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camping on Orchy 5 - be careful what you wish for.

PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2014 11:53 pm
by mrssanta
Rudolph and I had some unfinished business in the hills above Bridge of Orchy. We camped in full winter conditions at the top of Coire Achaladair last Easter with our daughter but only managed the one munro, Beinn Achaladair. we could not think of a good route to do the other four without repeating Achaladair, so that's what we did, this time accompanied by my sister Shish.
Now our children tell us that Shish and I are actually the same person, but since she has already written a report I am doing my own, just to prove them wrong. and also because I have the GPX track. And some different photos.
Here is Shish's report
and here is our route.

orchy 5 simplified.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

As Shish has already mentioned, we started off in sunshine and showers, with a brilliant rainbow.
andrew graduation, Islay, Orchy 5 022.jpg

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stormy sky

But before long the showers became quite heavy and we put on full waterproofs.
There was water everywhere, bursting up out of holes in the ground, burns all over the place, and we had some difficulty crossing some of the tributary burns. The path fords the Allt Coire Achaladair at about the 500m level but there was no way we were going to cross there! So we continued up the right hand side of the corrie.
andrew graduation, Islay, Orchy 5 037.jpg
one of the tributaries

andrew graduation, Islay, Orchy 5 042.jpg
Not crossing here!

That was a bit of a trudge with more false summits than I care to mention, but eventually we reached a point just below the bealach and the heavens suddenly opened. As it happens there were two good tent spots at that very spot, so we got the tents up as quickly as possible. Both of them being pitched inner first, there were good sized puddles inside the tents by the time we got the flysheets on, but with the help of trusty microfibre mop-up cloths (99p for 2 in Ponden Mill now sadly defunct) we soon had a dry place to set up our beds for the night.
We'd had a good feed at the real food cafe, so a supper of sandwiches and cake was quickly eaten and so to bed.
Now Shish and I had said to each other we didn't mind a bit of rain in the night, bit of white noise on the tent, helps you sleep, etc etc, but we didn't mean torrential rain all night with huge gusts which blew the side walls of the tent right into my face! The wee summer tent stood up well, it just flexed in the gusts, but in the morning did look a bit flat at my side. The gusts had eased off by then leaving heavy, steady rain and cloud so we reckoned the tent would be ok left for the day. The forecast was for the rain to stop "a few hours after dawn".
We didn't rush to get going but there is only so long you can stay in a tent before your back starts to ache, so we got going. Our plan was to find the stalkers path from the bealach where we camped to the bealach named Lon na Cailliche. The visibility was poor and it was just as well there is a cairn to mark the start of the path, it is tucked in at the far side of the flat broad bealach. It was not a bad path and we just followed it through the murk until it disappeared, and by this time we could see the old woman's pond at the bealach.
andrew graduation, Islay, Orchy 5 055.jpg
Lon na Cailliche appearing out of the murk

From this point there is a fence line which leads to the bealach between Mhanach and Beinn a'Chuirn, where we turned East and went uphill to the summit.
andrew graduation, Islay, Orchy 5 056.jpg
Summit of Beinn Mhanach famed for its views. not much else to commend it!

Now Rudolph and I had said we needed some practice in navigation, but we didn't really mean it! we wanted sunshine! We followed a bearing from the summit back to the fence line and from there retraced our steps back to the bealach where we had a snack without sitting down or stopping much as we were getting pretty damp both in spirits and body. But we had a quick conference and decided we were all OK to continue to the next hill, Beinn a'Chreachain. This was not really a navigational challenge as we followed the fence line all the way to Bealach an Aoghlain and picked up the path to the summit of Munro number two.
andrew graduation, Islay, Orchy 5 062.jpg
top of Chreachain, Shish and me

By this time it was 2pm and we were thinking it was about time the rain stopped.
We set off at a cracking pace off Beinn a' Chreachain and suddenly realised there was a steep slope to our left which shouldnt have been there. We were heading off North down to the glen,; that would not have been good. Fortunately we hadn't gone very far and were soon back on course, and by the look of the wee path we found, we were not the first people to make that mistake.
But what is this? The rain has stopped! and it is only 14.23!
andrew graduation, Islay, Orchy 5 066.jpg
Is that a lack of raindrops I hear on my hood?

