Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

Sparkly Crianlarich Hills

Sparkly Crianlarich Hills

Postby mrssanta » Tue May 28, 2013 10:41 pm

Munros included on this walk: An Caisteal, Beinn a' Chròin, Beinn Chabhair, Beinn Tulaichean, Cruach Àrdrain

Date walked: 25/05/2013

Time taken: 28 hours

Distance: 25 km

Ascent: 2300m

Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

As Coldwetandhungry had a weekend away with the youth group, Rudolph and I grabbed the bank holiday weekend opportunity of a quick escape to the Crianlarich hills. We climbed Ben More and Stob Binnein in the days before children, glad we did too as they look a lot more brutal now than they seemed then! So the five remaining hills seemed like a good opportunity for an overnighter and after much studying of weather forecasts we chose one we liked the look of and went for it.
We left Yorkshire after my work on Friday night, staying in the Travelodge in Braehead overnight for a late bed and a rotten sleep, not the Travelodge's fault as it was very comfy and quiet, and taking advantage of the all you can eat breakfast made a fairly leisurely journey up the A82, no way we could hurry because of all the Lochs and Glens buses. Parking up at the layby where the Falloch does its 90 degree bend we finally got away just after 11am.
We crossed the muddy field and under the railway line and had not got far up the track when we found a mobile phone lying on the path, looks like somebody had just dropped it. We phoned home and told the lady on the other end that it had turned up and we would arrange later how to return it. Putting it safely in a dry pocket we carried on with our walk, heading across the rickety bridge over the Falloch and up in a rising traverse towards the ridge above the Grey Heights.
River Falloch just upstream of the crossing

looking back towards the rickety bridge

Not far up the steep rough hillside I spotted movement in the corner of my eye, and there was a small pond absolutely bursting with tadpoles, they were so wriggly it looked like the pond was fizzing!
fizzy tadpoles

we eventually hit the ridge which was a lovely walk undulating between lochans and lumpy bits with the views opening up as we went
looking towards ben Lui poking out above ben Oss

forwards to Cruach Ardrain summit

looking across to Ben a'Chroin

We seemed to miss the direct path up to the top and went around the West side, coming to the summit from behind, but it worked fine, and so here am I on my second munro of the year looking very happy!
top of Cruach Ardrain

I noticed as we were coming up the ridge that the rocks on Cruach Ardrain were very sparkly, and then I noticed that there were little sparkles on my boots, my gaiters and even my trousers up to my knees! Even the mud was sparkly on the sparkly hill in the sparkly sunshine! That gave me a lot of pleasure and delight!
We met quite a lot of people on Cruach Ardrain and asked all of them if they had lost a mobile. Eventually we met a man walking solo and were able to return the phone to its very happy owner just at the bealach between Ardrain and Tulaichean. That was also a matter of pleasure and delight!
Rudolph on Beinn Tulaichean

Looking toward ben Vorlich and Stuc a'Chroin from top of beinn Tulaichean

The next job was to descend the steep west side of Beinn Tuleachain to the bealach between these two hills and Beinn a'Chroin. We stopped for our second lunch and picked out our intended route which was the reverse of what Steve Fallon recommends for his completely bonkers traverse of all the Crianlarich Hills. This was over very rough and rocky terrain and I would not have liked to do this in poor visibility as the terrain would make it difficult to walk on a bearing. Anyway we didn't need to as we could see roughly where we wanted to go from the top, and planned our route down and up again
P5250665 with line.jpg
this picture shows the route we took below the cliffs of Stob Glas

heading down below the cliffs

We got down to the bealach and headed off up again to gain the north ridge of Beinn a'Chroin.
looking up to beinn a'chroin

this was not difficult route finding but we found it a real slog getting up here, looking up directly into the sun, beginning to feel the lack of real hill fitness and Rudolph confessed to struggling quite a lot. Maybe the late night and lack of sleep catching up on us.
top of Beinn a'Chroin looking back to Cruach Ardrain and Beinn tulaichean with Stob Binnein behind

Anyway as we gained the summit ridge, missing out on the Eastern top which we are assured is not the summit, a helicopter started circling around and around. It came and went for over an hour as we walked along the ridge, down the steep and scrambly path on the other side and started setting up our camp at Bealach Buidhe.
helicopter circling

when it hovered just a few yards from where we were and very quickly dropped a winchman down, we were sure it was on exercises, beautiful it was too, but the man came over to us and asked if we had seen a couple with a dog, one of whom was injured. they had been looking for them but not seen anyone. We hadn't actually seen anyone at all since handing the phone back to its happy owner, so we hope they were found.
helicopter hovering above bealach buidhe

the helicopter circled round again and picked up the winchman and soon after we didnt hear it agan.
We set up our camp and Rudolph collapsed in a heap in the tent, too tired to eat anything - well we had eaten quite well on cooked breakfast pork pie and ham rolls so a cup of tea and a jammy roll was enough!
Rudolph in the tent

