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Beinn Each to Ben Vorlich? I Dread Nought a bit of it!

Beinn Each to Ben Vorlich? I Dread Nought a bit of it!


Postby Craiging619 » Tue Mar 29, 2016 1:35 am

Munros included on this walk: Ben Vorlich (Loch Earn), Stuc a'Chroin

Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn Each

Date walked: 31/08/2013

Time taken: 9.2 hours

Distance: 21 km

Ascent: 1500m

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After climbing Sgiath a'Chaise in an enjoyably random day a month earlier http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=35900, my appetite was whetted for the Callander/Lochearnhead hills. I had never spent any time in the area before, but the view of Beinn Each and Stuc a'Chroin from 'The Hill With No Summit' convinced me I had to return and make a proper visit of it. After checking online, I quickly deduced that the cheapest hotel in Callander was the Dreadnought, an old stagecoach stop from years gone by, sat in the centre of the town next to the bus terminus. Perfect.

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On the Friday evening I headed out to Stirling on the train then jumped on a First Bus to Callander. Technically I didn't need to book a hotel for the next day's climb, but I was getting a little tired of 6am starts and rushing to Buchanan Bus Station every Saturday morning for Citylink coaches.

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Once inside, the atmosphere was...well, how would you say, antique. The room was a classic old-fashioned high-ceiling effort, while the reception and breakfast room had the 1970s coach party look. But I'm never the type to moan at accommodation, so I found the place fine for what it was, a big old place with cheap beds and complimentary breakfast.

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The lift, though, was just a little unusual. Rather than using the automatic doors associated with 99% of modern lifts, this lift appeared to have been designed before the very *invention* of automatic doors. To enter the lift required opening a door, as if entering a normal room.

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Again, none of this was a black mark against the hotel in any way. It just felt a tad odd, like stepping into a comedy film trying to pastiche a horror flick. Behind me in the corridor, a drunken man tripped over the steps and fell on his face. His backside was showing to the world. I turned away and continued my phone call to my wife. As you do.

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As I prepared for bed, I heard a knock at the door. Best ignore it. It could be the guy from the stairs. Or...someone from the lift. Wait, I've been watching too many horror films recently, right...?

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Thankfully, for all the strangeness the night before, I slept brilliantly and awoke the next morning ready to leave the Dreadnought for an epic hillwalk. After having a hearty breakfast I headed across the road to the bus stop, and caught the Kingshouse Travel bus towards Lochearnhead. I planned to jump off at Ardchullarie More, but due to a slight miscommunication with the driver, I ended up staying on for another mile by mistake. :( Back I walked along the A84, heading onto the grass verge whenever traffic sped past. It later transpired that a friend from uni had driven past me at this point, on the way to his own hillwalk. It was actually the second time he'd past me on the hills in a month. Spooky, but then, not as spooky as that lift. :shock:

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I finally arrived at Ardchullarie More at around 9:25am, and headed up the forest path towards the old track through Glen Ample.

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Just before 10am I arrived at the signpost for the Beinn Each path, after a gentle climb up from Ardchullarie More. I was aware there was a path up Beinn Each, but was tremendously relived to see how well maintained it was, as the Western slopes of the hill are rather steep.

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Sgiath a'Chaise is the sort of hill that so many peple must drive past without noticing, but it afforded remarkable views a month beforehand, and the hill itself looked very picturesque from Glen Ample.

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I caught a first glimpse of Loch Earn, although it would be a while before I saw the full thing.

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The path was thin but clear throughout, and was such a difference-maker for what would otherwise have been an absolute slog. Within 1.5 hours of leaving Ardchullarie More (and an hour from Glen Ample), I was stood on the summit of Beinn Each.

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Dumyat was visible to the South-East, with the Central Belt beyond.

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With the largest climb of the day done, a rollercoaster ridge-walk to Stuc a'Chroin now lay ahead. The sun was increasingly prominent by this stage, and after the tricky start on the A84 it had already turned into a belter of a day.

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From Sgiath a'Chaise, the ridge had appeared as a serrated edge that may have posed technical difficulty, so I was relieved to find it was actually wide enough to hold a path and a line of old fence posts.

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There were many rocky outcrops on the ridge, but they could be avoided with relative ease in these summery conditions.

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A herd of deer raced each other up the side of Stuc a'Chroin in front of me. Quite a sight to see live, at least!

