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Cruach Ardrain from Glen Falloch

Cruach Ardrain from Glen Falloch

Postby weaselmaster » Sat Jan 05, 2013 7:04 pm

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Tulaichean, Cruach Ardrain

Date walked: 05/01/2013

Time taken: 6.1 hours

Distance: 17.2 km

Ascent: 1424m

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Cruach Ardrain & Beinn Tuliachean have been sitting in the red whilst all around was blue on my Munro map for some time now, mostly cos I'd only really thought about doing them from Inverlochlarig and didn't fancy that wee windy road in wintertime. When I realised it was straightforward to do them from Glen Falloch, it was set to go. Mountain weather forecast suggested it was going to be warm and that there would be some cloud in the morning but clear skies overhead. Great! I thought - I wanted to see the other hills around that I'd been up last year from a different viewpoint. I hoped there was still going to be some snow around to beautify the landscape...However the radio report in the car on the way up told me otherwise- low cloud and hill fog with rain later. Oh well :?

Got to the layby off the A82 just after 8 - it was still dark and I leisurely got changed. I've got a blister on my heel from my New Year's day walk on Chonzie, so progress would be painful today. One other car drove up whilst I was waiting for light - a lass going up An Caisteal. I expected there would probably be other folk coming up CA & BT, though the sky looked not very promising.

Morning - Sron Gharbh by 23weasels, on Flickr

And again... by 23weasels, on Flickr

Set off thru the gate at the north end of the layby to avoid the bogs at the bottom of the field - farmer was feeding his beasts, who were gathered around the gate but fortunately were more interested in their breakfast than terrorising my wee dug who isn't very fond of cows since being chased by a herd on Orkney years ago. Anyway, under the railway lines and along the track, turning down left to the footbridge over the river and heading along the tree line, up the shoulder of Grey Height.

Looking back down towards river falloch by 23weasels, on Flickr

There was a faint path in the initial boggy/grassy section, but this became a clear track once I got to the top of GH
Grey Heights by 23weasels, on Flickr

Lochan with view over to An Caisteal by 23weasels, on Flickr

and it was steady going from there up Meall Dhamh - no snow at all below 800m and above that only soft snow in sheltered places - remarkable given how thick it was a week or so ago. The clouds, which had been rising as the morning wore on started to come down again, and my hopes of getting any views were diminishing fast :(

Cairn on Meall Dhamh by 23weasels, on Flickr

I missed a turn in the path from a combination of patchy snow cover and mist and ended up going round a steeper route getting to the top of Meall Dhamh than needed to be the case. Dog was quite happy however and I found the path again soon after.
Ridge towards CA by 23weasels, on Flickr

There's a drop of about 200m before the ridge heads up again to CA, some bits would have been a bit awkward if the rocks were icy - but in the current sub-tropical conditions they were just wet.
Descent from Meall Dhamh by 23weasels, on Flickr

Heading up to the top of CA was easier than I had anticipated. There was no view at all, just clag and the wind was blowing the occasional strong gust - I still couldn't believe how mild it felt.
Cairn at top of Ardrain by 23weasels, on Flickr

Summit Ardrain by 23weasels, on Flickr

Got to the cairn on CA after about two and a half hours, stopped for a cuppa then headed on towards BT. Nothing very remarkable about this - still some patches of snow left around and I would have liked the excitement of a bit of crampon work, but not today :roll: There was a very brief flash of blue sky heading down from CA - just a tantalising reminder that somewhere it was clear and sunny - but any hopes of clearing up came to nothing - in fact the clag just got worse.
Snow at last - heading to BT by 23weasels, on Flickr

Got to the cairn of BT after about 25 minutes- seemed an insubstantial top and I could see very little, but the GPS told me this indeed was the summit at 946m. Stopped for something to eat and admired the clag-view :lol:

Summit of Tulaichean by 23weasels, on Flickr
Turned around and headed back the way I'd come - on a better day I might have sought a different return route, but in the mist there was little point. The path back to CA seemed steeper on the return leg than it had on the way down :shock: Before the final section of path to the top of CA there's a wee cairn marking a bypass route that contours round the top and saves a few vertical metres, so I took this. Was still a bit of snow round here, with the odd icy patch, so care was needed. Met up with the decent path again & shortly after met the only other walkers I saw today. Path was easy enough to follow until I was heading down the shoulder of Grey Height, where it had disappeared into squelch vegetation. Soon enough the river came into view and the footbridge, and it was a pleasant enough walk back to the layby - just back at the car as the promised rain started.

Not the best of days to do these hills - either from the lack of view or the lack of proper snow, but hey, it's another two in the bag. Think I'd like to try CA again on a clear day now.

Big rock by 23weasels, on Flickr
Last edited by weaselmaster on Mon Oct 13, 2014 9:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Whaur's a' the snaw gone? Cruach Ardrain from Glen Fallo

Postby Fudgie » Sat Jan 05, 2013 7:28 pm

There was a very brief flash of blue sky heading down from CA - just a tantalising reminder that somewhere it was clear and sunny

I was on Mayar and Dreish today and it certainly wasn't clear and sunny up there. The weather was very similar to yours although it was a good bit windier. I would recommend going back to Cruach Ardrain on a clear day as the view from the top is fantastic.
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