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Great day in Orchy - Beinn a'Chreachain & Achaladair

Great day in Orchy - Beinn a'Chreachain & Achaladair


Postby weaselmaster » Sun Feb 03, 2013 10:41 am

Route description: Beinn Achaladair and Beinn a'Chreachain

Munros included on this walk: Beinn a'Chreachain, Beinn Achaladair

Date walked: 02/02/2013

Time taken: 7 hours

Distance: 22.3 km

Ascent: 1347m

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After last weekend's disappointment that the weather made walking hazardous and reduced me to a stroll round to Millport :lol: , I was keen to get back out on some proper terrain today. Forecast was for cold but clear skies and I decided to return up Bridge of Orchy way, having been up Beinn Mhanach a fortnight ago and seeing nothing. Last night had been clear and crisp so I was hoping for reasonable conditions on the hill and not for icy roads :thumbdown:

Got away just after 6.30 and was pleased to see the sky lightening up by around 7.45. Got to the road to Achallader farm soon after 8 and noticed what appears to be a new car park just after the turn off - there's a gate across the track up to the farm itself so I guess this is where you park now :o Anyway there were about half a dozen cars there already and the guys in the one next to me were kitted up for a bit of ice climbing.

Image
Morning sky by 23weasels, on Flickr

Walked up the track to the farm - I'd decided to do the route clockwise as suggested and am glad that I did. Passed some morose looking sheep over the track past the farm itself

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Disinterested sheep by 23weasels, on Flickr

and had a couple of squelchy bits to negotiate. Today I had on my new "approach shoes" - Scarpa Vortex - which I'd bought because I get bad metatarsal pains walking with winter boots, and here was another long approach walk in before I had to start going up. Pleased to report that the Vortex did the job very well - so much more comfortable to walk along the tracks in than winter boots, although with being shoes, not quite as good at keeping you dry if you step in a deep boggy stream :shock: Anyway, was only dampened a little as I'd shoved gaiters on anyway and that kept most of the water out.

The track goes on gently past the ruined farmstead and along the Tulla water,
Image
Not another bridge! by 23weasels, on Flickr

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Water of Tulla by 23weasels, on Flickr

then a sign points you down to the bridge crossing the river and there's a heather/grassy incline through some trees.
Image
Footbridge over Tulla by 23weasels, on Flickr

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Pines by 23weasels, on Flickr

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Beinn Achaladair by 23weasels, on Flickr

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BA by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1000799 by 23weasels, on Flickr

The railway line is in sight and soon the little underpass is too - quite a squeeze with a full rucksack - reminded me of creeping along entrance chambers to neolithic tombs on Orkney.

Image
Railway underpass by 23weasels, on Flickr

"Don't go over the stiles" said the WH info, and I did as I was told, keeping the deer fence on my R and heading up along allt coire an lochain. Started to run into snow here and decided it was time to get the proper boots on. The path wends up eventually crossing the stream at a narrow part then heads for the L of BaC.
Image
Achaladair by 23weasels, on Flickr

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Track towards aChreachain by 23weasels, on Flickr

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Looking back on way up BaC by 23weasels, on Flickr

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Beinn aCreachain, with waterfall by 23weasels, on Flickr

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Time for the proper boots! by 23weasels, on Flickr

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Up the stream to aChreachain by 23weasels, on Flickr

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View to Meal Beag - Lochan aChreachain under the snow somewhere! by 23weasels, on Flickr

Took me ages to get up here - the snow was that irritating sort that allows you to stand on it until you take your next step at which point you crumble into it - really draining. Was good to get to firmer snow with a layer of ice underneath - even tho I needed to bolt the crampons on, the going became a bit easier.

Reaching the shoulder of the rise I could see the narrow ridge toward to summit of BaC although my eyes were drawn to the fantastic vista of hills to the north, with Nevis easily visible and the dark waters of Loch Lyon nearer. The ridge needed a little care as there did appear to be some cornicing and the fall to the L got quite steep at times - however there was a wavy undulation and I also worried about there being some at the R side where the dog was ambling...

