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Dubhchraig & Oss via Fiarach - Winter Calling (Day 1)

Dubhchraig & Oss via Fiarach - Winter Calling (Day 1)

Postby Graeme D » Sun Sep 26, 2010 6:51 pm

Grahams included on this walk: Fiarach

Date walked: 24/09/2010

Time taken: 2 hours

Distance: 4 km

Ascent: 470m

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With the whole of October basically going to be a barren spell as far as getting into the hills is concerned :( , I was keen to strike before September was out. I'd had plans two weekends ago for Ben Lui and Beinn a' Cleibh going in over Meall Odhar and Beinn Chuirn and possibly going as far out as the Graham beyond the two Munros before returning via Cononish. These had been adandoned however as I had to step in at the last minute to cover 2 days of a Silver D of E qualifying expedition in the Ben Alder - Loch Laggan area. Although disappointed to have to cancel my plans for Lui et al, I saw the opportunity to nobble a few hills further north east. The nature of the expedition would have allowed me to bag a few summits over several days. Alas, however, things did not go entirely to plan and I ended up drawing a blank as far as hills were concerned :evil: . Anyway, more of that in another report. Back to this one.....

With two weeks having passed and the evening darkness having encroached yet further, I thought that even with a sharp exit straight from school on the Friday I would be seriously pushed to do my original intended route and be back home by Saturday night. My mother-in-law was coming through on the Saturday afternoon anyway and the plan was that the three and a half of us were going out for a curry that evening :D , so I couldn't be too late back. I therefore decided to stick to the same neck of the woods but just to do Beinn Dubhchraig and Ben Oss instead, throwing the Graham Fiarach in for good measure.

I got all packed and organised on Thursday evening and nipped home Friday lunchtime to grab my gear and the dog ready for a fast getaway. As usually happens however, I got a little bit embroiled in "issues" at the very end of the school day and so it was not until half an hour or so after the bell that I left the building carrying nothing but the clothes I was wearing. I then made the schoolboy error of allowing the dog out of the car to stretch her legs on the grass before the drive up to Dalrigh. She went on a tour of the carpark at the point where every Tom, Dick and Harry on the staff was coming out of the building for the weekend (not that there are any Harrys on the staff! :lol: ). Well, that was another good 15 minutes away before she was successfully recaptured and back in the car.

The drive from Perth through Crieff and St Fillans to Lochearnhead and then up Glen Ogle and over the Lix Toll was the usual frustrating affair of Morrisons lorries, caravans and various crawlers doing 35mph :thumbdown: :thumbdown: . It was gone 5.30pm by the time I pulled into the parking area at Dalrigh and got quickly changed and gave Lucy her dinner. A final gear check and we were off along the little tarmac road beyond the far end of the parking area at quarter to six.

The Crianlarich Munros from the corner of the car park

Fiarach from the north

A bit later than planned but never mind. The plan was flexible. Ideally I would like to get to the summit of Fiarach and beyond before the darkness closed in and I had to pitch for the night, but if I didn't make it it didn't really matter. Lochan Fiarach, a short distance north of the summit, looked like it would provide a nice camping spot as well.

As I crossed the bridge over the River Fillan and skirted the railway line, it felt great to be out. There was a slight breeze and the fading sun was casting a lovely light across the land and the surrounding hills. In short, a cracking Friday evening in late September! And not a midge or any other irritating biting insect to be felt! :D

River Fillan from the bridge

(L-R) Beinn Bheag, Beinn Dorain and Beinn Odhar from the bridge over the railway

Beinn Chuirn and Meall Odhar from the railway bridge

Almost immediately after crossing the bridge over the railway, a faint, boggy path cuts off to the left and begins to climb the southern flanks of Fiarach, through the fringes of the old Caledonian forest of Coille Coire Chuilc. A few sheep scatter before us and as we climb, the views of the surrounding peaks open up with every step. Beinn Dorain, Beinn Odhar, Ben Challum and the Glen Dochart hills in particular are looking resplendent in the autumnal glow. 8)

A remnant of the Caledonian forest with Beinn Challum in the background and the southern end of the Cam Chreag ridge just visible to the left

