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April Munroing Pt.1 - Arrochar to Bridge of Orchy

April Munroing Pt.1 - Arrochar to Bridge of Orchy


Postby mountain coward » Tue May 04, 2010 1:54 am

Route description: Beinn Dorain and Beinn an Dothaidh, Bridge of Orchy

Munros included on this walk: Beinn an Dothaidh, Beinn Dorain, Beinn Ime

Date walked: 17/04/2010

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Richard and me again... First stop was 2 nights at Arrochar as we had to re-do Beinn Ime as, although we’d already ticked it off, I later saw a photo of the summit ridge and realised we’d only gone, in the thick mist, as far as the first, slightly lower summit and not the main summit. Luckily I love the Arrochar Alps – this time I was hoping for some snow on the ascent slope as it would be good practice for Richard. In the event, there wasn’t any snow but we made up for it later in the week.

We set off from our B&B right by the start of the path up to Narnain Boulders etc. It was a nice, sunny day so we decided we’d probably take in the Cobbler via the route up its front on the way. However, just as we got to where the path branched off, it suddenly started blowing and raining and the cloud started to descend. We therefore continued straight on for Beinn Ime. As we rounded the corner we could see the tops were yet again in cloud.

We soon made it up the path which goes between the 2 tops and heads straight for the summit. I could see the summit was a great place and would have spectacular views but of course, yet again we had none. There was a lot of snow down the slopes of the far side though and a nice bit along the ridge between the 2 peaks so we decided to go back via our original ‘summit’. I’d also seen an interesting side ridge slightly below that which went out between a corrie and a valley so we went out onto that – there were some really interesting gullies down to the right. I could see the end of a loch and pointed it out to Richard saying that was the end of Loch Long (wrong) and we could go back that way if he fancied a change.

We then returned to the bealach fence and decided to head down from the col NE into the forested side valley. At this point I should mention I’d completely forgotten to bring the map with the Arrochar Alps on – it was at home! It was a very steep descent down into the valley which Richard kindly scouted for me. As we progressed to the bend in the valley and were admiring Ben Vane ahead, I realised the Loch we’d seen the end of was actually Lomond and not Long! I didn’t dare tell Richard at that point but knew how far we had to go back via Glen Loin. As the forest road branched and I guessed correctly we needed the right-hand fork I broke it to him that we had a few more miles to do than we thought.

The next day it started out very wet so we decided to hunt for the famous Arrochar Caves in Glen Loin. We were helped greatly by the fact that the B&B lady’s husband was in the mountain rescue locally and could give us good directions. The red flags were flying at the shooting area just before them so we thought we’d have to turn back but the gentleman putting up the notices kindly said we could go through and they’d look out for us on the way back.

We were soon at the fascinating caves – 3 levels of them. Very slimy in the wet but great fun to explore – just a shame we didn’t have a flash camera. I was very excited at finding this piece of mountaineering history as of course they have been used by the famous ‘Creag Dhu’ climbing club since the 1940s – and no doubt many others. We then went back and picked up the car for our trip northwards.

We decided to try to find somewhere to stay at Bridge of Orchy – it looked like just the hotel – they were really expensive. Then on the way back to the car, I noticed the bunkhouse and persuaded Richard he could try one for a couple of nights. We managed to get a 2 bed room which made him happier, dropped our baggage off, and then drove round to Victoria Bridge carpark as I wanted to scout out the routes to, and the look of the ridges up, Stob Gabhar. We had a nice sunny stroll up as far as the ‘tin hut’ and I chatted to a nice guy from the Paisley Club about the various choices – he’d just come from Stob a’ Choire Odhair. On the way back, some deer looked at us from across the river, ran across the river towards us, then suddenly changed their minds and ran back across and away across the moor – weird! I was too stunned to get a photo.
Beinn an Dothaidh from Victoria Bridge.jpg
Beinn an Dothaidh etc from Abhainn Shira.jpg
Beinn an Dothaidh (L) & Ben Dorain (R)