In the morning it was claggy when we woke up and we were concerned if we would make it to Beinn Chabhair and back without a path, but in fact by the time we had breakfast the cloud level was lifting and we could see our way no bother. I wouldn't recommend navigating this in clag though unless you know exactly what you are doing as again the terrain is rough.
descending to the bealach

lochan at the bealach

we were quite pleased with ourselves at our choice of route up the other side, you go up a rake from the bealach where there are hints of a path which come and go. there is a flatter bit with a wee lochan at NN 370180 which is fed by a small burn, not marked on the OS map. going up this burn to its top and then keeping going you gain the south ridge of beinn Chabhair and a nice walk to the summit.
P5260724 with line.jpg
our route up

wee lochan at NN3718

The view from the top was interesting, looked like we were on the only hills not in clag, very satisfying!
view down to Loch Long from Beinn Chabhair

So then we had the climb back down and up to Bealach Bhuidhe, strike camp, pack up the stuff and up the last summit of the day, An Casteil. this was a lovely walk up a good path with enough interesting scrambly bits to make it a lot of fun.
bridge of Orchy Hills from near top of An Casteil

an Casteil summit

The last remaining task was to come down the beautiful ridge of Twistin Hill, with superb views all around. But I didn't stop to take many pictures coming down as I was rather focused on going to the Real Food cafe for tea!
we like this

there were cows in the field at the bottom near the river, but nothing too scary just a finishing school of heifers with their elegant odd earrings, it's the fashion these days you know!
do you like my earrings?
Last edited by mrssanta on Wed May 29, 2013 10:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Mountain Walker
Posts: 3107
Munros:274   Corbetts:11
Sub 2000:9   Hewitts:43
Wainwrights:40   Islands:8
Joined: Jul 18, 2011
Location: north yorkshire moors

Re: Sparkly Crianlarich Hills

Postby mrssanta » Tue May 28, 2013 10:53 pm

sorry have to attach the map separately as I have run out of attachment space. Has to be two as the files are too big to do in one track.

Track_25-MAY-13 184330.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Track_PORTION13 150420.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

User avatar
Mountain Walker
Posts: 3107
Munros:274   Corbetts:11
Sub 2000:9   Hewitts:43
Wainwrights:40   Islands:8
Joined: Jul 18, 2011
Location: north yorkshire moors

Re: Sparkly Crianlarich Hills

Postby Collaciotach » Tue May 28, 2013 11:08 pm

Nice one Santa

They are grand hills there .... gu dearbh :clap:
User avatar
Mountain Walker
Posts: 1844
Munros:282   Corbetts:195
Grahams:36   Donalds:10
Sub 2000:23   
Joined: Aug 8, 2011
Location: Gaidhealtachd an Iar

Re: Sparkly Crianlarich Hills

Postby scooby0511 » Tue May 28, 2013 11:38 pm

Nice report and photographs MrsSanta.

Would like to try camping in the hills myself this year.

Well done :clap:
Munro compleatist
Posts: 53
Grahams:1   Donalds:3
Sub 2000:1   
Joined: Sep 2, 2011
Location: Larbert

Re: Sparkly Crianlarich Hills

Postby Fudgie » Wed May 29, 2013 10:46 am

I did the same route you took around Stob Glas but in the opposite direction. Never again :lol:
User avatar
Mountain Walker
Posts: 997
Munros:100   Corbetts:20
Grahams:3   Donalds:7
Joined: Aug 30, 2010
Location: Port Glasgow

Re: Sparkly Crianlarich Hills

Postby robertphillips » Wed May 29, 2013 11:05 am

Well done mrs s :clap: good report. 8)
User avatar
Mountain Walker
Posts: 299
Munros:282   Corbetts:222
Grahams:219   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:405   Hewitts:150
Wainwrights:214   Islands:25
Joined: Dec 28, 2010
Location: Kilbirnie North Ayrshire

Re: Sparkly Crianlarich Hills

Postby Fife Flyer » Wed May 29, 2013 11:15 am

Great report, some nice photo's :wink:
Am venturing out that way on Friday, looking forward to it as it is a few years since I was up in the Crianlarich hills :o
User avatar
Fife Flyer
Munro compleatist
Posts: 2505
Munros:255   Corbetts:51
Grahams:33   Donalds:86
Sub 2000:125   Hewitts:2
Joined: May 15, 2013
Location: Guess?

