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3 posts • Page 1 of 1
The Tyndrum Extension
by Craiging619 » Sat Jan 10, 2015 8:51 pm
Munros included on this walk: Beinn Dubhchraig, Ben Oss
Grahams included on this walk: Fiarach
Date walked: 05/05/2012
Time taken: 11.5 hours
Distance: 27.25 km
Ascent: 1810m2 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
In May of 2012 I decided it was time for another one-day exploration to see how many hills I could climb between Citylink buses. The Luss Classic (http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=10984) the previous year had whetted my appetite for long multi-hill trips, and I felt like I should try and make it an annual tradition to start off each Spring with one. My route was to take me from Inverarnan to Tyndrum, but over the hills rather than by the normal WHW route. I remembered briefly seeing an exert from the book 'Not The West Highland Way', who managed to conquer Ben Lui after a mammoth walk-in from the Drovers Inn, but I felt that was bit too ambitious for my limits. So instead I chose to climb Ben Oss and Beinn Dubhchraig, utilising a strangely-positioned dead-end track to the 550m contour of Ben Oss and carrying on over the summit to join the trade route to Beinn Duchchraig.
The walk began with a less than pleasurable 1km walk along the A82 to Glen Falloch Farm. It was with some relief that I reached the track heading North-West over the railway line before its zig-zag route up towards the 250m mark. Some relief, that is, until I met these individuals.
I stared at them, they stared at me. Eventually I ambled through and round the corner. It was only months later that I stumbled across a thread on this forum discussing the history of horrific incidents involving cows charging. Most of them seem to involve unleashed dogs, but not always. Had I read that thread beforehand, there's absolutely no way I would have just walked straight through a crowd like this, and for this reason I'm reticent to ever go back for the Corbett and Graham behind the Drovers Inn. At the time, though, I thought almost nothing of it.
My route took me via an access road for the pylons/pipelines/intakes of Gleann nan Caorann, a glen that would otherwise be remarkably remote for its proximity to the A82. I suppose it was a Catch 22 situation - if it wasn't for the disfigurement of this valley to power Glasgow, I wouldn't be able to walk up here on a smooth and straightforward track like this.
Eventually I reached the junctions to turn right and follow the track next to the huge pipeline heading North. I was still hovering around 300m altitude, but that was thankfully about to change.
After negotiating a junction of access roads, and passing a forgotten and forlorn-looking digger (?!), the track headed steadily towards its final destination at 550m, and I began to pull away from the paraphernalia surrounding the power scheme. The track was clear enough before eventually beginning to fade slowly. It seemed entirely random, and I can only assumed it was built for a section of the pylon/culvert scheme that was never completed. I couldn't help wondering if anyone had even been up here in a long while.
The views really started to open out here, with an increasingly wild Beinn Buidhe holding the attention. After a while Loch Lomond reappeared too.
The last remnants of the winter snow and ice clung onto the gully, but were easily avoided.
I was just starting to wonder when the final ridge would appear, as I had been walking for the best part of four hours, when suddenly Beinn Lui appeared to the left, looking somewhat majestic. This flatter section signified that I had around 100m of ascent to go, which inspired me to crack on. I knew I would be seeing a litany of people at the top as well, which would be a change of scenery after four hours in the back end of nowhere.
The final slog up the South side to the summit of Beinn Oss.
Finally, four hours after leaving the Drovers Inn, I reached the top of Beinn Oss, and could see the path to Beinn Duchbhraig weaving down from the rocky summit. The view to Beinn Lui was phenomenal, and a very enjoyable lunch was had on the summit.
The descent to the col between Beinn Oss and Beinn Dubhchraig felt like the M8 at rush hour in comparison to the lonely climb up Beinn Oss. A large party from Tyneside were negotiating the final approach to Beinn Oss having conquered Beinn Dubhchraig, and I was hoping to complete that traverese in reverse. The lochan in the corrie underneath Beinn Dubhchraig was now catching the eye, high above Loch Lomond and Glen Falloch and hidden away from most other angles.
I turned right at the junction of paths and headed up onto the ridge approaching the summit of Beinn Dubhchraig. I was fairly tired by this stage but the climb was short, and before long I was heading up the gentle final ridge to the top at 978m.
Beinn Oss and Beinn Lui from Beinn Dubhchraig.
I reached the summit of Beinn Dubhchraig at the back of 2pm, and had two clear options. I could try and head down to Tyndrum for the first available bus home, or attempt to make it down to watch the FA Cup Final at 5pm. The second option was tempting, but there might not be anywhere in Tyndrum showing it. Far more fun to take advantage of the decent weather surely? A calm mixture of white and blue dotted the sky, with only a light breeze. Hang on, what's over the side here...?
A horrendous-looking 500m drop lay to the East, but behind it lay a possible route to the Graham of Fiarach. I'm hell-bent on climbing every one of the Munros, Corbetts and Grahams in my lifetime, and have been climbing the Grahams at a similar rate to the Munros so far. Why not conquer another one given the chance? It doesn't look THAT far. And beside, if I don't do it now I'll just have to come to Tyndrum several years down the line and do a straight-up-straight-down route from Dalrigh.
