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Beinn a' Chreachain - antidote to disappointment

Beinn a' Chreachain - antidote to disappointment


Postby dogplodder » Thu Jul 11, 2019 11:00 pm

Route description: Beinn Achaladair and Beinn a'Chreachain

Munros included on this walk: Beinn a' Chreachain

Date walked: 24/05/2019

Distance: 20 km

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Not that a beautiful, midge free walk in the Etive hills could ever be classed as a failure. But Beinn Fhionnlaidh was fresh in my pal's mind and I suspect she thought of it as a fail.

https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=88809

The effects of that day lingered - the disappointment of not reaching the top and the niggling fear of it happening again. So a priority for the days ahead would be to identify achievable goals that would restore flagging confidence and persuade her it wasn't time to hang up her hill boots quite yet!

The Cobbler with its excellent path was a good start and even Meall Glas with its moat of peat hags was fine. But what to do next? We discounted the two to the east of Ben Lui as their approaches get a bad press for mud, giving us flashbacks to the forest of gloop going up Lui.

I quite fancied Beinn Achaladair and Beinn a' Chreachain. We had climbed the other Orchy hills but these two were still unclaimed. Sensing the full round might not appeal I suggested we do just one as an out and back. From the map it looked like Achaladair might be the easier option with no river crossing. But on closer inspection the likelihood of bogginess on the approach to Achaladair steered us towards a' Chreachain.

Orchy hills looking appealing from WHW a year earlier
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The next thing to check was the weather. Friday was the day that fitted best but would the weather co-operate? The day before was overcast and wet around Arrochar but the forecast around Bridge of Orchy looked promising. There was to be mist at lower levels in the morning but MWIS was predicting almost certain clear Munro tops. Was there just possibly a chance of a lower inversion? I'm always hopeful.

We parked at the new car park where we met a man and his dog who had driven down from Dingwall that morning on the basis of the good forecast. It was reassuring that he had, as the cloud was sitting firmly on the tops and ground level was mist free - not what we'd been led to expect. We set off with me fairly confident it would shift and my pal less so.

Just past Achaladair Farm there was a sign on a gate saying no dogs allowed as the route ahead went through a sheep grazing area. We could see the guy we'd met at the car park putting his dog on the lead but he didn't turn back. We could sympathise as it would have been a tough call for him to have to abort the walk after driving so far. Not sure what the legal position is though. Farmers aren't keen on dogs being around during lambing as even the sight of a dog can cause problems.

When we reached the ford we got across with dry feet.

Ford
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Beinn Achaladair with cloud on top
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For the first couple of hours Moira was uncharacteristically quiet. She said afterwards she was anxious about the climb ahead. For me her low mood meant I was anxious the cloud would shift or I'd be in the soup! I wasn't worried about the climb - I was worried about pressuring her into a day she wouldn't enjoy!

We easily spotted the path off the track to the now obsolete bridge and walked along a little to find a suitable place to cross. There was a bit too much water to attempt a boots crossing so the sandals went on (a big help on slippy rocks) and over we went. That obstacle past we found a rough path up towards the railway underpass.

Water of Tulla crossing point
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Once over the Water of Tulla we were on the edge of the Black Wood of Rannoch, a remnant of the ancient Caledonian pine forest which once covered Scotland.

Black Wood of Rannoch and Achaladair with less cloud
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We followed the path alongside a deer fence, passed two stiles and continued uphill beside the burn. I hadn't expected the path to be as good as it was and it continued all the way to a crossing point further up. There were even a couple of posts pointing the way!

Helpful post
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Zoomed to Loch Tulla
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Series of steps on Allt Coire an Lochain
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By this point the views were opening up and I spotted some flat stones that were just asking to be sat on so suggested we stop for a bite to eat. The climb up to the ridge would potentially be energy sapping so getting some fuel in would be a good plan.

Pit stop to admire view of the Black Mount
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Stob a' Choire Odhair, Creise, Meall a' Bhuiridh, Stob Dearg
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I was greatly relieved to see that our hills were now clear. The forecast was proving correct.

Beinn Achaladair now clear
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Lone pine
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It was a delightful spot and we probably lingered longer than we should before getting going again. The path continued up the right side of the burn until the gradient eased at a grassy area. We could have continued a bit further on this side but I could see a gully ahead so thought we'd better look for a crossing point before reaching it. There was an easy crossing point just below a waterfall and a slight climb up the bank on the other side.

IMG_7872-largec.JPG


Once over the burn we looked for the best line to take up the open slopes. To make things more manageable we set ourselves targets of reaching certain rocks and had a few breaks on the way up. We were determined to do all we could to prevent a repeat of Fhionnlaidh when the combination of ascent and a warm day had done Moira in.

View from slopes of Coire an Lochain
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Zoomed over Rannoch Moor to Stob Dearg (Big Bookil) and Beinn a' Chrulaiste
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As we gained height we stumbled on a faint path that traversed towards the right to reach the ridge heading up Beinn a' Chreachain. Having a path was certainly easier than making your own way over uneven grass.

