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Cowal weekend

Cowal weekend

Postby weaselmaster » Sun Jan 15, 2017 7:55 pm

Grahams included on this walk: Beinn Ruadh, Creag Tharsuinn, Cruach nan Capull

Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Black Craig

Date walked: 15/01/2017

Time taken: 15.5 hours

Distance: 34.26 km

Ascent: 2675m

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Snow. Hills close to home. Despite being only a stone's throw across the Firth of Clyde from the house, Cowal remains largely unknown to me. A visit to Benmore Gardens years ago, little else. Horrible weather on Thursday deferred our start til Friday morning - was weird to be driving the 2 miles to the ferry (via the Co-Op in Eldon Street to pick up tickets at just over half the price you pay onboard the western Ferries - a wee tip there). Big moon was sitting over Dunoon as we set out in the boat. Once over the crossing we drove south, through Dunoon and round the point at Toward, onto single track road to Inverchaolain where we park at the church. First shock to the system - in recent weeks we've been starting between 200-300m but this is a reminder that west coast hills are mean - 15m is our starting elevation.

Moon over Dunoon
ImageDSC02463 by Al, on Flickr

Inverchaolain Church
ImageDSC02464 by Al, on Flickr

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

Set off for the farm at Stronyaraig then up an ATV track straight up Sron Dearg. As we reach the spine of the hill and can see the bulk of Cruach nan Capull rising ahead, the wind whips us, chilly blasts. We make the trig at 572m but still have almost 2km to go before reaching our summit. It's cold - after all these mild weeks a cold biting wind is hard to get used to. Good views over to Arran, looking fine and snowy. There's a clear track to the summit - the hard thing is staying upright. After reaching the cairn we drop down along the fenceline to the east and find some shelter to have lunch.

ImageDSC02467 by Al, on Flickr

View up Loch Fyne
ImageDSC02468 by Al, on Flickr

Top of the horseshoe bending round to Black Craig
ImageDSC02469 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02470 by Al, on Flickr

On to Cruach nan Capull
ImageDSC02471 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02473 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02475 by Al, on Flickr

View to Arran
ImageDSC02476 by Al, on Flickr

Next we will make for the Marilyn of Black Craig on the other side of Inverchaolain Glen, making this into a sweet horseshoe route. Over Leacann nan Gall and down to Bealach na Sreine, trying to avoid snow holes then up the hillside first to the 506m point of The Socach then onto Black Craig. From here we saunter along the top of the hillside before cutting down to Inverchaolain Farm, through some gorse bushes and onto the track that leads to the road. Allison had noticed a suitable campspot just off the road a little way south of the church, couple of fire pits suggested it gets used fairly often, it made a good pitch apart from the road noise of passing cars, though that stopped mid-evening. Rained overnight, but a pleasant morning.

Up to Black Craig
ImageDSC02478 by Al, on Flickr

Cruach nan Capull
ImageDSC02479 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02481 by Al, on Flickr

Look - it's Gourock!
ImageDSC02484 by Al, on Flickr

Sron Dearg - gorse in flower - in mid january!
ImageDSC02488 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02489 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02490 by Al, on Flickr

Loch Fyne, Saturday morning
ImageDSC02497 by Al, on Flickr

Beinn Mhor, from Sandbank
ImageDSC02498 by Al, on Flickr

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

We decamped and set back along to Dunoon. I'd thought we might do Beinn Mhor and Creag Tarsuinn, but in the snow that was not going to happen. I decided we'd drive up Glen Massan and do Creag Tarsuinn on its own - which turned out to be a wise move. The narrow road up the glen was covered in ice, progress was slow to the small parking area by the bridge at the end of the public road. We walked along the forestry track to Glen Massan Farm, passing an inquisitive bull and calves, along the track through the trees, taking a new track right down to the Garrachra Burn where there's the beginnings of a bridge being built, but wading still necessary.

Looking back along Glen Massan
ImageDSC02501 by Al, on Flickr

Tarsuinn up ahead
ImageDSC02502 by Al, on Flickr

Bovine curiosity
ImageDSC02503 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02504 by Al, on Flickr

You can see the dip of Bealach nan Sac
ImageDSC02505 by Al, on Flickr

No bridge
ImageDSC02506 by Al, on Flickr

From here we had a short journey through densely planted trees into the deep ravine of the Allt na Sac. This rises through the trees but is steep and slippy, with a significant drop down to the burn. We crossed over to the right hand side about midway up and headed through the trees to where the plantation ended at around 380m. Glad to be on open hillside we slowly gained height on the snowy slopes - deep drifts in places. Reaching the Bealach nan Sac we then turned right along the crest to Bealach na Daimh and on to the summit - was one of the hummocks, no cairn. A bit of cornice on the steep slope down to Garrachra Glen. From here we retraced our steps back to Bealach nan Sac and continued along at high level towards Meall Dubh and Carn Ban. Creag Tarsuinn looking rather impressive in its snowy finery as we looked back.

