Stay at home
Scotland is under national lockdown. People are asked to stay at home except for essential purposes.
Click for details
by snowdonia7 » Sun Feb 05, 2012 7:00 pm
Munros included on this walk: Ben Cruachan, Stob Daimh
Date walked: 03/02/2012
Time taken: 6 hours
Distance: 12.7 km
Ascent: 1399mRegister or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Yesterday's walk highlighted what was probably a realistic aim given the weather and my injured ankle, so we decided on the Cruachan horseshoe, which we thought would take us about 6 hours. After a lazy start to the day we arrived at the start for the walk at 10.10. The sun was shining and the view out to Loch Awe was fantastic.
From the Falls of Cruachan rail station head under a low bridge which has a rusty metal gate across it.Then up some paving stone steps beside a electricity pylon, almost immediately after passing this a path leads off left into the forestry.The path quickly begins to climb steeply; it is quite narrow, lots of changes of direction and big stones (I was not looking forward to coming back down this).
Eventually the path becomes less steep and leaves the woodland. At this point you cross a high wooden style and then continue along open ground, much of the path was like an ice-rink and I guess this is quite boggy in spring/autumn. Pretty soon the dam comes into view and looks quite impressive, especially with snow clad peaks to the rear.
The path leads up to a roadway which is followed left all the way to the dam and a footpath at the left hand side. This climbs to a steep metal ladder up to the dam itself. From here head left leaving the dam to pick up a track heading north along the west bank of the reservoir. At the end of the path turn west and start to climb Coire Dearg toward a bealach between Meall Cuanail and Ben Cruachan.
We were soon into the snow line following steps made by previous walkers. Although the top of Ben Cruachan was shrouded in mist the route to the bealach was clear and a little concerning: the last section looked particularly steep although we could see the tracks continued that way, so it must be do-able.
As we drew closer to this final slope it didn't look as daunting; that said a slip would have resulted in a long high-speed glissade, but we felt fairly secure in the steps that had been kicked already.
After climbing this section the slope levered off for a short section before a last climb of about 30 metres. Now this was steep and would have resulted in a very fast slide back down in the event of a slip.
I balanced in the steps that Neil had kicked to take a photo that would convey the steepness of the slope when Neil lost his balance momentarily and almost had an accident - the photo shows that this was in more ways than one
We emerged into the sun and as it was now just after midday we decided to call a lunch stop.
We still had almost 300 metres to climb over a distance on the ground of about 700 metres so it was fairly steady. At one point I passed some raised footprints that I guess must be created when the pressure compacts the snow beneath the print and the loose snow around this is blown away.
The climb to the summit was made in bright sunshine and following the steps left by a previous party we arrived at the summer quicker than I thought we would.
The views at the top were initially fairly good in most directions, but as we got our cameras out the mist rolled in.
As we had already eaten we didn't wait and pressed on eastwards towards our next objective. First though we had to cross a narrow section that had what looked to be significant drops at each side (I seemed to recall reading a TR that described large sloping slabs at this point). Despite the drops this section was fairly easy with the deep soft snow offering firm footing. The only 'tricky' section wad two 'steps' down shortly after leaving the summit of Ben Cruachan.
Once past these steps we made decent progress steadily loosing height before we started to climb again towards Drochaid Ghlas. Not sure what the best line over this section is, but we remained on the ridge until just before the summit then dropped off south to more level ground.
Crossing a wide bealach the views opened up once again and I decided to take some more photos, but the batteries had died in the camera. So we pressed on towards Stob Diamh, which was an easy little climb.
We stopped at the summit for a further bite to eat, but after only a few minutes (during which I removed my gloves to replace the camera batteries) my hands had got quite cold.
So we headed off south, dropping down initially then a short climb to Stob Garbh. Continue on same line for about 200 metres before heading down southern flank to wide bealach before Beinn a' Bhuiridh. At this point head east down towards the reservoir.
We left the snow line and the going underfoot became less stable, but this time my ankle wasn't as bad (I had applied some heavy strapping). We followed a narrow path (with many frozen sections) that followed the east bank of the reservoir.
From the reservoir we followed the tarmac road left; this then bears right to meet the junction with the track we had followed up in the morning.
From here it was simply a case of re-tracing the track through the forestry back to the train station, arriving at 18.15.
by jimandandrea » Sun Feb 05, 2012 8:16 pm
by Redrock » Sun Feb 05, 2012 8:33 pm
by quoman » Sun Feb 05, 2012 10:26 pm
I think the crampons would have been on as well as the ice axe out though on the steep bits done them last year and when wee hit the climb to Cruachan the clag came in the rest of the day nae views
Walkhighlands community forum is advert free
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by donating by direct debit?