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Cruachan revisited

Cruachan revisited


Postby past my sell by date » Sat May 25, 2019 4:49 pm

Munros included on this walk: Ben Cruachan

Date walked: 12/05/2019

Time taken: 9.5 hours

Distance: 11.5 km

Ascent: 1337m

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Taking in all Cruachan's seven Munro tops in a day is quite a major undertaking even for a fit young walker. I guess separating them into two days - the Dalmally** horseshoe on one, and the remainder on another would make sense, but when I did the normal Munro circuit anticlockwise around 20 years ago I was so knackered when I reached Cruachan that I couldn't even summon up the energy to climb the eighty odd metres to Meall Cuanail - never mind take in the second highest top Stob Dearg - often known as the Taynuilt peak. :(
** Why has Dalmally been mis-anglicised? The Gaelic transliteration is surely Dalvally :( :( :(
For the last 20 years I've always felt guilty about leaving out this major Scottish peak - only 20 m lower than the Munro. So when a fine Sunday was promised, I set off early determined to put this right. The roads were surprisingly quiet - maybe because it was a week after the bank holiday, and I was there in an hour, but the parking by the station was full and I had to stop a couple of hundred metres further East. There were clearly quite a few folk already on the hill. I went through the tunnel and followed the track which headed L for a while and then climbed steeply through oak woods - gorgeous at this time of year
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Lovely oak woods
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Violets in a crevice
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Eventually the woods open out, the angle eases and there are stunning views of Loch Awe
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and towards the Pass of Brander
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The dam soon appears
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And I climbed over maybe the most rickety stile I have ever crossed. "Elf and Safety" would not approve. Once over it, It's a straightforward walk up and on to the dam via the metal stairs
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The reservoir from the dam
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I followed the track to the end of the reservoir and headed L up Coire Dearg towards the 825m Bealach an Lochain between Meall Cuanail and the main top
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A bit higher
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A wider view - Meall Cuanail centre
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Looking back Beinn a Bhuiridh
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Further on - it's a long pull-up 430 m or so in all. Two Glasgow lasses were just behind me - they had two friends further back , but I stayed ahead of them. Another very fast man shot by at breakneck pace, but his small West Highland terrier struggled to keep up with him :lol: :lol:
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Meall Cuanail again
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At the bealach - looking East: in the gap L of Beinn a Bhuiridh are Ben Lui and the Crianlarich peaks
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And West -The small hills on the Southern end of Mull
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Further S - the Paps of Jura with Scarba on the R: - I could just see Colonsay beyond
I stopped at the bealach, while the first pair of girls pushed on up the eroded track which climbs steeply for the first 50m or so towards the summit. I followed them after a bit of a rest. There were still a further 300m to the summit :(
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After 50m or so the angle eases a bit: looking up
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A wider view from around the the same point: Meall Cuanail on the R, with the Arrochar Alps in the distance
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Zoomed view of the same area. the prominent peak just L of centre is Ben Ime
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First view of my target Stob Dearg
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Another view up the boulder slopes to the summit
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Looking E from the same point: the big dark lump in the distance (centre L) is Beinn Dorain

I eventually caught up with the girls on the final slopes, but we all found the boulders awkward and I think we should have been a bit further L. Their companions soon joined them and before they headed round the circuit they took a summit photo for me :D - a fairly rare event :lol:
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Cruachan is a fabulous viewpoint :D - maybe the best in the Southern Highlands, but It's never as clear as in Winter :(

Summit views - mostly at maximum magnification

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There isn't much high ground to the South: beyond Loch Awe is Loch Fyne and Arran in the distance
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Detail - Arran
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The Arrochar Alps : Beinn Donich far R, then Beinn an Lochain : Ben Ime centre with the Cobbler's twin peaks to its R: Slightly in front on the L is Beinn Bhuidhe with Ben Lomond and Ben Vane on its R and Ben Vorlich far L
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Ben Lui - L of centre with the Crianlarich peaks behind: In the R foreground the 739m Graham Meall nan Tighearn

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Zoomed view - Ben More, Stobinian (almost hidden) and Cruach Ardrain at the back
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Zoomed further
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Looking on along the ridge
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The Etive and Glen Coe peaks - Ben Starav L
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Up Loch Etive - Trilleachan L with the Ben at the back - towering over the landscape
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Stob Dearg - the Taynuilt peak - it looks quite close
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Across the Firth of Lorn to Mull - with Rum behind - and Ben More (Mull) on the R
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Detail of Rum - Hallival R with Askival on its L
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Southern Mull
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Scarba - and Corryvrechan - if it had been clearer I could have told which way the tide was flowing :lol:

