walkhighlands

Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

Chill Sheep on a Hot Day on... uh, Which Hill Am I Climbing?

Chill Sheep on a Hot Day on... uh, Which Hill Am I Climbing?


Postby aaquater » Mon Jun 22, 2020 2:40 pm

Munros included on this walk: Beinn a'Chochuill, Beinn Eunaich, Ben Cruachan, Stob Daimh

Date walked: 26/06/2019

Time taken: 7.5 hours

Distance: 21 km

Ascent: 2320m

1 person thinks this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).


our_route.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


Was this the nicest weekend of the year? If not, then it was definitely up there.

...sure, it wasn't actually a weekend, but Wednesday and Thursday were supposed to be absolutely picturesque, and there was a chance of that extending to Friday as well. 2-3 days in succession. With both eyes closed, that's a weekend.

Anyway, keeping the eyes closed and not using this time to get some views would've been such a shame; fortunately, since I hadn't yet progressed to the working-full-time stage, my biggest concern was where to go, not if I could afford to. I'd had my eye on the Cruachan area for a while - and if there's nice weather everywhere, doesn't it make more sense to go further west? - so I hopped on the morning train, hoping I chose my location well. Judging by the views greeting me at Lochawe station, I would not be disappointed.

105145.jpg
Ben Lui early in the morning; closer by, slightly hidden, Kilchurn Castle overlooks Loch Awe

111132.jpg
Beinn a'Chochuill and Beinn Eunaich towering over the Allt Mhoille glen; the track I would initially take clearly hugs the slopes of the latter

The start of the walk led along the A 85. Fortunately, while there was reasonable traffic, I had a path at my disposal all the way to the junction with B 8077, where I was heading. Then, shortly after the bridge over Allt Mhoille, I turned left, leaving asphalt behind in favour of a track. Following a short stretch around barns, I started picking up altitude on the track leading above Allt Mhoille, which would eventually feed into the tunnel system running under these massifs. I wouldn't follow it for that long, though, planning to leave the track and head straight up the slope shortly before it crossed Allt Lairig Ianachain.

112707.jpg
The views from the track; Coire Glas and Coire Chreachainn were especially prominent below Beinn a'Bhuiridh and Stob Daimh

The track wasn't passing through full-on farmland anymore, but I was still encountering quite the number of sheep. Speaking of; whenever I approach sheep, they tend to flee pretty quickly. These ones didn't. Initially, I just found it surprising that they would allow me to get so close. Then, seeing a sheep standing right by the track, I decided to watch it, wondering when I would cross the threshold distance that would trigger the sheep to walk away. Our interaction went roughly like this:

I walked up the track.

The sheep noticed me approaching and looked at me.

I came closer.

The sheep remained in place, gazing at me while chewing down on the grass. An unspoken question was hanging in the air: 'Are you seriously going to come right here, where I'm grazing?'

I took a few more steps.

Still keeping me in sight, the sheep came to the conclusion that I was, indeed, going to follow the track. With a bleat, it moved a few metres further, almost pointedly slowly.

Now, I'm not an expert on sheep behaviour. But this was such a perfect picture of unadulterated exasperation, I would've expected it from a cartoon, not reality :lol:

After successfully annoying the local sheep, I started ascending the SW slopes of Beinn Eunaich. Not much can be said about that; it was simply a steep, grassy slope, where I had to take a breather every few metres, while the views around me were opening up. I was relieved to finally reach the shoulder, where a path led towards the summit. Unfortunately, I also managed to hop into the mindset of 'I'm almost there'. In short: nope. When I ascended on the shoulder, I probably wasn't even at 650 metres. The summit of Beinn Eunaich was about 350 altitude metres away. In terms of pure ascent, starting from the point where I left the track, the shoulder wasn't even halfway...

115827.jpg
The Lairig Noe pass, where I would be descending later

122549.jpg
Loch Awe head from the Beinn Eunaich shoulder; the hill seen towering over Dalmally is likely Beinn Bhuidhe

The shoulder, however, had a path, so the remaining distance went by quickly, at least objectively speaking. And man, were the views worth it!

130215.jpg
The view NW towards Loch Etive

125212.jpg
Where I was heading next: Beinn a'Chochuill on the right, Stob Daimh on the left, Ben Cruachan in the middle - looking a lot pointier than I imagined!

