Arrived at Falls of Cruachan railway station at 06.15 and parked in the lay by, only car there at this time.Empty lay by by robert irvine, on Flickr
Weather was lovely and calm and the temperature gauge in the car was showing 12.5 degrees even at this early hour.
Got suited and booted, no need for gloves and hat today, and left at 06.30.
Up towards the station and through the underpass, watch your head.Enterance to station by robert irvine, on FlickrDirection sign by robert irvine, on FlickrMind and duck by robert irvine, on Flickr
Right from the start the climb is quite steep through the trees and the path is a little overgrown in places, gets the blood pumping right away.Path through trees by robert irvine, on Flickr
There are plenty of trees to use as handholds on the way up.
Watch your feet as the tree roots have a habit of catching you out.Bit overgrown and steep by robert irvine, on Flickr
Before too long, you arrive at the wobbly stile and believe me it is quite wobbly.Wobbly stile by robert irvine, on Flickr
However, there is a by pass if you prefer, through a dog gap in the fence.
Not much water in the burn after the recent dry spell.Dry waterfall by robert irvine, on Flickr
Out of the trees and you catch your first view of the Cruachan Dam.
Unfortunately, at this time, Ben Cruachan was playing hide and seek in the mist.Dam with Ben Cruachan hidden in mist by robert irvine, on Flickr
The dam itself is a huge structure and looks very impressive up close.It is big by robert irvine, on Flickr
The ladder up to the top of the dam has been replaced with a brand new arrangement, which is a lot easier to climb and a lot more dog friendly.It was so new that the finishing touches to the handrails were being applied as I passed on the way back, well done Scottish Hydro, good job.New dog friendly ladder by robert irvine, on FlickrSteps to top of dam by robert irvine, on Flickr
Along at the end of the dam, there is a donation box for Oban Mountain Rescue Team, please give generously.Donation box on dam by robert irvine, on Flickr
Leave the dam at the left hand end and follow the land rover track up to the far end of the reservoir.
Watch out for the local sheep on the way, they look very ferocious.who are ewe looking at by robert irvine, on FlickrScary sheep by robert irvine, on Flickr
At the far end of the reservoir, turn left and join the path heading up Coire Dearg, keeping to the right hand side of the burn to begin with.Path up Coire Dearg by robert irvine, on Flickr
It is quite a pleasant walk up the Coire with the constant sound of running water reminding you how full your bladder is becoming.Path following burn by robert irvine, on Flickr
As you approach the head wall of the coire, the path begins to steepen dramatically and starts to zig zag up the steep slope. Take your time and tread carefully.Path steepens at head wall by robert irvine, on Flickr
Then you arrive at the bealach, complete with a small lochain.Bealach and lochain by robert irvine, on Flickr
As the mist was still hanging about at this level, I decided to turn left and climb up Meall Cuanail and give the weather a bit more time to clear up, as the forecast had promised.Meall Cuanail by robert irvine, on Flickr
It was quite a short and simple ascent, just follow the line of fence posts and there is a path of sorts. There are no nasty surprises en route and before you know it you are at the summit.
Still misty with no real views.Misty Meall Cuanail summit by robert irvine, on Flickr
I sat for twenty minutes and had a bite to eat, chicken, bacon, boiled egg and tomato on a small baguette, no expense spared thanks to a huge lottery win. £5 on a scratch card.
Back down through the mist to the bealach and up Ben Cruachan.Misty conditions at bealach by robert irvine, on Flickr
At first the ascent is quite simple, follow the path and up you go quite rapidly.Long way down by robert irvine, on Flickr
Then you begin to enter the boulder field and the path tends to disappear at times.
Keep heading upwards and watch your step as you cross over the uneven rocks.
I kept getting glimpses of the summit through the intermittent mist patches.now you see it by robert irvine, on FlickrNow you do not by robert irvine, on FlickrNow you do by robert irvine, on Flickr
Then you arrive at the rather small summit, with it's small cairn and broken trig point.
Somebody had stuck a South African flag on the cairn, maybe not a good idea to start such a practice, don't want summits draped in a multitude of flags. Rant over.Ben Cruachan summit by robert irvine, on Flickr
The views from the summit kept coming and going, the cloud base alternated from ten feet beneath me to ten feet above.
