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The marsh-all plan

The marsh-all plan


Postby BlackPanther » Tue May 29, 2018 9:48 pm

Route description: Beinn Achaladair and Beinn a'Chreachain

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

Date walked: 12/05/2018

Time taken: 9 hours

Distance: 23 km

Ascent: 1249m

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I'm so badly behind with trip reports that I should be ashamed of myself. After a very prolific bank holiday weekend (5 Munros and a bonus Graham) I have 5 stories to write so I better hurry since more trips will be coming next week!

But first, our visit to Beinn a'Chreachain and Beinn Achaladair from mid-May. It was a lovely weekend, a bit breezy but sunny, so we carried on with our Munro-bagging task. Having climbed the Dorain duo from Bridge of Orchy last year, we were left with the slightly more awkward pair of peaks from the same ridge. We didn't try any stupid ideas this time, agreed to follow the standard route from Achallader. There was only one problem: the infamous bridge-no-more over Water of Tulla. Having checked latest report, I found out that it still hasn't been replaced so we knew we'd probably have to stay on the southern side of the river. At the moment of writing, after such a long period of dry weather, the river would be no problem to cross, but back when we walked it, it was still quite high.. I heard that the path on the southern side is very wet, but we didn't worry that much. We had done a lot of boggy walking and were experienced marsh-divers :lol: :lol:

Our marsh-all plan proved to be a very interesting adventure...

Apart from that one small detail, our route followed the WH walk description, done clockwise:

Track_BEINN A CHREACHAIN 12-05-18.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


The car park by Achallader farm was already filling with walkers when we arrived, but most were doing the hills anti-clock. In the end, we were glad we decided to go clockwise. This way, we tackled the marsh-all plan first and then enjoyed a nice ridgewalk and relatively easy descend via Coire Daingean.
Morning glory by Loch Tulla :wink:
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We started past the farm on a track and by the time we reached the first bridge (the one that still stands), we agreed that just in case we should stay on the marshy side:
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Initially, the path looked OK if a bit wet:
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...but soon it transformed into ankle-deep bogfeast and we were forced to climb up a bit, just to avoid the worst of it:
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As we were crossing one of the small streams flowing into Water of Tulla, Kevin slipped and landed bum-first on wet rocks :? I giggled at his misfortune, but five minutes later I was punished by fate, lost my balance on marshy path and planted my backside nicely on the waterlogged ground. Two wet and very angry bums, now we continued for another 2km or so, before reaching the remains of the bridge. I spotted a fellow walker, standing on the other side of the river and scratching his head :lol: Thanks to our marsh-all plan, we were on the right side of the river, wet bums or not. And the ground in the surrounding forest looked much drier:
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We located the underpass leading out onto the open hillside. No trains passed when we walked under...
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...but we saw a deer skeleton nearby, probably sad remains of one hit by a train :(
The path is vague but basically follows the stream, Allt Coire an Lochain:
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As we gained height, views behind us were opening up nicely:
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The easiest way onto the ridge is up the slopes to the left-hand-side of Coire an Lochain:
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Loch Tulla and Glen Etive hills on the horizon:
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The stream cascades down a lovely staircase of rock, quite unusual and making the ascent much more interesting. We stopped at some point to refill our bottles as the day was getting warm:
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Waterfalls on Allt Coire an Lochain:
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Panoramic view of the ridge above us, Beinn a'Chreachain is the middle top:
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View north-west to Glencoe hills:
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Rannoch Mor, Ben Nevis and the Mamores:
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We met this cute fellow about half way up the corrie :D He (she?) was more curious than scared. It's great to see voles coming back to their natural habitat and making the most of the marshy mountain slopes!
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We turned away from the stream to tackle the steeper slopes leading to the ridge. The ground was still wet-ish but nowhere near as bad as the quagmire experience down by Water of Tulla. And soon we got a good glimpse into the upper corrie:
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Not far now! Panther making the most of marsh-all plan :lol:
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We haven't even reached the ridge yet and there was already plenty to see around, lots of mountains to play hillspotting. Like Ben Nevis:
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Big Buachaille's Stob Dearg and the north face:
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Panoramic view of Coire an Lochain:
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The angle eased off when we emerged on the ridge about 100m below the summit. The view north across Rannoch Mor to the northern peaks is tremendous at this point and we stopped to catch our breath - and to admire the amazing landscape:
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The Lawers ridge to the east:
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The way up (left) and the cliffs of Coire an Lochain (middle):
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Eager to reach the summit, I marched on!
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Lochan a'Chreachain seen from above:
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When we finally landed on the summit, there were already other walkers there. We expected the ridge to be busy on a sunny Saturday, this is a popular group of hills :D I posed with Lucy (66th Munro) to mark my 223rd M!
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Partners in crime on the summit of Beinn a'Chreachain:
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We had made a good effort earlier up the slopes so we were slightly ahead of time. Not that the exact time mattered, but we usually set little targets for ourselves: reach this top by such and such hour, that col by such and such time.If we are falling behind, it's a signal we should stop faffing about with photos or comfort breaks and speed up. On the summit of Beinn a'Chreachain, we could relax a bit longer, sip our tea slowly and snap hundreds of photos of the views, which were second to none.
South to Beinn Mhanach. As we scrutinized Mhanach, we decided it would be one of the next targets. I'm using past tense because we have bagged it since :lol:
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The Lawers hills on the horizon:
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Ben More and Stob Binnein, steep, relentless and still on to-do list:
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Loch Ericht and the surrounding mountains:
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To the west, the ridge yet to come:
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Eventually, we packed up and continued our traverse to Beinn Achaladair, over the intermediate top Meall Buidhe. Views from the latter were just as nice if not better:
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South to Glen Orchy Corbetts:
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Black Panther sniffed a scrambling opportunity! The east face of Beinn Achaladair looks very intimidating!
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...but on closer inspection, it's just steep and eroded. An obvious path can be followed. In winter conditions this ascent (especially the bottom half) would be tricky, but not on a dry summer day:
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View SE to Loch Lyon:
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After the initial 100m of clambering up the steep slope, the final ascent to the second Munro was a pleasant stroll:
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The ridge we walked: Beinn a'Chreachain nad Meall Buidhe. Plus more impressive cliffs.
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There are 3 different cairns on the long summit ridge. We spent some time by the biggest (easternmost) one, posing for photos. Munro no. 224 bagged!
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Lucy wasn't happy. In her opinion, we were barking at the wrong cairn :lol: :lol: She was convinced that the true summit was the middle cairn, a tiny pile of stones:
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...and after checking our GPS, we admitted, she was right! This is the true summit, Lucy posing for her 67th Munro.
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Regardless of which pile of stones is the actual summit, views are still amazing, especially north over the vast emptiness of Rannoch Mor to the distant mountains from Fort William area:
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Loch Tulla and the Etive/Coe peaks:
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So many more hills yet to climb in the far south!
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East to Loch Lyon:
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The Cruachan group:
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After another long break, we started our descent, following the ridge south over another (unnamed) top to the col above Coire Daingean. On the way, we admired views to the south, especially to Beinn Mhanach:
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Back to the Munros we climbed:
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Traversing the ridge:
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Breathtaking views across the corrie to Beinn an Dothaid:
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On the col, we located an obvious path descending into the corrie. Initially it was good going:
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...but lower down we crossed a few wet sections, demanding tuft-jumping abilities :lol: At least the stream was easy to cross (the path crosses a couple of times).
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Waterfalls on the return route:
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Making our way down Coire Achaladair:
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The path, after a long descent, crosses the railway on a wooden bridge:
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Just before crossing the railway, we saw a pair of large birds of prey hovering in the sky above us. Golden eagles for sure! Kevin managed to capture one of them (only in a picture of course :lol: ):
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The final short walk over a wet meadow took us back to the car park:
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This walk could be done in 7 hours if you're fast (and avoid the marsh-all plan :wink: ), but it's really worth spending some extra time admiring the landscape. Views from this duo are surprisingly good. It feels like Beinn a'Chreachain and Beinn Achaladair are placed on the border between the south and the north of the Scottish Highlands. At least for me - after over 10 years living near Inverness, anything south of Fort William and Drummochter Pass is SOUTH SCOTLAND :lol: :lol:

These two should not be underestimated. It's a long walk, some steep sections and seriously boggy ground to cover. But the reward is worth the effort :D

My next story will take us to a certain corner of Scotland where the golden rush is back!
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BlackPanther
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Posts: 3118
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Grahams:110   
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Location: Beauly, Inverness-shire

Re: The marsh-all plan

Postby Backpacker » Wed May 30, 2018 11:19 am

I bumped into you on the summit of Beinn a'Chreachain, I came up the western side from Beinn Achaladair just as you were approaching the summit
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Re: The marsh-all plan

Postby BlackPanther » Wed May 30, 2018 5:17 pm

Backpacker wrote:I bumped into you on the summit of Beinn a'Chreachain, I came up the western side from Beinn Achaladair just as you were approaching the summit


Ah! The ridge was very busy with walkers, I knew there had to be some Walkhighlanders in the crowd. It was a grand day, wasn't it? :D

I'm used to being recognized while out hillwalking these days. It's nice to be greeted and meet other members of WH, but if I stopped to talk to everybody for 10 minutes, we'd never get off the mountain :lol:
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BlackPanther
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Posts: 3118
Munros:258   Corbetts:162
Grahams:110   
Sub 2000:40   
Joined: Nov 2, 2010
Location: Beauly, Inverness-shire

Re: The marsh-all plan

Postby Backpacker » Wed May 30, 2018 5:22 pm

BlackPanther wrote:
Backpacker wrote:I bumped into you on the summit of Beinn a'Chreachain, I came up the western side from Beinn Achaladair just as you were approaching the summit


Ah! The ridge was very busy with walkers, I knew there had to be some Walkhighlanders in the crowd. It was a grand day, wasn't it? :D

I'm used to being recognized while out hillwalking these days. It's nice to be greeted and meet other members of WH, but if I stopped to talk to everybody for 10 minutes, we'd never get off the mountain :lol:


Great day, nothing too demanding either, there was you and Kevin, me and an old boy all enjoying the views
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Backpacker
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Re: The marsh-all plan

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Wed May 30, 2018 6:52 pm

Lovely photos - you make these hills look really inviting despite the marsh.

I've always thought of this as sheep country but couldn't see any in your photos - careful editing?? Were there many - it's essential knowledge for dog-assisted hillwalkers :lol: :lol:
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Huff_n_Puff
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Re: The marsh-all plan

Postby BlackPanther » Thu May 31, 2018 10:38 am

Huff_n_Puff wrote:Lovely photos - you make these hills look really inviting despite the marsh.

I've always thought of this as sheep country but couldn't see any in your photos - careful editing?? Were there many - it's essential knowledge for dog-assisted hillwalkers :lol: :lol:


Thanks :D The marsh will now be bone dry I think... There were some sheep grazing on the slopes below Coire an Lochain, mainly near the path along the stream, but not many. Surprisingly sheep-free environment :lol: The forested area lower down is probably not a good pasture... I went through my photos again and the only sheep I found was this one:
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:lol: :lol: :lol:
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BlackPanther
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Posts: 3118
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Re: The marsh-all plan

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Tue Jun 05, 2018 11:36 am

Thanks BP - Lucy would keep the mad spaniels in check :lol: :lol:
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