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Ben Vorlich, Stuc a' Chroin and others from the dark side...

Ben Vorlich, Stuc a' Chroin and others from the dark side...


Postby malky_c » Mon Jun 21, 2010 5:42 pm

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

Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn Each, Meall na Fearna

Date walked: 19/06/2010

Time taken: 7.5 hours

Distance: 29 km

Ascent: 1950m

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Munros: Ben Vorlich, Stuc a'Chroin
Corbetts: Beinn Each, Meall na Fearna
Date walked: 19/06/2010
Distance: 29 km
Ascent: 1950m
Time: 7 hours 30 minutes
Weather: Warm and sunny, with a steady breeze

Visiting the in-laws in Dundee is usually a handy opportunity for me to get out into some of the more southern hills. As I lived in Dundee for a few years, I had already picked off the main hills in the southern Highlands, but the number of worthwhile lesser known hills I had missed was rather large. This route has been on my 'to do' list for months and months now, but until now, I haven't had the chance. In fact, in the interim, davetherave has already posted a very similar report.

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


On a tight schedule as usual (due to meet friends for a meal out later in the evening), I opted to leave Dundee just after 7 am, and was walking by 8.20, the day already warm and sunny. Sadly, a sign at the carpark in Glen Artney discouraged walkers from parking further up the glen, and added a couple of unplanned miles to the day. Probably could have parked in the turning area further up, but as someone had gone to the bother of providing a decent carpark, this seemed a bit rude.

A spur of Uamh Beag:
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My original plan had been to gain the summit of Carn Labrhuinn and follow the ridge N to the un-named 742m summit above Coire na Cloiche. I could see quite a few peat hags on the horizon though, not to mention a few ups and downs, so I decided to stick to the estate track up Srath a' Ghlinne instead, making a line for the ridge when the ground became rockier. Turned out to be a good choice, as the glen was very pleasant, and the walking fast. The ascent from the floor of the glen was mainly on steep, dry grass, with the occasional outcrop, and the views from the 742m summit both towards Ben Vorlich and back down Gleann Ghnoinean were good.

Notice on gate at foot of Strath a Ghlinne:
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Strath a Ghlinne:
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Looking down on the head of Strath a Ghlinne:
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Down Gleann Ghoinean to Mhor Bheinn:
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Meall na Fearna and Ben Vorlich from the 742m summit:
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Interesting clouds:
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From Meall na Fearna back across the 742m summit:
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Stuc a Chroin and Ben Vorlich from Meall na Fearna:
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Across the peat hags to Ben Chonzie:
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More than one source of information for Meall na Fearna makes reference to the ferocity of the peat hags on this hill, but this line of approach avoided nearly all of them, and I was soon on the summit. A steep initial descent, followed by some flatter ground (possibly slightly boggy in more normal conditions) and another steep section brought me down to the pass between Glen Vorlich and Gleann an Dubh Choirean. Given more time, I might have trekked down to the ruin at Dubh Choirean and ascended the SE ridge of Ben Vorlich in full, but instead I went straight for the hillside immediately opposite Meall na Fearna, hitting the crest of this ridge much higher up. There were bands of crags on this face, but an easy grassy break (steep, mind) made this section straightforward. The top section of the ridge had a path, and meandered pleasantly between boulders to the summit. Definitely a ridge to return to sometime.

Summit of Ben Vorlich from the SE ridge:
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Looking back down the SE ridge:
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I was rather happy with my progress so far, as I still had the tail end of a cold, and wasn't really sure if I would be up for a long walk this weekend. Fortunately, despite leaving a trail of snot and hacking coughs in my wake, the rest of me seemed to be in great form! Spoke to a couple of people on the summit of Ben Vorlich about the Stuc a' Chroin scramble then headed that way myself. One of the reasons I had opted to do the route in this direction was the unfinished business on the Stuc. In my two previous visits, I had managed to miss the scramble on the prow completely, ending up once in a gully overlooking Gleann an Dubh Choirean, and on another occasion following a steep but scramble-free path immediately to the right of the rock. I was determined to find the proper scramble this time.

Tarmachan Ridge and Loch Earn:
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Ben Vorlich summit:
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West to Stob Binnean and Ben More:
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S face of Ben Vorlich:
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Prow of Stuc a Chroin:
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Meall an t-Seallaidh and Creag Mac Ranaich:
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Descended towards the Stuc and followed the path up to the foot of the prow. Initially I thought I had missed the route again, as most of the ascent seemed to be on grassy ledges, with only the occasional need for hands. However, higher up, there were more boulders to scramble over, and the route I took did land quite satisfyingly right on the N summit. Still not sure if I took the definitive route, as there seemed to be an endless number of route choices. I suppose the route just isn't as clearly defined as the likes of Curved Ridge etc.

Scramble up Stuc a Chroin:
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Summit from the top of the prow:
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Back to Ben Vorlich:
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Lochan a Chroin:
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Selected a spot out of the wind (did I mention it was windy? I've noticed that lots of other reports from the weekend did. Still, kept me cool) and had my first proper stop of the day, just under 4 hours after leaving the car. Great views to places I haven't seen for ages - Ben Lomond and the Arrochar Alps were clear to see, and Ben Ledi dominated the foreground. Also Ben Nevis visible in the hazy distance. The ridge towards the next target (Ben Each) was looking interesting from here, too, with a few rocky knolls to cross.

