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Crianlarich 7 - a great round

Crianlarich 7 - a great round


Postby Alteknacker » Sun Aug 17, 2014 3:42 pm

Munros included on this walk: An Caisteal, Beinn a'Chroin, Beinn Chabhair, Beinn Tulaichean, Ben More, Cruach Ardrain, Stob Binnein

Date walked: 15/08/2014

Time taken: 13 hours

Distance: 38.6 km

Ascent: 3758m

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I'd been away from the hills for some months (overseas work, sadly) and was desperate to get back. But, with an admonitory finger wag, the Chief Exec gave me one day only, since I shortly have to go back overseas again for a month.
So it had to be somewhere easily accessible for someone living in the effete South: 10 hours to the Torridons is just too far :(.

I've looked at the pics of Crianlarich Hills a few times, and they looked pretty good - lots of visual character and great views, as well as being quite challenging - so the decision more or less made itself.

Then there is the weather (clag bound hills hold little attraction for this softie); but good old MWIS indicated that Friday 15th would be one of the few reasonable days; so another decision made.

Setting off early on Thursday afternoon I hoped to get to the start point around 8.00pm in order to be able to pitch my tent and get an early night.

Unfortunately the M6 was its usual jammed self, so delay was inevitable...

traffic over Thelwall.jpg


Driving along the bonny bonny banks of Loch Lomond there were some VERY heavy showers. I just hoped that MWIS had got it right!
Weather forecast.jpg

With the traffic problems, I didn't arrive until dusk. Fortunately, after a short search for a suitable patch of ground, I chanced on the entrance to the track up to Beinn Chabair, and managed to find just sufficient square metres for the tent. Yes I know: not exactly wild....

ImageIMG_0650.

And incredibly stony ground - I was very glad I'd brought a mattress!

The beasties were out in force, but I was prepared, thanks to innumerable WH reports detailing the horrors this year: head net; tightly zipped waterproof, and DEET on the back of my hands. Success! Tent erected without being bitten, and no midges inside! :D

Disappointed mosquito.jpg


The plan was to cycle from the site to Ben More farm at the start of the Ben More ascent, do the round, and then collect the bike with the car. I've done this combined bike-and-walk approach to tackle the Torridons and the South Glen Shiel (reports earlier this year), and I can highly recommend it as a really good way of doing linear ridges without having to face a really long dull slog back.

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



I set the alarm for 4.30, so I’d be well up the hill by sunrise, and then turned in. It was astonishingly warm and I thought I slept fitfully, but when I awoke finally, it was 5.30: yet again I’d managed to mess up setting the alarm!

royalty-free-stupid-clipart-illustration-443662.jpg


I quickly dressed and donned the beastie armour - fortunately: there was no wind, and they were out in force; but clad like a Roman Legionnaire, I was able to pack everything up and get off on the bike without their being able to penetrate the armour.

Image[IMG_0709]. "They shall not pass....!"
As always, it’s wonderful being out early (well, reasonably early) and seeing the hills in the morning sun.

ImageIMG_0652. Ben More viewed from Glen Falloch. It looks a long way up....

The forecast is for cloud generally clearing the tops, especially in the central and southern area, though occasionally down as low as 800m in the early part of the morning. Looking up at Ben More I have 2 emotions: firstly, thank goodness there’s very little cloud so far; and secondly, it looks a very long way to the top!

Arriving at Benmore farm at 6.55, I stow the bike out of site under some trees, and then look up at the Ben: yep, it looks like quite a grind!

ImageIMG_0653. Looking up at Ben More. Wow, that's a long way :-(.

I start off on the track, but quickly get fed up with doing large loops, and strike off on the direct route to the top.

ImageIMG_0654. Looking back down Ben More slope. The zig-zag tack is clearly visible.

In “Walking the Munros”, Steve Kew says of Ben More: “’A long steep grind’ is a phrase that comes to mind to describe the relentless climb to its top. Actually, some rather more colourful adjectives come to mind, but they are best left to the imagination.”

ImageIMG_0655. 45 minutes later, it still looks like a long way to the top. The cloud keeps shrouding the summit, then dissolving.
It’s quite straightforward in fact, but it does seem interminable, and I don’t see the summit until 8.45.

ImageIMG_0656. Unfortunately, by the time I reach the top, the cloud has rolled in. Oh well - it's forecast to clear later...

