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DIDN'T then almost wished I HADN'T. Glad I DID!

PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2018 12:42 pm
by johnscot55
For the second Tuesday in a row I found myself driving along the single track road alongside Loch Voil and Loch Doine between Balquhidder and Inverlochlarig. I had come to Inverlochlarig the previous Tuesday(28th Aug) and had sat in a deserted car park staring at the base of a cloubdbound Beinn Tulaichean asking myself if I really wanted to spend 4 or 5 hours on my own, on a cloud locked mountain that seemingly has no definitive route for most of the ascent. In the back of the car was a new pair of Scarpa Kailashs which I had bought to replace my beginner's basic Karrimors which had left my feet soaking wet after my last outing. I had had enough of wearing them around the house and was anxious to give them a real test. I had arrived around 9am and I decided to wait for around an hour or so to see if either the weather improved or if anyone else turned up. When neither happened I decided that the potential enjoyment factor was not high enough and taking into account the safety factor as a lone walker, I reluctantly set off home. The boots would have to wait. Only positive was the sighting of a red squirrel on the return journey along the single track. Anyway, that was the DIDN'T. :thumbdown:
The second Tuesday (4th Sept) had a far better forecast and there was a couple of cars in the carpark when I turned up around 9.15am, and another turned up as I readied. New boots on, I set off at 9.30. Beinn Tulaichean still had some cloud but it was around it's waist and I was hopeful this would soon disappear. Cruach Ardrain could be seen behind.
Starting Off. Beinn Tulaichean..jpg
Starting Off. Beinn Tulaichean
Past the farm, over the bridge, take the small signposted shortcut and eventually on to the track heading along Inverlochlarig Glen.
Here's where I made my first mistake. Instead of staying on the track for a little longer, I almost immediately took to the hill and was very quickly picking my way through long boggy grass and criss-crossing a small stream. This would have been the case no matter what but I think my early entrance just gave me even more bog to navigate. I was glad that, for the first time, I was wearing a pair of gaiters I'd bought some weeks ago.
Onwards and upwards. With no path it's just a case of plodding uphill as best as you can.
Inverlochlarig, Loch Doine and Loch Voil..jpg
Inverlochlarig, Loch Doine and Loch Voil.
And quite soon I was beginning to struggle. I neither want or expect a staircase to a summit, but the constant uphill trek through the longish grass and boggy ground was seriously taking it out of my ageing legs. Not to mention raising my heart rate and testing my lung capacity. Going was very slow. Stopped to take a picture.
Stob a'Choin.jpg
Stob a'Choin
Eventually, after what seemed a lifetime but was probably around 1.5/1.75 hours I reached a fence and remembering there was mention of this in the WH notes I had in my rucksack, I took them out for a check. I nearly began to cry. The fence was at 500 metres, just over halfway. My legs immediately doubled in weight and 50% of my remaining energy escaped with my next breath. I sat on a rock and had a drink and a Mars bar while contemplating my next move. I have to admit I wasn't finding this climb hugely enjoyable at this point and briefly considered a retreat but I really hated the thought of giving in. I've quit a climb due to weather, another due to a knee problem but never because I was "knackered"! I was thinking every step of ascent was one further I'd have to retrace if I backtracked. The thought of more of the same (bog) was not appealing. Start? I began to wish I HADN'T. :(
500 metre fence..jpg
500 metre fence.

Fed and slightly rested though, and at least helped by the thought there was no one around to see how badly I was struggling, I eventually decided to push on. I climbed the gate and began the push upwards. Between 500 and 700 metres I think I was stationery for longer periods than I was moving. Also, around this time my right foot went down an unseen hole and as I pitched forward both my left hand and knee landed on those circular stinging plants that grow all over the hillside. Cue small dots of blood appearing on the palm of my hand and I had to pick the little thorns out of my hand and knee. Still it was an excuse to stop for a while. This was going well! :lol: I was now telling myself that Beinn Tulaichean summit was now my single goal and I would have to be happy with that. Cruach Ardrain could wait. Finally at around 700metres I crested on to the first bit of level ground I'd trod on for well over a couple of hours. This area itself was another bog but I spied what seemed to be the semblance of a path leaving from the left hand side. Still making frequent stops, but for the first time in a while starting to believe I was actually going to make the summit, I eventually reached the summit ridge and began to make my way towards Tulaichean's cairn. Even as I approached the cairn I began to feel better. Breathing easier, heart not so loud in my ears, still "leggy" but moving better. I finally reached the cairn. It had taken me around 3hrs 15mins. Could I honestly say I enjoyed the climb? Well I could certainly say it it hadn't been my favourite. But I do know that I was glad I had resisited the urge to turn back at the fence. It felt good to be on the summit.
Beinn Tulaichean summit..jpg
Beinn Tulaichean Summit.