Ben Each:
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Quickish descent of Stuc a' Chroin and I started traversing the knolls. Typically, my feet were starting to tire a bit here, so it was less enjoyable than it should have been. Still nice though. Final ascent to Ben Each was quite steep, and the path wove in and out between the crags to the summit. More great views from here, very similar to Stuc a' Chroin, but with the added bonus of looking down onto Loch Lubhnaig. The NW Highlands may be unbeatable, but it was a pleasant change to have the central belt as a southern skyline. Haze prevented me from picking out Aurthur's Seat (pretty sure you would be able to see it from here) but the oil refineries of Grangemouth were fairly obvious.

Looking back up the SW ridge of Stuc a Chroin:
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Ben Each again:
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Looking down Glen Ample:
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View back to the Stuc:
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Ben Ledi, Loch Lubhnaig:
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Across to Benvane:
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Leaving Ben Each, I was now on quieter ground again, crossing Meall na Cora on a much fainter path. I had expected this ridge to be quite dull (it always seemed that way looking from Stuc a' Chroin) but it was very pleasant, the NE face of Ben Each and Meall na Caora having a line of broken crags. The feel of the hills on this side was definitely different though - much smoother and more featureless. Descended the end of the ridge to a point just upstream of the reservoir in Gleann a Chroin, where I encountered the only difficult ground of the day - long tussocky grass. This was only short lived though, as I picked up the track at the locked bothy of Arivurichardich. This location had a much remoter feel than the other side of these hills despite being only a few miles from the Edinburgh Woollen Mill strewn streets of Callander.

Looking back to Ben Each:
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Gleann a Chroin and Stuc a Chroin:
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Across Meall na Caora to Ben Each:
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Reservoir at Arivurichardich:
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Last look to the Central Belt:
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Looking back to Ben Each from the Arivurichardich walkout:
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The walk back from here was straightforward, following a steadily improving vehicle track. It was quite long though, and in a way it would have been nice to have got this bit out of the way at the start. Still, good views of Ben Vorlich and Stuc a' Chroin from the bridge over the Allt an Dubh Choirein. Lower down, good views also developed down Glen Artney to the Knock of Crieff.

Uamh Beag:
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The Stuc and Vorlich up Gleann an Dubh Choirean:
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Here endeth the Highlands - Uamh Beag again:
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Back down Glen Artney towards the Knock of Crieff:
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Back at the car, I was pretty chuffed with the day, as I hadn't expected to feel good enough to get round the whole
route. Also, for a route covering one of the most popular hills in the southern Highlands, I only met a dozen or so people. All of these bar one were between the summits of Ben Vorlich and Ben Each. On the southern side of the hills, I only passed a lone hiker about 20 minutes before I got back to the car.

Was able to get back to Dundee in plenty of time for the meal out. Even the most daunting ascent of the day (a Chilli and Belhaven Best-fuelled climb through the Hilltown) was taken care of, as we cheated and got a taxi home from the city centre.
Last edited by malky_c on Tue Aug 16, 2011 11:21 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Ben Vorlich, Stuc a' Chroin and others from the dark side...

Postby Derek T » Mon Jun 21, 2010 8:31 pm

Great report, malky_c.

Stuc a' Chroin is the only Munro on my "fail" list now that I have tackled An Stuc. We turned back at the bottom of the scramble in really thick fog two years ago as we had no idea what was above us and had only climbed a couple of Munros at that time. Seeing your pictures I now want to go back but would be interested to know how the scramble up Chroin compares to the north-east face of An Stuc?

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Re: Ben Vorlich, Stuc a' Chroin and others from the dark side...

Postby danrun » Mon Jun 21, 2010 9:17 pm

good report malky, some cracking photos too. i done these 2 from loch earn side on second attempt as we got snowed off first time.
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Re: Ben Vorlich, Stuc a' Chroin and others from the dark side...

Postby malky_c » Tue Jun 22, 2010 2:50 pm

Derek T. wrote:Great report, malky_c.
Stuc a' Chroin is the only Munro on my "fail" list now that I have tackled An Stuc. We turned back at the bottom of the scramble in really thick fog two years ago as we had no idea what was above us and had only climbed a couple of Munros at that time. Seeing your pictures I now want to go back but would be interested to know how the scramble up Chroin compares to the north-east face of An Stuc?


It's been about 13 years since I did An Stuc, so hard to remember. I think Stuc a' Chroin is a bit longer, and has more rock. Mind you, I tend to prefer rock. I seem to remember An Stuc having lots of loose soil and scree. In summary, Stuc a' Chroin is probably slightly harder, but not significantly so. I have included another photo that shows the approximate route I took.

There is also a more defined path slightly to the right of the line I have shown. This has hardly any scrambling, but is quite steep and scrabbly. Much further right again (out of shot) is a significantly easier and less steep path. This shouldn't present any problems if you decide not to do the scramble.
Picture 053a.JPG
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Re: Ben Vorlich, Stuc a' Chroin and others from the dark side...

