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A stalkers tale...

A stalkers tale...


Postby teaandpies » Thu Mar 30, 2017 1:15 pm

Route description: Beinn Achaladair and Beinn a'Chreachain

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

Date walked: 24/03/2017

Time taken: 8 hours

Distance: 21.6 km

Ascent: 1371m

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Much to the annoyance of my colleagues, especially those who enjoy a bit of 'skiboarding', I had the 23rd & 24th as scheduled days off work. 2 days of forecasted decent weather, sunburn warnings and practically guaranteed cloud free Munros I had to try and get out at least one of them.

The 23rd (Thursday) turned out to be a non starter, late on Wednesday I developed what I'll politely refer to a unpleasant sensation in my lower tummy that would result in a mild bout of the 'you know whats' which lasted until late Thursday evening...not ideal.

Still determined to make the best of Friday I'd packed my bag during the day so I wouldn't be scrambling around in the evening, only having to make up my lunch late on to maximise freshness. I had some different bread rolls to look forward to trying on the hill.

The alarm went off at 5:30am and I completely ignored it. Having changed my mind about where I was going to go for my walk the instant I heard the alarm go off so I could get more bed time :lol:
The initial plan was to head for Glen Etive and do a round of 3 hills Ben Starav, Glas Bheinn Mhor & Beinn nan Aighenan...another time.

I eventually scrambled out of bed about 7:30 and was out the house for 8:15ish. I managed to eat 2 bits of toast and a banana for breakfast, it was a struggle getting it down.

The now very familiar drive out of Glasgow and along the A82 was uneventful thankfully and I got to my chosen hills around 10ish. I was at my second choice walk for the day. Beinn Achaladair and Beinn a'Chreachain.
The car park road was a tiny bit rough but the potholes were avoidable, there was another car park with 2 young woman getting booted up to presumably do this walk. They set off before me by a good 5 or 10 minutes perhaps.

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Let's go

The walk from the new car park to the farm was longer than it looked on the map so I knew I was in for a long walk before even starting on the accent properly.

I didn't think there'd be much of the tower left but there ya go, it's an actual structure :lol:

It reminds me of the farm behind Cromdale on the road to Balmenach. Anybody know the one I mean?

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The Tower

There were a few wee burns to negotiate before reaching this point and each time I thought I was catching up with the lassies in front of me (not that I was trying) they always made the gap back when I had to find my crossing point. I had spotted that they had broken off the road (pictured below) early to get on the right side of the river, which made sence to me, so I followed.

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The path

This turned into one long tiring bog trot and to make matters worse I was feeling pretty drained. It was clear to me I wasn't in the best condition to be out.

Eventually after much pointless walking up and down rough ground in/out of ditches along side a dear fence I found myself all the way down by the river again. What a total waste of energy that was and to make matters worse there seems to be a crossing place. Even if you didn't fancy getting across on this 'bridge' the river looked to have plenty of crossing places slightly further up, this made my expedition along the fence even worse. I think the girls had stuck by the river the whole time. I lost sight of them and wasn't sure exactly where they had headed so I decided to follow the fence...DON'T DO THIS. You have been warned.

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The Bridge...

I spotted the girls again on a path headed for the corner of the dear fence as mentioned in the walk description. The path was clear enough but now we'd reached the snow.

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Beinn a'Chreachain

The walk up to find the tunnel was boggy and at first I headed for the obvious larger tunnel but that turned out to be for a stream, the live stock tunnel was a little bit to the right.

I remember reading a report mentioning a dead dear in the tunnel, well it's bleached bones are all that's left now. Passing under here when that thing was decomposing must have been unpleasant as there couldn't have been much room for avoiding it. :sick:

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Trolls home

I eventually caught up with the girls at the bit of the fence with 2 stiles. They had stopped for a wee break, we exchanged a few pleasantries before I made a joke about following them along that marshy path and the reply went along the lines of, "I think it was a bad idea coming the way we had" :roll:

I was pretty hungry, I had already been sipping away at my water and I fancied a sit down but I chose to walk on a bit and find my own spot away from the girls...I didn't want to look like a weirdo :o

(I keep referring to them as girls but they must have been around a similar age to myself, I'm not trying to be derogatory.)