A beclagged summit (or should that be beclug??) is nothing to hang around for, though, so the breakfast croissant is eaten on the descent to the bealach between the Ben and Stob Binnean.

Dropping out of the cloud I see the bealach: 200+ metres climb to Stob Binnean! But it's early and I'm feeling quite fresh. And I know there are much more challenging ascents to come :roll:.

Image_0661

ImageIMG_0663. Stob Binnean remains shrouded in cloud.

ImageIMG_0665. Looking back towards Ben More, the track is very clear. Not too much chance of getting lost here, even if the bealach was clag-bound.

ImageIMG_0666. Is it worth taking pictures of summit cairns? Well, I did anyway... 9.45 - seems like a ridiculously long time from Ben More.

Another breakfast croissant, and then from Stob Binnein I cut straight down towards the bealach between Stob Binnein and Stob Garbh.

ImageIMG_0669. If you take the direct route down, you have to thread your way around some cliffs, so care would be needed in heavy clag. You can see this better on pic 678 below.

ImageIMG_0670. Quite a roughish descent in light clag.

ImageIMG_0671. Oh dear, it does seem like a long way down... Stob Garbh straight ahead, Cruach Ardrain in cloud to the left.

ImageIMG_0672. Oh, that's a long way down! Followed by a 500m+ climb up to Stob Garbh.

ImageIMG_0674.Cruach Ardrain is still shrouded in cloud (beclug????).

ImageIMG_0675. Looking up at the 600m climb to Cruach Ardrain. I bear right at this point to take in Stob Garbh. There are no tracks here, so finding your way in clag would take some real concentration, and trust in your compass bearings.

ImageIMG_0676.Looking back, Ben More (left) and Stob Binnean (right) clear of cloud (more or less) for the first time.

ImageIMG_0677. Approaching the summit of Cruach Ardrain.

.... oops- I mean Stob Garbh :roll:

ImageIMG_0678. Ben More and Stob Binnean, now full clear of cloud. You can see from this pic that dropping directly down from Stob Binnean could be a bit awkward in clag, with all the cliffs at the top. And there are some really big cliffs to the right, so you would need to be very tight with compass bearings - that would be a long drop :o.

ImageIMG_0680. The cloud is now gradually clearing, so from Stob Garbh I get a great view of Cruach Ardrain, with Beinn Tulaichean in the background.

The slog up to Stob Garbh is pretty steep and has been quite tiring - I don't get to the summit until 11.40. What a wimp :( !

ImageIMG_0681. And now excellent views of the Southern Highlands - this looking West.

ImageIMG_0682. And this looking North West.

ImageIMG_0683. Beinn Tulaichean, and again: superb views!

When it's like this, you don't have to question why you do it: the question answers itself. In some unfathomable way, solitude is company - something about company with all the kindred souls have walked these hills and experienced similar emotions, and all the generations to come who will experience them in the future.

As I look around I see another solitary walker heading away from Cruach Ardrain towards Ben Tulaichean. We wave to one another.

After a cheeze-and-salami-and Branston-Pickle sandwich, I too head off towards Ben Tulaichean. It's and easy walk, and I get there at 13.00.

ImageIMG_0685. Sadly, from Beinn Tulaochean you can't miss the big descent. Oh well...

ImageIMG_0688. Descending Stob Glas Bheag to the bealach. No tracks to be seen.

It's a pretty long drop into the bealach - about 500m; and then another 400m back up to Beinn a' Chroin. Going up is now hard work. I'm panting like a steam engine, and stopping pretty frequently for breathers. Definitely a wimp :( .

But the day is improving all the time, and the immense views in all directions make it more than worthwhile.

ImageIMG_0689. Looking back at Cruach Ardrain(left) and Beinn Tulaichen (right) in the foreground, and Ben More and Stob Binnein in the background.

ImageIMG_0690. Clear path on the top of Beinn a' Chroin. 15.05! It was really tiring getting up here - the ascents are getting harder..

Now the rough and gruff An Caisteal is in view

ImageIMG_0694.

ImageIMG_0693.

Looking back, Ben More and Stob Binnain look a long way off. No wonder the prospect of a half of shandy at the end seems so appealing.

ImageIMG_0695.

ImageIMG_0698. It's not too daunting a drop from Beinn a' Chroin and then up to An Caisteal, arriving 16.25.

