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Beinn Dronaig high camp via a trio of Killilan corbetts

Beinn Dronaig high camp via a trio of Killilan corbetts


Postby rockhopper » Wed Aug 09, 2017 1:48 pm

Route description: Sguman Coinntich and Faochaig

Corbetts included on this walk: Aonach Buidhe, Beinn Dronaig, Faochaig, Sguman Coinntich

Date walked: 18/07/2017

Distance: 47 km

Ascent: 2800m

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I had been keeping this route for a good weather window and at last a suitable time appeared. Left the house a little later than planned after dinner on the Monday night to drive up to Killilan. TrafficScotland suggested no real issues and all went well until just after Tyndrum when there was a “road closed” sign on the A82 to Bridge of Orchy – turned left on to the A85 thinking there would be a diversion sign up the Glen Orchy road. However, there was no sign so I didn’t know whether the obstruction was further up the A82. No choice but to keep going west on the A85.

I didn’t see any diversion signs at all - crossed the Connel bridge and headed north thinking all would be fine now. That was short lived.....overnight roadworks at Benderloch had completely closed the A828 north and I was stuck in a queue of stationary traffic. I went up to have a chat with one of the guys working on the road resurfacing. On the upside, he was very helpful and said that they would try to reopen one lane briefly to let traffic through behind a convoy van but couldn’t say when. On the downside, he advised that the A82 had reopened about ½ hr ago so, with hindsight, I’d have been better waiting in Tynrdum (no way of knowing at the time though). Fortunately it wasn’t too long before the north-south traffic came through then we all went through slowly in convoy.

Back on the road again but badly delayed, I eventually got to the Killilan car park a little before 0100hrs so wasn’t going to get a lot of sleep as I wanted to make an early start.

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Early on Tuesday morning I set off from the car park towards Killilan. Found the path in the woods beside the Allt a’ Choire Mhòir and started up it. I knew there would be ferns growing but I couldn’t see a way through them and decided to retrace my steps to find another way. There’s another track which heads NW up Glen Ling so walked up it for 1/2km or so then on to another track which took me NE and back to the Allt a’ Choire Mhòir. Stayed on the main track until a point where it meets the Allt at which point if crossed the Allt and started to ascend in a SE direction.

It was already getting rather warm and the views were becoming extensive if a little hazy.

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The trig point has seen better days but is still standing. There’s also a structure which looked like a weather station just after the summit.

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Stopped at the top for a while before heading off along the ridge towards Sròn na Gaoithe then north to Faochaig.

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Looking back

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On the slopes below Faochaig, I could see a large herd of deer which started to scatter as I drew nearer.

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Reached the summit and stopped for another break

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Distant hills were still quite hazy and a helicopter passed overhead

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Self portrait

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Towards Aonach Buidhe (An Socach in the far distance)

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The next section towards Aonach Buidhe involves a fair bit of descent/renascent and some steep slopes. There’s a stalker’s path marked on the map top the NE of Faochaig so I set off in search of it

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Took a bit of looking but once on it, the descent was fairly straightforward.

Looking NE towards Loch Monar

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I could also see in the distance what looked like the beginnings of a track up Aonach Buidhe which looked as though it could help on the steep ascent.

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Now decision time. I had two options, ie (1) to drop the camping pack, go up/down Aonach Buidhe, pick up the pack and take the track by the Allt na Sean-lùibe to Maol-bhuidhe or (2) keep going with the pack up and over Aonach Buidhe and descend via An Creachal Beag and the Aonach Cas NE ridge down to Loch Cruoshie. Although probably the tougher option, the latter did look more appealing so I kept going with the pack up Aonach Buidhe.

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I did manage to use a faint track for part of the way, lost it at times then found it again. Fairly flat and grassy top once up past the steep part of the ascent.

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Another short break before continuing on NE and down the ridge. The ground was quite rough or it maybe seemed that way as I was starting to feel the effects of the heat and was getting a little tired. Passed a fairly substantial cairn on An Creachal Beag before getting down on to the ridge.

Maol-bhuidhe bothy and Beinn Dronaig

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Lurg Mhòr

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Lochs to the NE and up to Loch Monar

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I had planned to head down towards the bothy but, descending the ridge, I could see what looked like a faint track on the eastern slopes of Beinn Dronaig. This looked like a better way to ascend than straight up from the bothy so I headed down towards the area marked Lòn Fhioda and then to the banks of the Allt an Lòin-fhiodha.

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The ground was a bit squelchy until I reached the banks of the Allt. However, the water was slow moving a deep – it looked somewhat deeper than wait high so I started walking along the bank until reaching the start of Loch Cruoshie.

Zoomed shot of the bothy across the loch

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The water was a bit shallower here so removed boots, socks and trousers and waded across – didn’t get any deeper than just above my knees. However, there was no wind down here and the clegs and horseflies were out in force – their green eyes do make them look even worse. It was even worse at the other side as they were biting while I was drying my feet and filling up my water supplies using a sawyer mini filter from the loch. I had planned to stop and have dinner here to reduce the amount of water to be carried up Beinn Dronaig but the flies put an end to this idea.

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I had been feeling tired but eventually got restarted heading north towards the track I had seen up Beinn Dronaig. I don’t know if it was due to the heat, the flies, insufficient food, insufficient water, lack of sleep or a combination of these factors but I suddenly felt exhausted and had to sit down. I can’t recall ever feeling this badly before – I just felt absolutely knackered as though I couldn’t go on. I did consider just putting the tent up there and then for the night but I had wanted to get to the summit to camp. That was no longer a viable option. I decided to take it very slowly and would see how I got on – had some more food and a lot of water and set off northwards.

