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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.

Beinn Chuirn

Beinn Chuirn


Postby weaselmaster » Sun Jan 12, 2014 8:58 pm

Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn Chuirn

Grahams included on this walk: Meall Odhar

Date walked: 12/01/2014

Time taken: 5.18 hours

Distance: 16.4 km

Ascent: 1155m

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No walking yesterday due to other commitments, so had to get out somewhere today. Original plan had been Ben Ledi & Benvane from Brig o'Turk but cold weather overnight meant the likelihood of slippy/icy roads so somewhere a bit closer to a main route was called for - Beinn Chuirn would tick the box. Really late in setting off for me- didn't set off from the Visitor Centre in Tyndrum til 10.15. Which was a little disappointing from the photo front as there had been an interesting red sky as I drove up that had now turned leaden.

Walked down to the Tyndrum Lower station, across the line and through the trees towards Cononish. Dark firs allow glimpses of white hills and I eventually make out Ben Lui up ahead. Although there is a sense of gaining height going along the forest path, I note that the altitude when I at last move out of the trees and get to the river Cononish is precisely the same as when I left Tyndrum. On my left are Oss & Dubhcraig. Ben Lui is looking beautiful up ahead - it's very hard to drag the eye away from Coire Gaothach. I'm seriously tempted to head over there rather than get my Corbett, but I reckon the snow looks a bit thick on the corrie walls and it might not be the safest thing to do.

Ben Lui through the trees
Image
DSCF2337 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Lui, Chuirn to the right
Image
DSCF2339 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Chuirn
Image
DSCF2340 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Lui
Image
DSCF2342 by 23weasels, on Flickr

River Cononish
Image
DSCF2345 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Lui & Oss

Image
DSCF2346 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Looking at Beinn Chuirn over to the right of Lui, I see that I could have left the snowshoes in the car, as there's only the lightest covering. I get to the farmhouse, marvel at the view that the lucky occupants have from their home, and say hello to a skittish young collie that comes over to investigate me. Past the famr for a short way then leave the track and head up the grassy slopes - initially at around 45 degrees for a couple hundred metres then onto a much flatter boggy landscape that heads west for a bit. Up ahead, near the top of Beinn Chuirn, I can make out half a dozen walkers. I continue to head westward, gently climbing as I do so to reach the shoulder of the hill. As I do so I see Ben Cruachan raise its white pointed peaks and Beinn aBhuridh sitting to the north of the horseshoe - I remember climing those hills on a blisteringly hot May afternoon - there's not much warm about today as the wind steadily increases, blowing behind me fortunately, but setting off little flurries of spindrift that get into eyes, boots, where ever there's a tiny gap. I walk up to the first cairn, take my time to gaze around at the surrounding hills then press onto the summit cairn. The wind is really strong by now, and after a few pics at the tops I hunker down behind a rock on the leeward side of the summit and eat my piece. It's cold even out of the wind and I'm forced to put on a fourth layer...

Nearing top Chuirn
Image
DSCF2350 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Orchy hills
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DSCF2352 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Spindrift - or cloud - on Ben Oss
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DSCF2353 by 23weasels, on Flickr

More & Stobinien
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DSCF2354 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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DSCF2356 by 23weasels, on Flickr

North again
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DSCF2357 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Cruachan
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DSCF2360 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Cruachan zoomed
Image
DSCF2361 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Summit of Chuirn
Image
DSCF2362 by 23weasels, on Flickr

First cairn
Image
DSCF2364 by 23weasels, on Flickr

To Orchy hills
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DSCF2368 by 23weasels, on Flickr

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DSCF2370 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Summit Panorama
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DSCF2374 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Looking NW
Image
DSCF2378 by 23weasels, on Flickr