North across the River Cononish and Lochan nan Arm to Tyndrum and surrounding hills

North east to Meall Buidhe, Beinn Chaorach, Cam Chreag and Beinn Challum

(L-R) Beinn Dorain, Beinn Odhar, Meall Buidhe (foreground), Beinn a'Chaisteil (just), Beinn Chaorach and Cam Chreag with the very top of Creag Mhor just visible behind

Beinn Dubhchraig across the peat hags of Fiarach's northern slopes

I can actually feel the stresses and strains of the working week being lifted from my shoulders and disappearing off into the glorious evening. Lucy seems to sense it too and she is frolicking on the hillside like she was 5 years younger than she actually is. Just by the crags before the lochan my mobile rings and it is my wife checking in for the night. I treat her to a description of the stunning light and the views all around me and although I know she can appreciate what I am telling her, I also know that she'd really have to be standing here beside me to get the full force of the feeling. Spine tingling stuff indeed. 8) 8) 8)

Cam Chreag, Beinn Challum and the Glen Dochart hills resplendent in the late September evening sunshine

Tyndrum and the surrounding jumble of peaks from just north of Lochan Fiarach

The shore of Lochan Fiarach does indeed look like an idyllic spot to call home for the night but there is still a bit of daylight to be squeezed out yet so I decide to push on for the summit. The sky is all set up for a stunning sunset and an almost full moon (one day on the wane) is playing accompaniment. Things are shaping up nicely. :)

Ben More and Stob Binnein across Lochan Fiarach

As ever, Lucy remains undaunted by ice cold water and takes a dip in the lochan with Beinn Dorain and Beinn Odhar as a backdrop

Light fading fast over the Crianlarich Munros

The summit of Fiarach is a long, narrow rocky spur sitting about 20 metres or so above the surrounding flat moorland plateau. I head up onto the summit to see if I can camp up there. It looks like it would be a great spot, but it is quite exposed compared to down below and the pleasant breeze of earlier on has now been replaced by a stiff, biting chill wind. I'm also a bit wary of emerging from the tent in the middle of the night to take a slash and stumbling bleary-eyed right over the edge :o , even although I'm sure the moon will keep shining some light throughout the night.

The Crianlarich Munros from the summit of Fiarach

Lucy claims another Graham!

So, after a few pictures in the fast fading light, I head back down 20 metres or so and set about pitching the tent in the relative shelter below the ridge, before cracking open a beer and cooking up a dinner of chicken and pasta in mascarpone sauce (a wildcamp staple of mine). :)

Setting up home for the night just below the summit

I'm in my sleeping bag and get my head down shortly after half past nine for what turns out to be a rather cold and fitful night's sleep. I do indeed have to venture out a couple of times to answer a call of nature in the moonlit night - the combined effects of the beer and the plummeting temperatures.

Cold, cold, cold - but you still cannae whack it with a big stick!

I'm prevented from getting any prolonged sleep by the stiff wind buffeting my tent (although it's far from a major gale) and the fact that my sleeping bag really has seen better days. It's 13 years old and has seen a lot of active service and been rolled out in some fairly skanky conditions (including being used as a makeshift seat on a few Asian and African buses :lol: ) during a year long trip around some of the least developed and most unsavoury parts of the planet! Time for a new bag methinks! I remember my watch telling me it was almost midnight, later that it was on the stroke of 3am and then finally that it was the back of 5.

Still, I guess the cold is a good sign and I should be glad - a nice clear bright sky with high cloud base. A good sign for tomorrow and the assault on Beinn Dubhcraig and Ben Oss. 8) 8) 8)

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Graeme D
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Re: Dubhchraig & Oss via Fiarach - Winter Calling (Day 1)

Postby JB likes a beer » Sun Sep 26, 2010 8:18 pm

great report graeme,its amazing how your work just gets forgotten as soon as the boots and rucksack are on ,frosty mornings not too far away now mate :eh:
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Re: Dubhchraig & Oss via Fiarach - Winter Calling (Day 1)