That night gale-driven hail and sleet battered on our window all night... We looked out in the morning and the snow was more or less back down to the road, as was the cloud. I thought that would be it as Richard wouldn’t want to go up in that but he said why didn’t we do the 2 opposite (Ben Dorain and an Dothaidh). We set off – me with microspikes and ice-axe and him just with the spikes. We followed a couple who were pulling ahead of us slightly all the way to the col but found them taking a break on the col when we got there. The snow had just been wet stuff so far and was melting rapidly in the clearing weather. The couple said they’d let us go ahead as we were ‘faster than them’! I said I didn’t think we were but we’d start off first anyway. We did keep ahead on the next bit which, after the first slabby bit of climbing, became a firm layer of just nice snow about 4 inches deep.
Ben Dorain from Col.jpg
Beinn an Dothaidh over Ben Dorain lochan.jpg
Looking back...


After a steep rise, Richard was following a slight path in the snow to the right of all the bumps but pretty near the big steep ‘drop’ over the road – I wasn’t keen and was stabbing my ice axe in to my left every step. Eventually I left him to it and went back up on the ridge where I was much happier until we both reached the rounded ‘summit’ with the large cairn and a smaller one down to the right. I’d read the summit wasn’t where you thought so wasn’t surprised to see the actual, much smaller summit across a narrowish neck. I thought it looked hairy as it looked like you climbed up some rocky bits to get onto it but it turned out okay – it still wasn’t quite my place to hang around though so we headed straight back to the larger-area summit behind us for a short break.
Ben Dorain's summit surprise!.jpg
Glen Lochay hills fm Dorain.jpg
Beinn Dorain's actual summit.jpg


After a quick coffee we were ploughing back down to the bealach again... or at least Richard was ploughing down happily in the snow. I was hanging back and going quite a bit more cautiously while watching the guy ahead who was supposed to be afraid of snow on mountains!
Ben Dorain descent to An Dothaidh.jpg
Ben Dorain's slabby descent to col.jpg
Looking back from col...


At the bealach we headed straight off up onto Beinn an Dothaidh. The path raked around to the right until easy grassy slopes went up above us, then it followed them up... straight into the bogs! We looked for a drier and more rocky line to the left of them until we reached a slight summit and then stood for a minute wondering which was the true summit. I remember it was the middle one but we seemed to have 4 peaks. We decided it was the one to our right which had a large cairn and headed off for it, by now in a fiercely cold NW wind but sunny weather.

As we reached the main summit, I decided the peak to our right was a beautiful shape and was along a beautifully corniced ridge so wanted to go there instead. This was just as the other couple arrived and asked which was the true summit. When I said I thought we were stood on it, they just decided they were only doing that one. As the other peaks were so near I couldn’t see why people didn’t want to do them all! We set off along the ridge to the far peak which had superb views down to the col with Achaladair and also Beinn a’ Chuirn and the Glen Lochay hills.
Beinn an Dothaidh-cute NE summit.jpg
Beinn Achaladair from An Dothaidh.jpg
Beinn Achaladair descent to col-Chreachain behind.jpg
I asked Richard if he was going to visit the far NW summit but he said not so I told him to wait out of the wind and in the sun on the dry grassy bit of hillside we’d come up while I did it – it was a great viewpoint with a beautiful quartz boulder on a huge flat rock for a cairn and was only just lower than the main summit.
Beinn an Dothaidh-looking to NW summit fm main summit.jpg
View across Beinn an Dothaidh's NW top.jpg
Another party came up and headed for the pretty peak, followed by the main summit, and then descended again.
Creag Mhor behind an Dothaidh.jpg


We rattled back down quickly to a sheltered spot in the sun just above the bealach and had a longer break before heading back to the bunkhouse and our tea in the hotel. As usual we found we had totally different tastes in mountains... I’d liked Beinn an Dothaidh and the promenade around the tops best and he’d like Ben Dorain...

