A classic day out in Arrochar
by malky_c » Sat Feb 07, 2015 9:34 pm
Corbetts included on this walk: Ben Donich, The Brack
Date walked: 06/02/2015
Time taken: 5.6 hours
Distance: 20 km
Ascent: 1340m7 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).
Time taken: 5 hours, 40 minutes.
Weather: Cold, sunny, inversion.
We had planned to head down to Glasgow on Friday as Gill was meeting up with some friends. I knew I'd slip a few hills in somewhere, so I booked the day off. The original thought was to do the northern couple of Luss Grahams and Beinn Dubh by taking the bus or train up from Glasgow, but Gill decided she didn't need the car during the day. Suddenly I could get a little more adventurous, although I knew I'd pay later by having to drop in to IKEA.
We didn't leave Inverness as early as I would have liked, but the drive down the A9 was spectacular, with layers of drifting cloud. I hoped it would be as nice further west. After dropping Gill at Braehead, I hit the A82 Arrochar-bound. My intention was to do a round of Ben Donich, The Brack and Cnoc Coinnich from Lochgoilhead. However it was approaching 1pm as I passed through Arrochar and there was a perfect winter/early spring day outside. I couldn't wait any longer to get out in the fresh air, and parked at Ardgartan instead. I could do a similar loop from here in a similar amount of time, even though it wasn't quite such a tidy circuit.
I finally set off up Glen Croe at 1:15pm on a forestry track. Fleeting views of The Cobbler and Ben an Lochain led me to the steep path to Bealach Dubh-lic. This was a little icy, and I left it soon after getting above the treeline.
Cobbler from Ardgartan:
E face of The Brack:
Ben an Lochain and Glen Croe:
Barra flight or private plane?
Getting onto the E ridge was a mixture of steep grass and small crags, all covered in melting snow to some degree. It was quite fun actually. There was more of the same heading to the summit of Ben Donich - it certainly wasn't a fast ridge to walk up. I'm pretty sure that snow filled some pretty massive faults and holes, but I couldn't really tell.
Beinn Liuibheann, Ben Ime and the Cobbler:
Ben an Lochain from the ascent of Ben Donich:
Shortcut up Ben Donich:
Glen Croe trio again:
Lumps and bumps on the E ridge of Ben Donich:
Cobbler South Peak:
A couple of steeper bits towards the summit were interesting (hoping that the snow held out for long enough to take my weight). The views just got better and better. Cnoc Coinnich never did emerge from its cap of cloud, which eventually merged into the larger band of low cloud moving in from the west.
Route up Ben Donich:
Cnoc Coinnich and inversion/low cloud moving in from the west:
I eventually joined the more popular way up from the Rest and Be Thankful and made my way to the trig point.
Summit of Ben Donich:
Ben an Lochain and Loch Restil:
Ben Donich summit photo:
Low cloud increasing:
I wondered if Trekpete was sitting in his JCB up at the Ben Cruachan hydro scheme looking out over this. Looked more likely that he was in the clag below the inversion.
Ben Donich trig point:
After a break it was back down the same way, getting my axe out for one steeper section which was still frozen hard. It took me almost as long to get to the Bealach Dubh-lic as it had to ascend the ridge. A bit squelchy crossing Coire Odhar and I was on my way up The Brack.
Ben Lomond and The Brack:
Descending Ben Donich:
Cobbler from Coire Odhar:
Again with Luibhean and Ime:
I got a text from Gill on the way up The Brack. I had to be at IKEA for 8pm. It was now after 4:30 so I decided that Cnoc Coinnich would need to be missed out. I would have been finding my way up there in the dark anyway. Instead, I was able to take more time on the final ascent - handy as the sunset light show was just beginning.
Arrochar, Loch Lomond, Ben Lomond:
Ime and Cobbler from The Brack:
…and Glen Croe:
I needed the axe again very briefly on one of the steeper slopes just before the summit, and was close to pulling my crampons out for the first time in 4 years. I managed without though.
Approaching the summit of The Brack:
Arrochar Alps from The Brack:
Ben Donich from The Brack:
5pm - the perfect summit arrival time on a perfect day. With less of a rush now (I thought), I lingered on the summit for 15 minutes or so eating and taking photos. I was still above the inversion but the cloud had crept in over the last few hours.
Towards Cnoc Coinnich:
Arrochar Alps from The Brack:
Sun is going…
Cloud moving in on Arrochar Alps:
Arrochar and Ben Lomond:
Ben an Lochain, Beinn Luibhean and Ben Ime:
Finally it was time to leave. If I'd known how long it would take me to get down the Coilessan Glen, I might have tried following the footprints I spotted dropping steeply down the E face, however due to the failing light, I decided to stick to the more gentle SW ridge. Mind you, there were still some steep sections here.
Descending the SW ridge of The Brack:
I was glad I wasn't going up Cnoc Connich now - it would have been by torchlight, which is particularly annoying in mist. A bit of a slither had me down on the path then track to walk out in the last light.
Below the clouds - Ben Reoch and Tullich Hill from Coileassan Glen:
Lower down the track had suffered much damage from flooding, making it rough going. Finally I was at the forestry commission carpark and on the tarmac road. It was a nice end to the walk, strolling down the road in the dark with the stars out, the lights of Arrochar across the loch and the silhouette of The Brack above me. Shame it went on longer than I expected - even without Cnoc Connich, I didn't get back to the car until 7pm. I'd be pushing it to get back to Braehead by 8!
Luckily the roads were much clearer on the way back (going south anyway - I'm sure there were some SHillers stuck in the long queues of traffic heading the other way) and I was back in 45 minutes.
Then it was IKEA followed by a long drive home, getting in at 1:30am. We managed to rack up 450 miles - I was glad Gill drove the last 100 of them! Still, I knew there was a price to pay for such a great day out, so I didn't mind.
by falling monkey » Sat Feb 07, 2015 11:08 pm
by falling monkey » Sat Feb 07, 2015 11:11 pm
by Collaciotach » Sun Feb 08, 2015 12:42 am
by litljortindan » Sun Feb 08, 2015 10:54 am
by Fife Flyer » Sun Feb 08, 2015 8:49 pm
Quite a trek for you now heading south to visit the southerly Corbett's & IKEA of course
by Graeme D » Sun Feb 08, 2015 11:28 pm
by Eggs » Mon Feb 09, 2015 10:59 am
Ahwells.. Waiting for the weather to clear up.
Had a great couple weeks walking around the peaks around Arrochar/Ardgartan.
by Beaner001 » Mon Feb 09, 2015 12:14 pm
by Sarah86 » Mon Feb 09, 2015 3:16 pm
by dooterbang » Tue Feb 10, 2015 5:06 pm
You should've gave us a shout....I love Ikea
by malky_c » Tue Feb 17, 2015 3:16 pm
falling monkey wrote: plane is the seaplane that runs from science centre in Glasgow and loch lomond
Cheers for that - never seen it before. I'll have to look out for it in Glasgow next time I'm there.
dooterbang wrote:You should've gave us a shout....I love Ikea
I'll let you know. We can do a full circuit rather than just sneaking into the end bit by the tills to pick up a couple of things
by dogplodder » Wed Feb 18, 2015 12:14 pm
by mountain thyme » Fri Feb 20, 2015 6:33 pm