I stopped, sat on a rock and messaged my partner telling her that my heart wasn't in this and I was feeling unwell. I really felt like packing it in at this point.

I got a roll out, it was a cheese & onion roll from Morrisons and the smell was incredible but my appetite was gone. I was feeling hungry and queasy at the same time.
Knowing I needed to eat I started taking small bites and eventually ate the entire thing but it tasted unbelievably salty, it was as if I had never experienced the taste of salt before, now I was feeling sick.

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Looking to Creise & Meall a'Bhuiridh I think?

From my rock I could see Beinn Achaladair and it was looking rather intimidating, this feeling of apprehension I was already experiencing just got worse.

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Beinn Achaladair

I got my head together and set off along the dear fence. The girls had passed while I was sitting so once again I was following them. They I had seen them cross the burn a little further up so I decided to cross at my current location because it was an easy crossing point and it makes little odds really which side of the water you're on.

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Crossing the burn

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The hill still some way off

Still feeling unwell, I felt my tummy drop a little, "OH PLEASE NO" was how I expressed my concern out loud, not here not now :shock:

Mercifully the feeling pasted but now I had this on my mind on top of the doubt I was currently suffering.
I wanted to pack this nonsense in and head for home but I kept saying to myself just keep going...and if I'm truly honest I didn't want to look like a wimp in front of those lassies :roll:

There was another thing I didn't want to do in front of those girls, a pee :oops: The hill side was completely open so no cover. I had to stop for a while to allow a big enough gap between us so I could go without running the risk of them making out any detail. I figured they'd have a similar issue if so I felt kinda bad for them because we all know how often women like to pee! :lol:

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The Coire

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First glimpse of the Lochain

The climbing didn't seem to end.

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Endless climb

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Better views of the Lochain

I got far enough up the hill to see the summit, this was encouraging.

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First sight of the summit

Getting on the ridge was a relief, I had a wee rest before making my way up the narrow rocky section which was covered in thin hard snow. I contemplated putting my crampons on here but those girls hadn't and they left prints in the snow for me to place my feet so thanks for that ladies :lol:

The walk up the snowy grassy hill onto the ridge was for me a million times harder than the rocky accent to the summit, I think I prefer this kind of terrain to walk on for sure.

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Getting there

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Scotland is a Zebra!

High above the lochan is a spectacular place to be. I seen massive ice formationsas on the sheer cliffs as I made my way up the grassy slops earlier. Do people ice climb here?

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The best view of the Lochain

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Not far now...

On the last few meters to the top the ground was pretty much snow free. The hill is marked with a decent cairn but I wished that the massive quartz lump was the actual top, that would have been cool. Quartz does feature heavily in the summit cairn :o

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Finally!!!

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A decent cairn

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The Beinn Dorain range

The weather wasn't as good as the forcast said it would be (that's not a complaint), the air was hazzy but I could still see over to the big yin.

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Looking to Ben Nevis

I took a few snaps and headed off, the wind was nippy and I fancied getting on with it. I could see the girls ahead of me. I was starting to feel like a stalker now :lol: :shock: :lol:

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The next part of the walk

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Back up to Beinn a'chreachain

It was windy on the ridge but fairly flat so the going wasn't so bad.

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Onwards

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Meall Buidhe

Heading down from Meall Buidhe I got my best look at Beinn Achaladair and seeing it up close didn't do anything to allay my concerns I felt earlier, it's still intimidating to the eye.

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Beinn Achaladair & the lassies

I sat for another break, I attempted to have another bite to eat but I managed 3 nibbles on a roll, just couldn't bring my self to eat. I sat on a dry rock enjoying being out of the wind for a few minutes.

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HILLS AHOY

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Loch Lyon

Now starting the climb I followed in the footsteps once again of my absent partners. The steep snowy slope was a challenge, zigzagging up through the crags on thick melting snow.

I was as happy as I was tired on reaching the summit, shattered to be honest. The summit sits so high above the road it feels vertical, the views are fantastic.

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Beinn Achaladair's summit

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Looking to Beinn an Dothaidh & beyond

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Looking over Loch Tulla

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Looking back to Beinn a'Chreachain

It had been a long day thus far but I was looking forward to getting back to the car now, just a case of following the ridge and down to the bealach above Coire Daingean right? This part of the walk seemed endless, even minor accent felt a lot steeper.

