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Surprised by Beinn Odhar

Surprised by Beinn Odhar

Postby cjchristie » Sun Nov 23, 2008 12:02 am

Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn Odhar

Date walked: 22/11/2008

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Another day along the West Highland Way, saw myself and friend Ivan from Spain set out from Crianlarich to Tyndrum hopping to take in Ben Lui or Ben Oss. However our off piste exertions the day before on Beinn a'Choin (see report) had left our legs like jelly. Ivan's manful tackling of a plate of haggis for the first time ("edible", was his considered opinion) the night before had also taken its toll. As the Ben Lui and Ben Oss came into sight we were sufficiently overawed to replan our day.

At Auchertyre farm (200m alt.) and campsite just short of Tyndrum we stopped to take stock of the situation. A hill just to the north of us looking gently inviting without making the day too short a cop out. It was now that I realised that the Explorer map we had didn't cover the alternative area we were looking at, the other maps having been sent on with our luggage.

However the day was clear so we decided to take our chances. After striking uphill on a track away from the WHW following the Alt Auchentyre stream we soon passed under an impressive Victorian railway bridge. Another half a mile on before some old shielings we headed due east up what seemed like a steep pull on aching legs over soft tussocky slopes.

On reaching the 'top' we were surprised to find this was the southerly point of a long ridge that led due north before climbing steeply to what looked liked the 'real' summit. Our legs seemed to worn themselves back into shape by this point so we decided to head for the northern end of the ridge. The area being devoid of any well trodden paths, we headed to the next hill on the ridge Meall Buidhe (653m). From here an expanse of peat hags appeared in front of us, stretching from one side to the other of the saddle, barring the way on. The views had also started to open up all around. Ben Lui to the west and Beinn Challium to the east seemed to be hemming in the horizon.

From our lower position it was impossible to determine whether a series of complicated gentle slopes and ridges to the NE were linked to each other or separate peaks. It reminded me of the story regarding the Duke of Wellington. When fighting the Peninsular War against the French, it was a favourite game of his (no doubt with money involved), whilst out riding with fellow officers, to try and guess the lay of the land surrounding them. In a time when reliable maps were scarce, a superior knowledge of terrain was often the deciding factor when deciding whether or not to engage the enemy. Almost invariably the Duke would win the wager!

We struck out in different directions to see who could cross the peat hag barrier first. At the far side with boots and trousers a darker shade of black we continued along the flat part of the ridge before starting up the final steep slopes of what we assumed was the top. Five minutes from the top a movement caught my eye and I stopped to use my binoculars. Not far on ahead was a mountain hare cropping the slope above us. As we neared, it scurried away, and I was very pleased to have caught a glimpse of this elusive creature. The last pull to the top on this uncomplicated though steep slope brought us into a howling wind. The views at last opened right up and we were convinced that we were standing on a Munro! Our disappointment at later finding we were only some 10m short of the required height was tempered by a grand sense of achievement especially given how ropey we had felt at the beginning of the day.

We could see the western of end of Loch Lyon, and further south the Breadalblane district also appeared. 180 degrees showed us Loch Etive and a lightening sky on the horizon proved we weregazing at the coast beyond with Mull lit up. Whilst reviewing the breathtaking views I spotted our hare once again and was determined to get a photo of him. I clambered down from the cairn, and skirted on all fours the low lying rocks separating us. When I gauged I was within shooting distance I poked my head up and found I was within 20 feet of long ears. Whilst it stared at me I managed to point and shoot a few times before it took off down the mountainside.

We could clearly see Tyndrum below us and set of in a straight line down an even steeper slope soon passing the abandoned lead mine which has left a gaping scar on the mountain. An uneventful descent brought us back to the WHW north of Tyndrum so we turned back to the village to find our lodgings, passing backpackers who seemed too weighted down to even raise their gaze up at the majestic slopes of Beinn Odhar.

The local pub was offering a set menu of mince and tatties. "I suppose it'll be edible washed down with some of the warm beer" offered Ivan.
mountain  hare.jpg
mountain hare
summit beinn odhar.jpg
Summit Beinn Odhar
Posts: 2
Munros:1   Corbetts:2
Joined: Nov 7, 2008

Re: Surprised by Beinn Odhar

Postby bio-man » Wed Nov 26, 2008 7:43 pm

It's an excellent hill and an excellent fitness tester as well. If you're ever feeling up for it, there is a circular route from Tyndrum that also takes in 4 or 5 nearby Corbetts starting with Beinn Odhar!!! Very strenuous!!
Munro compleatist
Posts: 344
Joined: Feb 20, 2008
Location: Perth

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