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Exceeding Expectations – a lovely loop from Inverlochlarig

Exceeding Expectations – a lovely loop from Inverlochlarig


Postby Huff_n_Puff » Wed Apr 15, 2015 8:40 pm

Route description: Cruach Ardrain and Beinn Tulaichean

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Tulaichean, Cruach Ardrain

Date walked: 10/04/2015

Time taken: 7 hours

Distance: 12.5 km

Ascent: 1025m

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A DIY project in Dundee that's grown arms and legs has interrupted normal hill service, but as the great Easter weather was drawing to a close we couldn't keep up the painting, joinery and sundry soul searing slavery, so skived off for a day in the hills :shh: . Turning adversity into opportunity we decided to pick up a couple of hills we'd missed when we lived in Dundee (Cruach Ardrain and Beinn Tulaichean) and to do them from Inverlochlarig which would take us to an area I'd never visited.

For some strange reason – perhaps a brain addled by paint fumes – I didn't have any great expectations of these hills. Walk Highlands describes Beinn Tulaichean as an inconsequential Munro, and Cameron McNeish thinks there isn't much to recommend the ascent from the south east. Who am I to disagree? – Well I do, in my opinion you're both wrong, but thanks for leaving me to make such a lovely discovery for myself :wink: .

The road to the start of the walk seemed obvious enough – a left at Lochearnhead then a right off the A84 at Kingshouse for Balquhidder – only there wasn't a right off the A84 … we didn't have a magnifying glass for the map so didn't notice it's actually a left off the A84 that goes under the main road to get to Balquhidder. A quick detour to Strathyre and back along a very slim single track road through some forest – very picturesque – to find the road we should have been on. From Balquhidder to Inverlochlarig along the side of Loch Voil was beautiful, people wild camping by the loch – beautiful calm reflections in the water in the gentle hazy light of an early Spring morning.

A taster – we hadn't even started and this was just stunning
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For 5 mins ours was the only car in the spacious car park, but before we'd booted up 2 other people joined us, also heading up Beinn Tulaichean. We all left the car park about the same time and headed off for the path to the west of the farm. For once there was a very good map at the start of the route showing exactly where to go so none of the usual faffing about getting to the start of the walk. The Walk Highland description mentions hydro works, we didn't see any sign of them and the route through the farm steading was very well signposted. There were lots of livestock around so B&B were duly on the lead – where they had to remain for a long time – there were sheep quite high up the flank of Tulaichean. They took this indignity stoically and gave Roger a helping paw up the hill until the sheep danger was passed.

Once passed the farm we left the landrover track and headed up the pathless hillside quite quickly – this little reception party by a gate across the path didn't look as if they would welcome small canines :o . The other walkers continued on the path – and we didn't see them again.

Cattle blocking the path to Tulaichean
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Initially it was straight forward climbing, a warm day soon had us shedding layers and I was just wondering if we'd get down to the base t-shirts when we got high enough to feel the wind – a very welcome breeze – to begin with.
As the landscape opened up we started to get good views …

South to Stob a'Choin
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South east to Inverlochlarig
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Stob Binnein
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As we got higher the going got steeper and the wind got stronger and colder. The layers came back on and the steepness made me realise how foolish I'd been to forget my walking poles and to believe that all the running up and down stairs and step ladders would keep me hill fit – it didn't. This walk was proving "challenging" – for want of a more accurate phrase. :shock: :roll:

Still there were compensatory photo stops …

Ben More and Stob Binnein
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Looking back to Loch Voil
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By now Roger remembered he'd climbed these 2 hills years ago from the A82 with one of the Dundee hillwalking clubs – but in those days he didn't do anything as crass as munro bagging … (she ducks while brickbats whistle past) :lol: :lol:

Once onto the ridge a path appeared, which skirted the cornices (fortunately since we'd decided not to bring the crampons and ice axes) and led onto the summit of Beinn Tulaichean.

Path
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An Caisteal
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Beinn Laoigh
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Lazing on the summit
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Posing with the big boys
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Stob a'Choin from the summit of Beinn Tulaichean
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Cruach Ardrain
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Unlike the pathless route up to the ridge – the path between the 2 hills was like a 6 lane motorway – clear even through the snow patches
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We headed out of the wind and down to the bealach to find a sheltered spot for lunch. The route to Cruach Ardrain looked very straightforward – as long as the snow patches didn't require anything clever. They didn't, the snow was soft and not deep and we took things carefully. As we neared the summit of Cruach Ardrain we met someone who was just heading off, the only person we'd seen since leaving the 2 walkers we'd met in the car park.