Image
Approaching the shoulder of BaC by 23weasels, on Flickr

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BaC top - view to North by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1000819 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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Ridge to top by 23weasels, on Flickr

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View over Loch Lyon by 23weasels, on Flickr

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Loch Lyon by 23weasels, on Flickr

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Ridge to top of BaC by 23weasels, on Flickr

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Summit Beinn aChreachain_Panorama by 23weasels, on Flickr

Safe up to the summit after about 3 hours 20, with my customary welcome from a pair of ravens who had flown up to investigate, sat briefly on the cairn then grokked away south again - saw them later on Achaldair. Spent a little time up at the cairn, just marvelling at the number of hills that were visible and failing (mostly) in picking anything other than the odd one out to name. Was good to see where we'd been 2 weeks ago on Mhanach (in the mist then). Also got a good view of the route over to BA which looked quite snowy.


Image
View to Meall Buidhe & BA by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1000834 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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Summit of BaC by 23weasels, on Flickr

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Loch Lyon again by 23weasels, on Flickr

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Finn at the top by 23weasels, on Flickr

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Meall Buidhe by 23weasels, on Flickr

Heading down the slope towards Meall Buidhe I reckoned that something was missing - nothing to swing in my hand, that's it - ice axe left at the summit when I was taking pictures... :roll: So had to track back up and retrieve it. Wind was getting up a bit as I headed across, with a few wisps of spindrift coming from the ridge to my R so I decided to contour round Meall Buidhe a bit lower down than the WH route suggested.
Image
On Meall Buidhe looking to BA by 23weasels, on Flickr

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BA by 23weasels, on Flickr

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Achaldair by 23weasels, on Flickr

When I got to Bealach an Aoghlain the sun was quite warm, I was sheltered from the wind and it was a nice spot to stop and get some food. While I was enjoying a warming coffee I saw another walker heading down from the top of BA, which cheered me as I would now have a path to follow in the snow up the steep initial slope to BA. When we met at the base, he'd been doing "the other one too" presumably an Dothiadh. He did look at the dog and mentioned that it was "pretty steep" going up to BA. Now the dog has managed some reasonably steep hills in his time, sometimes needing a wee shove up or carry down a rocky bit although i do leave him at home if I know there's going to be any scrambly stuff - so I hadn't been especially concerned about him going up BA today. Hmmmm :?


Image
It's upwards, Finny Boy! by 23weasels, on Flickr

It is a fairly steep and windy section for the first 100m or so up the way from the bealach and there were a number of sections where the snow was frozen into slippy sheets of ice. Easy enough for me with crampons, but not for the dog, who was slithering about on these parts trying to get purchase. It was quite possible that he could have a bad fall, so I had to grab his collar with one hand, nearly choking the poor brute at times, use my axe to keep us both upright and hope that I didn't stand on his paws with my steely spikes - made the ascent a little more challenging than otherwise. Fortunately it was possible to avoid most of the icy patches, and we made it to the higher and gentler parts of the slope without mishap. After that it was a steady walk up to the cairn, again with majestic views in all directions.

There's a link to the video view from the top here - not sure how include the video in the blog :?
http://www.flickr.com/photos/29312277@N08/8440925108/

Image
I've had quite enough! by 23weasels, on Flickr

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Looking back to BaC by 23weasels, on Flickr

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Looking east by 23weasels, on Flickr

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beinn Mhanach by 23weasels, on Flickr

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Loch Tulla by 23weasels, on Flickr

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Eastwards by 23weasels, on Flickr

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Snowy tops by 23weasels, on Flickr

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More! by 23weasels, on Flickr

The path along to Coire Daingean seemed to go on forever, with the path being a sheet of frozen stream for much of it - no problem with crampons. met a party of 4 coming up after the little re-ascent which seemed like pretty late in the day - it was getting on for 2pm by this stage and I reckoned there was no way they were going to get both peaks done, not in daylight anyway. Over to the east was a strange orange glow in the sky - too early to be sunset, weird...
Image
Orangy sky to the east by 23weasels, on Flickr

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P1000864 by 23weasels, on Flickr


Got down the the bealach between BA and an Dothiadh and headed back towards the farm along allt coire achaladair. The snow along this section was still icy in places. Below the snow line I switched back into my approach shoes - after all that time in crampons it was like putting on slippers! Feet relieved I continued along the burn route, although there were still a few patches of icy snow that needed traversed and I'll say this - approach shoes don't do frozen snow as well as proper boots :crazy: Some slips were had!

