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Crackin' day up the Ben Cruachan quattro - 4 hill circuit!

Crackin' day up the Ben Cruachan quattro - 4 hill circuit!


Postby robodob » Sun May 25, 2014 11:47 pm

Route description: Ben Cruachan and Stob Daimh

Munros included on this walk: Beinn a'Chochuill, Beinn Eunaich, Ben Cruachan, Stob Daimh

Date walked: 24/05/2014

Time taken: 8.8 hours

Distance: 26 km

Ascent: 2000m

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Second walk report in as many weeks, however due to the relatively small amount of info on this particular route I thought i'd be aswell adding my tuppence worth. I've trace out a GPS route manually to give you an idea of the route. I decided on these 4 after reading rockhopper's report and based my route on his GPS trace http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=8185. I, however, completed these in the clockwise direction as I wanted to do the ascent up Cruachan. Weather was set to be good all day with a 60% chance of rain from 1200-1400 - it never arrived BWAHA.

Parked up off the 'A85' road as close to the end of my route as possible...nothing worse than a LONG slog of a walk after 4 munros. Set off about 0800hrs along the road which has a small pavement on the right side all the way to a road up to the dam. It's obvious if you've got the correct road because there's a gate with about 300 padlocks securing it. I also got to see a warning which becomes very repetitive as I continued up the good tarmac road towards the base of the Cruachan Dam.

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Followed the tarmac road to the top of the dam as there is unrestricted access to walk across the top of it, which is novel.

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It was a very warm muggy morning and I was sweating buckets and finding it a little difficult to catch a good breath. Probably nothing to do with the few too many the night before. A sadistic method of climbing 4 hills over 9 hours but one that for some reason keeps recurring. Looked into the water of the dam and wanted to jump in more than a little bit.

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The tarmac path/road stopped now and turned into a good landrover track which follows the reservoir to the base of the start of the ascent proper. However a surprising amount of height had already been gained quickly on the road upto the dam. A fairly obvious path was used to start the climb to the summit.

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Reached the saddle between the Cruachan and Meall Cuanail and made for a quick pause for some photos. Some great views towards the windmills due west way over as far as Mull.

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A steep rocky ascent towards the summit of Cruachan over increasingly rocky ground but a good change of pace. I apologise on behalf of Kenny for his skin-tight white top, but he was too warm.

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Reached the summit of Cruachan just shy of 1100hrs, which my fast math means it had taken less than 3 hours for the long walk in and summiting the first hill. Was pretty happy with that. Cloud started to come in from the West but nothing that hampered the enjoyment or the views in any real way. At the summit I got a good view along the ridges towards Stob Diamh.

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After a some quick food I was anxious to get going along this ridge as it looked great. Quite narrow indeed and a very steep drop to the left. Some fun scrambling sections which I would imagine would be a totally different beast in the snow. Views were equally impressive back towards Cruachan's pointy peak.

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This section was very enjoyable and I regularly stopped for some quick photos. Sun was splitting the clouds on and off which made it very warm. There was hardly any wind either.

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I'll be honest, I skirted around the summit of Drochaid Ghlas as I was finding the route quite tough already and wasn't up for giving myself any more work than absolutely necessary. I would imagine the views up there would have been equally as good.

Stob Diahm was reached at about 1230hrs, which had taken me a little longer than I had expected.

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What was more worrying me now was the drop between this and the next hill. I was acutely aware we were about to go all the down to 564m. Before that I had to try and figure out a way down the north face of Sron an Isean. It was very rocky, very steep, with patches of loose, melting snow and very wet loose grass. At best it was a challenging scramble, at worst it was just dangerous.

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We didn't lose our bottle and just kept going. There were murmurs from Kenny about just taking the road out of the glen and back to the car. Don't know how serious he was but I decided not to discuss it as Beinn a'Chochuill was looking very intimidating to me also.

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Luckily once I was on the ascent again I felt alot better about it and I think it looks alot worse than it actually was. Don't get me wrong, it was very steep and grassy but not too wet or challenging. Kept to the right of the crags and hand-railed them towards the summit. Linked up with a path that game out of nowhere and eventually got to the top about 1420hrs. Once there a man of at least double my age came striding up the same direction making it look alot easier than I had.

We didn't spend much time at the summit as time was marching on. So we jogged between a'Chochuill down to the 728m mark where we stopped to take on some water and a sandwich. I was now on to my 4th litre of water...again probably nothing to do with any of the over indulgence the night prior.

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The jog had given us a chance to shake the legs out and go over the ankles a few times, but we made good time. Marched up the path to Beinn Eunaich and made the top for 1530.