Fiarach or FA Cup...FA Cup...Fiarach...
Sod it, let's do this!
Little step after little step took me halfway down the mountainside to around 700m, where there was a brief respite overlooking Loch Lomond. At around 450m I could circle round the edge of the forest and follow an old fence towards the summit plateau of Fiarach. I had no idea if the fence would be passable or not, except that from my previous experience of ambling off into parts unknown, I hadn't yet had to turn back because of fences. Fingers crossed...
Finally I made it to the wide bealach between Beinn Duchbhraig and Fiarach, and began taking on a myraid of mini-peaks and troughs (this is the sort of bealach that always looks flat on a map but is deceptively tiresome in reality!) Thankfully, the jumble of fences on the map turned out to be little more than some old fence posts, that actually acted as a useful guide. Quelle relief!
Every time I do a long walk such as this, there comes a point when I hit "the wall". This bealach was the wall.
Eventually, the bealach gave me to the rising slopes south-west of the Fiarach plateau, and the fence posts led the way.
A spectacular view opened out to the North towards Tyndrum and Beinn Dorain, brightening my mood for the final climb up to the plateau.
Beinn Dubhchraig lay to the West, on the other side of the forest. It was increasingly clear from my vantage point that the route taken from the summit was utterly mad. The amount of climbing today was possibly more than I had ever managed before, but coupled with the 500m steep descent from Beinn Dubhchraig, meant I was running severely low on energy.
The plateau was taking forever to cross, but the colours of Fiarach complementing Ben More in the background were majestic. Was that the final miniature ridge over to the left...?
I clambered up onto the final ridge and collapsed onto the summit. I wouldn't be getting up again for a good few minutes. Enjoying the last of my drinks and a spare snack, I took in the incredible views to Beinn Dorain, Ben More and Stob Binnein, while wondering if I would ever be able to stand up again.
Finally it was time to go, so I hauled myself up on hands and knees before struggling slowly to my feet. I was running on empty by now, but the bus home was at 8:15 and I was hoping for some dinner in the Green Welly Stop first, so had to crack on. After negotiating the old fence posts (and some old discarded swirls of metal from said fences), I found another fence leading straight North on the descent route.
The views were phenomenal to the North and East, with the Tyndrum Corbetts bathed in sunshine and Beinn Dorain under a dark cloud to the North.
Glen Cononish to the West, hopefully to be explored in the future!
The final descent to the minor road was extremely steep, but by this point I was part caring. I hadn't seen a soul since the top of Beinn Dubhchraig, and the road was my link back to civilisation.
Finally!!! Hang on, what's that sign on the gate?
Heh, didn't know that. Well, you learn something every day then. Did I just dodge a bullet, literally and metaphorically?
I passed the footbridge that is regularly used for the trade route up to Beinn Dubhchraig (and would probably have been used by me, had I not taken the mad descent route via Fiarach). I took a few steps onto it, but in that condition, I'd hate to rely on this at the start or end of a long day. It's seen better days, to put it politely. Hopefully the money can be found to replace it one day!
The last thing I wanted was a one-mile walk alongside the A82, but as I wasn't up for attempting to hail the bus at Dalrigh (and I desperately needed dinner), there was no option but to trudge on.
After 11 and a half crazy hours, I reached the Green Welly Stop. I've never been so happy to see a petrol station in all my life. I finished a full pizza and Coke in a stupidly quick time, and had around 20 minutes to hobble back to the bus stop.
Tyndrum has gangs?!
The journey back to Glasgow was a bit of a low point after the highs of the day. It turns out I had eaten my pizza rather too quickly, and was, how do you say, a little ill on the bus home. The driver was very helpful, thank goodness, and I scuttled out of Buchanan Bus Station with my tail between my legs, thankful to make it through another day on the hills.
As for the day itself, it's not one I'm ever likely to forget. The views around Tyndrum are breathtaking - just close enough to Glasgow that you can peer over to the Central Belt and Southern Uplands, just close to the Central Highlands that you can get the first proper view of Ben Nevis, and just close enough to the sea that you can gaze over to Mull and Ardnamurchan. But if anything, the best view of the lot might be Fiarach. It's one of those Grahams that is surrounded on all sides by Munros and Corbetts, so while there are no long-range views, the vista of the mountains of Crianlarich, Tyndrum and Bridge of Orchy are something special. Thousands of people must drive past Fiarach every week and think nothing of it, but I'd definitely recommend if you're on the way back from somewhere and have four spare hours. Or maybe do the whole lot of them, if you have 12 spare hours.
Last edited by Craiging619 on Sun Nov 08, 2015 9:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.
by Silverhill » Sun Jan 11, 2015 1:23 pm
Wow what a walk. Loved reading your report!
by celt54321 » Sun Jan 11, 2015 2:09 pm
nice report and pics......that looked like a bit of an epic
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