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The Castle & the Sheepfold - two magnificent Munros

The Castle & the Sheepfold - two magnificent Munros


Postby denfinella » Fri May 20, 2016 4:15 pm

Route description: An Caisteal and Beinn a'Chroin, near Crianlarich

Munros included on this walk: An Caisteal, Beinn a'Chroin

Date walked: 20/05/2016

Time taken: 6.5 hours

Distance: 14 km

Ascent: 1050m

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Perfect weather forecast for the first day of the weekend for the whole of the West Highlands! From a whole load of options, we settled after a little deliberation on An Caisteal and Beinn a' Chroin: low enough not to have any snow left lying, and with a slightly boggy reputation that we wouldn't have to worry about after the recent dry weather.


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



The nice, big layby off the A82 still had plenty of space when we arrived just after 10am, having stopping at Inveruglas on the drive up to visit the new-looking viewpoint sculpture overlooking Loch Lomond. Beyond the stile at the layby, a new gravel path leads to the railway underpass and track up the glen, with an also new bridge carrying across a young River Falloch. It's not the most scenic start to the walk ever, with construction work going on in the vicinity and the hum of traffic behind us for most of the ascent, but the skies were cloudless and good views soon opened up as we started climbing. An inquisitive wheatear hopped from rock to rock, following us beside the track.

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We stayed on the gentle track for the first mile until passing through a fence at 270 metres. A very faint path led up to the ridge from here, soft in places but never wet. Looking back to Ben Challuim beyond hidden Crianlarich:

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Once the ridge was gained, good views opened out down Glen Falloch to the west as well:

3.jpg


The mostly broad ridge up to the summit of An Caisteal was lovely. Great views all the way and only gradual ascent. A few snow patches higher up didn't block the path. One deep gully near the summit must still have been filled with at least a few metres' depth of the white stuff.

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After a fairly quiet ascent it was suddenly busy at the summit with lots of people scattered around having lunch. We spent a while enjoying the view then had lunch a little way down the ridge. Summit views west:

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North:

8.jpg


East:

9.jpg


South:

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Next target, Beinn a' Chroin:

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The descent to the bealach between the two Munros was very different to the ascent ridge: much steeper and rougher with a few easy scrambly bits. And Beinn a' Chroin itself was a less shapely, hulk of a hill, but with an even more interesting ascent path than An Caisteal. Again there were a couple of easy scrambly sections, with good views back over An Caisteal and Ben Chabhair. Looking back to the path down from An Caisteal:

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Ben Chabhair:

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Scramble up towards the summit:

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The summit plateau is quite extensive, with four knobbly high areas stretching from west to east. Apparently the third knobble is the highest, but it used to be thought that the fourth (furthest) one was higher. We were in no rush so visited both - a good path runs right across the plateau.

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A clear path initially leads off down a broad ridge into upper Glen Falloch, although we briefly lost it further down before finding it again. The start still looked a long way away:

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Faint paths back along the glen floor are probably often boggy, but no trouble at all today. In fact this section was a delight, and we couldn't resist the temptation to dangle our feet in one of the ice-cold pools. Vegetation somehow growing on top of a boulder (including a small tree!):

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Valley views:

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Eventually we rejoined the outward track where it terminated at a new-looking dam, and followed it back to the car park. Several cows were unexpectedly blocking the railway underpass, but moved reluctantly through to the far side as we approached, and we gave them some room by detouring off the path a little to get back to the car.

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A very enjoyable hill day, helped by unusually fabulous weather :D
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denfinella
Walker
 
Posts: 955
Munros:60   Corbetts:33
Grahams:18   Donalds:13
Sub 2000:49   Hewitts:11
Wainwrights:6   
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Location: Edinburgh

Re: The Castle & the Sheepfold - two magnificent Munros

Postby Sgurr » Fri May 20, 2016 7:50 pm

Do you, by any chance have a photo from the East top of Beinn a Chroin, looking back over the west to to An Caisteal? We sent a US friend out there a week ago, and although he was confident he was on An Caisteal ("everyone agreed") he then set off with a Scot to do Beinn a Chroin and believes he climbed a third hill from there. He has sent us a photo of the view from "the third hill" which he would agree was the east top, but for the fact that he remembers going far down and up again between them. Photo too big to post here. I am fairly sure he was on the east top, but there is a remote chance that he strayed over to Beinn Tulaichean.
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Sgurr
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Re: The Castle & the Sheepfold - two magnificent Munros

Postby katyhills » Fri May 20, 2016 9:50 pm

Lovely report and a great day for photos :D
I love these two hills - a bit of everything. Great fun and a really enjoyable outing. Makes the walk back pleasant when it's been so dry too.

I was revisiting these two a few weeks ago Sgurr. I took quite a few pix from Beinn a Chroin so I'll see what I have if that helps you ID the view. :)
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Re: The Castle & the Sheepfold - two magnificent Munros

Postby Sgurr » Fri May 20, 2016 10:04 pm

katyhills wrote:Lovely report and a great day for photos :D
I love these two hills - a bit of everything. Great fun and a really enjoyable outing. Makes the walk back pleasant when it's been so dry too.

I was revisiting these two a few weeks ago Sgurr. I took quite a few pix from Beinn a Chroin so I'll see what I have if that helps you ID the view. :)

Thanks. We would have been with him but for husband's knee. I should really have gone too..... at least I have a GPX,
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Sgurr
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 3443
Munros:282   Corbetts:222
Grahams:219   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:568   Hewitts:132
Wainwrights:140   
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Location: Fife

Re: The Castle & the Sheepfold - two magnificent Munros

Postby katyhills » Fri May 20, 2016 10:21 pm

This one's from near the first (west) summit looking back to An Caisteal

Image

This one's from the real (east) summit). An Caisteal in centre of pic (furthest right of the snowy summits) and the undulating plateau of Chroin is to the left of that.

Image

Hope that helps a bit :)
katyhills
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Posts: 314
Munros:117   Corbetts:26
Grahams:7   Donalds:1
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Re: The Castle & the Sheepfold - two magnificent Munros

Postby Sgurr » Fri May 20, 2016 10:57 pm

Many thanks. That settles it, he was on the east top of Beinn a Chroin. I had dug up a photo from Caledonian Hilltreks which had more-or-less pinned it, but was from a slightly different angle. That's it.
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Sgurr
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 3443
Munros:282   Corbetts:222
Grahams:219   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:568   Hewitts:132
Wainwrights:140   
Joined: Nov 15, 2010
Location: Fife

Re: The Castle & the Sheepfold - two magnificent Munros

Postby denfinella » Sat May 21, 2016 12:44 am

Glad I sorted all that out for you! (not) :wink:

I was just about to post a photo but you seem to have sorted it. Ah, whatever, I'll post the photo anyway in case it helps further. Looking back to An Caisteal and Beinn a' Chroin (west top) from the 3/4 of the way up the east top:

1.jpg
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denfinella
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Posts: 955
Munros:60   Corbetts:33
Grahams:18   Donalds:13
Sub 2000:49   Hewitts:11
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Joined: Mar 19, 2012
Location: Edinburgh

Re: The Castle & the Sheepfold - two magnificent Munros

Postby Sgurr » Sat May 21, 2016 11:13 am

Thanks definella and katyhills, have now uploaded his pic onto photobucket and it squares with yours. He was very impressed at how friendly everyone was. GIven his nature, it's not surprising people were.
Image
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Sgurr
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 3443
Munros:282   Corbetts:222
Grahams:219   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:568   Hewitts:132
Wainwrights:140   
Joined: Nov 15, 2010
Location: Fife

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