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South-west Highland wind, rain and sunshine - Part 2

South-west Highland wind, rain and sunshine - Part 2


Postby simon-b » Tue Aug 26, 2014 9:23 pm

Munros included on this walk: An Caisteal, Beinn a'Chleibh, Beinn a'Chreachain, Beinn a'Chroin, Beinn Achaladair, Beinn Chabhair, Beinn Dubhchraig, Beinn Ime, Beinn Mhanach, Beinn Narnain, Ben Lomond, Ben Lui, Ben Oss, Ben Vane

Date walked: 16/08/2014

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Distances and amounts of ascent quoted in this report are according to Memory-map

The second of two weeks based in Killin brought some spells of decent weather, but it didn't start that way. Jimmy (jamesjones) and I had arranged to do the Clachlet Traverse (four western Black Mount Munros) on Saturday 16 August. I'd posted that date on the WH meeting up board, and a lot of interest had been shown. As the day drew closer, the forecast deteriorated and one by one people dropped out, understandably. On the day just Jimmy, Ricky (Silver bullet) and I met at Bridge of Orchy. We decided the weather was too bad for the whole traverse, and travelled to Glencoe Mountain Resort to tackle the northern two Munros. Conditions were pretty dire, with rain, low cloud and gales, and we turned back before we'd got past the ski tow. Jimmy and Ricky drove off, and I was glad to spend lunchtime in the Old Coach House in Killin rather than being soaked on and blown off Meall a' Bhuiridh or Creise.

Next day didn't show much improvement in the weather, so a restful Sunday was in order, with lunch and a pint in the Falls of Dochart Inn.


Monday 18/8/2014: Beinn Chabhair, Beinn a' Chroin, An Caisteal
Distance: 17.6 km
Ascent: 1452 m
Time: 8.4 h


2014-08-18_0922 175km.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


A calmer day, so I parked opposite Derrydarroch Farm to take on an An Caisteal trio.

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Derrydarroch, with Beinn Chabhair in the background

There was some pretty wet ground with long grass as I walked alongside the Allt a' Chuilinn, but underfoot conditions were better on bearing right and uphill towards Garbh Bhealach. I went straight through this little U-shaped 'pass' before turning left, and taking a rather meandering route before meeting the path from Inverarnan, and moving along to Beinn Chabhair's summit.

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Ben Cruachan and Ben Lui from Beinn Chabhair

With clear visibility, it wasn't too difficult to pick a route from Beinn Chabhair down to the bealach at 619 metres, then up to Bealach Buidhe. Up to this point I'd been completely alone, but a few other walkers were out on the main An Caisteal - Beinn a' Chroin ridge. This latter hill's western top, at 942 metres, is now the recognised summit, making the circuit of the three Munros by this route a little shorter than when the eastern top (940 metres) held that status.

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On Beinn a' Chroin: the old Munro summit from the new Munro summit

With Beinn a' Chroin in the bag, I returned the same way, which included a little scramble on the way down, to Bealach Buidhe, and began to ascend An Caisteal. The highest of the three Munros was soon reached, and it was time to move onto Twistin Hill.

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Descending from An Caisteal onto Twistin Hill

Before Sron Gharbh, I bore left down initially fairly steep grassy slopes to cut back across to Derrydarroch.


Tuesday 19/8/2014: Ben Vane, Beinn Ime, Beinn Narnain
Distance: 21.4 km
Ascent: 1800 m
Time: 9.2 h


2014-08-19_0938 213km.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


My second visit of the fortnight to Inveruglas confirmed what I'd already been led to believe: Ben Vane is a tough little mountain.

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Ben Vane

After conquering this rugged mini-Munro, a descent was made on complex terrain, sometimes steep, walking largely on grass, dodging rocky outcrops. I reached the low bealach between Ben Vane and Beinn Corranach, then followed a slog up further complex ground to a higher bealach, between the Beinns Corranach and Ime. The ascent to Beinn Ime from here was quite steep, but more simple, and in time I arrived on the highest of the Arrochar Alps.

