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Camping, castles, red wine and Cruachan

Camping, castles, red wine and Cruachan

Postby Mountainlove » Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:16 am

Route description: Ben Cruachan and Stob Daimh

Munros included on this walk: Ben Cruachan, Stob Daimh

Date walked: 22/09/2012

Time taken: 7.15 hours

Distance: 12.8 km

Ascent: 1389m

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When I had to abandon my plan to climb the 4 Glen Lyon Munros due to deer stalking season, Ben Cruachan and Stob Diamh seemed a good substitute. Even though I was happy to head out alone, I was pleased when my friend Neil got in contact and said he was looking for company to bag a couple of Munros. So after a few exchanged messages, we arranged to meet at the starting point at 8am on Saturday morning.

As the weather was lovely, I decided to head out the night before and camp across the lovely Kilchurn castle. By the time Friday afternoon arrived I was full of anticipation and must have bored my work colleagues to death about information about my trip and camp spot. They got their own back when they kindly reminded me about the fact that it would be -4C!!! :shock: :shock: :shock:

As I had packed my car the night before hand, I was able to leave straight from work. 2 h after leaving work on Friday afternoon, I arrived at the lay by which was jam packed with cars. I was slightly confused, it was not a place to go for any hill walks and after all only Friday. Mmmm?
I changed into my hiking boots, rolled my jeans up and made my way across the boggy field towards the edge of the loch. When I arrived I was greeting by a row of tents and a collections of fishing rods. They explained the amount of cars – fishermen!

Looking around to find a suitable place to put my tent, I noticed a little hill topped with trees and decided to camp right at the top. Putting up my wee faithful pop up tent, I quickly unpacked and returned to the car, to pick up my stove to cook dinner. On my return I looked for a suitable spot, but as the loch shore was full of fishing rods, I decided to stay next to my tent and enjoyed a glass of red, while waiting for my dinner to heat up.

Looking around the view was hard to beat and for the first time since May I was able to enjoy the evening without any midges… heaven!! After dinner it was getting pretty cold, so I made my last journey to the car to gather my laptop and had a movie night inside my tent, watching Billy Connollys Route 66…sometimes life does not get any better! :D :D :D
Camping on top of the hill

View across the loch

The castle


The night was cold, but I was cosy in my down sleeping bag, until I was woken by the sound of hammering at 6:30 am!!! :wtf: :wtf: :wtf:
Realizing it was time to get up soon anyway, I decided to stay awake, but I could not figure out who on earth would start hammering at that time in the morning.
Crawling out of my tent I had a wee wander and saw a group of 5 tents at the bottom of my wee hill…more fishermen had arrived and were busy setting up tents at 6.30am???? :eh: :eh: :eh:
If anyone will ever tell me again that hill walkers are mad…I will strongly disagree…fisher folks are worse!!!! :thumbup:

The loch at 6:45am

Morning mist


Looking back to my campside and the loch

The loch was covered in early morning mist and just looked amazing. Snapping away with my camera, I could feel the cold and decided to take the tent down and pack my car…at least I did not had to rush. Neil had also texted me to say he was on his way and at the arranged time, we met at the starting point which must be the worse parking space I have ever seen! :crazy:

Trying to find a way to park my car without ending in the ditch was a challenge, but I managed and after saying hello and comparing the route we were off. The first part of the walk is pretty hard going…a steep walk through the forest, but soon we reached the dam, where we had a break and I enjoyed a second breakfast.

Walk up through the forest

I had told Neil by text message that I had a slight different route in mind…not as crazy as some of my other routes, but I certainly did not fancy walking the ‘normal route. Instead I suggested (in my opinion the most logical route) the non existing path up the burn Allt Cruachan and straight up Stob Diamh.

When I saw the route in real life I thought…wow that looks sooo easy. When I pointed it out Neil, he was slightly less enthusiastic, as it was his first time to stray off the normal path. I had to convince him (quite a few times) that the route would be sooo much easier than other routes I had taken before and that he would be fine. Not very convinced he agreed and we moved up the hill.
The dam

The loch

On the alternative route up

The path was indeed pretty easy going and only towards the end there are some easy scrambling options available (which we took) and after the final steep climb we stood on top of Stob Diamh.
View from the top

Me on Stob Diamh summit

From the top we followed the normal route towards Ben Cruachan. As I have seen pictures of the slabs (which so many are afraid of), I was actually looking forward to them, but where were they??? Walking along the path, we both grew more and more confused… could we have missed them?


