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Awesome Arrochar and Fabulous Falloch

Awesome Arrochar and Fabulous Falloch


Postby jupe1407 » Mon Sep 08, 2014 10:00 pm

Route description: Beinn Narnain and Beinn Ime

Munros included on this walk: An Caisteal, Beinn a'Chroin, Beinn Ime, Beinn Narnain, Ben Vane

Corbetts included on this walk: The Cobbler

Date walked: 06/09/2014

Time taken: 15 hours

Distance: 33.1 km

Ascent: 3293m

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Graham (Munroman283), Mat and myself had pencilled in the weekend of the 6th & 7th September in for a weekend of walking , based at the Crianlarich Youth Hostel. The run up to the weekend consisted of the usual obsessive checking of the forecasts for the area, and the usual conflab about various plans of attack. The initial suggestion was (thankfully) binned of doing the 7 Crianlarich hills in a day. I'd injured my knee on Monadh Mor a couple of weeks previously, but even fit, this would probably have killed me. :lol:

We finally settled on doing The Cobbler (joined by Scoob and Fi) then Beinn Narnain, Beinn Ime and Ben Vane. I'd looked for walk reports on this route on the site and they were rather few and far between. Now I know why...

Anyway, Saturday morning I got up in the middle of the night, leaving the house at 4:15am. I'd wanted to stop at St Fillans to get a shot of the arty sculpture in front of the Four Seasons Hotel. It's by Rob Mulholland, called "Still" and quite striking.

Arrochar etc.jpg
"Still"


It's also on private hotel grounds, so I didn't unnecessarily hang around and was soon well on my way to Inveruglas car park, the meet point. Despite almost being wiped out by some tw@t trying to use his phone whilst driving one of the Scotland's more bonkers or roads, I soon made it to the car park. I was an hour early, so took some at the viewpoint to get some photos.

Arrochar etc-3.jpg
Loch Lomond at early dawn


In the process I attracted the attention of an inquisite and fearless Robin, no doubt used to human contact and looking for some scran. It had a look in my kit bag, sensibly not interested in the cigarette packet and settled on my tripod for a moment.

Arrochar etc-4.jpg
Is it winter soon?


After a while I packed up and awaited everyone else's arrival, after a brief moment of terror when i thought i'd been locked in the toilets :lol:

JenniferC was next to arrive, followed by Graham, Mat then Scoob and Fi. The best plan of attack was to leave cars at either end of the walk to save an incredible tedious walk out (something i'd later be most grateful for). We took a couple of cars and headed to the start point beyond Arrochar for The Cobbler. We bumped into Stevie Matt from the site and his unbelievably energetic springer and got ready for the off.

Arrochar etc-5.jpg
Loch Long & Arrochar



Saturday 6th September
The Cobbler, Beinn Narnain, Beinn Ime, Ben Vane
10h
19.10Km
2153m Ascent


The path up to the Cobbler is excellent, gently zig-zagging up the hill before finally emerging in the glen above, and meandering alongside Allt na Bhalachain. The weather was glorious at this point, with clear summits all around and a wonderful view of The Cobbler up ahead.

Arrochar etc-6.jpg
First sight of The Cobbler


There was plenty of time for some faffing around on the giant Narnain Boulders....

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Narnain Boulders


We soon reached the foot of The Cobbler and track up it presented no problems at all. Some of the group took on a couple of scrambles, we also saw a few rock climbers heading up the face of the north summit. It looked pretty spectacular!

Arrochar etc-8.jpg
The Cobbler's North Summit


The bealach was soon reached, and the majority headed for the actual top, and the weird rock formation it is so well-known for. Getting to the summit involves crawling through a hole, edging up a wee ramp and clambering over a couple of boulders (not very stylishly in my case) to get to the table top. It's quite a summit. The down scramble wasn't fun (I'm not a fan of down scrambling in the slightest).

Arrochar etc-12.jpg
Cobbler Summit


After a bite to eat we headed off down to the bealach with Beinn Narnain, encountering a massive crowd of people there. These are busy hills. We set off up Narnain, with Stevie's plans slightly different, he headed off to Beinn Ime, his springer still full of beans :lol:

Arrochar etc-13.jpg
Off up Narnain


It didn't take too long to get to the top with fine views to be had, although we could see the clag was coming :(

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Loch Long


A quick bite to eat, and a chat with some fellow walkers and we headed off down to Bealach a'Mhaim below Beinn Ime, meeting Stevie on his way back, unfortunately having been completely trolled by clag just before summiting Ime. Hope he had better luck on Narnain!

Getting up Beinn Ime was a bit of a slog, boggy in places and the incoming cloud and crap weather meant putting the camera away. Scoob and Fi departed to take in another Corbett leaving the four of us to summit Beinn Ime. We reached the cold and claggy top, with rather, erm, limited views.

