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Redemption at Vorlich & Co

Redemption at Vorlich & Co

Postby Craig 7483 » Wed Sep 22, 2021 9:00 pm

Route description: Ben Vorlich and Stùc a' Chròin

Munros included on this walk: Ben Vorlich (Loch Earn), Stùc a' Chròin

Date walked: 18/09/2021

Time taken: 5.5 hours

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I was more than happy to revisit this area after an abandoned effort last year due to high winds, horizontal rain and limited visibility in August last year.

I made a summit that time with my friend on Ben Vorlich only and it wasn’t even a debate whether Stuc a’Chroin were to get done once on the top. We took a quick summit photo and headed back the way we came!

It can frustrate when you need to turn back and don’t obtain your intended goal but the hills will still be there tomorrow as they say.

Anyway, Friday evening the weather forecast ticked all the boxes so after an early alarm the following morning, I got my preferred early start and parked at the verges just before 7am.

There are a few signposts to lead you onto the hillpath and from there the path is clear and obvious. I didn’t need to refer to anything for navigational purposes on the road to Vorlich as I could remember the obvious route well from last year. I wasted no time as I had stuff on later that day and reckoned the route was manageable in under six hours. Fewer photos as a consequence but was eager to summit Vorlich early doors and pick up where I left off last time and include Stuc a’Chroin and its prow too.

It had taken an hour and a half to summit Ben Vorlich where I only stopped for a couple of quick water breaks on the way up. I had a quick bite and got my first ever view of Stuc a’Chroin as it was now liberated from cloud from my previous visit.
Ben Vorlich with Stuc a’Chroin in background
Same summit from 12months (and two stone) ago!

Heading down to the bealach, I was in direct gaze of the prow and I kept peering up as I tried to locate a discernible path going up it from a distance. It wasn’t visible but in all honesty, it is quite easy to find after the boulderfield if you remain vigilant. The path weaves up and there comes a bit at a slab that’s a scramble. I faced outwards and swung round and up to get round this bit - I’m not the most fluent at scrambling (work in progress!) and this wasn’t overly difficult, but in my opinion this is the hardest part of Stuc a’Chroin’s fabled prow. It is steep and exposed in places so still merits full attention however.
The prow
Looking down from about midway up

I was glad to get on the summit and took a couple of photos at the summit cairns. I read the walkhighlands report and others as I often do before heading out but the trusty Cicerone book I take with me seems to erroneously point out the cairn on the right being the top.
Stuc a’Chroin summit cairn

I then made my way back using the route avoiding the prow. This part of the walk was really unpleasant until I merged onto the main path heading up to Ben Vorlich.

To begin with, the descent path is steep and very loose. I at times had to lower myself down by angling into the path to prevent slides. Going on all-fives on occasions too when there was nothing on the sides to hold on to. I was then in constant combat contouring Coire Buidhe to stay upright as the path was slippy, soggy and deep with mud at times (unexpectedly, ankle deep on a couple of occasions). People had clearly been moving higher up from the path at times to avoid the worst of it. The path then converges with relief onto the more reliable path that acts as the up and down route to Vorlich.

Further down, grazing cattle were now out between a couple of the stiles that weren’t there earlier that morning. The hillside was now busy and they weren’t bothering anyone but maybe worth highlighting because, if like me, I’m not a fan of walking past them in their territory.
Cows on way back down

I made it back to the car within five and a half hours. Vorlich was worth doing again under more appreciative conditions and the added bonus of getting Stuc a’Chroin made for a decent day on the hills.
Craig 7483
Posts: 22
Joined: Jun 1, 2021

Re: Redemption at Vorlich & Co

Postby The English Alpinist » Fri Sep 24, 2021 4:05 pm

Very interesting to read your report, as I so nearly did these two on the day after you. I opted for Corbetts Benvane & Ledl instead, and then couldn't quite motivate myself to tackle these the next day. Partly because I was slightly concerned how tricky it would be in cloud. Your report makes a nice little anecdote on how good sense and patience pays off, you get a chance to return another time. We certainly have take the rough with the smooth regarding Scottish mountain weather!
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The English Alpinist
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Location: Lancashire England.

Re: Redemption at Vorlich & Co

Postby Craig 7483 » Fri Sep 24, 2021 7:18 pm

Yeah, it’s regrettable but sometimes the about-turn has to be done. In this case I was more confident as I could properly assess Stuc’s prow on the approach. A path wasn’t visible from afar but is apparent once you clear the boulderfield. After the scramble the path is fairly straightforward after that.
Craig 7483
Posts: 22
Joined: Jun 1, 2021

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