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Super Morning Above Rannoch Moor

Super Morning Above Rannoch Moor


Postby roscoT » Wed Oct 07, 2015 12:32 am

Route description: Beinn Achaladair and Beinn a'Chreachain

Munros included on this walk: Beinn a'Chreachain, Beinn Achaladair

Date walked: 05/10/2015

Time taken: 5.75 hours

Distance: 20.4 km

Ascent: 1834m

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beinn a chreahain and beinn achaladair.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


Trouble sleeping this week, and so after waking up at 4.30am on Sunday morning, and failing to get back to sleep, I checked the forecast which miraculously had changed overnight from fog/mist to sunshine! Didn't think I would have the energy to do the (still) long-awaited Ben Lui and pals, and liked the sound of reports of this duo from Loch Tulla - it turned out to be a more strenuous and eventful day than I had bargained for, but well worth the effort.

Left Glasgow at 6 and after a re-route because of the Glasgow half marathon road closures and a food/coffee stop, I was at a clear and crisp Achallader Farm just after 8. Got out the car and was shocked at how cold it was, definitely a few degrees below zero. Started walking along the track by the farm and the Water of Tulla and had to apply my down jacket within 5 minutes just to stop shivering. The days targets and the Black Mount Hills looked stunning, illuminated by the rising sun. Couple of wee boggy bits here easily negotiated, and the first (and now only) bridge over the river is crossed after a couple of kilometres. Some low cloud/fog hung over nearby Bridge of Orchy.

Imagestob ghabhar and co by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Imageachaladair and beinn an dothaidh by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

ImageP1010480 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Imageachaladair by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Imagecloud over bridge of orchy by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Imagea chreachain north ridge by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

The combination of low temp and sun resulted in an unusual clothing/accessories combo.

Imagesunny n frosty by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

After about 4K, there begins a tricky section of the walk which requires good navigation skills (which, even in clear weather, I do not always necessarily have). The bridge over the river is down, and so the track must be left (didn't see any path) through (in my case dew-soaked) thick vegetation to find a place to cross. Couldn't see any evidence of the bridge so wasn't really sure where I should be aiming, but found an area I was pretty confident of crossing safely....

Imageriver crossing by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Visualised which stones I would hop from and boldly put my boot on the first one, which instantly went into the air and all of a sudden I was shin-deep in the freezing water with what would become a nasty bruise on my leg. Not good :shock: Quickly manged to get myself out (luckily no possessions in the water) and continue the crossing nervously but safely.

Imagecrossing result by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Feet were now freezing and with no path in sight, I headed up the bank into the pines and after a bit of looking about, came across a feint path, which soon ran out and descended into thick ferns. WH said to aim for the top right corner of the fence (see picture below), which I did, getting my bottom half soaked by the still prevalent morning dew. After the fence is reached, headed directly at 90 degrees over pathless terrain for about 500 yards to reach the railway underpass. This section, from the river to the railway, was the least pleasant part of the day after which, mercifully, the way became more obvious and the going better.

Imagepathless bit by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

ImageP1010494 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Imageunderpass by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

A path is followed alongside a deer fence and the ancient Crannach pine forest, which slowly ascends towards Coire an Lochan - great views of the grand-looking Achaladair and, behind, the desolate Rannoch Moor and mountains at the head of Glencoe, with the Nevis Range peering out in the distance.

Imageachaladair through the pines by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Imagebuachaille etive mor by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

ImageP1010505 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Imagenevis range by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Imageblack mount hills by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Imagerannoch moor by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Imageloch ba by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Imagebuachaille and into glencoe by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Further up, I met one of only 2 people I saw the whole day - a guy who was on his way down from a walk which started at 5am in the dark in order to summit Achaladair for sunrise. Amazing. Just before the corrie is reached, I cut off diagonally left to the first proper bit of climbing to gain the north ridge of Beinn a'Chreachain. This was harder and longer than it looked, probably the biggest effort of the day, and when I happily reached the ridge I was rewarded with stunning views back, offset however with encroaching cloud from the south. The cold wind was blowing quite fiercely up here, so it was back on with the down jacket!