Arrochar etc-16.jpg
Beinn Ime summit


The next section was probably the least enjoyable of the whole weekend. An initially rocky descent, during which my knee injury started playing up, which then became a bogfest, complete with the bonus of half an hour of constant rain dampened my enthusiasm a little. Once Glas Bealach is reached, the rest of the terrain is a largely pathless slog, doing it's best to avoid boggy grass (and failing :lol: ). After negotiating a crag, we got to the low point (in more ways than one). Looking up, we now faced about 450m roughly of pathless, steep (almost vertical at times) wet grassy ascent to reach Ben Vane. It was utterly soul-destroying.

Arrochar etc-17.jpg
Kill me now


After what seemed an eternity, (it probably WAS an eternity) we eventually reached the summit plateau, where i demolished my remaining cheese pieces. It was pretty windy, cold, and my knee was killing me, so this hill probably won't rank amongst my favourites.

Arrochar etc-18.jpg
Ben Vane summit


The descent wasn't much better. Steep rocky descents are frankly terrible when injured. It's probably quite a nice hill when tackled from the "usual" side as a single walk, but I confess to disliking almost every step on it. If nothing else, I suppose it's proof that even the shortest munro can be a massive test. I was taking an age to descent and swearing almost everytime i planted my feet. Graham and Jennifer cracked on to go and collect the cars from the start point. Myself and Mat finished the descent. There was one last decent view from on high.

Arrochar etc-19.jpg
Loch Lomond


Finally, after a completely unnecessary cross of a flat bog, we reached the track. Mat lay down to kiss the road surface. I wanted to, but feared i'd never get up again. This was a far more enjoyable section and the remaining walk was done in a reasonable time. We got a nice view of Ben Vorlich from here as well.

Arrochar etc-20.jpg
Ben Vorlich


10 hours after starting we got back to the car, physically wrecked. I now know why there are so few reports of this walk :lol:


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We were staying at the absolutely packed Crianlarich SYHA, briefly visiting the Rod & Reel for a magnificent steak pie which was virtually inhaled. Even the hostel proved eventful, with Mat accidentally playing Jenga with a fully laden book-case. It must have been from Ikea :lol:

Anyway, after a pitifully poor sleep, I got up at 7 wondering if i could manage today's walk. The legs were sore, the knee in particular was yarking a fair bit. The obvious solution was a large number of painkillers. Today's targets would be....

Sunday 7th September
An Caisteal and Beinn a'Chroin
5h50m
14Km
1140m ascent


The forecast looked reasonably promising, so after wolfing down breakfast and getting sorted, we headed to the long layby just outside of Crianlarich on the A82, after the roadworks.

Arrochar etc-21.jpg
Sron Garbh from the A82


After crossing a boggy stretch something akin to Passchendaele, we headed under the railway, and out onto the track up into Glen Falloch. We cut off to a track before the recommended WH route, marked by a small cairn shortly into the walk. This crosses a fairly boggy expanse which gradually gains height before reaching a gate, after which things steepen somewhat. The views back to Crianlarich are nice from the top of this part of the walk however.

Arrochar etc-22.jpg
Crianlarich from Sron Garbh


Once Sron Garbh is reached there is a very pleasant stretch of walk along the ridge to Twistin' Hill (catchy, I like it.

Arrochar etc-23.jpg
Towards An Caisteal


Arrochar etc-24.jpg
... and back to Sron Garbh


There are a few lovely spots for a high camp here. After a short while the base of the main ascent is reached. I struggled a bit here. I'd love to throw in some terrific excuses here, but my fitness has basically been rubbish the last month or two :lol:

After the steepish ascent, and a mini-scramble, the final, flatter stretch to the summit cairn reveals itself.

Arrochar etc-25.jpg
Last section of An Caisteal


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An Caisteal summit


It felt good to make it and the usual summit celebration of a cheese piece was enjoyed. It was cold and breezy however so we headed off down to Bealach Buidhe, via a mostly excellent path, and a couple of accidental and completely unnecessary scrambly bits. Oops :lol:

Laziness prevented me taking photos of this section, shameful, i know. We soon reached the steep ascent of Beinn a'Chroin. However a very clever path makes it's way through the impregnable-looking crags. We stopped and talked hills with a couple of lads from Girvan. The path has one brief scramble which is easy enough before emerging on the summit plateau.

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Summit plateau


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Beinn a'Chroin cairn


This is a pleasant enough wee daunder. After visiting a couple of cairns we sat down for some more food at the eastern end, got chatting to another walker Craig and eventually headed down.

The descent path winds it way nicely down through various bumps and hillocks before eventually dropping to glen level, where a splendid couple of miles of bog and mud are endured before meeting the track again. It didn't take long to return to the cars from here.


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This marked the end of yet another fantastic trip in what's been an excellent year. I'm two short of the 100 mark and hoping to reach that wee milestone in a fortnight :D

Thanks to Graham, Mat, Jennifer, Scoob, Fi and Stevie for their company. A cracking weekend.
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jupe1407
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Re: Awesome Arrochar and Fabulous Falloch

Postby Backpacker » Mon Sep 08, 2014 10:14 pm

Well done,

We did the same 2 Crianlarich ones the day before, looks like you got better views than we did. :lol:

Leia's heading off to Arrochar tomorrow for Narnain & Ime
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Re: Awesome Arrochar and Fabulous Falloch

Postby PerthAlly » Mon Sep 08, 2014 10:17 pm

Super photo's, excellent route choice

I'm jealous. Well done all!
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Re: Awesome Arrochar and Fabulous Falloch

Postby jupe1407 » Mon Sep 08, 2014 10:23 pm

PerthAlly wrote:Super photo's, excellent route choice

I'm jealous. Well done all!