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Glen Kinglas from Beinn Ime

There was just the odd shower through the day, but plenty of sun as well, and the lovely views held out as I walked on to Bein Narnain. The Cobbler will have to be saved for another day, when I've more energy than I had left at this moment.

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The Cobbler from Beinn Narnain

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Loch Long from Beinn Narnain

Moving down Beinn Narnain's NE ridge, I reached the bealach at 746 metres. Earlier in the day I'd been observing my planned descent route from here, on what looked like incredibly steep grass. But Cameron McNeish suggsests coming down on that flank, so it had to be all right, hadn't it :? ? Well, I managed to get down without ending up on my backside for once, so it can't have been that bad :lol: .

After the walk out, it was on to the Rod and Reel at Crianlarich for some much needed food, before returning to Killin.


Wednesday 20/8/2014: Ben Lui (Beinn Laoigh), Beinn a' Chleibh, Ben Oss, Beinn Dubhchraig
Distance: 26.2 km
Ascent: 1795 m
Time: 10.8 h


2014-08-20_0930 455km.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


A good forecast was given again, but not so good for the following day. So this had to be the time to take on the Ben Lui quartet. I'd really fancied approaching Beinn Laoigh along the Cononish Glen, so I parked at Dalrigh. Seen from this angle, the mountain is magnificent.

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Approaching Ben Lui from the Cononish Glen

The ascent from this side looks formidable from a distance, but on getting nearer, a feasible line of attack unfolds. Although there were no technical difficulties, I was feeling effect of the last week and a half, and when the going got steeper I was overtaken more than once. After climbing by the Allt Coire Ghaothaich for a while, a cairn marks a path bearing right and uphill to the rim of the corrie. Then it's a left turn along the ridge and up to the summit.

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Ben Lui's summit from the second top

Reaching the highest point of Beinn Laoigh was a real highlight of the fortnight, with glorious views.

P8200219.JPG
Beinn a' Chleibh from Ben Lui

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The Cononish Glen from Ben Lui

Next I visited Beinn a' Chleibh, the weather holding at first. But while on this summit, I noticed clouds lowering, so I quickly set off to get to Ben Oss. After doubling back to the previous bealach, there followed a long contouring of Ben Lui's southern flank; the most tedious part of the route. And the clouds got lower. And the rain started. I finally got to the SW ridge of Ben Oss, feeling somewhat mentally fatigued, and began ascending. This third Munro was in and out of the clouds. When I reached the summit it was clear, but lower cloud all around restricted the views. The same was true when I finally pulled myself onto Beinn Dubhchraig.

Then came the descent. In better conditions, the walk out through the forest might have been quite pleasant, but things were now wet and the ground very boggy. There was actually no bridge over the Allt Gleann Auchreoch, but it was forded reasonably easily. The earlier part of the day had been superb, but in the end I was glad to get back to the car, and on to the Rod and Reel again.

Next day nature played ball, and gave me a rainy day just when I needed a rest.


Friday 22/8/2014: Beinn Mhanach, Beinn a' Chreachain, Beinn Achaladair
Distance: 27.3 km
Ascent: 1789 m
Time: 11.3 h


2014-08-22_0827 272km.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


The weather looking better again, I drove to Crianlarich to meet Karen (kmai1961) and walk with her for the second time. She drove us both to the car park near Achallader Farm, where we met Jimmy. The car park is now at NN 313 438, much nearer to the main road than the farm, and there is a signposted hill path which provides a short cut to the Coire Achaladair path; well done to Karen for spotting it!

So we ascended alongside the Allt Coire Achaladair and reached the bealach between the Beinns Achaladair and an Dothaidh. I was braced for a pathless traverse along Beinn Achaladair's eastern flank, but once again Karen found a path taking us in the right direction. We reached the Lon na Cailliche bealach and left the path behind. A grassy and sometimes wet walk then took us up around the north flank of Beinn a' Chuirn. Whereas Karen had been the pathfinder, Jimmy proved to be the dab hand at picking routes over pathless ground. We reached a bealach, and before too long we were on the first Munro, Beinn Mhanach. Conditions became grey and drizzly, but we were below the cloud.