The ridge between the two Beinns was quite gentle and, again, had a path I could follow; aided by the wonderful views either side, this was an extremely pleasant section to walk, and I was standing on a'Chochuill before I knew it. A pause to have a bite and something to drink was still appreciated, though, as the perfect weather meant the air got pretty hot even at almost 1000 metres.

133843.jpg
The view of my journey from Beinn a'Chochuill, with Beinn Eunaich on the left and the Stob Daimh / Ben Cruachan massifs on the right, the latter looking even more protrusive from this angle

133900.jpg
North: Mealls an Fheuraich and Voirlich below Beinn Nan Lus, Ben Starav above it, and Beinn Trilleachan looking on beyond Loch Etive. Quite the balding bunch, it seems...

Speaking of Ben Starav, I must admit... it's only now as I'm writing this report that I looked at the map properly and could say which one it is with any confidence. But while I was walking, I often found myself thinking, 'So it's down to the bealach, then up Sron nan Isean, and then I'll just follow the ridge to Ben Starav' - or something of the sort. And then I'd realise I messed up. For some reason, I just got Starav and Cruachan totally confused in my head. It doesn't even make much sense, as my train ticket said Falls of Cruachan, and not having access to a car, Ben Starav didn't even figure on my plans for future walks. Who knows why that was.

Anyway, no matter the name of the hill, I first had to make it to Lairig Noe, down a slope that ended up being a lot steeper in parts than I thought it would be. About two thirds down, I had to start making quite a lot of zig-zags in order not to lose contact with the surface; the reunion would've been far from pleasant. I made it down successfully, though.

140324.jpg
The Allt Mhoille glen from Lairig Noe; Ben Lui in the distance

Lairig Noe had two sides to it. I mean... also literally, it's a bealach after all, but figuratively too. I expected the Beinn a'Chochuill hillside to be easy, but it was tricky. I expected the Sron nan Isean hillside to be scarier, but it really wasn't. Sure, there were boulders all over the place, as the map suggested, but in terms of ascent, that wasn't a downside at all, as they provided convenient handholds and resting places. I can easily say that I enjoyed going up Sron nan Isean a lot more than going down Beinn a'Chochuill.

144257.jpg
The Sron nan Isean shoulder, splitting the glens of Allt Mhoille and Allt Coire Chreachainn, with the Stob Garbh/Daimh ridge on the right

144305.jpg
Stob Daimh and Ben Star... I mean, Cruachan towering over Glen Noe

From Sron nan Isean, it was only a short hop along the ridge to Stob Daimh, my third Munro of the day. As I was rejoining an official route and a path, I thought I was leaving any hardships behind.

145624.jpg
The evolved cairn of Stob Daimh

150046.jpg
Coire Cruachan

Well... Yes and no would've been the initial answer. Sure, there was a path on the ridge, and I was grateful for it. The ridge was nice and offered beautiful views left, right, and centre. Still, given that it was a ridge, the ascent and descent actually required can sort of disappear from the map, so seeing the path go way down both before and after Drochaid Ghlas was a bit surface-level annoying. But going up and down is sort of to be expected in the mountains... so up and down I went, eventually making it to Ben Cruachan and sitting down on the relatively small summit, revelling in the fact that I made it.

152348.jpg
Ben Sta- no, Cruachan!- from Drochaid Ghlas

155915.jpg
Looking back on the ridge from Ben Cruachan; Beinn a'Bhuiridh towers over the Cruachan Reservoir on the right, while Stob Dearg is starting to cast its shade over Glen Noe on the left

155936.jpg
Stob Dearg and Meall Cuanail, the tops of Ben Cruachan

What I ought to say here is that I did this walk before signing up here, and the way I made schedules was literally with a ruler on the map. Such schedules were still usually pretty okay, but this one turned out really lousy. I was way behind already on Beinn Eunaich, regained that time effortlessly on Beinn a'Chochuill and Stob Daimh, and was too slow once again on the way to Ben Cruachan. According to the initial plan, I was to descend to the Cruachan Reservoir and hop onto Beinn a'Bhuiridh before taking the train back, but with the time I had left, that didn't look likely. Still, I thought, 'If I run down Ben Cruachan, I should make up enough time to make it.'

