-child and his Dad but everytime I caught up with them it wasn't for long. Think poor Dad was struggling at times.

Looking back at the Stob Diamh ridge, the photo's don't really do it justice. It has to be experienced. Plus I wasn't getting my camera out whilst actually on the scary ledge......
Looking back at part of the ridge

By now I could see the approaching snow clouds coming in from Glencoe and beyond but the flakes were quite small. I got on to the approach to Stob Garbh and here is where I felt exhausted and had to sit for 20 mins and eat and drink. Again, this was probably down to not having a decent breakfast before setting off.
Looking back across at the initial ascent

I was miles behind everyone else and at this point probably the last man on the mountain as I couldn't see anyone following me along the ridges. Wasn't too bothered as 2 of the party would have to wait on me as I was the driver.....

Once I started heading downhill my spirits improved greatly, and felt even better once I reached the dam. Took me maybe 40 mins on the right path, even it was extremely boggy to start with, to reach the car. Never has a cold beer tasted so nice. Another advantage of the cooler box of ice / beer....... :D

All in all a very tough day but the superb views all around made it wothwhile. Probably the best view was of a snow-covered Ben Lui looking majestic....

We were staying overnight in the youth hostel in Oban which was quite pleasant indeed, a major improvement on the Friday night digs. Several beers were consumed then we went on the hunt for dinner. Ended up with an Indian curry via a democratic vote - ok I wanted the Steakhouse - but it was delicious.... result. A few more beers then back to the hostel.....
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Re: Bricking it on the Dalmally horseshoe

Postby Meatball » Fri Apr 27, 2012 12:55 pm

Were you in snow and ice and using a pole instead of an axe?
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Re: Bricking it on the Dalmally horseshoe

Postby weescotsman » Fri Apr 27, 2012 1:21 pm

Mainly soft snow, don't have an axe so I was using a pole to steady myself. In hindsight I should have put the microspikes on to get over the ledge, although they would have made it tricky getting up over the slabs later on....
Munro compleatist
Posts: 141
Munros:115   Corbetts:8
Grahams:1   Donalds:4
Sub 2000:8   
Joined: Nov 19, 2009
Location: Bo'ness

Re: Bricking it on the Dalmally horseshoe

Postby Jock McJock » Fri Apr 27, 2012 6:57 pm

Nice report. Was up there on Wednesday and the conditions hadn't changed much from when you guys done it. Was hard going, know what you mean by being knackered on Stob Garbh, I was too. The soft snow made it really tough, kept sinking through it. And I had a few squeeky bum moments too :shock: I feel your pain :lol: :lol: Well done! :D
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