Imagepathless acsent to ridge by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

ImageP1010523 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Imageben cruachan peeking through by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Imagelochan a chreachain by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

There was a short and pleasant climb from here round a curved ridge to the blustery (and sadly quite cloudy) summit of Beinn a'Chreachain, the highest point on the Bridge of Orchy range. Views to the east reveal part of the remote Loch Lyon, and to the south to the munros to the north of Crianlarich.

Imagecurved ridge to summit by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Imageloch lyon by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Imagea chreachain summit by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Imagesheshgairnaich and creag mhor by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

ImageP1010541 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

I think this had taken me almost 3 hours hitherto, much longer than I had imagined. I was pretty knackered already! Something to eat and drink here before beginning the stony descent the bealach, then re-ascent over the subsidiary top of Meall Buidhe. Good views west remained, could not get enough of the views over the moor with the low banks of cloud :D Eventually the bealach below the steep and intimidating sides of Achaladair is reached.

ImageP1010546 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Imagestob dearg by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Imagemeall buidhe by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Imageto achaladair by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

ImageP1010552 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Imageback to a creachain by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Imagesteep ascent by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

The initial ascent is very steep with a few rocky steps and hands needed at all times, before a broader ridge all the way to the summit. Met my second compatriot here, an older man from Castle Douglas, dressed to the nines in ski wear and disappointed by the cloud given earlier conditions. Achaladair is a grand viewpoint over the moor, and I enjoyed a deliberately slow lunch here with a much-needed rest of weary legs.

Imageachaladair summit by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Imagesummit and loch tulla by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

ImageP1010567 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Imageloch tulla and black mount by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

After hauling myself up,decided to pick up the pace from here, over the broad ridge and descending into the bealach below Beinn an Dothaidh.

Imagebeinn an dothaidh by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Imageto the bealach by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

At the bealach, the path turns off to the right and descends down through Coire Achaladair, initially over hummocky ground, then over some really boggy and eroded stuff, with the only bit of difficulty and rocky step over a stream.

Imageroute down by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

ImageP1010586 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

A long way down to the railway bridge and, finally, the farm and the car, 5hrs 45mins after I set off, which seemed like a lifetime ago. Struggled to stay awake on the drive home to Glasgow, and went to bed early with the warm glow that always follows a great day in the hills.

Glad to have reached my goal of 20 Munros for the year!

Imagerowan tree and bridge by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
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roscoT
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Re: Super Morning Above Rannoch Moor

Postby Gordie12 » Wed Oct 07, 2015 8:06 pm

You sure about that selfie :lol: :lol: :lol:

I had thought about these two for either last Friday/Saturday but in the end did a cross border raid to do a bundle of Wainwrights.

It might have been a cold start but just think how many midge would have been killed off - surely worth a cold start. Looks like you had a great day and thanks for the info - would be good to get these done before the white stuff arrives.
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Re: Super Morning Above Rannoch Moor

Postby Silverhill » Wed Oct 07, 2015 10:49 pm

That sounds like it was ideal weather, sunny and cold! But not so nice if you practically start with wet feet. I approached these a different way and they are on the list for a revisit. Maybe along Coire Achaladair on a dry day! :wink:
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Re: Super Morning Above Rannoch Moor

Postby roscoT » Thu Oct 08, 2015 9:56 am

Gordie12 wrote:You sure about that selfie :lol: :lol: :lol:

I had thought about these two for either last Friday/Saturday but in the end did a cross border raid to do a bundle of Wainwrights.

It might have been a cold start but just think how many midge would have been killed off - surely worth a cold start. Looks like you had a great day and thanks for the info - would be good to get these done before the white stuff arrives.


As you know, my track record of walking selfies is questionable at best Gordie, this one no different! :crazy:

I've just had a look at your Wainwrights/Hewitts walk reports from last week - holy moly!!! Amazing walk and pictures with an eye-watering amount of ascent. How were the legs feeling after it??