This next section of the walk took an awful lot longer than it should have – many stops and slow walking in between. Eventually I reached the path then continued slowly uphill. As soon as I got to flatter area of land with a northwards view at about 650m, I stopped to put up the tent. I was still feeling knackered and a little sick at this point and knew I had to get some food. As soon as I had the tent erected, I made dinner – what a difference and began to feel better quickly. Just a pity I hadn’t been able to have dinner lower down as planned.

It was an nice evening perched high above Loch Calavie looking north towards Bidein a’ Choire Sheasgaich

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I had probably the best night’s sleep ever in a tent – having switched fairly recently to an xtherm mat, it makes such a difference with its better insulation. Being a bit on the tired side also helped.

Had breakfast watching the sunrise from the tent before getting up for a wander around.

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Feeling a lot better now, I packed up and set off on the last 1km or so to the summit.

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From here, I had a couple of choices for the return route. One was more directly SW and down along the east back of the River Ling and the other was west towards Attadale then down the RoW to the east of Loch an Iasaich then the west of the Rover Ling. I opted for the latter.

There are fairly extensive workings in the glen to the east and west of Bendronaig Lodge – hydro works and what looked like a new lodge being built to the east.

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Down at the track, I initially walked along a new track to the west of the Uisge Dubh then checked with one of the with workers who advised that it only went part of the went down to the River Ling so I returned to the original plan and followed the main track back towards Attadale before branching off down the RoW to Killilan.

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All in all, an enjoyable trip despite the bad start. Also quite instructive for future camping trips as I’m starting to realise that I probably can’t do as much now as I could say five years ago – just need allow a bit more time for the longer trips in future.


Killilan activelog 18-19jul2017 - size reduced for WH.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

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rockhopper
 
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Re: Beinn Dronaig high camp via a trio of Killilan corbetts

Postby mamoset » Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:09 pm

Interesting walk and cracking pics rh :clap:
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Re: Beinn Dronaig high camp via a trio of Killilan corbetts

Postby Borderhugh » Wed Aug 09, 2017 6:16 pm

Wowsers Rockhopper. That's my kind of trip. Will no doubt be trying to emulate something like your route once I have got the munros out of the way. :clap:
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Re: Beinn Dronaig high camp via a trio of Killilan corbetts

Postby BlackPanther » Thu Aug 10, 2017 11:54 am

Superb. It's a hugely underrated area, especially the Killian Corbetts... I have some fantastic memories from a winter route over Sguman Coinntich and Faochaig. Still to do Beinn Dronaig but I think we'll wait for next year, when the building activities are finished (hopefully).

We climbed Carnan Cruithneachd a few days later (Friday the 21st) and spent some time sitting on the summit enjoying the views into Glen Elchaig and the mountains beyond :D
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Re: Beinn Dronaig high camp via a trio of Killilan corbetts

Postby Collaciotach » Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:58 pm

That is an interesting route RH , no wonder you started to feel the pace.

Aye the clegs are a menace :shock:
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Re: Beinn Dronaig high camp via a trio of Killilan corbetts

Postby rockhopper » Sun Aug 13, 2017 9:15 pm

cheers all :D

BlackPanther wrote:Still to do Beinn Dronaig but I think we'll wait for next year, when the building activities are finished (hopefully).
Yes, probably best to wait. I didn't know the works were so extensive as it's now over 3 years since I was up there -
cheers :)

Bridge then and now
bridge.JPG


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Re: Beinn Dronaig high camp via a trio of Killilan corbetts

Postby weaselmaster » Sun Aug 13, 2017 11:16 pm

Nice route and good report. Clegs are not pleasant - you seem to have escaped the worst of the midges, which can be stupendously awful around there. And a good night for a high camp too :D
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Re: Beinn Dronaig high camp via a trio of Killilan corbetts

Postby Mal Grey » Sun Aug 13, 2017 11:37 pm

Wow, that's an epic. Wonderful camp spot, though hard won by the sounds of it.
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Re: Beinn Dronaig high camp via a trio of Killilan corbetts

Postby dooterbang » Wed Aug 16, 2017 5:01 pm

Read this last night and thought I spotted you from Sgurr an Airgid :lol: If you'd decided to do SaA we could've had a summit each :)

Looks like you've been busy going by all the reports.

These look like hills I could do next time I'm up cycling 8)

Good report - cheers.
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Re: Beinn Dronaig high camp via a trio of Killilan corbetts

Postby simon-b » Wed Aug 16, 2017 8:38 pm

A nice big route with some great views. It's true that roads need maintaining, but those closures at night can be frustrating.
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Re: Beinn Dronaig high camp via a trio of Killilan corbetts

Postby Jaxter » Wed Aug 16, 2017 10:36 pm

That looks amaze-balls 8) 8) 8) Some awesome pictures especially the sunset ones :clap: Looking to get back to this area after my Monar epic last year. So many hills, not enough free time/good weather :lol:
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Re: Beinn Dronaig high camp via a trio of Killilan corbetts

Postby litljortindan » Sat Aug 19, 2017 3:12 pm

Quite wild looking at the eastern part; not the best place to hit "a wall" but good that eating a bit got you feeling better.
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