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Beinns a'Chochuill & Eunaich, heatwave,,what heatwave?

PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2014 1:19 pm
by GillC
This is what you call last minute. Txt Phil last night, "any plans for a climb tomorrow" no answer before bed but woke to a missed call, "aiming for these two and leaving now"....dammit I thought,,then very quickly, shorts on, bag together and out the door in about 20 mins txting to say "look out for me on the hills".

The drive up Loch Lomond was very frustrating, behind a nervous and slow driver on the winding section who flinched at everything, braked constantly even though he was lucky to reach 30mph, then a 12 minute stop at the Pulpit Rock roadworks (I want the job of the young guy getting a radio call that he could now turn the sign to GO :lol: )

Weather shaping up nicely as I scooted North and met Phil on the road near the parking area, which was full :shock:
I'd just passed a wee inshot to the East of Timber Cottage with room for a couple of little ones, so got Phil to head there while I turned and rolled in behind. Only a couple of hundred yards from the start, nae bother!

Setting off up the Castle Farm track, Ben Cruachan looked fab to our left and I started trying to devise a way of incorporating Stob Diamh in for today too, having only done Cruachan on its own some years ago but wasn't to be, not today.

The WH map is pretty clear and so is the huge track cutting its way around Stob Maol ahead. :lol: I had the WH print out, but didn't have my map and Phil had a 1:50, not my favourite,,details,,I want details! lol

The forecast of rain for later in the day didn't worry us Cairneys, the sun was out, talk of suncream application at the top of the track, what could go wrong?

Nice wander up the path, a constant but not tough, incline and easy enough going. We had great views back down to Kilchurn Castle and Loch Awe with the whole Cruachan horseshoe to our left, then further to our left, cloud! lots of grey, low cloud building up out over the sea and heading our way :shock:

1 Ben Cruachan Horseshoe.JPG
Ben Cruachan Horseshoe

3 Phil looking casual and relaxed  lol.JPG
Phil looking casual and relaxed lol

2 Looking back down as the track rises.JPG
Looking back down as the track rises

Stopping at the cut on the track where it sharply doubles back round to the right under the shoulder to Beinn a'Chochuill, we got the first spit of rain, Phil thought it might be his sweat but it was travelling very far and in a downward direct,,,think not Phully Wully! :lol:

It was still very warm and muggy as I spotted the cairn pretty soon after the turn and headed off up the shoulder (described as less steep part, clues in the name,,its still steep!!) I don't like layering up too much for a climb as I just overheat, especially on a day like this but by about a 3rd of the way up,, the light rain had got heavier and showed no signs of just moving on past us. So waterproof jacket on. Due to the last minute decision to go today,,I was a bit underprepared, no map, no waterproof trousers, not a lot of food and a bit of a "what the heck" attitude, I took solace in the fact that it was a pretty straightforward mountain day with paths all the way. This, I hoped, would continue to be the case as the weather closed in.

4 Round about when the rain started.JPG
Round about when the rain started

5 Jackets on,,mist rolling in and still smiling.JPG
Jackets on,,mist rolling in and still smiling

There's no path as such on the way up the shoulder but easy enough to follow traces of previous walkers and we had views across to the second Munro of the day on our right, with several people on the steep ascent up to the visible cairn at the top. About 2 and a half hours after leaving the car, we reach the top of the ridge with fabulous but misty views North over Glen Kinglas and beyond. Looking round, the top of Beinn Eunaich was now under fast moving cloud, appearing then disappearing. To our left, the rocky outcrops on the way to a'Chochuill had cloud whipping up the hillside from the south and sweeping over.

6 Views North.JPG
Views North

7 More of the disappearing views.JPG
More of the disappearing views

Heading West, we had a brief chat with a gent on his way down and back to Oban to collect his boots from a cobblers by 5pm,,hope he made it. I was only sporting my Scarpa trainers today, with waterproof socks, pointless when the rain simply runs down your bare legs and in from the top lol

8 Now you see it.JPG
Now you see it

9 Now you dont.JPG
Now you dont

Talking of rain, it was now pretty heavy and the winds were picking up too as we headed up round the rocky knolls towards the summit. The summit itself disappeared several times before I reached it, closely followed by Phil. By this point, it was raining so hard I actually had to check if it was hailstones. Me in my stone coloured shorts, rain battered legs, now blue and pink, sporting a waterproof jacket that I now know, is something less than useless! Managed to get a couple of pictures at the summit, 980mtrs and Munro #97 for me but it was so wet, I'm all distorted lol (honest,,my legs are not that shape!)

10 Summit selfie on a'Chochuill,  HOWLING!.JPG
Summit selfie on a'Chochuill, HOWLING!

11  Munro 97 and some very wet pins.JPG
Munro 97 and some very wet pins

12  Phils legs having a migraine I think.JPG
Phils legs having a migraine I think

No conditions to be hanging around,, no view, no visibility and no desire to get battered more than necessary, so headed straight off. By now, my light coloured shorts were totally soaked and see through lol sorry Phil! He was looking for a food stop so decided to head back to the ridge and see what conditions were like. I got down a bit before Phil and carried on a bit past the big rock with the wee cairn built on top, marking the top of our ascent path. A bit further on, I waited for him to appear out of the mist, before we had a discussion about continuing to the second summit. Seriously heavy rain and no visibility but still a good enough path. We actually physically turned back for a moment, which didn't sit well with me so, timecheck, 13:38, I suggested we continue on til 13:45 to see if conditions changed much as we headed down towards Bealach Laraig Lanachan.