I begin to descend from Chuirn - the snow is hard and frozen, the wind pushing me around like an icy bully, chilling my face. I head over to where my route takes me down eastwards - however I get to an edge and don't like what I see - more snow on the north facing side and I think I may be meeting with cornice if I go this way. Over to my right, the rocky face of the mountain rises up from Coire na Saobhaidhe and with the wind still blowing a hoolie it's all feeling a little precarious. I decide that I will just go back down the way I've come up and start back to the summit, but cross the prints of the party I'd seen earlier heading down. They've gone a bit further south into the rim of the coire itself. I can't see any bodies below, so I reckon they've probably survived it, the snow's not very deep and is crisp enough to make me think avalanches unlikely, so I press on. it gets very steep indeed and I retreat to don crampons and axe. Slowly, steadily make my way down the icy slope. I think on a carefree day I might have dared to glissade down, but on my own and with the strong winds I'm taking it easy. I'm onto softer snow and grass and head over to the north east making for Meall Odhar. That was a bit of fun!

Coire na Saobhaidhe
Image
DSCF2379 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
DSCF2381 by 23weasels, on Flickr

The walk over to Meall Odhar is easy going, with the worst of the bogs frozen over. I make for a linear gap in the treeline up the side of Meall Odhar, having to climb a deer fence on the way. I see that the party ahead have come the same way and follow their prints in the soft snow up to the shoulder of Odhar, with a wee diversion to the summit cairn - not that I'm consciously bagging Grahams, but seems silly not to :wink:

Beinn Chuirn from Odhar
Image
DSCF2383 by 23weasels, on Flickr

View of Ben Oss
Image
DSCF2384 by 23weasels, on Flickr

To summit of Odhar
Image
DSCF2388 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Oss & Dubhcraig from summit cairn
Image
DSCF2389 by 23weasels, on Flickr

From the summit I headed NE making for the bump of Drochaid na Droma - this could be a boggy route in less icy weather. From here I get a view back over Odhar & Chuirn

Image
DSCF2392 by 23weasels, on Flickr

From here there's another bit of ascent I wasn't expecting up to Sron nan Colan. I can see the group of 6 walkers at the top of this, not far ahead of me now. The wind's lessened, but the sky looks heavy with snow to come later. Pushing on I make the easy pull up to the cairn then begin the descent down the north side, past the old lead mine workings which are fenced off. I finally meet up with the other group and we have a pleasant chat was we walk down the zigzag path back into the forest. A short walk along the path beside the railway and it's back to the crossing gate at the station. A good day out, with enough of the winter variety to keep interest whetted.

Image
DSCF2393 by 23weasels, on Flickr

Image
IMAG0052 by 23weasels, on Flickr


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

User avatar
weaselmaster
Hill Bagger
 
Posts: 1888
Munros:214   Corbetts:44
Grahams:76   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:331   Hewitts:31
Wainwrights:15   Islands:28
Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

Re: Beinn Chuirn

Postby PeteR » Sun Jan 12, 2014 9:19 pm

Really interesting to see you doing this route today Alistair. This had been my aim for New Years Day, but my mojo had gone AWOL after the initial climb onto Chuirn and I was really struggling, so I just headed home. I almost returned today too to right the wrong, but in the end opted for The Fara instead. Thankfully the mojo has been rediscovered :wink:

Some great photos and great views you got today though. Certainly a couple of hills I want to return to some time this year and your report and photos have certainly whetted the appetite :D
User avatar
PeteR
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 2048
Munros:282   Corbetts:158
Grahams:89   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:176   Hewitts:3
Islands:9
Joined: Jan 27, 2010
Location: North Ayrshire

Re: Beinn Chuirn

Postby weaselmaster » Sun Jan 12, 2014 11:06 pm

PeteR wrote:Really interesting to see you doing this route today Alistair. This had been my aim for New Years Day, but my mojo had gone AWOL after the initial climb onto Chuirn and I was really struggling, so I just headed home. I almost returned today too to right the wrong, but in the end opted for The Fara instead. Thankfully the mojo has been rediscovered :wink:

Some great photos and great views you got today though. Certainly a couple of hills I want to return to some time this year and your report and photos have certainly whetted the appetite :D


Cheers, Pete. And I managed not to lose a camera today :clap:
User avatar
weaselmaster
Hill Bagger
 
Posts: 1888
Munros:214   Corbetts:44
Grahams:76   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:331   Hewitts:31
Wainwrights:15   Islands:28
Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

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