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Cruach nam Fearna, the Wishing Tree way

Cruach nam Fearna, the Wishing Tree way

Postby superstar_tradesman » Mon May 14, 2018 11:45 pm

Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Cruach nam Fearna

Date walked: 14/05/2018

Time taken: 4 hours

Distance: 16 km

Ascent: 640m

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A couple of days in Seil and a nice forecast gave us a chance to do some local exploring, and capture another sub 2k blue pin. The existing walk reports for this hill started from the south, from the road along from Kilmelford, which seemed like a sensible approach—but here’s another option, combining this hill with the wonderful viewpoint of Dun Crutagain.

We parked at the end of the public road to Ardmaddy, where there’s space for maybe a couple of cars at the track end and possibly one further up the track, and headed south on a track signposted to Degnish via the Bealach Ghaoithe, the windy pass.

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The signpost points the way

This track is good walking, and winds its way up, down, and steadily up again, to the Wishing Tree. The tree when we saw it had clearly seen better days, and was little more than a bush with hundreds of coins hammered into its main limb. But it’s fenced off from animals, and there was a healthily leaved branch, so maybe it’ll be with us for many more years.

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Bank of Wishing Tree with some very rusty coins

Up and over the first high point of the bealach, and we decided to strike off SSW to take the direct route up Dun Crutagain. This was a pretty pleasant steady climb at this time of year, without too much vegetation to deal with, and it wasn’t long before we topped out at the prominent wee cairn. As you’d expect from a hill so close to the coast, the outlook was wonderful—back to the scattered white houses of Seil and Easdale, Mull looming behind, and then south down the Sound of Jura. In between was flat Luing, Scarba’s single hill, and the Paps of Jura beyond. Colonsay was also visible, but after that the haze stepped in to hide Islay and Northern Ireland. Inland, beyond Loch Melfort, all the peaks were clear, from Arran to Ben Lui to Cruachan to Nevis.

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South to Shuna, Luing and Scarba, with a hazy Jura behind, from Dun Crutagain

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West to Seil, Easdale and Mull, from Dun Crutagain

Next stop was Cruach nam Fearna, and we had two options. One was to drop down to the public road, walk along past Kilchoan and climb steeply up one of the two tracks back towards the forest. But we decided to take the diretissimo option, so descended ENE to cross the track we’d left a while earlier, and then descend to cross to the south of the pretty Kilchoan Lochs, guarded by lots of sheep and a few coos.

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The easter Kilchoan Loch and the ascent beyond

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Kilchoan heilan' coos and the Sound of Jura beyond

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Easter Kilchoan loch and our return route beyond

From the eastern loch, we slanted steeply up, eventually topping out on Druim an Fhaillich (276m), with a lovely view up to Kilmelford.

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Zoomed view to Kilmelford from Druim an Fhaillich

A descent N took us to a very rusty gate, joining a fairly under-used track into the plantation forest, and winding its way for about 1.5km until we could see to our left a way through the trees to the upper slopes of Cruach nam Fearnan. We were soon at the top, and its trig point still in tip-top condition.

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Cruach nam Fearna summit trig, with Ben Cruachan in the distance

The land to the north is all forested, and didn’t seem to promise an appealing way back to the car, so we retraced our steps back to the rusty gate at the forest edge, and this time headed W to a line of crags, with the intention of heading NNW towards Lochan nan Ceardach. We couldn’t see a way down through the crags, but eventually spotted a gap, and an easy descent took us into a beautiful wee bowl, filled with the noise of sheep and cuckoos. Another short steep climb and we were on the high ground between the lochs.

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Looking E back towards our descent route

From there it was a gently undulating walk, and then gradual descent down open slopes with scattered trees, parallel to but ignoring the track marked on the OS map, back to the Bealach Gaoithe track at NM794164, and then another 0.5km or so back to our starting point.

It was a cracking coastal walk for a nice day, with terrific views, and just enough climb to let your legs know they’d been working :)

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Mountain Walker
Posts: 126
Munros:170   Corbetts:31
Fionas:16   Donalds:21
Sub 2000:82   Hewitts:3
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Joined: Jun 6, 2013
Location: Northeast Fife

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