ImageIMG_0700. On the summit of An Casteal, looking SW towards Beinn Chabhair and (I think) Ben Vorlich in the background to the left. Loch Fyne in the centre of the picture???

As I start the climb to Beinn Chabhair, my legs really feel quite leaden. I know this 300m ascent is going to take a long time. And it does....

As I climb, briefly and amazingly the skies clear.

ImageIMG_0701. Looking back at An Caisteal from Beinn Chabhair. You can drop straight off the top of AC, but there's a bit of a scramble at the top, as can be seen on this pic. Alternatively, a well-defined path heads off South initially, and skirts around the cliffs!

ImageIMG_0704. Summit of Beinn Chabhair, with what I take to be Beinn Dubhchraig in the distance to the left, and the Tyndrum Munros to the right.

It would have been nice to have had sun all day, but judging by the amount of water I've drunk - at least 4 litres - I probably wouldn't have survived those long ascents.

The wind is quite strong now, and in just a few minutes of absorbing the wonderful views I start to get quite chilly.

So I quickly head down towards Lochan Beinn Chabhair.

ImageIMG_0705. Lochan Beinn Chabhair viewed on the descent from Beinn Chabhair, with a long ranging view looking WNW out over the hills - maybe Beinn Buide to the left??

ImageIMG_0706. After Lochan Beinn Chabhair a walking track becomes visible. It is pretty boggy, but easy to follow as far as the 4WD track, which then heads off North to the A82.

ImageIMG_0708. Part of the ridge that runs up to Beinn Chabhair - Ben Glas and Meall nan Tarmachan. My original plan had been to start at this end and take this route up to Beinn Chabhair.

2o minutes later I'm back at the car, and I drive back to Benmore Farm to collect the bike.

And then on to a place of - at this point in the day - considerable cultural, historical and architectural interest...
IMG_0532 village inn reduce.jpg
.

If one is planning to do these hills in one push, I think doing it this way round has a couple of things to recommend it: firstly, you don't have the big pulls up to Stob Binnein and Ben More at the end of what is a long day; and secondly, you don't have to flog through telmatological ( :lol: - go on, look it up: WHs deal in this...) flat lands at the start of the walk, when you're very likely to get damp feet!
Last edited by Alteknacker on Mon Jan 21, 2019 1:12 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Alteknacker
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Re: Crianlarich 7 - a great round

Postby simon-b » Sun Aug 17, 2014 3:56 pm

It was a nice day around Crianlarich, during a very unsettled period. I was happy just doing Ben More and Stob Binnein though. Well done on your big round.
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Re: Crianlarich 7 - a great round

Postby Alteknacker » Sun Aug 17, 2014 4:12 pm

simon-b wrote:It was a nice day around Crianlarich, during a very unsettled period. I was happy just doing Ben More and Stob Binnein though. Well done on your big round.


What time were you up there? I only saw 5 people all day, and I didn't see anyone at all until I got to Cruach Ardrain.

It turned out to be a grand day though, eh?
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Re: Crianlarich 7 - a great round

Postby martin.h » Sun Aug 17, 2014 4:15 pm

Absolutely brilliant, what a trip, that looks like a cracking route and you had some decent weather as well.
Thankyou Alteknacker, I enjoyed reading your report , it's given me food for thought.............
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Re: Crianlarich 7 - a great round

Postby simon-b » Sun Aug 17, 2014 5:32 pm

Alteknacker wrote:
What time were you up there? I only saw 5 people all day, and I didn't see anyone at all until I got to Cruach Ardrain.

It turned out to be a grand day though, eh?

BM about 12:00, SB about 13:00. Popular when I was there, and quite a few cars at Benmore Farm.
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Re: Crianlarich 7 - a great round

Postby rockhopper » Sun Aug 17, 2014 6:29 pm

Big day and an interesting route - well done ! :thumbup: Took me three trips for these hills - didn't occur to me to join them up this way but worth the effort - cheers :)
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Re: Crianlarich 7 - a great round

Postby Alteknacker » Sun Aug 17, 2014 7:59 pm

simon-b wrote:
Alteknacker wrote:
What time were you up there? I only saw 5 people all day, and I didn't see anyone at all until I got to Cruach Ardrain.

It turned out to be a grand day though, eh?

BM about 12:00, SB about 13:00. Popular when I was there, and quite a few cars at Benmore Farm.


