Weather window continues to hold and, looking at car parks/verges on way to our chosen hills, lots of people out enjoying the bank holiday weekend and weather. Sadly the drive up Loch Lomond was a shocker at 30mph most of the way due to folks getting out of town ........
With an evening dinner and strict instructions on timing from Mrs L, setting off walking under the railway at 10am at Cruachan meant this was going to be a two hill day rather than the big four we wanted. However, the joy of phone signals, dinner cancelled just after we started heading down off Stob Daimh so we headed back up and over to the other two ! Many thanks to the couple from N Wales who kindly dropped me back at my car after we finished up at Stronmilchan with no plan other than we jogging back the 6km or so to the car. Hope they have a great week sea kayaking this week.
Now, to the walk, there's been plenty written up already so I'll focus on the crossover between Stob Diamh and Beinn a'Chochuill. Don't be put off by the ascent we did, there was a bit of extra due to starting down from SD then climbing back up. Secondly, we jogged much of the walk off Beinn Eunaich so our time looks pretty nifty. And, if you look at our map, I forgot to switch off my watch until we stopped at the Loch Awe general store so that last couple of km are out of sync. What I can say though is that a walk back to the car must be a killer, this is a tough day.
The walk up to the dam is fine, steep at first but then a nice waddle to the dam and around the side on a full landrover track, tarmac even. If you were just doing Ben C or the two then biking up here would make sense and you'd get a nice freewheel out, one to note if I come back again.
It was pretty windy once we cut off into the hills at the end of the dam, typical Scotland in that one minute you're roasting and the next you're being blasted with a temperature change of many degrees. Dogs preferred the wind, much cooler for them. Limited water for dogs on this walk I should point out, they were grateful for a few puddles created by melting snow as there is not much after the Allt as you head up the track from the Dam, before the final pull up Ben C.
We passed loads of people including a chap who was trying his first Munro, hope he made it, interesting choice for #1, I did point out that he could have picked an easier one, he was already having a wee rest in the first section coming up from the station.
Ben C is an excellent mountain, and looked even better looking back later in the day. Having down this clockwise I would recommend the other way, walking towards the sea is a better plan even if Ben C looks daunting this way round. If we had been setting off to do all four then that was what I had intended to do. But there we are, another time and maybe even if you are just doing SD and Ben C, I'd recommend doing SD first then walking Westerly.
So, from SD, also bearing in mind I had my OS Maps app and a Baffies AND that we had a clear day ...
Other reports show very clearly that the top along the easterly shoulder (964m) is used. So we headed there (not much up and down, easy going) and then picked a line as follows
- north down the shoulder for 200m,
- then north easterly for about 400m then just pick a line to the low point between SD and BE; looking at the map again today maybe you could head over to the next easterly top at c910m and head straight down that shoulder (N or NW) but you get to the same place
- the low point has some water for dogs and there is a burn or two coming down (for thirsty dogs and also, by now, humans, so refilling water bottles, was a hot day)
- basically you're straight up the shoulder onto BE from there, pick you own route, steep grassy slopes and bloody hard work; you'll drop to c600m then 390m back up
The only other thing that I'd say is that the full horseshoe around Ben C and SD is amazing, will come back one day just to do that circuit.
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Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.