I took off my rucksack, drank and ate some, looked around at the amazing views and took a selfie.
Ben More and Stob Binnein from Beinn Tulaichean..jpg
Ben More and Stob Binnein fron Beinn Tulaichean.
Need to remember..jpg
Need to try and remember where I point the camera!
Beinn Tulaichean summit selfie..jpg
Beinn Tulaichean summit selfie.
I stared at Cruach Ardrain, realised I was so close and so after 5-10 mins on Tulaichean's summit, I put my rucksack back on and headed for the next Munro.
Cruach Ardrain from Beinn Tulaichean summit..jpg
Cruach Ardrain from Beinn Tulaichean summit.
Let's get this done. How soon we forget the pain!! Down into the bealach and then the pull up to CA's summit. Still stopping but making better progress. Near the start of the pull up CA, I met and spoke to the first person I had come across all day. A lady who was doing the same hills but from the other direction i.e. Crianlarich. She had already bagged CA and was headed for BT. In retrospect I think this may be the better route. Does anyone else have an opinion?
I was now feeling OK again and I knew I was going achieve the goal of BT and CA. Shortly before the summit of CA I was overtaken by a young German guy and his dog that I had seen coming off of BT's summit some time before. I arrived at the summit a minute or so after them, chuffed with Munro No. 20 in my latestarting bagging career. A summit I had written off bagging 2 or 3 hours ago.
Cruach Ardrain Summit..jpg
Cruach Ardrain Summit.
It was now just before 2pm. We chatted, ate and drank, and marvelled at the views especially that of Ben More and Stob Binnein, siting majestically beside us.
Ben More and Stob Binnein from Cruach Ardrain. Now free of cloud..jpg
Ben More and Stob Binnein fron Cruach Ardrain. Now free of cloud.
This was truly the reward for all the effort.
Looking down on Crianlarich from Cruach Ardrain.jpg
Looking down on Crianlarich from Cruach Ardrain.
Beinn Tulaichean from Cruach Ardrain..jpg
Beinn Tulaichean from Cruach Ardrain.
He was also parked at Inverlochlarig and although we were both ready to depart the summit at the same time, I hung back to let him leave first, not wishing to let him feel that maybe he should accompany me back down. I would only have slowed him down.
I descended back towards the bealach, passing the lady once more as she headed back towards Crianlarich.
Another view of Beinn Tulaichean.jpg
Another view of Beinn Tulaichean.
From the bealach the descent conditions to Inverlochlarig Glen were pretty much the same as that of the ascent. No discernible path. Just pick your own way, and my way meant skirting round some crags and jumping over narrow streams. The ground was again grassy and boggy and once more the legs came under strain, but heart and lungs were aided by gravity's assistance of the descent.. The only obvious signs of previous descenders was the occasional run of flattened grass. As a final challenge, and with the track in the glen and it's easy walking, just a few yards away, I was presented with completely waterlogged ground beside the track and had to climb up a large boulder and then jump onto ground that I had to hope I wasn't going to sink up to my knees in, to reach the track.
The hard work done, I began the long trek back to the carpark. It was at this point the sun became it's strongest and the right hand side of my face was feeling the heat. Alone with my thoughts, I briefly entertained the notion of walking backwards for a while to even up the suntan, but fortunately managed to dismiss this idea. :-D
Almost finished. A final view..jpg
Almost finished. Last look back.