OK, understood. I had to start earlier to be sure of finishing in daylight (don't fancy Electricfly's type of stuff!).

AK
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Re: Crianlarich 7 - a great round

Postby scottishkennyg » Tue Aug 19, 2014 1:22 pm

Cracking route there Altknacker..and some fine images..
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Re: Crianlarich 7 - a great round

Postby Alteknacker » Thu Aug 21, 2014 1:32 am

rockhopper wrote:Big day and an interesting route - well done ! :thumbup: Took me three trips for these hills - didn't occur to me to join them up this way but worth the effort - cheers :)


Que? I've just read your fantastic report on your Sgor na h'Uliadh, Beinn Fhionnlaidh and Beinn Sgulaird route, so you obviously like the big psychological and physical challenges... :D (AMAZING pics by the way - it must have been an amazing experience).

scottishkennyg wrote:Cracking route there Altknacker..and some fine images..

Thanks SK. I do think it's a really worthwhile route (although next time I'd probably continue along the ridge from Beinn Chabhair - I think this had been my original intention, but I was so kn******d I forgot.

Actually I find all my pics are c**p compared to most of those in the WH reports (just look at the ones in Rockhopper's report above). It's my camera, I say; nothing to do with the photographer....
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Re: Crianlarich 7 - a great round

Postby Mountainlove » Thu Aug 21, 2014 10:09 am

Oh what a fantastic long round ...know the feeling when you look at a long way down...and up again at the other side 8) :lol: But you did it and thats all what counts well done :clap: :clap:
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Re: Crianlarich 7 - a great round

Postby rockhopper » Thu Aug 21, 2014 6:17 pm

Alteknacker wrote:
rockhopper wrote:Took me three trips for these hills - didn't occur to me to join them up this way but worth the effort - cheers :)

Que?

Probably 'cos we'd walked Ben More and Stob Binnein in the snow early in 1987 and then Beinn Chabhair as my first solo on a short trip mid 1987. Just left the four in the middle - but not until I got back into hillwalking later in 2010 :shock:
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Re: Crianlarich 7 - a great round

Postby AnnieMacD » Thu Aug 21, 2014 8:22 pm

Wow, that's some round. I admire your stamina and tenacity! I suppose when you drive up from the deep South you are going to make the most of every minute.

As an aside, when I was looking on the east side of Liathach last Saturday, I could not figure out what route you took to get up that end. It looks impossible! Was it scary?
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Re: Crianlarich 7 - a great round

Postby Alteknacker » Thu Aug 21, 2014 10:02 pm

AnnieMacD wrote:Wow, that's some round. I admire your stamina and tenacity! I suppose when you drive up from the deep South you are going to make the most of every minute.

As an aside, when I was looking on the east side of Liathach last Saturday, I could not figure out what route you took to get up that end. It looks impossible! Was it scary?


Yes, I'm totally focused on getting everything I can out of the trip for exactly the reason that it's not so easy to get there (the CEO talks about OCD...)!

Ref Liathach: If you look at pic 307 in my report, you can see a gulley that looks as if it's running straight up the "beautiful backside"; it's the same gulley that you see on pic 324 that looks as if it runs up at about 45 degrees. In fact it does run more or less directly up. This is the route I took.

If I ever do it again I'll probably go the same route, but I'd cross to the right hand side of the gulley earlier to avoid some awkward (exposed, wet, slippy) scrambling at one place. I didn't find it particularly scary, but I'm very fortunate in that I don't have any issues with heights. It was really just
a **** of a climb: on all fours much of the way! It took me an hour to get up, feeling all of my ************* years! But boy, was it worth it! What a mountain! What views! What an area!
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Re: Crianlarich 7 - a great round

Postby katrinedinburgh » Mon Sep 04, 2017 12:37 pm

I wish I would've seen your post before last Saturday! I tried to go for the whole seven but managed just five! And I started from the other side which was a bit of a mistake... Next time though!
Great reports! :thumbup:
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Re: Crianlarich 7 - a great round

Postby Alteknacker » Fri Sep 15, 2017 10:14 pm

katrinedinburgh wrote:I wish I would've seen your post before last Saturday! I tried to go for the whole seven but managed just five! And I started from the other side which was a bit of a mistake... Next time though!
Great reports! :thumbup:


Thanks KE. Great set of hills.

Trust you're going to publish a report on yr exploits....????
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