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Ben Vorlich and Stuc a'Chroin

Ben Vorlich and Stuc a'Chroin


Postby rjlellison » Mon Jun 22, 2015 8:58 pm

Route description: Ben Vorlich and Stuc a'Chroin

Munros included on this walk: Ben Vorlich (Loch Earn), Stuc a'Chroin

Date walked: 22/06/2015

Time taken: 5 hours

Distance: 13.5 km

Ascent: 1145m

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Another great walk, solo this time, with the peaks hidden by the clouds as I drove up the M9, not a particularly inviting start. However, with my 'bagging-rate' somewhat lagging behind what I'd hoped for this summer I decided to press on with the hope of it clearing during my ascent.

On arrival at Loch Earn the sun was out, although this was rather localised and the cloud seemed determined to hide my goal from view, but thankfully the views back over Loch Earn were enough motivation to continue up towards the clouds.
ImageArdvorlich and Loch Earn by Ruaraidh Ellison, on Flickr
ImageBen Vorlich hiding in the clouds by Ruaraidh Ellison, on Flickr
ImageLoch Earn by Ruaraidh Ellison, on Flickr

The track up past the house and around the farm is unmistakeable and easy going, soon turning into a path, which leads you right to the summit of Ben Vorlich.

ImageA clear path up Ben Vorlich by Ruaraidh Ellison, on Flickr

With the clouds rising above the summit during my wander up the track, I was able to see the trig point from a long distance away and pushed up the steepening path, the wind picking up as I went and by the time I made the summit it was really buffeting me about!
ImageWindy views from the top of Ben Vorlich by Ruaraidh Ellison, on Flickr

Didn't spend long here, just long enough to grab a few photos and consider the rather daunting prow of Stuc a'Chroin ahead, covered in huge boulders and appearing worryingly steep!
ImageA daunting climb up Stuc a'Chroin, seen from the summit of Ben Vorlich by Ruaraidh Ellison, on Flickr

Unfortunately this was the only real view over the central belt that I was going to get, so I should probably have taken a bit more time to appreciate it before heading down the steep descent to the bealach - really hate that feeling of descending, just when you know the whole way down that you'll be climbing it all over again!

Still, at least the clouds stayed well above the level of the bealach, allowing me some cracking views over towards stirling and was just able to make out Grangemouth in the far distance.
ImageClear views from the bealach by Ruaraidh Ellison, on Flickr

A quick stop for a bite of lunch while hiding away from the wind gave me yet more time to consider the challenge ahead, making the path down from the bealach back to the car seem very appealing. But I had made good time so far and was keen to check another munro off the list, so time for a scramble!
Fortunately the route up is no where near as bad as I had anticipated, although the path actually continues round to the left of the steepest part, allowing one to avoid the biggest boulders and rejoin the clear (descent) path near the summit. Soon I was being buffeted by the wind again, even stronger than before and now surrounded by cloud. Making my way along to the summit I kept hoping the cloud might break, but no luck sadly.
ImageStuc a'Chroin by Ruaraidh Ellison, on Flickr
A wee bit of shelter from the roaring wind was provided by a second cairn just southwest of the main Stuc a'Chroin summit, where I waited for a gap in the clouds while enjoying last night's left over chicken drumsticks! A few small gaps and even a bit of sunshine passed, but sadly no clear views from here either.

ImageA gap in the clouds by Ruaraidh Ellison, on Flickr

ImageAt the summit of Stuc a'Chroin by Ruaraidh Ellison, on Flickr

Deciding to get out of the cold wind as quickly as possible I followed the main path back towards the prow of Stuc a'Chroin, veering west and around the steepest section, thankfully! From here you get a good view back over Stuc a'Chroin, giving a great sense of achievement considering the relatively short time taken to summit.