Towards Ben Cruachan


Neil on top of the slabs

The second Munro was pretty close and by the time we walked along another steep rocky path we finally thought…hey that could be it. By the time we reached the bottom and looked back we recognised the slabs from the pictures…but I was rather disappointed …as getting down the slabs was so easy. We stopped and looked back up and decided to return…just to see what the fuss is all about. The hardest part seemed to be the first 2 metres…but afterwards it is an easy walk up. I guess in ice and snow they are a different story.


View from Ben Cruachan

Looking back

By the time we returned from the slabs, it was an easy climb up Ben Cruachan. From the top I guess there are a few different way down you can take, but we opted for the ‘normal’ route down the hill. Not a very good move as it was badly corroded in places and pretty steep…I guess an alternative route down would have been easier. The remaining part just followed the route we came up.

I had wondered why the walking time seem to differ to much, but realized at the top that the never ending up and down the ridge could take some time…and after all the views are quite spectacular…too good to rush past without stopping and taking them in (in my opinion anyway).
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Re: Camping, castles, red wine and Cruachan

Postby Peter913 » Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:34 am

nice images there i like the misty ones on the water

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Re: Camping, castles, red wine and Cruachan

Postby quinners161 » Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:43 am

Nice report, nice pictures. Still to do these two, so thanks for the info! :D :D
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Re: Camping, castles, red wine and Cruachan

Postby Fudgie » Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:44 am

I wish I had done these two in cool weather like you :wink:

The early morning pictures are excellent.
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Re: Camping, castles, red wine and Cruachan

Postby Graeme D » Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:12 pm

I like the look of that camping spot. Dinner looks quite acceptable too! :thumbup:
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Re: Camping, castles, red wine and Cruachan

Postby dogplodder » Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:59 pm

Some beautiful shots there and your camping spot looks idyllic - but maybe not in midge season! :lol:
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Re: Camping, castles, red wine and Cruachan

Postby PeteR » Tue Sep 25, 2012 1:11 pm

Excellent photos there mountainlove :D One of my favourite walks thee two. You certainly had some great weather, especially those early morning shots :D
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Re: Camping, castles, red wine and Cruachan

Postby pigeon » Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:08 pm

Some great pics.Had one of our best days on Crauchan when it was covered in snow a couple of years back,great hills.Nice report ML ,well done :thumbup:
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Re: Camping, castles, red wine and Cruachan

Postby soapy27 » Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:19 pm

Great report there and awesome photos of an atmospheric morning :clap:
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Re: Camping, castles, red wine and Cruachan

Postby Alan S » Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:20 pm

Some crackin pics there ML 8) like your camping spot, next time take a rod :D
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Re: Camping, castles, red wine and Cruachan

Postby monty » Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:29 pm

Cracking photos especially the Dam ML.

I had to convince him (quite a few times) that the route would be sooo much easier than other routes I had taken before and that he would be fine. Not very convinced he agreed and we moved up the hill.

I had a good laugh when I read this expecting some hairy stuff but you were actually quite gentle with your pal :lol: :lol:

Re: Camping, castles, red wine and Cruachan

Postby Bod » Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:36 pm

Very nice report there! Cruachan is lovely :D :D :D
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Re: Camping, castles, red wine and Cruachan

Postby rockhopper » Tue Sep 25, 2012 9:17 pm

Nice camping spot, anglers notwithstanding :thumbup: and some great shots of the mist over the water. Didn't see anything the day I was up here due to the clag...really have to go back some time - cheers :)
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Re: Camping, castles, red wine and Cruachan

Postby malky_c » Tue Sep 25, 2012 9:23 pm

Looks like a great day out, nice camp the night before too - those morning pictures really make me want to start walking up there right now :D

Must go back up Cruachan some day.
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Re: Camping, castles, red wine and Cruachan

Postby 147cjl » Tue Sep 25, 2012 10:09 pm

Nice one ML, really like pictures 2 and 7, beautiful!
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