Steeply up the ravine
ImageDSC02509 by Al, on Flickr

Change of battery needed
ImageDSC02510 by Al, on Flickr

Onto open hillside
ImageDSC02511 by Al, on Flickr

Beinn Mhor
ImageDSC02513 by Al, on Flickr

Along from Bealach nan Sac
ImageDSC02516 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02517 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02518 by Al, on Flickr

Onwards to Meall Dubh/ Carn Ban
ImageDSC02519 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02520 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02521 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02522 by Al, on Flickr

View down Glen Massan from Carn Ban
ImageDSC02525 by Al, on Flickr

From the trig on Carn Ban we headed straight down towards the house at Garrachra, the forest here having been cleared and leaving a mess of stumps and roots to be negotiated in the lower section. Onto the track, drizzly rain beginning as we walked back past Glen Massan, the nicely appointed holiday cottage of Corrie Massan (only £1300 per week in high season :wink: ) and back to the car. Wasn't really sure where we were going to camp, but found a flat spot just beside the parking area. Got some strange looks from the dog walkers who all seemed to congregate at 4.45pm - weird, but managed to get set up and the tea cooked before the rain started.

ImageDSC02527 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02529 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02530 by Al, on Flickr

Boy did it rain. Lashing the tent all night, sometimes the wind getting up as well. More worrying however waws the sudden rise in temperature - the river just beside the tent got louder and louder as the night progressed with rain and snow melt. We lay awake much of the night wondering if we were going to get swept away - I said to Allison that we do have some interesting nights, don't we :roll: Fortunately although the river was swollen and fast flowing it didn't reach the tent. The rain abated as we got up and made breakfast, but it looked a very damp day in prospect. We'd agreed that Beinn Ruadh would fit the bill - a short steep hill accessed from Inverchapel car park. Not much traffic around, and no ice left on the road. The various waterfalls from Beinn Mhor looked impressive as we parked up and got our waterproofs on. The hill above looked craggy and steep - what we could see through the crag anyway.

ImageDSC02532 by Al, on Flickr

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

We began on the footpath, which took us into the trees. The SMC book says turn up the hillside at a wooden kissing gate - we chose the first one - but realised later it should have been the second one, just before the viewpoint. Anyway, we ascended, avoiding crags and coming to a fenceline which we loosely followed to its end at 500m - steep grass/heather with boulders scattered about. We were now deep into clag and followed a stream up to the 620m point, marked with a cairn. No view of the summit from here - we took a bearing and headed into the mist, a wet, boggy tread up and down til the final rise to the summit trig. There is a metal fence post line that can be followed and this took us back to the 620 point, we descended the same way as we'd come up, with a brief diversion over some crags to provide entertainment on a short day out. It's only 10 miles from this hill to my front door - who'd have thought it :lol: But looking forward to going back to climb Beinn Mhor & Bheag.

ImageP1140598 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1140599 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1140602 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1140603 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1140605 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1140606 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1140607 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1140608 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1140609 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1140610 by Al, on Flickr
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Re: Cowal weekend

Postby Collaciotach » Sun Jan 15, 2017 8:24 pm

Nice one :D . Been at the Grahams myself a fine set of hills .......
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Re: Cowal weekend

Postby Alteknacker » Mon Jan 16, 2017 12:50 am

I continue to be impressed with your dedication - I mean: wading through streams at this time of year...???

Some nice lookin' hills there, notwithstanding the modest summit heights....
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Re: Cowal weekend

Postby Spade » Mon Jan 23, 2017 10:47 pm

Smashing report, I.ve done few of theses also. But the best one for me was trig point above Kilmun hill, blairmore hill
above kilmun, The one you look over at from the esplanade! I've done both in summer and in winter and the view up and down the Clyde over to Greenock, Gourock etc are fabulous. Great wee hill defo' got to be included.
Here's the wee WH link:
https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/argyll/ ... hill.shtml
Posts: 123
Munros:80   Corbetts:5
Joined: Sep 23, 2010

Re: Cowal weekend

Postby falling monkey » Mon Jan 30, 2017 9:52 pm

Great report,on Creag Tharsuinn after you cross the burn I also started up the ravine but on the way down realised there is an easier route up,cross burn then turn right for about 60 -70 m there is a faint path which branches left into the forest (I have left a branch in ground here sticking up so a bit easier to find),bit of a path all the way up to open hillside and soft underfoot,only about 30ft in from edge of ravine, I got fed up after the first 10 min clambering up ravine before we headed up to right and came across path just 15ft in to forest, hope this helps anyone else who fancies tackling this hill and take a bike as its a fairly long walk in.
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