Once on the ridge it was great to see views to the south as well as down into the corrie's lochan. It was also much cooler with quite a strong breeze and the going was firmer, even rocky higher up. Beinn a' Chreachain is meant to mean the hill of the rocks so it would have been a bit surprising not to find some rockiness up there.

Lochan a' Chreachain
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South east to Loch Lyon
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West to Beinn Achaladair
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It wasn't long before we reached the summit cairn from where we could enjoy 360 degree views.

Loch Lyon from Beinn a' Chreachain summit (1081m)
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View south
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View north
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Start of the descent
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We made much better time on the way down, lured on by the thought of fish and chips at the Real food Cafe in Tyndrum!

Sparkling like a jewel
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Taking off our boots and out of the breeze at the river crossing made us a target for hordes of hungry midges - the first we were bothered with all day - but it certainly motivated us to get over the river and boot up again quickly. Once walking at speed on the track we soon left the pests behind to attack their next victim. The views of 'our hills' as we returned to Achaladair Farm made me think about coming back to approach Achaladair from the other side, wet path or not. They are absolutely lovely hills.

Beinn Achaladair
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Hopefully we'll be back to finish the round
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Once in the car it wasn't long before we were sitting in the Real Food Cafe enjoying the best plate of fish (in breadcrumbs, the way we like it) and chips with homemade tartare sauce we'd ever had! But of course there's nothing like a day in the hills to work up an appetite so it maybe wasn't a fair contest.

We'd had a great day and I think Moira's confidence was well and truly restored. Now we're planning a walk from the road end to An Socach in Glen Affric!
Last edited by dogplodder on Sat Nov 30, 2019 12:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Beinn a' Chreachain - antidote to failure

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Fri Jul 12, 2019 2:09 pm

Congrats to you both for overcoming what could have been a real downer for Moira - and especially congrats to Moira for keeping going. I must admit there are times on the hills when I wonder if I can ever make the summit, declare this will be my last hill ever ... but then by the time I reach the summit that person who was going to give up has vanished :shock: :lol:

Being a'Chreachain looks lovely and as I haven't done this pair your detailed report is really helpful. :clap:

About the same time that you were in the Glen Orchy hills we attempted to go up Beinn Chabhair from Inverarnan, at the start of the walk there were large notices saying 'No Dogs - not even on leads'. The previous day on a few miles south on Ben Vorilich we' met a party of walkers as we came off the summit, one of who complimented us on our well behaved dogs. My response was they were well behaved on the lead, and they were on the lead because of the sheep & lambs around. The guy laughed at this and said it was as well as the farmer who owned the sheep was coming up the path just behind him :shock: :D. We stopped and had a very friendly chat with the farmer, who as a keen hillwalker didn't object to us and the dogs on his land, but did admit that just after lambing he would prefer no dogs because the ewes can panic even with dogs on leads and abandon their offspring. So on seeing the notices at the start of the Beinn Chabhair route we opted to take a boat trip across Loch Lomond and walk part of the route of the WHW along the east side of Loch Lomond instead. I can sympathise with both the farmer and the walker in your report, but as for the law :? :?
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Re: Beinn a' Chreachain - antidote to failure

Postby dogplodder » Wed Jul 17, 2019 5:11 pm

Huff_n_Puff wrote:Congrats to you both for overcoming what could have been a real downer for Moira - and especially congrats to Moira for keeping going. I must admit there are times on the hills when I wonder if I can ever make the summit, declare this will be my last hill ever ... but then by the time I reach the summit that person who was going to give up has vanished :shock: :lol:

Being a'Chreachain looks lovely and as I haven't done this pair your detailed report is really helpful. :clap:

About the same time that you were in the Glen Orchy hills we attempted to go up Beinn Chabhair from Inverarnan, at the start of the walk there were large notices saying 'No Dogs - not even on leads'. The previous day on a few miles south on Ben Vorilich we' met a party of walkers as we came off the summit, one of who complimented us on our well behaved dogs. My response was they were well behaved on the lead, and they were on the lead because of the sheep & lambs around. The guy laughed at this and said it was as well as the farmer who owned the sheep was coming up the path just behind him :shock: :D. We stopped and had a very friendly chat with the farmer, who as a keen hillwalker didn't object to us and the dogs on his land, but did admit that just after lambing he would prefer no dogs because the ewes can panic even with dogs on leads and abandon their offspring. So on seeing the notices at the start of the Beinn Chabhair route we opted to take a boat trip across Loch Lomond and walk part of the route of the WHW along the east side of Loch Lomond instead. I can sympathise with both the farmer and the walker in your report, but as for the law :? :?


Thanks for this Liz and will pass on encouragement to Moira. :)
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Re: Beinn a' Chreachain - antidote to disappointment

Postby dogplodder » Sat Nov 30, 2019 12:59 pm

Changed the title of this as it looked plain wrong - no walk is a failure. 8)
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