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Auch, just the three

Auch, just the three

Postby Tam Collie » Mon Sep 07, 2020 1:54 pm

Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn a' Chaisteil (Auch), Beinn Chaorach, Cam Chreag (Auch)

Date walked: 06/09/2020

Time taken: 5 hours

Distance: 22 km

Ascent: 1319m

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This was certainly a return trip for me, many moons ago I'd climbed Beinn a'Chuirn with friends who had the outlying Corbett Beinn nan Fuaran to climb, it was duly bagged but being such a wet and windy day we descended back to glen without a thought for climbing Beinn a' Chasteill. Many more moons passed and again a friend and I were out playing on these hills , this time with skis and perhaps over ambitiously thought we could traverse the five Corbetts and be back in time for tea. That time we started in Corrie Thoin of Beinn Odhar and were soundly educated as to the steep and tiring nature of these hills, arriving at the first summit spent and to find only patches of snow for our descent.

So these hills have very much been on the list for a rematch and much time taken studying the maps for subtle approaches that take away some of the steepness , an activity that always seemed to find other hills in other places . Something had to be done! September came, the onset of autumn and soon thereafter the windy rainy season (or is that summer), a call to action before the weather woos really kicked in. This time I thought I would try the approach from Auch and the Carolan Glen which has two tracks , one on either side of the burn that end at a small dam and waterfall (Eas nan Beatach) just short of the bealach.

Easy progress was made to the end of the track,
head of the glen

either makes it to the end of the glen but it is here that the hard work starts . Climbing Beinn a' Chasteill first from here you climb the best part of a 1000' onto Sron Sheamrag to reach a delightful ridge and the reward of a very pleasant wander to the top.
Slopes leading onto Sron Sheamrag

Summit cairn of Beinn a' Chasteil

For those doing the round don't be put off by the look of the drop to the bealach with Beinn nan Fuarain from the other side of the valley it doesn't look that bad (lol!).

I made a quick descent down to the watershed at Lon a' Chuil and passed the first people met today on their ascent and then put my head down for the relentlessly steep ascent of Cam Chreag. This is steep, pathless and not for the faint hearted and at least a 1000' climb, which makes it way through what looks like a band of rock (you don't notice this on the ground) and as it eases you can enjoy another pleasant ramble through some damp ground to reach the top. The walls of a small stone sheiling made for an interesting stop just below the steep slope started on the side of the Allt Coralan, what a hard life these highlanders must have led. Just above the ruin there was a large stone that made an ideal seat, with a fine view of the glen, as I took a short rest I wondered who else had sat here while minding their cattle. If you look you can always find a good sitting stone near these old shielings! On the large scale map the Allt Coralan is marked here, it being the source of the burn that flows down Glen Coralan, which from there was on the other side of the glen! If I had taken in Beinn nam Fuaran from Beinn a' Chasteill, the ascent up the NW ridge of Cam Chreag would have been a much more appealing prospect, and probable cost less in time and energy! Maybe next time.

Cam Chreag cairn

At the top certainly views to remember, a 360 of fabulous peaks from Ben Alder to Arrochar, Ben Nevis to Ben Lomond and Ben Challum and Creag Mhor crowding in on the southern aspects.

The last peak on this round was Beinn Chaorach with it's trig point (column).
Beinn Chaorach trig point

This one was more easily won, a gently and broad ridge linking it with Cam Creag which gave easy access and on which I found the second party of the day already on the summit enjoying their lunch. After exchanging pleasantries I set of back to Glen Coralan and the track back to Auch and the car. The descent starts very steeply , and care in the choice of line is advisable as a band of rock, seen from the glen bottom, presents challenges but off I went and a few slips later I arrived at one of the burns that start in this micro-headwater. I spent a little time looking at the ruined walls of two sheiling on the north side of the glen on the banks of the Allt Choire Dhuidh, where despite some of the stones having been reused to make small shelters, the outlines of the houses were clear to see. In one I disturbed a hunting stoat that briefly eyed me before darting back into the hunt.

From the sheilings a quick boggy trod to the Eas nam Beatach found a delightful set of pools and waterfalls, one for a hot summers day! All that was left was the track that crossed a couple small bridges, went under the West Highland railway line and past the farm and estate buildings at Auch to meet the A82 and the car.

A stunning set of hills and certainly one to repeat, maybe next time I will try for four!

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Last edited by Tam Collie on Tue Sep 08, 2020 10:47 am, edited 10 times in total.
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Tam Collie
Hill Bagger
Posts: 46
Munros:3   Corbetts:110
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Sub 2000:17   Hewitts:47
Joined: Nov 1, 2010

Re: Auch, just the three

Postby Dave Hewitt » Mon Sep 07, 2020 3:52 pm

The short-cut to Beinn a' Chaisteil is an interesting way up: instead of going along the glen track as you did, about a mile further back just head straight up the grassy slope on the right-hand side of the corrie beneath the summit. It's just grass all the way, but remarkably steady in angle (with not many comfortable resting-points eg boulders or slight ledges) and also steep enough to feel quite exposed. When I did it I remember thinking (a) I'm glad I'm in newish footwear with good grip, and (b) I hope it doesn't come on to rain halfway up, as I wouldn't much fancy going back down this. I've only done it in summer, but in winter it could well be Grade I territory. A very good direct way up, but not likely to be to everyone's taste.
Dave Hewitt
Posts: 494
Joined: Apr 29, 2010

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