Re: Sparkly Crianlarich Hills

Postby alfie » Wed May 29, 2013 3:28 pm

hi mrs santa,was up here on sunday with my brother doin an caisteal and beinn a chroin and had a great day!an caisteal is amazing walk,got to be one of my favourites!took loads of pics that day cos it was really nice weather,one of which you may recognise,haha! :D
your tent?
User avatar
Munro compleatist
Posts: 173
Munros:102   Corbetts:2
Grahams:1   Donalds:5
Sub 2000:2   
Joined: Sep 4, 2011
Location: sauchie, by alloa

Re: Sparkly Crianlarich Hills

Postby rocket-ron » Wed May 29, 2013 9:09 pm

we did these 5 last saturday as well. we also had the helicopter land beside us
Posts: 971
Munros:175   Corbetts:68
Sub 2000:12   
Joined: Jul 19, 2010
Location: Inverness

Re: Sparkly Crianlarich Hills

Postby basscadet » Wed May 29, 2013 9:59 pm

Och, sounds like you had an amazing weekend :D
I did these the opposite way round, as a walk through from Inverarnain to Crianlarich.. Oh my thighs have never hurt so bad! :lol: Steep eh?
User avatar
Munro compleatist
Posts: 2779
Munros:84   Corbetts:52
Grahams:18   Donalds:8
Sub 2000:34   Hewitts:13
Wainwrights:17   Islands:21
Joined: Dec 1, 2011
Location: Edinburgh

Re: Sparkly Crianlarich Hills

Postby Graeme D » Wed May 29, 2013 10:26 pm

Nice one! A fair bit of ye olde wild camping going on in that neck of the woods this month! :D
User avatar
Graeme D
Posts: 3780
Munros:237   Corbetts:117
Grahams:68   Donalds:22
Sub 2000:57   Hewitts:36
Wainwrights:27   Islands:6
Joined: Oct 17, 2008
Location: Perth

Re: Sparkly Crianlarich Hills

Postby Sarah86 » Thu May 30, 2013 2:32 pm

I look forward to being able to attempt something like this some day, the landscape is beautiful. I hope they person they were looking for was ok.
User avatar
Posts: 572
Munros:13   Corbetts:5
Grahams:2   Donalds:4
Sub 2000:16   Hewitts:1
Joined: Aug 29, 2011

Re: Sparkly Crianlarich Hills

Postby gammy leg walker » Thu May 30, 2013 8:20 pm

Really braw hills & weather.
User avatar
gammy leg walker
Mountain Walker
Posts: 3410
Munros:276   Corbetts:7
Grahams:4   Donalds:3
Sub 2000:2   
Joined: Jan 30, 2010
Location: Central Region
Walk wish-list

Re: Sparkly Crianlarich Hills

Postby mrssanta » Thu May 30, 2013 9:22 pm

thanks folks for your comments, Yes Alfie that was our wee tent. That must have been taken while we were going over to bheinn chabhair.
I read your report BC - you were having a hard time then, I was feeling for you!
Maybe we passed you Ron, you must be proper fit to do all five in the one day.
these are big rough hills right enough.
Planning the next trip now, Kintail in the second week of July. :D we are hoping for a nice wee breeze and plenty of sunshine as we will be camping for 4 nights but we have a clean-up and sleep well night in the Cluanie booked as a special birthday treat for ourselves!
User avatar
Mountain Walker
Posts: 3107
Munros:274   Corbetts:11
Sub 2000:9   Hewitts:43
Wainwrights:40   Islands:8
Joined: Jul 18, 2011
Location: north yorkshire moors

Re: Sparkly Crianlarich Hills

Postby mr_ash_37 » Thu May 30, 2013 10:19 pm

Well done you two, great report and pics especially the copter! Nice to see it as close I'm sure.

I met you as you made your way up, I was solo with the green and yellow cap and gave you advice on your route....hope it was ok advice.

Nice tent and camping location.

User avatar
Munro compleatist
Posts: 175
Munros:66   Corbetts:3
Joined: Jan 20, 2012
Location: East Ayrshire

Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).


Walkhighlands community forum is advert free

Your generosity keeps this site running.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by donating by direct debit?

Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: bazred92, Emzo, JoMack88, njb23, prog99, VictorN and 37 guests