About running down Ben Cruachan, there are generally two ways to descend its southern shoulder: 1) slow and steady, or 2) much too fast. As I wasn't a fan of the second scenario, trying to find a trustworthy enough route down the sandy, dusty, scree-filled slope took so long, Beinn a'Bhuiridh already fell into the realm of impossible by the time I reached Bealach an Lochain. Some other time, then - and since that meant I had freed a chunk of time for this journey, I decided to make the short ascent and finish the day by ascending Meall Cuanail.

162703.jpg
Bealach an Lochain is aptly named, it turns out, despite the lochain not being shown on the map

163958.jpg
Loch Awe from the (relatively) sprawling summit of Meall Cuanail

164007.jpg
Looking back at Ben Cruachan and Stob Dearg

Back in Bealach an Lochain, I rejoined the path down Coire Dearg, losing altitude swiftly, but still having to take extra care where I place my feet at times. All was well, however, up to a point almost by the reservoir where the ground turned boggy and I lost the path. Cursing my ability to always do that, I squelched to the track - but given I had it in plain sight, it would've taken some extra effort to miss it :lol: From there, a good track took me around the reservoir, leading to the dam.

173241.jpg
Beinn a'Bhuiridh above the Cruachan Reservoir, the burn originating from Lairig Torran feeding into it

174637.jpg
The ridge overlooking the reservoir

174811.jpg
A polite but unspecific sign on the dam

Then it was just a matter of climbing down the dam and following the track to the point where the path leading to the station would branch off. I found it quite surprising that this path isn't shown on the map, but I found it regardless, and after a short boggy stretch around Allt Cruachan, I entered the forest, welcoming the shade it provided. Yeah, it was about 6 PM by that time, but as I was below 300 metres now, the air was still pretty hot.

175713.jpg
One of the last looks at where I'd gone: Meall Cuanail and Ben Star- Cruachan. Cruachan! ...Dam!!

The path led pretty much level for quite a long time, and then made several leaps in order to reach the station. I found myself thinking that it didn't really have to mimic the waterfalls too just because it followed Allt Cruachan...

But I got to see a part of the country I hadn't been to before, pretty much at its best. The route I took often made me wish I would've experienced it alongside my uncle, who got me into hillwalking. If the opportunity ever comes, I'll now know where to go.
aaquater
 
Posts: 17
Munros:37   Corbetts:19
Grahams:15   Donalds:5
Sub 2000:11   
Joined: Jul 8, 2019

Re: Chill Sheep on a Hot Day on... uh, Which Hill Am I Climb

Postby Jaxter » Mon Jun 22, 2020 3:24 pm

This made me laugh because I also found my way blocked by a sheep in almost the same spot as you :lol:
Image

Looks like a great day out - perhaps easier without the snow :lol:
User avatar
Jaxter
Wanderer
 
Posts: 1322
Munros:205   Corbetts:125
Grahams:59   Donalds:46
Sub 2000:80   Hewitts:52
Wainwrights:55   Islands:25
Joined: Aug 8, 2011
Location: Glasgow

Re: Chill Sheep on a Hot Day on... uh, Which Hill Am I Climb

Postby Jaxter » Mon Jun 22, 2020 3:37 pm

I was just looking back through a load of photos of that day and came across this one too :lol: :lol:

ImageSheep are like sand people - they walk single file to hide their numbers
User avatar
Jaxter
Wanderer
 
Posts: 1322
Munros:205   Corbetts:125
Grahams:59   Donalds:46
Sub 2000:80   Hewitts:52
Wainwrights:55   Islands:25
Joined: Aug 8, 2011
Location: Glasgow

Re: Chill Sheep on a Hot Day on... uh, Which Hill Am I Climb

Postby aaquater » Mon Jun 22, 2020 5:06 pm

Maybe being sheep is just a front for these guys, and there's something more going on :lol:
aaquater
 
Posts: 17
Munros:37   Corbetts:19
Grahams:15   Donalds:5
Sub 2000:11   
Joined: Jul 8, 2019

1 person thinks this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).



Walkhighlands community forum is advert free

We need help to keep the site online.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by setting up a monthly donation by direct debit?



Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: aau04363, Adamj3110, celinemunch, Collaciotach, Coop, G Scott19, mgmt!, neesh, PeteR, sgray15, stewcant and 123 guests