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on

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and on

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AND ON

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Beinn an Dothaidh, been there done that :wink:

I'm not sure what I was expecting to see on reaching the coire but I didn't think it'd be so...bumpy, like ski moguls I thought. I guess there must have been winters where these would have been completely filled with snow and would be completely smooth creating a wonderful bowl.

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Coire Daingean

I had been looking forward to getting off the hills but having to pick my way through this was a real blow. The wind had been knocked out of my sails and the thing that kept me going all this time, the 2 girls, were well out of sight by now. I had been a good 10 minutes or so behind them most of the walk but on the climb to Beinn Achaladair I was within 20ft of them, then, I struggled on the steep snowy slopes and the gap grew much much larger.

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The way down

I stopped for a rest, now utterly starving and mildly depressed I attempted to eat the rest of my second roll but again I couldn't. The bite I did take was chewed for a moment before spitting it out, I couldn't do it. I drank the last of my water (2.5ltr bladder worth of fluid consumed on the hill) before setting off again. I stopped to fill an empty energy drink bottle with cold fresh melt water to have for the last leg.

I managed to find a pair of fresh footprints in the snow, which was melting fast, proceed to follow them up and down around and over. I could see where they attempted to go but changed their minds so doing the hard work for me.

I did notice they had stuck to the East side of the burn which is of course the opposite to the advice of the walk description. Once out of no mans land the walk was flatter but incredibly wet. The entire hill side was one enormous slow waterfall as melt water drained down the side of the hill, totally unavoidable.

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Looking back

Once out of the coire and much further down the burn I could see a road, again on the East side of the burn but there's no way I'm taking the recommended path, I could see it on the other side disappearing across the boggy ground but I caught sight of the girls on the road from much further up reaching the road so, hell I'm doing that!

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The road

I had no idea where it would go but walking on it was pure heaven by comparison to that bog I'd just come through, the going was slow as the legs were in agony.

The road is high above the burn and I mean high, with no barrier and a near vertical drop at points it's a death fall for sure if you were careless enough to fall over the edge. It follows the burn underneath a railway bridge and down to the back of the farm with the ruined tower.

It was getting late so I tried to walk as fast as I could go but the distance between the farm and the car park seemed to have tripled since the morning :lol:

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Shepherd Delight

As I got to the car park the girls were just leaving, I hope they got home safely. For me, I got changed slowly. In physical pain with a raging headache I sat in the car for a while, I wasn't in a fit state to operate a motor vehicle at this point, I texted the missus I was at the car readying myself to come home.

I did of course make it back safe and sound but on arrival I went and lay down on the bed, zonked. My girlfriend commented on how cold my skin was(I'm never cold to the touch so this was very odd), like a corpse I think she said. She threw a spare duvet over me until I recovered enough for a shower and ordered a pizza for me...which I didn't manage to finish either another oddity for me :lol: :lol:

It would be 2 days latter before I felt like a normal human again.


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teaandpies
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Re: A stalkers tale...

Postby BlackPanther » Thu Mar 30, 2017 1:59 pm

Some Munros I'm still waiting to do, too far to reach from Inverness - I always thought the ones in the south are boring, but these look far from it!

We had an encounter with dead bodies once. We were walking on a track in the forest, came across three half-decomposed deer carcasses lying basically next to one another, we had to hop over them. Yuck... the worst thing was, we knew we would be returning the same way :sick: :sick:

I think the ruin near Cromdale you mentioned must be Lethendry Castle (not much left of it sadly), but your tower photo reminds me of another almost lost old ruin, also located next to a farm. It's called Blervie Castle, a few km SE from Forres:
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Re: A stalkers tale...

Postby Jaxter » Thu Mar 30, 2017 2:53 pm

This made me chuckle, it's funny how you do seem to keep passing the same people over and over :lol: it happened while I was out running yesterday but when the dude caught me up again he kept running beside me which was a bit odd. Kept feeling like I ought to make conversation but I was on a mission :lol: :lol:

Hope you're feeling better - the fresh air ought to have done you good even if it didn't feel like it at the time :lol:
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Re: A stalkers tale...