After descending back to Lon na Cailliche, we made a somewhat off-piste assault on Beinn a' Chreachainn via Meall Buidhe. This wasn't entirely original; I'd been inspired by iainwatson's report from these hills when planning this section of the route. Getting to Meall Buidhe wasn't too steep and on grass, and the weather was brightening up. On reaching the ridge we picked up the path. The last bit of ascent towards Beinn a' Chreachain was quite steep, and this was probably the longest and hardest mountain walk Karen had yet done. But with a short breather or two she persevered, and we made it to the summit.

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Jimmy and Karen on Beinn a' Chreachain

So then we doubled back over Meall Buidhe, heading for Beinn Achaladair.

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Moving towards Beinn Achaladair

In time, we got to the final steep, zigzagging climb onto Beinn Achaladair. Karen went in front, and with determination reached the summit. We all looked over to the fine views to the west, across Loch Tulla and Rannoch Moor.

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Loch Tulla from Beinn Achaladair

As we made our descent there were showers around but also sunshine, and we didn't get caught in any heavy rain.

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Beinn Heasgarnich and Creag Mhor from Beinn Achaladair's south ridge

Eventually we retraced our steps alongside the Allt Coire Achaladair on our way down to the car park on a very pleasant evening. We finished the walk with plenty of time before sunset. It was great to hear Karen say she'd really enjoyed what had been a long, tough day. The three of us ended an excellent day with a meal at the Bridge of Orchy Hotel.


Saturday 23/8/2014: Ben Lomond
Distance: 11.9 km
Ascent: 1025 m
Time: 4.5 h


2014-08-23_1124 119km.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


Saturday morning, and it was time to pack up and leave Dunlochay B and B to head home, but with one last half-day mission to carry out en route. So after driving south from Killin, I turned off to make my way to Rowardennan and join the crowds by Loch Lomond on a pleasant, sunny Saturday. As expected, Ben Lomond was a popular destination on this day, and I followed the regular circuit: up by the tourist route and down via the Ptarmigan ridge. It was a very enjoyable walk, with some lovely views.

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Ptarmigan and Ben Lomond

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Loch Lomond and Arrochar Alps from Ben Lomond

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Crianlarich hills seen during the descent towards Ptarmigan

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Coming down the Ptarmigan ridge towards Loch Lomond

So then it was into the car and into Glasgow to pick up the M8, before heading back south and home.
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simon-b
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Re: South-west Highland wind, rain and sunshine - Part 2

Postby rockhopper » Tue Aug 26, 2014 11:37 pm

Jings, crivvens - I'm knackered just reading that ! You've certainly packed a lot into your fortnight up here. Think for once I'd have been happier with a few more days of bad weather to get some more rest in between. Well done - a very fruitful visit and glad that the weather played ball for a large part - cheers :)
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Re: South-west Highland wind, rain and sunshine - Part 2

Postby Johnny Corbett » Wed Aug 27, 2014 11:09 am

Great stuff Simon. Thats a lot of walking and hills you got done there and with some decent weather, well done and well worth the visit :clap:
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Re: South-west Highland wind, rain and sunshine - Part 2

Postby kmai1961 » Wed Aug 27, 2014 7:09 pm

great report, Simon -- both parts. You really did end up having one fairly easy week, followed by a really tough one, didn't you?

Very impressive that you essentially repeated the same level of challenge that we did on the Friday for 4 out of 5 days that week! And I saw Jimmy's total jump from 102 to 120 -- you both have done more a week or two than I've managed all year!