ImageStuc a'Chroin by Ruaraidh Ellison, on Flickr

The path actually leads the whole way back to the main path up Ben Vorlich, although there is a rather steep and almost scree-like section to negotiate, with a fair bit of snow blocking the way, even in June! It gets a bit boggy in patches, but makes a nice route around the western side of Ben Vorlich, giving cracking views down toward Loch Voil, eventually bringing you round to the north, in view of Loch Earn once more and back to the car before you know it!
ImageLoch Earn by Ruaraidh Ellison, on Flickr
rjlellison
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 5
Munros:20   
Joined: May 30, 2014

Re: Ben Vorlich and Stuc a'Chroin

Postby teaandpies » Mon Jun 22, 2015 9:50 pm

Nice report. I'm doing this tomorrow so I hope the weather is a bit better! A bit more info on the scramble up to Stuc would be welcome. Is the path obvious?
teaandpies
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 925
Munros:94   Corbetts:16
Grahams:8   
Sub 2000:7   Hewitts:6
Joined: Mar 19, 2014
Location: Glasgow

Re: Ben Vorlich and Stuc a'Chroin

Postby rjlellison » Tue Jun 23, 2015 12:49 am

teaandpies wrote:Nice report. I'm doing this tomorrow so I hope the weather is a bit better! A bit more info on the scramble up to Stuc would be welcome. Is the path obvious?


Thanks! It would appear that there are a couple of routes up it. I followed a relatively faint path that goes from the bealach through the boulder field at the foot of the prow of Stuc a'Chroin which takes you round to the left of the steepest part. It's not the easiest to follow, but if you keep your eyes peeled you can follow it a little around the east before it turns sharply right and ascends steeply. It certainly appears easier than climbing straight up the ridge as seen from the bealach, which would also mean you're climbing higher than necessary to come over the top before continuing south toward the summit.

As an alternative, you could potentially follow what I've described as the route of descent from Stuc. This is a very clear zig-zag path quite a way off to the west that can be seen easily from Ben Vorlich and from the bealach, but would require a bit of descent before a steep climb with relatively unsecure ground, although the path here is definitely clearer than the one I took.

Hope that is of some assistance! I'll try and add a gpx file for a bit more clarity
rjlellison
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 5
Munros:20   
Joined: May 30, 2014

Re: Ben Vorlich and Stuc a'Chroin

Postby rjlellison » Tue Jun 23, 2015 1:07 am

teaandpies wrote:Nice report. I'm doing this tomorrow so I hope the weather is a bit better! A bit more info on the scramble up to Stuc would be welcome. Is the path obvious?


Here's a gpx with the ascent and descent as I described
Attachments

benvorlichstucachroin623.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

rjlellison
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 5
Munros:20   
Joined: May 30, 2014

Re: Ben Vorlich and Stuc a'Chroin

Postby teaandpies » Tue Jun 23, 2015 10:19 pm

rjlellison wrote:
teaandpies wrote:Nice report. I'm doing this tomorrow so I hope the weather is a bit better! A bit more info on the scramble up to Stuc would be welcome. Is the path obvious?


Thanks! It would appear that there are a couple of routes up it. I followed a relatively faint path that goes from the bealach through the boulder field at the foot of the prow of Stuc a'Chroin which takes you round to the left of the steepest part. It's not the easiest to follow, but if you keep your eyes peeled you can follow it a little around the east before it turns sharply right and ascends steeply. It certainly appears easier than climbing straight up the ridge as seen from the bealach, which would also mean you're climbing higher than necessary to come over the top before continuing south toward the summit.

As an alternative, you could potentially follow what I've described as the route of descent from Stuc. This is a very clear zig-zag path quite a way off to the west that can be seen easily from Ben Vorlich and from the bealach, but would require a bit of descent before a steep climb with relatively unsecure ground, although the path here is definitely clearer than the one I took.

Hope that is of some assistance! I'll try and add a gpx file for a bit more clarity


I didn't get a chance to see this before setting off today but thank you. As feared we couldn't see the start of the scramble so we ended up starting away to one side but once we got going and found the zig zag path it was a doddle from then on in and a lot of fun :o
teaandpies
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 925
Munros:94   Corbetts:16
Grahams:8   
Sub 2000:7   Hewitts:6
Joined: Mar 19, 2014
Location: Glasgow

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