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One v's The Bridge of Orchy Two - Munros 24 & 25

One v's The Bridge of Orchy Two - Munros 24 & 25

Postby GillC » Sun Apr 21, 2013 11:33 am

Route description: Beinn Dorain and Beinn an Dothaidh, Bridge of Orchy

Munros included on this walk: Beinn an Dothaidh, Beinn Dorain

Date walked: 20/04/2013

Time taken: 7.5 hours

Distance: 14 km

Ascent: 1228m

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As the week progressed and my dodgy back improving daily (god bless NHS physiotherapists) I started to think about getting out for a long distance but low level walk, one of my old WHW training walks on the old railway routes north to Strathblane perhaps? By Thursday I felt like more of a challenge, something new/unknown and my thoughts turned to Dorain & Dothaidh. Having driven towards the immense pyramid of Dorain from the south, then under the gully so often, I had frequently looked up and thought how do'able they seemed, making a mental note that these must kept on the radar for future trips.

Friday night was spent hatching Plans A, B & C, of varying difficulties, distance from home and terrain etc. The Bridge of Orchy Two being Plan A. Saturday morning, decision made, left home around 06:45 to head up to B of O. One of the joys of travelling alone,,you can sing very loudly!
Lovely morning (although not as nice as yesterday) rain not forecast until much later in the day so the low cloud didn't worry me too much.
Approaching Beinn Dorain from the South,

Nice quiet roads so arrived at my destination before 08:30, time to boot up, banana and flapjacks for a wee boost, then headed off up the lane towards the station underpass and the gateway to the hills.

A party of 2 had parked up at the station and were about 75 yards ahead of me as I passed through the gate on the other side of the underpass. I was secretly quite grateful as I was walking on my own and they gave a level of security,,basically, I thought I would keep them in sight and follow them :D (didn't last too long)

The path up beside the burn is unmissible but pretty tricky underfoot, its mainly made up of that rubble stuff thats too small to get a good footing, but too big to pass over easily, lots of picking your way through. Fair bit of erosion too,,possibly caused by snow and ice melting, so large areas of peaty grass just breaking away from the shelves overhanging sections of the path. Progress up the path was good though, a constant climb and I was up at the lower snow patches in about 40 minutes.
Cloud sweeping through the corry.

Some great views around the surrounding hills and the valley floor and of the crags above and burns below...

View west over the River Orchy
Stepped rocks on the burn
Dorains lower crags

Not sure what time it was when I reached the cairn in the corry and I had already decided to take on Dorain first.
Clearly visible path up the Coire
The cairn at the top of Coire an Dothaidh

I was armed with my OS map, my WH print out, which,,thanks to the paths, wasn't really out of my pocket much. The path up onto Dorain is pretty easy to see, but the higher you get, the larger snow fields totally obscured it so I had to rely on the footprints of previous walkers.

The snow had frozen into ice and only in some places, did I sink into soft snow instead of having to kick in with heels and toes to get a decent hold. My poles were invaluable in these areas, especially on the descents. As the hillside got steeper and was north facing, there were some longer uphill stretches of this frozen stuff, head down, dig in and follow the footprints. It was slightly disconcerting that you could see small springs disappearing under these patches, at some point, this would melt or give way with the undercurrent of water, get off quick,,thats my motto! :clap: The cloud came and went but the views were fantastic, lots of variety.
The layering effect
The dark waters of Loch Tulla

As you reach a flat area, its very easy in the snow to lose the path and I had to back track about 50 yards to retrace the route. Cloud was still high but I'd lost my 2 walkers from the bottom, but luckily they appeared from behind a mound, slightly further North than I was, so I scooted across and rediscovered the path. (I have a very bad habit of seeing my goal,,and making a bee line for it,,,instead of the tried and tested and oh so often, best route :? )

Its a fairly easy incline from here up to Carn Sassunaich, thankfully still clear and easy to see the top in the near distance. I felt great, thoroughly enjoyed the climb up and I was nearly at the top. Lots of sheltered spots on the way, it's quiet eerie being so high and yet totally devoid of wind in some places.

Reached the top, and Munro 24, at 11:20. Glad I was alone at this point as I was congratulating myself out loud lol
Munro 24 in the bag (was nearly 42....think about it!)

Got the windproof jacket and hat on, had a wee 10 min break for coffee and a sarny as the clouds blew in and blew off again. Views appeared and disappeared before the camera was ready so I headed off down to the corry to then head up Beinn an Dothaidh.

Passed a few groups of 2 on their way up, visibility returned completely only 50 mtrs or so from the top, and continued to clear as the day progressed. The descent down to the corry meant re-negotiating the icy snow, again relying on previous walkers footprints and much concentration. :shock: but got down in good time.

Was going to take a short break here but no real need, so got straight on to the again, obvious path. It cuts north east around the side of the hill and after a short time, reaches a cairn. The WH guide to this route doesn't mention this cairn but this is the marker to then head due North. As per an earlier paragraph, I, as had previous walkers, took the direct route, continuing north east straight to the true summit,,missing out the 2 lower ones on the shoulder.
Been there, done that! looking back at Dorain from Dothaidh
sunburn or snowburn???
This did however, involve a bit of a deviation from the track as there was a gully of snow, with depressions, indicating a drop in ground level or possibly another burn, so not wanting to risk disappearing through the snow, a slightly boggy detour to the left to skirt round the straight up the hill to the summit. Munro 25, check! :clap: There was a slight hail storm here, hardly worth mentioning but coupled with the gale force wind, was pretty painful on the face when I had to turn into it. OUCH!

