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Ben Vorlich and Stuc a'Chroin from the south
by StevieC » Thu Jun 27, 2013 12:48 pm
Route description: Ben Vorlich and Stuc a'Chroin
Munros included on this walk: Ben Vorlich (Loch Earn), Stuc a'Chroin
Date walked: 23/06/2013
Time taken: 8 hours
Distance: 24 km3 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
This is a long day, but a rewarding one if you enjoy a bit of solitude rarely found on one of the country's busier hills.
Start from a parking area past the car park for Bracklinn Falls, just north of Callander. Go through the gate at the car park and the parking area is about 2km further on.
Looking towards Braeleny farm
From the parking area head north on the track towards Braeleny farm. Continue through the farmyard on the track, continuing roughly north towards Arivurichardich. About 2km after passing through the farm you will see a wee bothy on your right, and just after this is your first major obstacle - crossing the Keltie Water. There used to be a bridge apparently, but now it's just a matter of taking your time and picking a crossing point - actually this is a confluence of two rivers and I ended up crossing both as this was easiest.
Wee bothy just south of Keltie Water crossing
Once over, continue on track leading to Arivurichardich - the reservoir that feeds the Keltie Water is on your left.
View across to reservoir
When you reach Arivurichardich you will see that it is basically a couple of abandoned cottages/outbuildings. Pass by the left of the main cottage and into the overgrown garden. Head for the back of the garden and look for the gate into the adjoining field. On the OS Explorer map, the path is marked as passing outside of the field boundary across the slopes of Meall Odhar. Actually it goes through the field and heads to its northern corner and then continues towards the bealach. I missed this path on the way out and ended up wading through waist-high ferns for most of this section!
Cottage at Arivurichardich - pass the left gable end of this into the garden
Looking across to reservoir from slopes of Meall Odhar
View up the glen from slopes of Meall Odhar
Once you reach Meall na h-lolaire it is time to turn northwest and unfortunately lose a lot of the height you have gained thus far, heading for the river crossing at Dubh Choirein. A bit peaty and boggy in places this stretch, but not too bad, and eventually you are rewarded with great views of Ben Vorlich and Stuc a'Chroin and the glen they surround.
Once across the river, the south ridge of Ben Vorlich is in front of you. There is a path, but I only stumbled across it about half way up, so I just got my head down and headed uphill. Incidentally, it took me about 2.5 hours to reach the lower slopes of Ben Vorlich.
Ben Vorlich and Stuc a'Chroin
Approaching the summit of Ben Vorlich
As you approach the summit of Ben Vorlich the going changes from grassy slopes to a bit more rocky, but nothing difficult. Eventually you reach the east top of the hill, and probably your first sight of people all day - the ones who took the easy option and started from Loch Earn! The true summit is the trig point 100m or so west. It had taken me about 4 hours to reach the first summit of the day.
Looking across to the summit from the east top
View of Loch Earn from the summit of Ben Vorlich
Once you reach the summit trig point, carry on west towards the descent to the bealach between the two hills. This is a tricky, rocky descent, made a lot worse with very strong winds. Eventually you reach the low point between the two hills, and have to decide on which route up Stuc a'Chroin to take. There is probably a more direct route than the one I took, but by this time I was knackered and not in the mood for some serious climbing. Off to my right I noticed an obvious path that I reached by climbing over a boulder field. This path takes you up onto the north ridge and round the back of Stuc a'Chroin. Once up on the ridge it was easy going to the summit - about 5.5 hours to this point.
Summit cairn of Stuc a'Chroin
Looking back at Ben Vorlich from summit of Stuc a'Chroin
Now it's time to leave the crowds again and head off south to descend the Aonach Gaineamhach - the southeast ridge of Stuc a'Chroin. Beautiful easy grassy slopes all the way, great stuff and very welcome easy going at this stage.
The Aonach Gaineamhach ridge from Stuc a'Chroin
The path takes you all the way back to Arivurichardich - which is how I know I missed it on the way up, and the path marked on the OS map is a bit out. Now it's simply a matter of retracing your steps back across the river to the farm and eventually to your car. Phew!
I've done these hills both ways now, and I much prefer the solitude of this route to the relatively busy route from Loch Earn.
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