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Beinn Each seems to be the forgotten one of the Trossachs/Callander mountains, even when people are listing the hills visible from Stirling, but it's a fine and dramatic hill in its own right. I suppose it's just overshadowed by its two neighbours.

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Along with the path, a line of fence posts led the way up the ridge towards Stuc a'Chroin, whose massive summit cairn was already visible.

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My final destination of Lochearnhead was visible again, but still looked an eternity away!

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I seem to remember there being more than one cairn on the summit of Stuc a'Chroin, so I made sure to visit each one just in case! The time was not yet 1pm, so I had plenty of time for some lunch. By now the views were magnificent in all directions.

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Stuc a'Chroin (and the whole range in general) is an enormous hulk of a hill, visible from much of Central Scotland. I remember seeing it many times on trains or buses from Glasgow to Edinburgh over the years, hoping to one day reach its summit. When viewed from Falkirk or Stirling, it has a towering presence along with Ben Vorlich.

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I had already decided I would be bodyswerving the Northern face of Stuc a'Chroin, as it sounded all too tricky, what with an alternative path just to the West.

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The final section of this path was also very steep in its own right, but without the rockiness of the blunt nose of Stuc a'Chroin. I headed down into the hollow then crossed over onto the ridge between Stuc and Vorlich, to be greeted with four or five faint spots of rain. Luckily for me it was the only rain I would encounter all day.

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There was only one problem now: I was absolutely out on my feet. The ridge between Each and Stuc had many ups and downs, and I estimated I had already climbed over 1200m. Vorlich still looked like a big task ahead, but the path was of great quality so I headed onwards.

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Yeah, glad I didn't go that way! :shock:

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As with so much of the walk, there was a line of old fence posts ever-present, making the whole thing seem less daunting. There was also a steady stream of people between Stuc a'Chroin and Ben Vorlich, although I hadn't passed a soul on the way up Beinn Each.

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The slog up the South-Western ridge of Ben Vorlich was peppered with glances back to the dramatic face of Stuc a'Chroin.

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Finally, with the time approaching 2:30pm, I reached the summit ridge of Vorlich, making sure to visit both the trig point and the cairn much further along. The blasts of wind at the summit were overwhelming, and seemed to come from nowhere. Perhaps they were a Northerly wind that had been hidden all day.

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My attempt at a summit panorama was somewhat hampered by the winds!

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After another break it was time to leave, and join the throngs (by now) of folk heading down to Loch Earn. While the path was comically wide in places (I can't imagine what Ben Vorlich looks like from hills to the North), it certainly made for a straightforward descent, which I needed after the exhausting climb.

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The views towards Loch Earn were tremendous, while the Ben Lawers group was sat tantalisingly close behind, almost inviting me for a future climb...

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Alright pal how's it going?

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Ardvorlich was reached just after 4:30pm, leaving me ample time to walk to Lochearnhead for my bus back to Callander. I imagine everyone else jumped straight in their car, but I was still vehicle-less at this point, so took it easy on the long walk West towards the village.

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By the time I reached Lochearnhead I was pretty much at the staggering stage, but I had some spare time to wait in the shelter for the Kingshouse Travel bus to take me back to Callander. Once I arrived, I headed straight to the local Indian restaurant and had what would easily qualify as one of the most enjoyable curries of my life. The restaurant was being filmed at the time for a Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park promo video (luckily I wasn't in shot with my ridiculous muddy trousers), and the cameraman asked he was bothering me sat alongside me with a gigantic tripod. I told him not to worry, as it was a blessing just to have a seat at all... 8) :D

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Craiging619
Hill Bagger
 
Posts: 119
Munros:50   Corbetts:29
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Sub 2000:16   
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Joined: Jul 21, 2009
Location: Glasgow

Re: Beinn Each to Ben Vorlich? I Dread Nought a bit of it!

Postby Petr Dakota » Tue Mar 29, 2016 10:24 am

Nice report and well documented by the photos :thumbup:
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Petr Dakota
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1123
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Joined: Sep 3, 2014
Location: North Lanarkshire

Re: Beinn Each to Ben Vorlich? I Dread Nought a bit of it!

Postby Borderhugh » Tue Mar 29, 2016 12:32 pm

Thats a great report with great photos. Admire your tenacity to do it by public transport! :clap:
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Borderhugh
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Posts: 324
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Joined: Feb 4, 2012
Location: Stirling :)

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