Postby teaandpies » Thu Mar 30, 2017 4:58 pm

BlackPanther wrote:Some Munros I'm still waiting to do, too far to reach from Inverness - I always thought the ones in the south are boring, but these look far from it!

We had an encounter with dead bodies once. We were walking on a track in the forest, came across three half-decomposed deer carcasses lying basically next to one another, we had to hop over them. Yuck... the worst thing was, we knew we would be returning the same way :sick: :sick:

I think the ruin near Cromdale you mentioned must be Lethendry Castle (not much left of it sadly), but your tower photo reminds me of another almost lost old ruin, also located next to a farm. It's called Blervie Castle, a few km SE from Forres:
Image


So much history in this country just crumbling away it's a shame really.

You could do what Jaxter did and just walk all 5 of these Munros in a day to make the trip worth while :lol:

Jaxter wrote:This made me chuckle, it's funny how you do seem to keep passing the same people over and over :lol: it happened while I was out running yesterday but when the dude caught me up again he kept running beside me which was a bit odd. Kept feeling like I ought to make conversation but I was on a mission :lol: :lol:

Hope you're feeling better - the fresh air ought to have done you good even if it didn't feel like it at the time :lol:


Perhaps the guy was wanting a race? :crazy:

I feel better, a combination of being ill and unfit isn't a decent mix for hill walking :lol:
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Re: A stalkers tale...

Postby basscadet » Fri Mar 31, 2017 9:00 am

I've had some horrible times being sick on the hill - well done for bagging anyway - I usually just give up :D
My dads still got one of these to do, so will be planning a trip here soon. Still think it is nicer from Loch Lyon though, so probably head up that way again..
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Re: A stalkers tale...

Postby teaandpies » Fri Mar 31, 2017 8:32 pm

basscadet wrote:I've had some horrible times being sick on the hill - well done for bagging anyway - I usually just give up :D
My dads still got one of these to do, so will be planning a trip here soon. Still think it is nicer from Loch Lyon though, so probably head up that way again..


I didn't think of doing it that way. There's a wee Pagan thing in between these hills somewhere I want to vist. Still a Munro to be done so I can do them both I reckon.
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Re: A stalkers tale...

Postby Sgurr » Fri Mar 31, 2017 9:00 pm

Blimey, and you didn't even HAVE to go out. :crazy: :crazy: It reminded me of a time when three of us out of a party of 16 on holiday in Bulgaria fell prey to a bug. We later discovered that our Bulgarian helpers had totally ignored instructions to wash up in boiled water and had used the stream, 100 metres down from the outlet of a mountain hut toilet. I developed a temp of 104 and spent the afternoon in the tent. The following day I had to drag myself up a huge hill to our next camping pitch and felt absolute;y as you describe, but they couldn't leave me behind as we were in the middle of nowhere. I have become quite good at catching foreign bugs and walking through the result, but would NEVER do it at home.
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Re: A stalkers tale...

Postby teaandpies » Fri Mar 31, 2017 9:43 pm

Sgurr wrote:Blimey, and you didn't even HAVE to go out. :crazy: :crazy: It reminded me of a time when three of us out of a party of 16 on holiday in Bulgaria fell prey to a bug. We later discovered that our Bulgarian helpers had totally ignored instructions to wash up in boiled water and had used the stream, 100 metres down from the outlet of a mountain hut toilet. I developed a temp of 104 and spent the afternoon in the tent. The following day I had to drag myself up a huge hill to our next camping pitch and felt absolute;y as you describe, but they couldn't leave me behind as we were in the middle of nowhere. I have become quite good at catching foreign bugs and walking through the result, but would NEVER do it at home.


That doesn't sound pleasant, eating of **** plates. Walk out the bug is the best cure?

I had been looking to get out for a while, I was excited by the decent weather and I'm keen to try and do more trips this year. When I'm ill I don't take time of work I just moan about it, I'm that guy :lol:
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Re: A stalkers tale...

Postby Mal Grey » Fri Mar 31, 2017 10:12 pm

Sounds like this one was more enjoyable for us to read than you to complete! Still, a great report. Fair play for carrying on when feeling rubbish :clap:
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