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Unfinished business in Glen Orchy

Unfinished business in Glen Orchy

Postby BlackPanther » Wed May 08, 2019 5:25 pm

Route description: Beinn a' Chaisteil and Beinn nam Fuaran

Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn a' Chaisteil (Auch), Beinn nam Fuaran

Date walked: 19/04/2019

Time taken: 7.5 hours

Distance: 22.75 km

Ascent: 1063m

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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 :D

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.

Track_BEINN A CHAISTEIL 19-04-19.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

We began by walking on a track along the railway, Beinn Dorain dominating the view in front of us:
2019-04-19 beinn a chaisteil 001.JPG

After a couple of km following West Highland Way, we left it and turned right (NW) into Auch Glen:
2019-04-19 beinn a chaisteil 008.JPG

River crossings were not an issue...
2019-04-19 beinn a chaisteil 023.JPG

...and views to surrounding hills were nice enough :D
2019-04-19 beinn a chaisteil 028.JPG

Beinn an Dothaidh from the back yard :lol: :lol:
2019-04-19 beinn a chaisteil 033.JPG

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 :lol:
2019-04-19 beinn a chaisteil 045.JPG

In cloudy conditions, one can follow this fence, makes navigation easier:
2019-04-19 beinn a chaisteil 049.JPG

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:
2019-04-19 beinn a chaisteil 055.JPG

Panoramic view of Beinn Mhanach, the hidden Munro of Auch Glen:
2019-04-19 beinn a chaisteil 058.JPG

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:
2019-04-19 beinn a chaisteil 064.JPG

View north from the summit cairn to Beinn Dorain and friends:
2019-04-19 beinn a chaisteil 075.JPG

Creag Mhor and Beinn Heasgarnich across Loch Lyon:
2019-04-19 beinn a chaisteil 077.JPG

Kevin on the summit:
2019-04-19 beinn a chaisteil 129.JPG

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:
2019-04-19 beinn a chaisteil 081.JPG

Beinn a' Chaisteil and the peat-haggy Mam Lorn col from Beinn nam Fuaran:
2019-04-19 beinn a chaisteil 078.JPG

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.
2019-04-19 beinn a chaisteil 087.JPG

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 :D
2019-04-19 beinn a chaisteil 088.JPG

View east from the summit:
2019-04-19 beinn a chaisteil 089.JPG

Beinn Odhar and Beinn Chaorach, the shadowy phantoms from the week before...
2019-04-19 beinn a chaisteil 092.JPG

Beinn Dorain group from Beinn a' Chaisteil:
2019-04-19 beinn a chaisteil 097.JPG

View back to Beinn nam Fuaran and Beinn Mhanach behind:
2019-04-19 beinn a chaisteil 134.JPG

Cam Chreag and Beinn Challum:
2019-04-19 beinn a chaisteil 090.JPG

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:
2019-04-19 beinn a chaisteil 103.JPG

Auch Glen from above:
2019-04-19 beinn a chaisteil 104.JPG

To begin with, it's easy walking down Creagan Liatha, the southern shoulder of Beinn a' Chaisteil:
2019-04-19 beinn a chaisteil 108.JPG

...but later the ground becomes very steep and it might make your legs sore if you run down too fast :lol:
2019-04-19 beinn a chaisteil 111.JPG

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.
2019-04-19 beinn a chaisteil 119.JPG

We admired the steep western flanks of Beinn a' Chaisteil. From this perspective, it really looks like a castle:
2019-04-19 beinn a chaisteil 117.JPG

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 :lol: 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 :lol: :lol: :lol:
User avatar
Mountain Walker
Posts: 3582
Munros:260   Corbetts:167
Sub 2000:53   
Joined: Nov 2, 2010
Location: Beauly, Inverness-shire

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