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Ben Alder and Beinn Bheoil from Culra

Ben Alder and Beinn Bheoil from Culra

Postby mmm_biscuit » Tue Jun 04, 2013 11:47 pm

Route description: Ben Alder and Beinn Bheòil from Culra

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Bheoil, Ben Alder

Date walked: 26/05/2013

Time taken: 8 hours

Distance: 19 km

Ascent: 1023m

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2013 05 26 Beinn Bheoil and Ben Alder.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Woke on Sunday to cloud hanging low on Ben Alder - a bit of a disappointment after Saturday's blue skies - but at least it wasn't raining! We had originally planned to head up to Ben Alder first, but M had the (in retrospect - brilliant) idea of reversing the route in case the cloud lifted later in the day, so that's what we did. The seven of us started off from the tents at 9:30, heading NE 0.5 km away from our goal to cross the bridge, then following the path on the south bank as it followed the river upstream. The path soon left the river and began the climb up the N slope of Beinn Bheoil, the cloud and drizzle coming and going in time with our waterproofs. Spotted - actually - strike that - heard a ptarmigan on the way up - eventually spotted the practically invisible but very noisy birds perched high above the loch below.

P1040323 cropped.jpg
Mr and Mrs Ptarmigan above Loch a'Bhealach Bheithe

By 12pm we were at the summit of Beinn Bheoil - first of the day. Sadly the cloud was down and so we didn't linger long. Time for a quick fortifying nip, then descending SW towards the col and Ben Alder. Not far from the summit, the cloud lifted and we had clear views south - we immediately started playing the 'is that Schiehallion' game.

S and N descending from Beinn Bheoil

K and S looking out over Loch Ericht

M with Carn Dearg behind
In fact the good views, the lack of rain, the sudden absence of cloud and the fact that it was clearly lunchtime suddenly made lunch seem like a brilliant idea. So we ate lunch on some rocks and watched some mountain bikers doing their thing on the stalker's path below. After lunch the descent continued.

From above, the col at the foot of Ben Alder looked like a bit of a bog fest, but it was actually reasonably good going. We were a bit unsure of the best route onwards, so opted for almost-straight-up-but-a-bit-to-the-left. This seemed to avoid the worst of the bouldery sections and also the helped us avoid the lingering, late season snow patches. Passed a few walkers on their way down, and then before we knew it we were on the summit plateau. Best of all - the cloud had lifted from the summit - woohoo!

Cresting the ridge

P1040330 - cropped.jpg
Cornices around Ben Alder's ridge
From our corner of the plateau it was a mere hop, skip and jump to the point at which we realised it was still miles to the summit. The corniced ridge distracted our attention though and we were soon at the top (2:50pm). Ben Alder has an appropriately massive cairn and we stopped for a small celebratory beverage and obligatory photo taking.

Summit cairn

Everyone at the summit (N's photo)
Rather than picking our way down the NE ridge, we opted for heading roughly NW to the col and back to the stalkers path. This went fairly smoothly apart from us losing 2 of our party on the way down (M+S - yes you). Luckily the steep northern cliffs deterred them from attempting a somewhat unwise descent and everyone was herded safely back to the path.

Shafts of sunlight on Loch Ossian
The walk back along the stalker's path to the campsite was really enjoyable. The sun almost shone long enough to encourage a swim - but not quite. Dinner and sleeping awaited...

The next day... it was chucking it down - so we ate breakfast, packed the soggy tents and fled straight to the Ralia cafe at top speed!
Mountain Walker
Posts: 23
Munros:247   Corbetts:8
Grahams:6   Donalds:1
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Re: Ben Alder and Beinn Bheoil from Culra

Postby SusieThePensioner » Wed Jun 05, 2013 1:32 pm

Really enjoyed reading your report, sounded a great day, and some lovely photos :thumbup:
Great one of you all on the summit :D
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Posts: 1543
Munros:6   Corbetts:3
Grahams:4   Donalds:7
Sub 2000:3   Hewitts:107
Joined: Sep 7, 2011
Location: County Durham

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