Postby Derek T » Tue Jun 22, 2010 7:29 pm

Thanks, malky.

To all you scramlemaniacs out there - is Stuc a' Chroin a good place for me to try a real scramble ascent for the first time or are there others that would make more sense to try first?
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Re: Ben Vorlich, Stuc a' Chroin and others from the dark side...

Postby wurzel » Tue Jun 22, 2010 7:55 pm

Derek T. wrote:Thanks, malky.

To all you scramlemaniacs out there - is Stuc a' Chroin a good place for me to try a real scramble ascent for the first time or are there others that would make more sense to try first?

Well, I did it a few weeks back along with the Tarmachan Ridge and this was my first taste of scrambling on some Munros. Both were fun but not difficult even for someone with a healthy respect for heights, like me.
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Re: Ben Vorlich, Stuc a' Chroin and others from the dark side...

Postby mountain coward » Sat Jun 26, 2010 12:19 pm

Great detailed report and pics - thanks for the scramble pics especially. My plan for these is to do Ben Vorlich from the south (on a good track but can't remember which - could be the one you went back out on), go across and have a look at Stuc a' Chroin and make a decision on the buttressy-bit then. I may either try the scramble, the line (clearly visible in your photo thanks) slightly to the right or the "coward's route" but the scramble doesn't sound too bad for ascent really (I'm sure I wouldn't come down it). If I do manage it, I think I can easily get back off SaC to the south back to the original route? If I don't manage SaC from there, I'm going to come back again and do it from Callander along with Ben Each...
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Re: Ben Vorlich, Stuc a' Chroin and others from the dark side...

Postby davetherave » Wed Jun 30, 2010 8:02 pm

Malk

Good to see that you had a similar route to ours in the planning. Only difference being we decided to miss out Ben Vorlich, and just headed up the glen until we reached the Bealach at the foot of Stuc a Chroin.

Judging by your pic with the route attached, i would have thought we were further to the left than you were, but i could be mistaken !...... its hard to say.

It is a good descent off Stuc a Chroin when heading for ben Each, the climb on to Ben Eachs ridge was fine as was the ridge.

Stuc a Chroin descent and Ben Each was our highlight of the day on that trip.

Ps... have you any info on Beinn Nan Aighenan's east ridge, After the summit i was hoping to drop down East of the Coire a Bhinnein to reach the track........ looks tough but doable. :? Your thoughts.....
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Re: Ben Vorlich, Stuc a' Chroin and others from the dark side...

Postby malky_c » Wed Jun 30, 2010 11:40 pm

davetherave wrote:Malk

Judging by your pic with the route attached, i would have thought we were further to the left than you were, but i could be mistaken !...... its hard to say.


Quite likely - I'm pretty sure I didn't do it the 'proper' way, whatever that is...

davetherave wrote: Ps... have you any info on Beinn Nan Aighenan's east ridge, After the summit i was hoping to drop down East of the Coire a Bhinnein to reach the track........ looks tough but doable. :? Your thoughts.....


Funnily enough I did Beinn Nan Aighenan from Bridge of Orchy when I was bagging Munros, as I never got around to doing it with the rest of the Etive hills. I went up that ridge - don't remember any great difficulties. I think it is quite steep at the bottom, and you need to follow it south rather than making a beeline for the footbridge. Certainly the crest around the 744m spot height is straightforward. It is made up of massive boilerplate slabs that you can stroll across.

Mind you, after the last info I gave you (for Bidean), you might want to take this with a pinch of salt! :?

Couple of photos here taken by someone else:
http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/204060
http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/204665
http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/204672
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Re: Ben Vorlich, Stuc a' Chroin and others from the dark side...

Postby davetherave » Fri Jul 02, 2010 6:24 am

malky_c wrote:Funnily enough I did Beinn Nan Aighenan from Bridge of Orchy when I was bagging Munros,


Im looking at coming from The Bridge of Orchy also, looks like there could be a few to tick off around there if we can manage an over night camp.

davetherave wrote:Mind you, after the last info I gave you (for Bidean), you might want to take this with a pinch of salt!


Yon sound like you are feeling a tad guilty. :lol:

Thanks for the pics and info by the way..............
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Re: Ben Vorlich, Stuc a' Chroin and others from the dark side...

Postby DonnyW » Fri Jul 02, 2010 6:38 pm

I dont know how you guys do it..I only did half that walk and distance and I was dead for a week..guess I need to walk more :shock:
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Re: Ben Vorlich, Stuc a' Chroin and others from the dark side...

Postby AlisonFox66 » Wed Oct 12, 2011 9:20 am

The estate is very strict, and its perhaps best to stick to Sundays only at this time of year

I was up Meall na Fearna from Glen Artney (on a Sunday) a few weeks back and yes we added the extra miles by parking at the car park not further up
We were also very careful to put the dog on a lead , even though he was unlikely to run off

The only time I did sneak up that area between August and February was in late December to bag Ben Clach
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