And now, perhaps a little shaft of sunlight at 14.48
andrew graduation, Islay, Orchy 5 068.jpg

And a shadow. wonders will never cease.
andrew graduation, Islay, Orchy 5 069.jpg
look! a shadow!

As Shish has said already, it is amazing how the sun coming out can lift your spirits!
andrew graduation, Islay, Orchy 5 073.jpg

And before long we were on the summit of Beinn Achaladair, looking at views!!!
andrew graduation, Islay, Orchy 5 079.jpg

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Loch Tulla

we were still damp, but dried off nicely as we returned to the tent for supper.
andrew graduation, Islay, Orchy 5 086.jpg
attempted arty shot from the way down the hill

We had a much better sleep and in the morning were ready for an early start as we had a boat to catch to take us to Islay. We headed up the side of Beinn an Dothaidh to traverse above the cliffs to climb Beinn Dorain first.
andrew graduation, Islay, Orchy 5 097.jpg
looking cheery today

andrew graduation, Islay, Orchy 5 099.jpg
Loch Lyon

This was a lovely hill with an interesting and varied path. It was overcast but the cloud was lifting gradually. Somehow by mistake we found the bypass path which traverses below the ridge on the west side at about 1000m and comes into the summit from the South. this was actually a lovely path as we were just below the cloud and could see down into Glen Orchy.
Beinn Dorain is famous for the view from the top but sadly not today.
andrew graduation, Islay, Orchy 5 105.jpg
oh the views, the views! Shish on Dorain

We came back to the bealach and from there the steady climb to the top of Beinn an Dothaidh was very pleasant with the cloud lifting ahead of us.
andrew graduation, Islay, Orchy 5 108.jpg
Beinn an Dothaidh from Dorain with a bit of cloud but looking hopeful

andrew graduation, Islay, Orchy 5 116.jpg
on the top. windy but fine.

and back to the tent, pack up, down the hill and just in perfect time to catch the ferry. The walk down was lovely, we came by the normal path this time. Beautiful waterfalls and rocks sparkling in the sunshine.
andrew graduation, Islay, Orchy 5 131.jpg
I tell you, these hills are made of gold!

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waterfalls and pools

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no problem crossing the burn this time

andrew graduation, Islay, Orchy 5 154.jpg
we been there!

thanks for reading, sorry it has taken so long to post!

Re: camping on Orchy 5 - be careful what you wish for.

PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2014 11:38 am
by dogplodder
Love all the detail in your report making you feel you've been there...... which I would love to have been - all but the heavy rain and strong wind on tent bit! Nice to see the smiles when the sun came out. :D

Re: camping on Orchy 5 - be careful what you wish for.

PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2014 9:03 pm
by simon-b
A nice quintet, well done for climbing them all, mrs s. On Friday, I used pretty much the same route as you did for the first three from Achalader. Great views from those hills when you get them - I did for the Achaladair 3, but not from the Orchy 2 on Tuesday the week before. It looks like a great range to wildcamp on.

Re: camping on Orchy 5 - be careful what you wish for.

PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2014 9:36 pm
by gammy leg walker
Well done all of you really enjoyed that TR

Re: camping on Orchy 5 - be careful what you wish for.

PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2014 8:20 am
by Silverhill
Oh well done in that rain! It’s an impressive round! Luckily the weather improved for you on the second day.

Re: camping on Orchy 5 - be careful what you wish for.

PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2014 8:17 pm
by AnnieMacD
Oh, missed this - great to see the transformation to the sunshine. Everyone looks like they cheered up no end! Great walk too and a lot of hills. :clap:

Re: camping on Orchy 5 - be careful what you wish for.

PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2014 10:14 pm
by mrssanta
thanks all for your kind comments. It's true, a bit of sunshine coming out makes a big difference and we were quite cheerful in the end! and although it is lovely to have the youngsters with us, being "grown-ups only" was probably just as well on this expedition.