The wind at the top of Dothaidh was INCREDIBLE! I let my poles swing by the wrist strap and they were blown horizontally, very hard to walk, and as the summit cairn is right on the edge of the crags, I didnt risk setting up the camera, it's likely someone would have found it, and see a picture of my feet disappearing off the top. I did manage to hunker down in the back of the cairn for 5 mins, coffee and to take in the amazing 360 degree views of snowy mountains.
snow covered hills, after hills, after hills......
North West from the summit of an Dothaidh
Amazing panorama
nevis crop b.jpg
North to Nevis

I checked the map and opted to take the high route for my return, nice easy to follow shoulder,,remembering to keep a distance from the edge of the crags as the wind really WAS blowing me off my feet, and that aint easy! :crazy:

Again, cracking views north to Nevis and CMD. I realised this morning that the total ascent on these 2 today is only about 110-120 mtrs short of Nevis itself. Quite chuffed at that.

Coming back down towards the cairn,,I could see various walkers, groups of 2 all taking different routes up to the summit of Dothaidh, good visibility meant this was no problem but I could see how this could be very different in mist or heavy cloud/rain. Again, note to self,,get your navigation skills sorted Gill!!! :lol: The snow areas, although smaller than on Dorain, seemed much less secure, slushy on the edges and showing glimpses of deep gaps etc underneath. With the sun now out and temperatures rising, I dont think they will hold someones weight much after today, so again, get over quickly. I arrived back down to the corry just before 14:30 and headed on down. The path was even trickier on the descent, underfoot it was very unstable, boggy in parts but by now, my feet were already wet and I just didn't care. It reminded me of coming off Bidean last year,,you can see the hotel, your destination, but it never gets any closer. So I played little distance games to break up the descent, only aim for "the grassy hillock on the left" or "the big white rock on the right" etc, this keeps my focus on my footfall and its amazing how it helps eat up the distance. Finally on the lower stretches and down to the railway line.
Stayed here when I did the WHW. Once in a lifetime experience.

Back to the car in 7hrs 25 mins, more than happy with my day out. 2 great hills and weather was good to me. Took some time out to take on some fuel,,hadn't eaten much today as I think I was running on adrenalin, my appetite only kicked in on the way down.

Stopped for a brief look back at todays achievement ..............
Looking back at the end of a cracking day.
..................before playing leap-bus all the way down to Glasgow, home, and wine,,becoming a habit :lol:
Last edited by GillC on Thu Jun 27, 2013 5:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: One v's The Bridge of Orchy Two - Munros 24 & 25

Postby arabgarry » Mon Apr 22, 2013 9:14 am

Cracking report Gill. Me and my mate would've been one of the groups of two you spoke to (the ones with the dog!).

Great day but appreciate your comments about the wind!!!
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Re: One v's The Bridge of Orchy Two - Munros 24 & 25

Postby GillC » Mon Apr 22, 2013 9:48 am

Hey there,,,glad you made it off that hill,,wind assisted Im sure. Was a great day out indeed. Im fairly new to solo walking so was good to have some company scattered around the hill lol Well done you guys too,, :clap:
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Re: One v's The Bridge of Orchy Two - Munros 24 & 25

Postby Ibex » Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:18 am

Congrats on your quarter century of Munro's.
Some lovely atmospheric pictures there. The mountians really seem to have a haunting beauty about them. :)
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Re: One v's The Bridge of Orchy Two - Munros 24 & 25

Postby ChrisA » Mon Apr 22, 2013 8:27 pm

Good report Gill, done both these on Saturday to, think I spoke to you briefly before you climbed Beinn an Dothaidh, I was the solo guy having a snack near the bealach. I remember getting to the summit of Beinn Dorain to have the hail driven by the wind into my face :) was still an enjoyable day.
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Re: One v's The Bridge of Orchy Two - Munros 24 & 25

Postby scooby0511 » Mon Apr 22, 2013 10:39 pm

Nice report Gill, was thinking about Meall Corranaich and Choire Leith, but you may have changed my mind.
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Re: One v's The Bridge of Orchy Two - Munros 24 & 25

Postby Bod » Mon Apr 22, 2013 10:56 pm

Well done Gill, a grand day out these two and you are right about the clag mistakes....made one up there myself on Dothaidh myself, but then you get to love so many mountains, including the ones that catch you out :wink: :D :D
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Re: One v's The Bridge of Orchy Two - Munros 24 & 25

Postby tomyboy73 » Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:10 pm

well done on getting up, an down, there yourself :clap: i know what you mean by that long walk back, everything looks in touching distance, till you go round another zig zag or up and down another hill and it still looks the same distance away :lol:
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Re: One v's The Bridge of Orchy Two - Munros 24 & 25

Postby GillC » Tue Apr 23, 2013 6:34 am

Thanks all,,yes Chris, remember having a chat, think you came down off Dorain just before I got back to the bealach too.

Now,,need to get my tally up to 30 before the end of the summer....suggestions welcome lol :lol:
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