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From here on we simply followed the path on the spur towards where I could see the car parked.

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To get to the landrover track quicker we headed west off of the spur to hit the road dead on. There is a path down this section but by this time the legs were very sore so we took advantage of the steep grassy slopes and slid down on the arse. A tried and tested mountaineering technique. There is actually a cairn on this track marking where the path of the ascent starts if you were to do this route the other way around.

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Back to the car before 1700hrs, very tired and a little sore.

I make no apologies for the amount of photos in this report - the weather was fantastic and the scenery was great. In particular between Cruach and Diahm. Not sure about the other two, I think I just saw them as a necessary evil but they gave a very good work out.

Hope you enjoyed this, and I would definitely recommend this route to anyone wiling to give it a go.
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robodob
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Re: Crackin' day up the Ben Cruachan quattro - 4 hill circui

Postby tweedledog » Mon May 26, 2014 10:42 am

Hello Robodob. It was me (taking The Whipper for an evening stroll) that you passed as you were jogging down the track. I said 'well done' when you said you'd done all four, and I'll say it again here! You were in a hurry so I didn't get to ask about that descent from Sron an Isean which looked pretty dangerous to me as I was coming down from Beinn a'Chochuill to Lairig Noe earlier this week. From what you say, I guess I was right... :)
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Re: Crackin' day up the Ben Cruachan quattro - 4 hill circui

Postby robodob » Mon May 26, 2014 11:08 am

tweedledog wrote:Hello Robodob. It was me (taking The Whipper for an evening stroll) that you passed as you were jogging down the track. I said 'well done' when you said you'd done all four, and I'll say it again here! You were in a hurry so I didn't get to ask about that descent from Sron an Isean which looked pretty dangerous to me as I was coming down from Beinn a'Chochuill to Lairig Noe earlier this week. From what you say, I guess I was right... :)


Ah! In which case I'll take this opportunity to apologise for not stopping. We were very pushed for time, I had to be at a function in Glasgow for 1900!

You are correct about the descent... Very tricky. A few rocks were sent tumbling which was pretty worrying as you don't know who's at the bottom. The grass also gave way under foot a few times which was unnerving. 3 pints of contact and all that good stuff.

Not sure I'd do it again though :-/
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robodob
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Re: Crackin' day up the Ben Cruachan quattro - 4 hill circui

Postby bairdo boy » Tue May 27, 2014 12:21 am

Great post bud. Thinking bout doing Cruachan this weekend but not sure if I will take your route. I was just going to head up from the visitor centre car park and do the horse shoe circuit. I was hoping to do it in 5hrs??
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Re: Crackin' day up the Ben Cruachan quattro - 4 hill circui

Postby robodob » Tue May 27, 2014 11:54 am

bairdo boy wrote:Great post bud. Thinking bout doing Cruachan this weekend but not sure if I will take your route. I was just going to head up from the visitor centre car park and do the horse shoe circuit. I was hoping to do it in 5hrs??


Don't see why not, pal. Takes a wee bit longer than you'd think between cruachan and diamh due to wanting to stop a few times and take photos. There's also a good amount of additional peaks on the ridge that are worth going for it you're just wanting to do the horse shoe...
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robodob
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Re: Crackin' day up the Ben Cruachan quattro - 4 hill circui

Postby Pritch115 » Tue May 27, 2014 6:06 pm

I did the reverse of this route on the 19th May using the train so as to not have much road walking and again had good weather apart from the thunderstorm and heavy rain shower just as I was topping out on Cruachan at 1600. The drop in to the Lairig Noe is a wee bit intimidating but looks a lot worse than what it is, just take it steady. A re ascent of 500m is better than starting again from sea level was my rationale.
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Re: Crackin' day up the Ben Cruachan quattro - 4 hill circui

Postby Fife Flyer » Tue May 27, 2014 8:49 pm

Great report & photo's :clap: :clap:

Reading your report made me check the weather forecast for the coming week, hope to head that way on Friday :wink:

Thanks for posting 8)
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Re: Crackin' day up the Ben Cruachan quattro - 4 hill circui

Postby robodob » Wed May 28, 2014 7:18 pm

Thanks! Have a good walk...
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Re: Crackin' day up the Ben Cruachan quattro - 4 hill circui

Postby Will C » Fri Jun 12, 2015 10:37 am

Climb these four this week, planed to do your rout, but realised it was'nt going to happen once on the horse shoe. So did the hose shoe on Tuesday and wend back and did the othe two yesterday, the weather was stunning. Also had the privalge of meeting the man with the whippit ( tweedledog ), on both days. Well done on doing the four off on the same day.
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