Good Friday looked good for hillwalking. So did the rest of Easter. More like summer than spring! We simply couldn't miss the opportunity to return to Glen Orchy and finish the business with the infamous 5 Corbetts
The previous week we climbed the trio of Beinn Odhar, Beinn Chaorach and Cam Chreag, starting from Dalrigh and returning along Gleann a'Chlachain. I was glad we didn't attempt Beinn a' Chaisteil and Beinn nam Fuaran that day, as the amount of ascent would be far too much for my knees. I was happy to return for the second time to climb the remaining two Corbetts and enjoy them at slower pace and without the pressure.
We followed the WH route for the two hills but did it in reverse, meaning walking up the glen along the Allt a'Chuirn, then climbing Beinn nam Fuaran first. Also, instead of parking on the verge of the A82 close to the turning for Auch, we decided to leave our car at WHW car park, 2km further south along A82. This makes the walk a bit longer, but on a nice, sunny day it's not a big deal.
We began by walking on a track along the railway, Beinn Dorain dominating the view in front of us:
After a couple of km following West Highland Way, we left it and turned right (NW) into Auch Glen:
River crossings were not an issue...
...and views to surrounding hills were nice enough
Beinn an Dothaidh from the back yard
We kept following the glen until the watershed between Allt a'Chuirn and Allt Tarabhan. From there, it's 300m of steep climbing up grassy slopes, before a gentler final walk to the summit of the first Corbett. I was surprised how hot it was, and how strong the sun felt against my skin. Sunscreen was applied and a lot of water was drank before we tackled the uphill section.
Dry county... Peat hags with no bog inside? A rare sighting in Scotland
In cloudy conditions, one can follow this fence, makes navigation easier:
Not much I can say about the climb. It's a bit of a slog, wet in places but nothing unusual for Scottish hills. Views get more interesting higher up. Loch Lyon came into view:
Panoramic view of Beinn Mhanach, the hidden Munro of Auch Glen:
The last 100m of ascent were on less steep ground and we finally made it to the summit. Here we saw a few other walkers doing the circuit of 5 (God bless them, but I'm glad we didn't attempt it!). Because we didn't have to hurry and only had one more Corbett to visit today, we sat down for a longer break, enjoying the views and the unusual warm April weather.
Panther (C no. 155) and Lucy (C no. 93) on the summit of Beinn nam Fuaran:
View north from the summit cairn to Beinn Dorain and friends:
Creag Mhor and Beinn Heasgarnich across Loch Lyon:
Kevin on the summit:
The descent from Beinn nam Fuaran looks very steep on the map and to avoid crags, we had to swing a bit to the left, where we managed to drop down to the col on mostly grassy terrain.
Searching for the best descent line:
Beinn a' Chaisteil and the peat-haggy Mam Lorn col from Beinn nam Fuaran:
Having negotiated the annoying peat hags of Mam Lorn, we faced another 350m of ascent, but thankfully this is not as steep as the initial pull up Beinn nam Fuaran, actually, quite pleasant walking, though towards the end my knees began to ache slightly.
We made it! Our 156th Corbett (Lucy's 94th). Again, fellow walkers showed up, but not a single person stopped for longer. They just touched the cairn and moved on. I couldn't understand why they all were in such a hurry. It was such a nice day, that even with views hazy, it was pure pleasure to spend 10 or 15 minutes on each summit, stretching old, tired bones
View east from the summit:
Beinn Odhar and Beinn Chaorach, the shadowy phantoms from the week before...
Beinn Dorain group from Beinn a' Chaisteil:
View back to Beinn nam Fuaran and Beinn Mhanach behind:
Cam Chreag and Beinn Challum:
Having rested my knees, I was ready to continue. It was nice to think that we had already done all the painful parts (steep uphill) and now it would just be a comfortable descent back to Auch Glen:
Auch Glen from above:
To begin with, it's easy walking down Creagan Liatha, the southern shoulder of Beinn a' Chaisteil:
...but later the ground becomes very steep and it might make your legs sore if you run down too fast
In Glen Coralan, we discovered a new track, not marked on any maps. It ends by a small hydro dam. To reach the track, we had to cross the river just below the dam, but in current dry conditions it was no problem. In case the river is in spate, the track can be joined about 300m down the glen, where it crosses the river on a bridge.
Once on the track, it was now easy walking back to Auch Glen and the car park.
We admired the steep western flanks of Beinn a' Chaisteil. From this perspective, it really looks like a castle:
This route, though it doesn't add anything special to the two Corbetts, is nevertheless very pleasant and convenient for those who, like us, prefer to save kneecaps I'm not sure whether doing it in opposite direction would make any difference at all, as all sides of the two Corbetts are just as steep. But despite the initial slog, we really enjoyed our Good Friday excursion!
On Easter Saturday we returned to Glen Etive to climb another menace, which haunted us since our visit to Beinn Maol Chaluim the week before. Get ready for a lot of hardcore mountain p*rnography
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