Aye, this one is a goodie so long as you get the views - wouldn't have found it overly enjoyable in adverse weather, especially the section from the river to the underpass :shock:
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Re: Super Morning Above Rannoch Moor

Postby roscoT » Thu Oct 08, 2015 9:59 am

Silverhill wrote:That sounds like it was ideal weather, sunny and cold! But not so nice if you practically start with wet feet. I approached these a different way and they are on the list for a revisit. Maybe along Coire Achaladair on a dry day! :wink:


Wet feet are my nemesis. Think I will invest in a pair of waterproof socks soon!

The path up Coire Achaladair, which I descended, is a bit of a bogfest for the most part sadly. What way did you tackle these 2 previously?
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roscoT
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Re: Super Morning Above Rannoch Moor

Postby BlackPanther » Thu Oct 08, 2015 10:49 am

Lovely photos of an area I haven't been to yet - Tyndrum is pretty inconvenient for somebody living near Inverness, but looks well worth a visit :D
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Re: Super Morning Above Rannoch Moor

Postby SecretSquirrel » Thu Oct 08, 2015 12:03 pm

Excellent photos. You really captured those hills and views. :clap:
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Re: Super Morning Above Rannoch Moor

Postby Gordie12 » Thu Oct 08, 2015 5:15 pm

roscoT wrote:
Gordie12 wrote:You sure about that selfie :lol: :lol: :lol:

I had thought about these two for either last Friday/Saturday but in the end did a cross border raid to do a bundle of Wainwrights.

It might have been a cold start but just think how many midge would have been killed off - surely worth a cold start. Looks like you had a great day and thanks for the info - would be good to get these done before the white stuff arrives.


As you know, my track record of walking selfies is questionable at best Gordie, this one no different! :crazy:

I've just had a look at your Wainwrights/Hewitts walk reports from last week - holy moly!!! Amazing walk and pictures with an eye-watering amount of ascent. How were the legs feeling after it??

Aye, this one is a goodie so long as you get the views - wouldn't have found it overly enjoyable in adverse weather, especially the section from the river to the underpass :shock:


The legs asked to be excused from any walking the day after so I limited myself to the footie on the box (and walking to the kitchen for chocolate).

Waiting for the BBC Scotland outdoor forecast at 6 to see if these are an option for tomorrow but from what I've seen so far, looks like east is best.
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Re: Super Morning Above Rannoch Moor

Postby teaandpies » Fri Oct 09, 2015 8:45 pm

Cracking stuff :thumbup:
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Re: Super Morning Above Rannoch Moor

Postby nikcster » Mon Nov 09, 2015 6:24 pm

Hi Ross

That looks stunning - I was thinking of doing the same in a couple of weeks, except continuing over Beinn an Dothaidh and finishing in Bridge of Orchy to get the train home. From your picture of Lochan a Chreachain it looks a decent camping spot. Was that your impression?
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Re: Super Morning Above Rannoch Moor

Postby roscoT » Fri Nov 13, 2015 12:38 pm

nikcster wrote:Hi Ross

That looks stunning - I was thinking of doing the same in a couple of weeks, except continuing over Beinn an Dothaidh and finishing in Bridge of Orchy to get the train home. From your picture of Lochan a Chreachain it looks a decent camping spot. Was that your impression?


Hi Nikcster!

Absolutely, a fine place to camp and (depending on the wind direction) you should be at least partially shielded from the wind. Beinn an Dothaidh doesn't require a great deal more effort than my route (if walking over 2 days anyway, not sure my legs would've lasted blasting all 3 in a day though!) - looked like a fairly quick shot up from the bealach. The only part of the route of any difficulty I would say is crossing the river and then routefinding the half mile that follows.

Hope it's a good one - look forward to reading about it!
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Re: Super Morning Above Rannoch Moor

Postby Alteknacker » Mon Nov 16, 2015 11:43 pm

Some nice pics there, Ross. It's put these 2 on the radar for me :thumbup:
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Re: Super Morning Above Rannoch Moor

Postby dogplodder » Tue Nov 17, 2015 12:38 pm

I'm keen to do this pair but don't fancy your wet start. Good views though. :wink:
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