Just after 4.15pm, I reached my car, just over 6hrs 45mins since I had departed. Tired, but happy. Good news was the my new boots (and gaiters) seemed to have performed well on wet, boggy ground, and also had had no ill effects on my feet.
Was this my favourite climb? Well no! But complete it, I'm GLAD I DID! :thumbup:

Re: DIDN'T then almost wished I HADN'T. Glad I DID!

PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2018 1:12 pm
by HalfManHalfTitanium
Great photos!

"A lady who was doing the same hills but from the other direction i.e. Crianlarich. She had already bagged CA and was headed for BT. In retrospect I think this may be the better route. Does anyone else have an opinion?"

I very much enjoyed the Crianlarich route to CA and BT. I tend to be a very slow walker, due to a metal knee. I especially struggle with sustained steep slopes.

For me, the approach from the north was a very pleasant and easy way to see these two hills -

I think I would have struggled on the direct ascent and descent of Tulaichean that you describe.


Re: DIDN'T then almost wished I HADN'T. Glad I DID!

PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2018 5:59 pm
by Huff_n_Puff
Lovely walk report :clap: :clap: - we did these 2 following the same route you took and loved it - but I agree about the steepness of the first part of that route, but there is something special about not following the most popular route (the Crianlarich one, although it depends on where you are starting from!).

Smashing photos - thanks for the memories :lol: :lol:

Re: DIDN'T then almost wished I HADN'T. Glad I DID!

PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2018 12:01 pm
by johnscot55
HalfManHalfTitanium (sorryI can't seem to get a handle on the "Quote" feature).
I certainly can't imagine what it's like to walk with a metal knee, but I know on this ascent it felt like I had rubber legs :lol:

Re: DIDN'T then almo9st wished I HADN'T. Glad I DID!

PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 12:06 pm
by ArgyllGoSlow
We did the 2 hills from Crianlarich - closest route to home and we had feedback on the route you took. Good option, mostlt dry and a path all the way. Bit up and down so hard work as we are also getting on :D

Re: DIDN'T then almost wished I HADN'T. Glad I DID!

PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2018 3:55 pm
by Graeme D
Congratulations on winning the report of the month! :clap: And also on getting some peace on the hills without the wee lad banging on about the football! :lol:

Re: DIDN'T then almost wished I HADN'T. Glad I DID!

PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2018 12:24 pm
by johnscot55
Graeme D wrote:And also on getting some peace on the hills without the wee lad banging on about the football! :lol:

Cheers Graeme. If it's not football then it's dinosaurs­čśü! He's good company really!! You met him on his 5th Munro. Up to 10 now.

Re: DIDN'T then almost wished I HADN'T. Glad I DID!

PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2018 12:28 pm
by Sgurr
Congratulations on Trip Report of the Month. We have a friend from the US who comes once a year on business bribing himself with the thought of Munro. We usually keep him company, but couldn't the May before last, so we sent him off with a map to do these two from the Crianlarich end as husband thought it MUST be better than your way, which we too had done. He wasn't entirely sure if he had climbed one or two Munros (What!!!!????) but from his photos we reckoned he had done two. So we still don't know which is easier, but suspect that at our age, the Crianlarich way would seem harder. Who knows. You've done them anyway, and I bet it will be some time before you are back. As for our US friend, he is now into his 70s, but has a personal trainer back in the US and breezed the route (sickening).

Re: DIDN'T then almost wished I HADN'T. Glad I DID!

PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2020 3:45 pm
by matkinson
I climbed this with our kids family slightly this September and we had EXACTLY the same thought process as we climbed up to that fence line. We had definitely decided that "one would be enough" and that "we were more out of practice than we had imagined after lockdown."

We were buoyed by a pie from one of the shops in Callander at the top which spurred us on to the second top of the day.

Our return down the track to the car was marred by the awkward thought that the fuel tank was almost empty - we had set out later than anticipated and weren't sure if we would get back to Callander early enough to get diesel (as we had no reception and no means of checking the closing time of the garage). Some running was involved at that point!

Thankfully the day ended up with a happy ending and nice fish and chips as well.

We had spectacular views and were grateful to meet some other walkers who were able to tell us the names of more tops in the distance than we knew.

I really enjoyed your report.