Didn't really get a view of the islands, bit of a pity.
Still well worth the climb to reach such a lofty peak.Resevoir and Loch Awe from summit by robert irvine, on FlickrRidge from Ben Cruachan summit by robert irvine, on FlickrLunch spot, summit of Ben Cruachan by robert irvine, on FlickrStob Dearg from Ben Cruachan by robert irvine, on FlickrLoch Etive from Ben Cruachan summit, Ben Starav centre right by robert irvine, on FlickrBen Starav from Ben Cruachan summit by robert irvine, on Flickr
Sat for a while at the top, really enjoying the silence and the views down through the clouds, sheer bliss, sometimes life is good.
Then I left the summit, no hurry and began to descend down towards the ridge.Summit Ben Cruachan from descent side by robert irvine, on Flickr
I kept glancing over to the large slabs, I had read about them and was determined to cross them.Scary slabs on ridge by robert irvine, on Flickr
Up close I chickened out and went down and round on the by pass path, no excuses, I am a big coward.
Along the ridge, the views were really fantastic as the weather began to clear up.Drochaid Ghlas, Stob Diamh and Stob Garbh from ridge by robert irvine, on Flickr
Went up to the summit of Drochaid Ghlas, it is only a very short detour and the views are worth it.Drochaid Ghlas summit to Ben Cruachan and Srob Dearg by robert irvine, on FlickrDrochaid Ghlas to Loch Etive by robert irvine, on FlickrDrochaid Ghlas to Stob Daimh and Stob Garbh by robert irvine, on Flickr
The descent from Drochaird Ghlas back down to the ridge is a bit awkward and you need to watch your step.Awkward descent from Drochaid Ghlas by robert irvine, on Flickr
It is only a very short section and after this you are left with a very pleasant and relaxing ridge walk for the rest of the day.Ridge to Stob Daimh and Stob Garbh by robert irvine, on Flickr
Stob Daimh is next on the route and it is a short and reasonably steep climb to the summit, with fantastic clear views from the top.Stob Daimh to Loch Awe by robert irvine, on FlickrStob Daimh to Stob Garbh by robert irvine, on FlickrView from Stobh Daimh down Coire Chreachain towards Dalmally by robert irvine, on FlickrStob Daimh to Bidean nam Bain and Ben Nevis by robert irvine, on Flickr
While sitting at the summit, I could clearly hear, and see, a couple of shepherds as they worked their dogs in the glen below, moving sheep down off the mountain side. fascinating too watch.
Then it was off to the last peak of the day, Stob Garbh, a short walk down and then up to the summit.Stob Garbh summit by robert irvine, on Flickr
More views from here, the weather was becoming clearer and hotter as the day progressed.Stobh Garbh to resevoir and Loch Awe by robert irvine, on FlickrPaps of Jura in mist by robert irvine, on FlickrStobh Garbh to Ben Cruachan by robert irvine, on FlickrStob Garbh back to Stob Daimh by robert irvine, on FlickrStob Garbh to Dalmally and Ben Lui centre of picture by robert irvine, on FlickrStob Garbh to Ben Lui summit by robert irvine, on FlickrStob Garbh to Lairig Torran and Beinn a Bhuiridh by robert irvine, on Flickr
After sitting for a while, I made my way down the ridge line to Lairig TorranLairig Torran to Dalmally and beyond by robert irvine, on FlickrBen More on Mull through bealach at Ben Cruachan by robert irvine, on Flickr
Then it was down the descent path towards the reservoir.Path down from Lairig Torran by robert irvine, on Flickr
With a stop at a crystal clear burn for a water break, it tasted fantastic and so cool.Water refill station by robert irvine, on Flickr
Then it was back past the dam with a now cloud free Ben Cruachan behind.Clear view of dam with Ben Cruachan behind by robert irvine, on Flickr
All that was left was to go back down through the wooded section towards the railway station.
It was really hot here, with no breeze to speak of and I was really glad to get back to the lay by at the side of Loch Awe.
All in all, a really good day.
Lovely scenery, nice walk and the weather really cleared up good.
Only met two people on the hills in almost ten hours of walking.
I would really recommend this route.
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