That night the high winds and sleet started battering on the window even more than the night before...
Last edited by mountain coward on Sun Jan 02, 2011 1:27 am, edited 2 times in total.
mountain coward
 

Re: April Munroing - Arrochar to Bridge of Orchy

Postby monty » Tue May 04, 2010 2:11 pm

Again your getting the reasonable weather during the day. Another good report with some lovely pictures. I have not visited these ones yet so hopefully do them this year. :D
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Re: April Munroing - Arrochar to Bridge of Orchy

Postby mountain coward » Tue May 04, 2010 11:47 pm

We were lucky that week - we're usually the other way round... beautiful clear nights and clag in the day! :lol:
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Re: April Munroing Pt.1 - Arrochar to Bridge of Orchy

Postby Graeme D » Wed May 05, 2010 9:26 pm

Good stuff MC. I love that Bunkhouse at Bridge of Orchy - nice and warm and dry and you get all the benefits of the well stocked hotel bar on the doorstep! :D
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Re: April Munroing Pt.1 - Arrochar to Bridge of Orchy

Postby mountain coward » Wed May 05, 2010 10:19 pm

Yeah, but I thought they were cashing in a bit not having a cooking/eating area so you had to go in the hotel for all your meals!
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Re: April Munroing Pt.1 - Arrochar to Bridge of Orchy

Postby Graeme D » Wed May 05, 2010 10:47 pm

I think they have plans for making a cooking area. :D
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Re: April Munroing Pt.1 - Arrochar to Bridge of Orchy

Postby mountain coward » Wed May 05, 2010 11:00 pm

There's plenty of room to make one that's for sure - if they can fit one in the Ledgowan bunkhouse they can fit one in anywhere (not that I'm slagging the Ledgowan Bunkhouse off - I really liked it there! :D
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Re: April Munroing Pt.1 - Arrochar to Bridge of Orchy

Postby walk aboot » Thu May 06, 2010 12:57 pm

Great report MC :) . Caves too :thumbup: :thumbup:
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Re: April Munroing Pt.1 - Arrochar to Bridge of Orchy

Postby mountain coward » Thu May 06, 2010 9:14 pm

Have you been to the Glen Loin caves? They're fairly local for you... I'm going to go again and take Richard's camera next time as it has a built-in flash - not sure whether the pics will come out though as he says he's tried to take the inside of caves with the flash before and just got reflections!
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Re: April Munroing Pt.1 - Arrochar to Bridge of Orchy

Postby walk aboot » Thu May 06, 2010 11:27 pm

Nope, still haven't visited any caves, despite being to Glen Lion and the Arrochar hills loads of times and being a big fan of 'Mountain Days and Bothy Nights'. You'll have to tell me where they are 8) . Had toooo many weekends away recently so likely to be spending the next few weekends locally, cycling, etc. Might cycle from Loch Lomond to Arrochar-way and go exploring :D.
Last edited by walk aboot on Thu May 06, 2010 11:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: April Munroing Pt.1 - Arrochar to Bridge of Orchy

Postby mountain coward » Thu May 06, 2010 11:30 pm

Maybe we should organise a Walkhighlands trip there... a bit like the Tarf Hotel trip :D I can attempt to send you detailed directions if you want but if you're staying locally in a B&B or suchlike, I'm sure they'll know... Certainly the B&B we stayed at which is just on the start of the Succoth road and right by the track up to The Cobbler etc.
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Re: April Munroing Pt.1 - Arrochar to Bridge of Orchy

Postby walk aboot » Thu May 06, 2010 11:33 pm

Sorry edited my post and added the last couple of sentences at the same time as your post...send me the details incase I feel adventorous one day. Up for another meet too mind 8) .
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Re: April Munroing Pt.1 - Arrochar to Bridge of Orchy

Postby mountain coward » Thu May 06, 2010 11:36 pm

You can't have toooo many weekends away! :D I'm off to my caravan in the Lakes tomorrow for the weekend for the first time this year... :D :D Mind you, the weather forecast's cr*p as usual for when I'm off. I'll PM you the details of the caves just in case it's a secret and I get the Creag Dhu knocking on my door :lol:
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Re: April Munroing Pt.1 - Arrochar to Bridge of Orchy

Postby walk aboot » Thu May 06, 2010 11:40 pm

:lol:

True :) .

I haven't got too much else on next couple of months, just my work fund-raiser end of June, drystane dyking again mid-July, and maybes Ullapool beginning of August.
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Re: April Munroing Pt.1 - Arrochar to Bridge of Orchy

Postby walk aboot » Thu May 06, 2010 11:41 pm

Enjoy the Lakes :D
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