On a clear day the views from here would be superb, with vast areas of the west central highlands in view – but the day had become increasingly hazy and the views were limited. Clouds were moving in from the west and our good Easter weather was drawing to a close.

Ben More
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The Mamores
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Looking back to Beinn Tulaichean
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We went back to the bealach between the 2 hills to head back down to Inverlochlarig Glen. There was considerably more snow on this side of the hills than we'd encountered all day, so we zig zagged our way down between snow patches, probably resulting in a more time consuming descent than would otherwise have been necessary. We soon caught up with the high grazing sheep and the dogs lost their freedom once more.

A final view of Cruach Ardrain
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Once in the glen it was an easy stroll back to the car park, then back to Dundee and a quick change before spending the evening with friends over a great meal and a few (??? 8) ) glasses of wine.

A fitting end to a day that had exceeded expectations.
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Re: Exceeding Expectations – a lovely loop from Inverlochlar

Postby dogplodder » Wed Apr 15, 2015 9:55 pm

Don't understand why these two are so under-rated. Even with nil visibility I enjoyed them and for that reason appreciate your lovely photos to see what I missed! :D
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Re: Exceeding Expectations – a lovely loop from Inverlochlar

Postby rockhopper » Wed Apr 15, 2015 10:06 pm

That looked most enjoyable despite the haze :thumbup: Approached these hills from Glen Falloch instead as it suited me but probably boggier than your way - cheers :)
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Re: Exceeding Expectations – a lovely loop from Inverlochlar

Postby Borderhugh » Thu Apr 16, 2015 11:50 am

Thank you for the great photos and report. I will be up there tomorrow, hopefully ticking these ones off. DIY projects are a drag. Spent many a day doing DIY when I should have been outside enjoying the great outdoors.
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Re: Exceeding Expectations – a lovely loop from Inverlochlar

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Thu Apr 16, 2015 12:06 pm

Borderhugh wrote:Thank you for the great photos and report. I will be up there tomorrow, hopefully ticking these ones off. DIY projects are a drag. Spent many a day doing DIY when I should have been outside enjoying the great outdoors.
Hope you get a good day for these two, I think RH is right about the bogginess, the route we took was relatively dry. Thanks for the commiseration over the DIY, one of life's less interesting chores :( :roll:

rockhopper wrote:That looked most enjoyable despite the haze :thumbup: Approached these hills from Glen Falloch instead as it suited me but probably boggier than your way - cheers :)
We once had an abortive trip from Glen Falloch many years ago and I have memories of the boggy trudge out. When we did get up there it was worth the wait :) :D

dogplodder wrote:Don't understand why these two are so under-rated. Even with nil visibility I enjoyed them and for that reason appreciate your lovely photos to see what I missed! :D
Thanks Kathleen, they certainly gave us a great day. :D
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Re: Exceeding Expectations – a lovely loop from Inverlochlar

Postby Mal Grey » Thu Apr 16, 2015 12:29 pm

Nice! Thanks for sharing, these two have been on my radar for years, as I drive south after trips further north, good to see what they're like properly.

I guessed the date you did these without looking, as I drove south through most of the west highlands from Ullapool that day and the haze was pretty remarkable.
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Re: Exceeding Expectations – a lovely loop from Inverlochlar

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Sat Apr 18, 2015 8:40 pm

Mal Grey wrote:Nice! Thanks for sharing, these two have been on my radar for years, as I drive south after trips further north, good to see what they're like properly.

I guessed the date you did these without looking, as I drove south through most of the west highlands from Ullapool that day and the haze was pretty remarkable.
Yes - the haze gives a magical appearance to the hills, but makes hills identification difficult :roll: I'd really recommend these two from Inverlochlarig - its a lovely route in. Enjoy them when you get round to them :D
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Re: Exceeding Expectations – a lovely loop from Inverlochlar

Postby Beaner001 » Mon Apr 20, 2015 9:40 pm

Nice area this, just home from a couple of days down there. Heaps of sheep and newly born lambs about meaning dogs were leashed up a lot. Sare shoulder now :lol:
Lovely pics as usual :clap:
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Re: Exceeding Expectations – a lovely loop from Inverlochlar

Postby malc11pike » Fri May 22, 2015 2:19 pm

Great photos and a lovely account of your day in the hills
thank you very helpfull for a novice. :D
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