Postby rockhopper » Sun Sep 26, 2010 9:50 pm

Great report and I like the photos - will look out for Day 2. I'm pretty sure it was you I met at the summit of Ben Oss yesterday - I'd come from Ben Lui and Beinn a Chleib and was then heading for Beinn Dubhchraig - you'd come from the latter having camped out and had ice inside your tent ? I'm working on my walk report just now. (Blue jacket, blue rucksack, taking photos)
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Re: Dubhchraig & Oss via Fiarach - Winter Calling (Day 1)

Postby Merry-walker » Sun Sep 26, 2010 10:02 pm

Wow Graeme!! I am so envious. Gorgeous area and brillo pics. Looking forward to reading the rest
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Re: Dubhchraig & Oss via Fiarach - Winter Calling (Day 1)

Postby Graeme D » Sun Sep 26, 2010 10:04 pm

Thanks guys. Yes Rockhopper - that was indeed me you met at the top of Oss. Told you I'd had a cold night with ice forming on the tent! Just been watching a bit of that programme on STV about Billy Connolly camping out in the Arctic. It was cold, but not that cold. And I didn't need to carry a rifle and worry about polar bear attacks! :lol:

Hope you enjoyed your day yesterday. It was a cracking day for it. I look forward to your report too.
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Re: Dubhchraig & Oss via Fiarach - Winter Calling (Day 1)

Postby Alan S » Sun Sep 26, 2010 10:05 pm

Excellant write up and pics as usual Graeme,looking forward to day 2 :)
Get very jealous of these kind of reports hopefully i will get camping next year :D
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Re: Dubhchraig & Oss via Fiarach - Winter Calling (Day 1)

Postby Scotjamie » Sun Sep 26, 2010 10:23 pm

very enjoyable Mr D and quite emotive - thank you for part one
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Re: Dubhchraig & Oss via Fiarach - Winter Calling (Day 1)

Postby Stretch » Mon Sep 27, 2010 2:01 pm

Ah yes, shaky tent sleeping syndrome, it's bad isn't it? This reminds me of my wildcamp in the Mamores last month, in the bag by 10 and not asleep until after 4am. I await day 2 of this adventure sir.
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Re: Dubhchraig & Oss via Fiarach - Winter Calling (Day 1)

Postby jonny616 » Mon Sep 27, 2010 5:07 pm

Having camped myself this weekend, nearly sea level Ayr coast, the start of day two must have been magnificent. The views we had of Aran were stunning, so cant wait to read your next report.
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Re: Dubhchraig & Oss via Fiarach - Winter Calling (Day 1)

Postby kevsbald » Mon Sep 27, 2010 9:25 pm

Alors, je suis jaloux!

However, my wife (odd to be saying that) will be working every Friday and Saturday between now and Xmas so I think I may have a few wild camps b4 then. Hopefully, you'll join me on your return.

Have a good break.
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Re: Dubhchraig & Oss via Fiarach - Winter Calling (Day 1)

Postby malky_c » Tue Sep 28, 2010 9:53 am

I'll add my jelousy to the collection too! Looks like a stunning evening. Like your obscure approaches to some of the bigger hills, too.
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Re: Dubhchraig & Oss via Fiarach - Winter Calling (Day 1)

Postby LeithySuburbs » Tue Sep 28, 2010 7:32 pm

Enjoyable stuff Graeme :) . Like you, proper 3-4 days trips are out for me until the new year so a bit of Thursday night preparation to enable a sharp exit from work on Friday helps make the best of the weekend :D . Unfortunately, my weekend two-dayer was of the liver bashing variety :? .
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Re: Dubhchraig & Oss via Fiarach - Winter Calling (Day 1)

Postby Graeme D » Tue Sep 28, 2010 8:38 pm

Cheers everyone. I appreciate the appreciative comments! :) Struggling a bit to find the time to get the second part up, but will do so over the next day or two. :D
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Re: Dubhchraig & Oss via Fiarach - Winter Calling (Day 1)

Postby Stob Binnein » Sat Aug 02, 2014 11:44 am

Great report Graeme. I'd been swithering with this one for the Saturday of the forthcoming Tyndrum meet and, having read this and other reports, my mind is now made up.
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