I started down the same descent path, but after only about 20m cut down R towards the bealach. There were a number of "scrambly" sections on which I'm not as fast as I used to be :lol: but the climb back to Stob Dearg posed no problems although there was only the vestige of a path - clearly few people visit this splendid peak
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On the descent - looking back to the main peak

Stob Dearg summit photos

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Looking down the lower part of Loch Etive to the falls of Lora under the bridge at Connel
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Upper Loch Etive, Trilleachan and the Ben: Snow cover was very patchy but there is some showing in the North - Maybe the Affric peaks
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Ben Starav L - with the twin peaks of the Buchaille behind in centre and Creise to their R

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Looking over Beinn Eunaich L of centre to Achaladair, Beinn Dothaidh and Beinn Dorain: Ben Challuim far R
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Detail of the Snowy peaks in the previous photo: looking down Glen Lyon I guess to Sheasgarnaich with Ben Lawers behind
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Looking back to the main peak
Apart from climbing most of the way back up the main peak, the only way to Meall Cuanail seemed to be a diagonal traverse - but there was no sign of even a "trod". There was also an area of continuous slabs that I decided to traverse above
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The main summit and the diagonal traverse down to the Bealach an Lochain
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Detail of the slabs
There were no significant problems with the descent and I stopped and had a drink from a tiny stream a few hundred metres above the bealach. I expected to find water on the descent of Meall Cuanail so I didn't try to fill my bottle :(
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Looking back up the descent
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and on to the bealach
I managed the short ascent to Meall Cuanail quite easily and descended beside the fence - but I found no water at all and was pretty thirsty when I reached the dam.
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Looking back from Meall Cuanail - the descent looks quite a bit longer from here
I didn't fancy the water in the stream below the dam, so when I reached the dreaded stile I was well knackered :( :lol: - There was no way I was going over it, so pushing my sack in front of me I crawled through the "dog" hole :lol: :lol: :lol: - . My legs had now ceased to do what the brain was telling them :lol: , so I took the steep section in the woods with extreme care - and when I got back to the car I was amazed to find I had been out for not far short of ten hours :shock: :shock:
Where had the time gone? I had been on the main peak in a reasonable time (for me) of under 4 hours and I'd spent quite a time on each of the three summits admiring the view. But the trip to Stob Dearg and back looks to have taken over 3 hours :shock:
I drove back to Tyndrum and had an excellent and very reasonably priced bar meal at the Tyndrum inn :D :D
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past my sell by date
Mountaineer
 
Posts: 691
Munros:282   Corbetts:84
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Sub 2000:3   Hewitts:146
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Re: Cruachan revisited

Postby Jaxter » Mon May 27, 2019 11:13 am

Nice to see someone has some luck on Cruachan :roll: :lol:

Can highly recommend the steak pie at the tyndrum inn! 8)
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Jaxter
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Location: Glasgow

Re: Cruachan revisited

Postby dav2930 » Mon May 27, 2019 5:58 pm

Looked a cracking day out with splendid views. Cruachan is a very fine hill - I remember it well, though I haven't been up it since 1999. Maybe it's time I revisited it too! :)
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dav2930
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Re: Cruachan revisited

Postby past my sell by date » Tue May 28, 2019 3:07 pm

Jaxter wrote:Nice to see someone has some luck on Cruachan :roll: :lol:

Can highly recommend the steak pie at the tyndrum inn! 8)

I had the gammon egg and chips - good wholesome food at a reasonable price :)
past my sell by date
Mountaineer
 
Posts: 691
Munros:282   Corbetts:84
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Sub 2000:3   Hewitts:146
Wainwrights:159   
Joined: Apr 24, 2013

Re: Cruachan revisited

Postby past my sell by date » Tue May 28, 2019 3:09 pm

dav2930 wrote:Looked a cracking day out with splendid views. Cruachan is a very fine hill - I remember it well, though I haven't been up it since 1999. Maybe it's time I revisited it too! :)


It is a great hill and the Taynuilt peak is a very worthy Munro top No. 74 in the height tables and - as I found out - not as easy to get to as it looks :) coincidentally it was 1999 that I did it
past my sell by date
Mountaineer
 
Posts: 691
Munros:282   Corbetts:84
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Sub 2000:3   Hewitts:146
Wainwrights:159   
Joined: Apr 24, 2013

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