Thanks Ally. It's a hell of a route and a hard-earned group.


Backpacker wrote:Well done,

We did the same 2 Crianlarich ones the day before, looks like you got better views than we did. :lol:

Leia's heading off to Arrochar tomorrow for Narnain & Ime


Thanks mate, the views were good until we got up to around 850m then it got a bit hazy and overcast.

Narnain was probably my favourite of the three munros on Saturday. The Cobbler is well worth a visit if time permits.
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Re: Awesome Arrochar and Fabulous Falloch

Postby Sarah86 » Tue Sep 09, 2014 10:39 am

Wonderful photos as usual. The sculpture at St Fillans is rather spectacular but I too felt a little uneasy hanging around with the private ground signs near by.
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Re: Awesome Arrochar and Fabulous Falloch

Postby Shug » Tue Sep 09, 2014 10:59 am

Great pics there. What filter did you use for the first pic? I've been pondering getting a high stop nd filter, but not sure if 10 stop is over the top or not. (hijack over :wink: )
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Re: Awesome Arrochar and Fabulous Falloch

Postby jupe1407 » Tue Sep 09, 2014 2:21 pm

Shug wrote:Great pics there. What filter did you use for the first pic? I've been pondering getting a high stop nd filter, but not sure if 10 stop is over the top or not. (hijack over :wink: )


I used a 10 stopper. It's an SRI Griturn model. £29 for an 82mm screw in!

Sarah86 wrote:Wonderful photos as usual. The sculpture at St Fillans is rather spectacular but I too felt a little uneasy hanging around with the private ground signs near by.


Thanks Sarah. I was there at 6.30am ... don't think anyone else was up :lol:
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Re: Awesome Arrochar and Fabulous Falloch

Postby jenniferc6 » Tue Sep 09, 2014 8:33 pm

Great report and excellent photos. Hope your knee has recovered after the brutal Ben Vane ascent! Thanks all for a fantastic weekend :D
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Re: Awesome Arrochar and Fabulous Falloch

Postby Silverhill » Tue Sep 09, 2014 8:59 pm

Stunning pictures as ever. :D That walk on Saturday was massive! A good one though. :clap:
Every report I’ve read recently about Beinn a’ Chroin mentions the bog mess on the descent. I escaped it by descending down the Allt a’ Chuilinn. It requires a bit of back tracking along Beinn a’ Chroin (and in my case also including Beinn Chabhair). But I’m glad I did!
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Re: Awesome Arrochar and Fabulous Falloch

Postby AnnieMacD » Tue Sep 09, 2014 9:02 pm

Wow, fantastic photos. Love the 10-stop the best as well. (I assume you didn't carry your tripod up the hills).

That is quite an achievement for someone with a gammy knee, but looks like you had a good time. I too have a bad knee and it seems to be getting better irrespective of how many hills I go up! 8)
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Re: Awesome Arrochar and Fabulous Falloch

Postby jupe1407 » Tue Sep 09, 2014 9:53 pm

AnnieMacD wrote:Wow, fantastic photos. Love the 10-stop the best as well. (I assume you didn't carry your tripod up the hills).

That is quite an achievement for someone with a gammy knee, but looks like you had a good time. I too have a bad knee and it seems to be getting better irrespective of how many hills I go up! 8)


Thanks Annie.

No, carrying the camera and lens up is more than enough. Weighs a ton! I've been thinking about getting a good quality compact for the hills. The DSLR involves much footering about, especially on changeable weather days. And the weight saving would be pleasing.

Silverhill wrote:Stunning pictures as ever. :D That walk on Saturday was massive! A good one though. :clap:
Every report I’ve read recently about Beinn a’ Chroin mentions the bog mess on the descent. I escaped it by descending down the Allt a’ Chuilinn. It requires a bit of back tracking along Beinn a’ Chroin (and in my case also including Beinn Chabhair). But I’m glad I did!


Thanks :D Saturday was a sore yin, but i'm glad it was done that way, Ben Vane would be hard work even as a single. I've got Chabhair to do as a single also. Looks a nice walk once up high though.

jenniferc6 wrote:Great report and excellent photos. Hope your knee has recovered after the brutal Ben Vane ascent! Thanks all for a fantastic weekend :D


Thanks for your company Jennifer, it was a cracking weekend. That drive home was a pain though. I was in the same queue of cars as you from Crianlarich to Perth :lol:
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Re: Awesome Arrochar and Fabulous Falloch

Postby rockhopper » Tue Sep 09, 2014 11:06 pm

a busy weekend and a cracking set of photos - well done ! - cheers :)
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