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Ben Cruachan horseshoe

Ben Cruachan horseshoe


Postby maxie23 » Fri Jul 27, 2018 8:54 pm

Route description: Ben Cruachan and Stob Daimh

Munros included on this walk: Ben Cruachan, Stob Daimh

Date walked: 25/07/2018

Time taken: 10 hours

Distance: 18.7 km

Ascent: 1878m

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Arrived at Falls of Cruachan railway station at 06.15 and parked in the lay by, only car there at this time.ImageEmpty 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.ImageEnterance to station by robert irvine, on FlickrImageDirection sign by robert irvine, on FlickrImageMind 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.ImagePath 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.ImageBit overgrown and steep by robert irvine, on Flickr
Before too long, you arrive at the wobbly stile and believe me it is quite wobbly.ImageWobbly 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.ImageDry 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.ImageDam with Ben Cruachan hidden in mist by robert irvine, on Flickr
The dam itself is a huge structure and looks very impressive up close.ImageIt 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.ImageNew dog friendly ladder by robert irvine, on FlickrImageSteps 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.ImageDonation 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.Imagewho are ewe looking at by robert irvine, on FlickrImageScary 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.ImagePath 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.ImagePath 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.ImagePath steepens at head wall by robert irvine, on Flickr
Then you arrive at the bealach, complete with a small lochain.ImageBealach 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.ImageMeall 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.ImageMisty 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.ImageMisty conditions at bealach by robert irvine, on Flickr
At first the ascent is quite simple, follow the path and up you go quite rapidly.ImageLong 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.Imagenow you see it by robert irvine, on FlickrImageNow you do not by robert irvine, on FlickrImageNow 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.ImageBen 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.ImageResevoir and Loch Awe from summit by robert irvine, on FlickrImageRidge from Ben Cruachan summit by robert irvine, on FlickrImageLunch spot, summit of Ben Cruachan by robert irvine, on FlickrImageStob Dearg from Ben Cruachan by robert irvine, on FlickrImageLoch Etive from Ben Cruachan summit, Ben Starav centre right by robert irvine, on FlickrImageBen 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.ImageSummit 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.ImageScary 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.ImageDrochaid 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.ImageDrochaid Ghlas summit to Ben Cruachan and Srob Dearg by robert irvine, on FlickrImageDrochaid Ghlas to Loch Etive by robert irvine, on FlickrImageDrochaid 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.ImageAwkward 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.ImageRidge 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.ImageStob Daimh to Loch Awe by robert irvine, on FlickrImageStob Daimh to Stob Garbh by robert irvine, on FlickrImageView from Stobh Daimh down Coire Chreachain towards Dalmally by robert irvine, on FlickrImageStob 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.ImageStob Garbh summit by robert irvine, on Flickr
More views from here, the weather was becoming clearer and hotter as the day progressed.ImageStobh Garbh to resevoir and Loch Awe by robert irvine, on FlickrImagePaps of Jura in mist by robert irvine, on FlickrImageStobh Garbh to Ben Cruachan by robert irvine, on FlickrImageStob Garbh back to Stob Daimh by robert irvine, on FlickrImageStob Garbh to Dalmally and Ben Lui centre of picture by robert irvine, on FlickrImageStob Garbh to Ben Lui summit by robert irvine, on FlickrImageStob 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 TorranImageLairig Torran to Dalmally and beyond by robert irvine, on FlickrImageBen More on Mull through bealach at Ben Cruachan by robert irvine, on Flickr
Then it was down the descent path towards the reservoir.ImagePath 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.ImageWater refill station by robert irvine, on Flickr
Then it was back past the dam with a now cloud free Ben Cruachan behind.ImageClear 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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User avatar
maxie23
 
Posts: 42
Munros:31   Corbetts:4
Grahams:2   Donalds:3
Sub 2000:3   
Joined: Jul 24, 2015
Location: Falkirk

7 people think this report is great.
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