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At last an outing to Hollow Mountain!

At last an outing to Hollow Mountain!

Postby Borderhugh » Tue Jul 05, 2016 11:31 am

Route description: Ben Cruachan and Stob Daimh

Munros included on this walk: Ben Cruachan, Stob Daimh

Date walked: 16/06/2016

Time taken: 4 hours

Distance: 14 km

Ascent: 1400m

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There are a number of mountains in Scotland that I have long hankered to do but have had to put off due to the vagaries of our lovely weather. Ben Cruachan is/was one such mountain that I have been trying to save for a good day and today was my window of opportunity.

I had decided the day before, I would decamp to Oban to get some work done and then head to Cruachan in the afternoon when the Met Office were forecasting an appearance from the big yellow thing with ‘E’ visibility.

At around 3pm with the laptop firmly shut and my phone set into airplane mode – bliss 8) , I jumped into my mountain chariot. About 20 minutes later I arrived at the lay-by close to Falls of Cruachan on the A85 for the start of the walk. It was sunny and warm – just what the doctor ordered :clap: . After a quick change and scaring of the locals :lol: , I was off up the track like a man possessed to the wee tunnel under the railway line.

2016-06-17 19.14.50n.jpg
Mind your head!

Whilst I had read countless reports on this one, I wasn’t quite expecting the initial approach route up to the dam. This turned out to be Jungle Flirtation Part 2 for me. I had experienced Part 1 the day before on Beinn Bhuidhe; I wasn’t quite expecting another one so soon after.

After about 20 minutes of scrambling, extricating myself from brambles and ferns, limbo dancing under fallen branches and swatting countless large flies which clearly liked my legs, I made it to the stile at the fence line where the views start to open up in front of you; the huge wall dam and behind you Loch Awe.

2016-06-17 14.34.05n.jpg
Looking back to Loch Awe

2016-06-17 14.37.34n.jpg
Looking up

Usually I have no problems with stiles, but as soon I climbed on this one, it decided to ‘move’ uprooting itself from its fixed position and started to lean which meant a quick correction on my part to try and get balance. A little shaken, I opted to quickly step over the wire and jump down :shock: .

The route up to the impressive dam wall is fairly straightforward.

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The dam wall

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Up close

Once you reach the dam wall, you head up the zigzags and then up the ladder. I was wondering whilst climbing up, how the hell do people get their dogs up here. The idea of me clinging on with a big mut under one arm, nah, can’t see it happening. The view of the grandiose amphitheatre that is Coire Cruachan is superb.

2016-06-17 14.59.36n.jpg
The resevoir

The walk from here on along the side of the reservoir is fairly easy going on a good track and I was able to make good progress up until the burn where you turn up to Coire Dearg between Cruachan and Meall Cuanail. Here you have 2 options. I opted to go over the small bridge and head up on the right hand side of the burn as it was supposedly less boggy. It was here I encountered the first walkers of the day descending in the opposite direction.

2016-06-17 15.23.06n.jpg
View up the glen

It didn’t take me too long to get up the glen/coire to the bealach. The sun was still shining as I made my way up thru initially stony ground then across and up the boulder field. It’s here the views of Taynuilt Peak (Stob Dearg) to the left of Cruachan come into view.

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Looking up to Taynuilt Peak

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View down Coire Dearg

Over to the right the ridge to Stob Daimh comes into view, in particular the bad step.

The final climb up to the summit is over large boulders.

2016-06-17 16.14.55n.jpg
The way up. Note the 2 people at the top.

The views from the top of Cruachan are impressive in ALL directions.

Obligatory summit shot

View down

Views out the back to Etive

View across to Stob Daimh

Taynuilt Peak/Stob Dearg

I didn’t find the bad step any particular challenge and en route took in the mid peak, Drochaid Glas. Where you get impressive views back to Cruachan and Taynuilt peak.

2016-06-17 16.46.12n.jpg
The Bad Step

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Route up Drochaid Glas

The rocky descent down to the bealach between Drochaid Glas and Stob Daimh was steepish in places but didn’t cause me any great concerns. I can imagine in icy winter conditions this could present a challenge.

2016-06-17 17.26.46n.jpg
Route up to Stob Daimh

View back across to Cruachan and Taynuilt Peak

Views across to Beinn’s Chocuill and Eunaich

Summit of Stob Daimh

View from Stob Daimh

After Stob Daimh you head over Stob Garbh and follow a path of sorts down to the bealach by Lairig Torran. Once you start to drop down you lose the path before picking it up again roughly three quarters of the way down to the dam. By now the water was looking very inviting and was shimmering in the evening light. In places, the path was extremely boggy, slippy and badly eroded, which meant I had to climb up and contour around to avoid the worse.

Beinn a Bhuiridh

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Back at the res!

I had considered including the Corbett, Beinn a Bhuiridh, on my descent but was feeling well-satisfied with my lot today, knowing that I will most certainly be back and with potentially a big day in front of me on the Mamores the next day, I decided to head back to the car :clap:

The descent down the side of the dam wall and direct route to the stile and down through the jungle was quick and pretty uneventful. I got back to the car just after 7pm.

These are special hills that definitely deserve plenty more time and I will be back to do them again in their full glory in summer and winter.
Last edited by Borderhugh on Sun Oct 25, 2020 9:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: At last an outing to Hollow Mountain!

Postby martin.h » Tue Jul 05, 2016 1:01 pm

It looked like it was well worth the wait for this one Hugh, great weather makes it so much better.
Ben Cruachan is an impressive mountain, its one of those you could spend all day exploring and not get tired of it :D
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Re: At last an outing to Hollow Mountain!

Postby Gordie12 » Tue Jul 05, 2016 6:13 pm

That looked really good Hugh but having just removed a tick from my arm I might just wait till the jungle disappears.
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Re: At last an outing to Hollow Mountain!

Postby simon-b » Thu Jul 07, 2016 9:10 pm

Great views, Hugh, well captured.
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Re: At last an outing to Hollow Mountain!

Postby rockhopper » Mon Jul 11, 2016 12:47 pm

Good day for it - you saw far more than I did in the clag. Found going down the slabby rock section tricky in the wet as I was going anti-clockwise; must try to return on a good day :roll: - cheers :)
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Re: At last an outing to Hollow Mountain!

Postby Graeme D » Mon Jul 11, 2016 10:47 pm

Nice one Hugh, and just like you told it down in Wales! :clap:
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Re: At last an outing to Hollow Mountain!

Postby Andymac75 » Mon Jul 11, 2016 11:03 pm

Good report.

I too remember the first section from the A85 up to the dam.

Probably the most stiflingly hot I've ever felt on a hill. The lower section of the Nevis path can be similar. But not as hot.

I ,as usual, did the Horseshoe the wrong way round :? .I only actually went up to see the damn,but then thought;hmm ..why not.

Glad I did take the anti-clockwise route though;I was glad to be descending Cruachan ,and not ascending.the boulder field and eroded path

Must do this pair again.
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Re: At last an outing to Hollow Mountain!

Postby Silverhill » Wed Jul 13, 2016 10:25 pm

I remember the jungle and stile very well :lol: ! Ben Cruachan is such an awesome hill, I too will be back for it. :D
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