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Side of BA from the return path by 23weasels, on Flickr

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back towards the farm by 23weasels, on Flickr

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(not much)View from railway bridge by 23weasels, on Flickr

Across the railway bridge and down towards the farm I see a sign saying "footpath to car park" and heading down to the L. Not much sign of a footpath that I could see - just a boggy bit of moorland with a fence I had to cross and some cattle in the distance. One plus was that the marshy grass did at least clean my shoes of all the bog much they'd collected coming down from the bealach. Finally made it back to the track a little way from the car park - which was choc-a-bloc with cars. No idea where all the people were - didn't seem to be on these 2 hills.

Image
A busy car park at 3pm by 23weasels, on Flickr

Felt more tired than I expected doing these too - had expected to take about 6 hours but ended up taking 7. I know I stopped for a few more photo opportunites than usual, but must be losing my fitness or something :shock:
Last edited by weaselmaster on Wed Feb 06, 2013 9:41 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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weaselmaster
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Re: Great day in Orchy - Beinn a'Chreachain & Achaladair

Postby Jabber » Sun Feb 03, 2013 11:12 am

Simply Stunning! :clap:
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Re: Great day in Orchy - Beinn a'Chreachain & Achaladair

Postby ceaser » Sun Feb 03, 2013 11:33 am

good report and some cracking photos WM :clap: the extra time comes from wading through the snow ,it makes a big difference !
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Re: Great day in Orchy - Beinn a'Chreachain & Achaladair

Postby Silverhill » Sun Feb 03, 2013 7:16 pm

Well done WM and thanks for posting! Great pictures of a tough walk! :D I approached them from the other side, which was tough too. It is nice to see what these hills and their surroundings look like. The 5 Orchys are a bit of a grey spot on the map for me. Although I have done them, I have no real visual memories from them, apart from seeing a lot of cloud. :lol:
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Re: Great day in Orchy - Beinn a'Chreachain & Achaladair

Postby JimboJim » Sun Feb 03, 2013 8:24 pm

Great report and enjoyed your photo's. Hard to believe I was 'topless' in these hills, last March - not for long, mind. Any Munro's anywhere, not covered in ice and snow, anyone?
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Re: Great day in Orchy - Beinn a'Chreachain & Achaladair

Postby weaselmaster » Sun Feb 03, 2013 11:27 pm

Silverhill wrote: The 5 Orchys are a bit of a grey spot on the map for me. Although I have done them, I have no real visual memories from them, apart from seeing a lot of cloud. :lol:


Yeah - this is the first time I've seen anything from them - did Dorain & an Dothaidh last november in a blizzard with no view and Mhanach more recently a similar absence of viz from on top. I'm only very slowly starting to put together some sort of mental map about how various hills are positioned and days like yesterday make it somewhat easier than clag :wink:
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Re: Great day in Orchy - Beinn a'Chreachain & Achaladair

Postby weaselmaster » Sun Feb 03, 2013 11:28 pm

JimboJim wrote:Great report and enjoyed your photo's. Hard to believe I was 'topless' in these hills, last March - not for long, mind.


Cheers Jim - I had checked out your report earlier in the week before heading up these two and did see the naked torso :D No way I was stripping off yesterday!
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Re: Great day in Orchy - Beinn a'Chreachain & Achaladair

Postby JimboJim » Mon Feb 04, 2013 10:20 pm

Hello, Many Weasels. I hope you weren't too traumatised by looking at my photo! Things like that could chase folk from the hills, eh. Personally think you would have Report of the Month in the bag, if you had went for the topless pose!

You would have slept with contentment after that hike. I remember being well done in and that was in good conditions. Look forward to seeing you and doggie on next exploits.
Jas.

[/quote]Cheers Jim - I had checked out your report earlier in the week before heading up these two and did see the naked torso :D No way I was stripping off yesterday![/quote]
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Re: Great day in Orchy - Beinn a'Chreachain & Achaladair

Postby battie72 » Tue Feb 05, 2013 4:04 pm

Sooooooooo jealous!!!!! :-x I can't believe I missed out on this one, have no idea the last time I got a view! :(
Mind you if it took you 7 hours, god knows how long it would have taken me. Good report and great pics, love the one of Finn sitting in the snow :clap:
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Re: Great day in Orchy - Beinn a'Chreachain & Achaladair

Postby paulG1 » Thu Apr 18, 2013 8:55 pm

Excellent Report i'm off to try these two tommorrow, not sure what the snow will be like.. :clap:
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