Thanks again for a great day out -- loved it!
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Re: South-west Highland wind, rain and sunshine - Part 2

Postby simon-b » Wed Aug 27, 2014 9:32 pm

rockhopper wrote:Jings, crivvens - I'm knackered just reading that ! You've certainly packed a lot into your fortnight up here. Well done - a very fruitful visit

Thanks very much, rockhopper. I was knackered, and the visit was fruitful. But I don't think it quite matched some of your epics!

Johnny Corbett wrote:Thats a lot of walking and hills you got done there and with some decent weather, well done and well worth the visit

Cheers, Johnny. The trip was definitely well worth it.

kmai1961 wrote:Thanks again for a great day out -- loved it!

Thank you, Karen. It was lovely to have you along with Jimmy and me on Friday, and I'm so glad you enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to some more walks together, and thanks again for the lift from Crianlarich.
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Re: South-west Highland wind, rain and sunshine - Part 2

Postby gammy leg walker » Wed Aug 27, 2014 9:39 pm

Now that's what you call a TR always good when a plan come together.
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Re: South-west Highland wind, rain and sunshine - Part 2

Postby simon-b » Thu Aug 28, 2014 8:04 pm

gammy leg walker wrote:Now that's what you call a TR always good when a plan come together.

Cheers, GLW. It's great to know we'll be seeing more of your TRs again now.
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Re: South-west Highland wind, rain and sunshine - Part 2

Postby AnnieMacD » Fri Aug 29, 2014 11:00 pm

Whew, that's a lot of walking in a few days. Would have been interesting to see how many steps you too over the fortnight! Great reports - very inspiring.
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Re: South-west Highland wind, rain and sunshine - Part 2

Postby simon-b » Sat Aug 30, 2014 2:29 pm

AnnieMacD wrote:Whew, that's a lot of walking in a few days. Would have been interesting to see how many steps you too over the fortnight! Great reports - very inspiring.

Thanks, Annie. I seem to remember Karen did record the number of footsteps from the Achallader walk; I can't remember how many it was, though - something over 40 000, I think.
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Re: South-west Highland wind, rain and sunshine - Part 2

Postby cmarcol » Sat Aug 30, 2014 9:28 pm

You manage more hills in a fortnight than I manage in a year living up here! Great stuff Simon. No doubt see you next time you're up! :clap:
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Re: South-west Highland wind, rain and sunshine - Part 2

Postby kmai1961 » Sun Aug 31, 2014 5:39 pm

simon-b wrote:
AnnieMacD wrote:Whew, that's a lot of walking in a few days. Would have been interesting to see how many steps you too over the fortnight! Great reports - very inspiring.

Thanks, Annie. I seem to remember Karen did record the number of footsteps from the Achallader walk; I can't remember how many it was, though - something over 40 000, I think.


Yes, the pedometer reported just over 43,000 steps. But it doesn't actually count one step per step (if that makes sense), so the actual figure could be either higher or lower.
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Re: South-west Highland wind, rain and sunshine - Part 2

Postby simon-b » Sun Aug 31, 2014 11:36 pm

Thanks, Cat.
cmarcol wrote:No doubt see you next time you're up!

I'll look forward to that!

Karen, that's a lot of steps for one walk.
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Re: South-west Highland wind, rain and sunshine - Part 2

Postby Silverhill » Tue Sep 02, 2014 9:51 pm

More reminiscing of the early days, thanks for posting! And well done for making the most of those two weeks. 8)
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Re: South-west Highland wind, rain and sunshine - Part 2

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Thu Sep 04, 2014 9:26 pm

Finally got round to reading your reports Simon, amazing effort I must say with a great variety of routes and conditions.
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Re: South-west Highland wind, rain and sunshine - Part 2

Postby Rossco » Thu Sep 04, 2014 9:46 pm

Amazing effort! :o Looking back at all these hills I done in my first year or so hillwalking and you have done them all in the one go. I wish I had the fitness to go up the hills day after day like that. My legs are still weak from Sunday's outing and this is now Thursday! :lol:
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