After a few mins more with the rain easing slightly, we took shelter behind a big boulder, sat down in the grass and had some food. Checking the route, we were certainly much closer to the top of Eunaich than the return route so it would have been SHAMEFUL to turn back now.

13 Somewhere between the tops!!.JPG
Somewhere between the tops!!

Carrying on down, the visibility was so bad, the only reason I knew we were over the bealach was that I started climbing again! :lol: Having seen this ascent from the other slopes earlier in the day, I dug in for a steep slog up. A few times, the 'path' disappeared into rocky sections underfoot but if you generally keep on the same direction, it picks up again a little further on. I kept losing Phil in the mist behind so waited a few times until his figure could be seen looming through the cloud.

I must now say, this section was nowhere as steep as I had anticipated , in fact, I found it much easier than the initial climb up the shoulder to a'Chochuill and at what I thought was a false top, I suddenly appeared at the cairn, around half an hour after leaving the bealach. 989 Mtrs and only slightly higher than a'Chochuill. The rain had eased a bit on the climb but at the top, it was really heavy again and with gusty winds whipping up too. Same story, few blurry wet pics and off we go.

16  Phil on Eunaich.JPG
Phil on Eunaich

15  Not posing,,holding my hood off my face in the wind.JPG
Not posing,,holding my hood off my face in the wind

14 Summit number 2,  going for the dewy eyed look.JPG
Summit number 2, going for the dewy eyed look

The route tells you to head straight to the top of Loch Awe, which is great if you can SEE Loch Awe, we were struggling to see the other side of the cairn!

Picking up the worn path, we looked forward to an easy descent across the shoulder before the last steep section down to the path. Stopping a little way on, I commented to Phil that I was only too aware that by now, there was no path beneath us, it simply disappears. Carefully moving forward for 30-40 mtrs we were then able to pick it up again. We just wanted to get down out of these conditions so I got some speed up and even broke into a jog (yes John, I can do speed) lol Underfoot was easy going for the main part but did get a bit rocky again and by now, a bit slippy too.

17  Commando mode coming off the second hill.JPG
Commando mode coming off the second hill

Thankfully, a way down and the cloud started to clear. I could see the bright loch shining through the mist and the shape of Cruachan off to the right. The route on WH mentions the steep descent starts just after some peat hags and sure enough, we reach them and the path skirted off to the right and started to descend.

18  Soft focus lens  HA!.JPG
Soft focus lens HA!

By now, we had pretty much full, if a bit misty, visibility as I picked my way down the rocky path. It's much easier here to stay off the rocky sections and step down the grass instead. We saw a couple coming down here when we were on the track earlier, it looked REALLY steep from below but didn't feel as bad coming down it. In fact, I had a suspicion that we were not on the same bit as they had been. The track below didn't look too far away and with having to keep your eyes on the ground immediately in front of you, it was a pleasant surprise when the marker cairn on the path came into view. Phil was still a way behind and shrouded in mist so I headed down and was back on the track in no time. Yes its a steep section but I didn't find this bit any problem at all.

Back on the track, I shouted up a big WOOOOOOOHOOOOOOO! And I'm sure Phil shouted back that I didn't need to hang around,,so I headed off lol :lol: :lol: :lol:

Keeping an eye backwards for him to appear on the track was pointless as it twists and turns its way down but by the time I reach the gate to the farm and turned right, I could see him back up the track so I continued on. Had to be back in Glasgow by 7 and it was well after 4 now.

Back at the car and time to get some dry clothes on, relief. Phil got back about 15 mins later, Quick chat and a threat to tell mum I'd left him alone on the hill lol :lol: a handshake and off I went.

Conditions aside, this was a good day, 2 nice hills, just couldn't see them for most of the day. Another couple of blue balloons as I chip away to my 100 mark. Nice to spend some time with Phil, if only he'd kept up hehehe,,,(no pressure Phully) :D

Re: Beinns a'Chochuill & Eunaich, heatwave,,what heatwave?

PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2014 8:44 pm
Well done! still these 2 to do so handy to read your report ..hopefully get them in better weather! :wink:

Re: Beinns a'Chochuill & Eunaich, heatwave,,what heatwave?

PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2014 11:09 pm
by mrssanta
Well that was a great read, you made it sound like fun getting soaked!

Re: Beinns a'Chochuill & Eunaich, heatwave,,what heatwave?

PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2014 11:41 pm
by AnnieMacD
Oh, Gill, what a soaking you got. You are always cheerful though so one can't feel too sorry for you! As long as you had an enjoyable day and got your tally up by 2 - what more to ask for?

Re: Beinns a'Chochuill & Eunaich, heatwave,,what heatwave?

PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2014 8:58 am
by Lightfoot2017
Interesting and useful report, thanks Gill! :wink:

Looks like you two bore up well to the rubbish weather! :clap: :lol:

These two may well be my 99 & 100 very soon. :?

Re: Beinns a'Chochuill & Eunaich, heatwave,,what heatwave?

PostPosted: Sun Aug 10, 2014 3:19 pm
by Lightfoot2017
Lightfoot2017 wrote:Interesting and useful report, thanks Gill! :wink:

Looks like you two bore up well to the rubbish weather! :clap: :lol:

These two may well be my 99 & 100 very soon. :?

And, as predicted, they WERE INDEED my 99th and 100th yesterday :D

Unlike you though, it seems I was far more lucky with the weather; fabulous 360degree views from both summits :lol: