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Beinn Tulaichean & Cruach Ardrain from Inverlochlarig

Beinn Tulaichean & Cruach Ardrain from Inverlochlarig


Postby houdi » Thu Oct 28, 2010 4:37 pm

Route description: Cruach Ardrain and Beinn Tulaichean

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Tulaichean, Cruach Ardrain

Date walked: 19/10/2010

Time taken: 5.5 hours

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Some days things just work out perfectly. Normally, I choose the wrong day or the wrong hill and end up wandering around blindly in the mist, but this particular day turned out just right.
Forecast was for snow showers and, for once, they got it spot on. It started off bright enough with clear blue skies early on. Some good fun later though.

I decided to do these two hills from Rob Roy’s Farm (Inverlochlarig) as it seemed the easier and more scenic option. The drive along the side of Loch Voil (and the smaller Loch Doine) is quite special and leads to a very good car-park just before the farm. Directly across the road from the car-park is the route to Stob Binnein and Ben More via Stob Coire an Lochan and, for those interested, is a superior route to the slog up from Benmore Farm on the main A85.
Access to the hills on this route is along the road and through the farm. Cross the burn and you will notice the owners have kindly erected easily identifiable signposts which direct walkers over a stile, followed by a short stretch beside the Inverlochlarig Burn, before joining up with the wide estate track along the valley. As the sign indicated, this is also the route to Crianlarich via Inverlochlarig Glen, then up and over the beallach between Creagan Dubha and Creagan Liatha and into Benmore Glen. However, none of this is applicable here as the first hill, Beinn Tulaichean rises on the immediate left.

For the first half of the climb there is no path as such. Follow the estate track through the first gate and take to the hill after an initial left hand bend. If you come to another gate, you have gone too far. Backtrack and start climbing the slopes anywhere on a double undulating ridge which becomes craggier higher up. I have indicated the best line on pic Crian2, but this depends on weather factors. The easiest line is up the grassy slopes between the hillocks, but it’s best to go over the tops of these mounds when it’s wet underfoot (most of the time in my experience of Crianlarich).

In Steve Kew’s ‘Walk The Highlands’ book (my personal bible at the moment) he mentions a path further up. What he forgets to say (very naughty of him) is finding this path is down to two essential elements – a fence and a gate. Higher up just before the crags start to get interesting you will come across a fence traversing across the hill in front of you. You can climb over this fence and tackle the steep slops to the summit ridge, but that way is a pathless slog and not recommended. You need to find the gate. If you’ve followed my route so far you will not be able to see the gate, but it is there nonetheless. You have to go to your left. Simply follow the fence in that direction and you will come to that all-important gate. The path directly to the summit is on the other side. It is quite vague in sections and you’ll probably wish you had taken Tonto along with you, but the best advice is ‘if in doubt follow the muddiest line’. The path improves towards the top and winds through the various crags to the summit ridge/plateau whatever you like to call it. The summit cairn is at the far end on a small craggy top.
On the way up the best views are of Loch Voil and the impressive Corbett, Stob a’ Croin, followed by your first glimpse of Ben Lomond. Once on top there are extensive views of most of the Trossach Hills.

The sun was actually shining as I dropped down towards the bealach between the two hills and I almost took my jacket off. Two minutes later I was glad I’d kept it on, particularly as I walked headlong into a heavy snow shower.
I wasn’t unduly worried. Having spent previous escapades with no summit views I was prepared to add Cruach Ardrain to my list of clag covered tops. And I was enjoying the novelty of the year’s first snowfall outside of the Cairngorms. South Devon doesn’t do snow. Last winter was the first time it snowed in the coastal towns during my 15 years. It was barely an inch deep and lasted one day. Yes, it snows on Dartmoor occasionally but you can’t get up there to enjoy it because the main Haytor road is always blocked by the entire population of Torbay taking their cars up there and abandoning them everywhere. And all the other roads are blocked by snow because the council’s idea of snow clearing is to send a grit lorry over the top of them. I am looking forward to the time when someone on the council has a brainwave and mentions the words ‘snow plough’ to the committee.

On the way up Cruach Ardrain I passed a couple of walkers doing the route in reverse. They smiled when they saw me. Struggling head-on against the wind and the worst of the weather, I looked a bit like a snowman.
By the time I’d doglegged my way to the summit the snow had stopped, leaving a thin covering on the higher tops, and the cloud was starting to lift. And then the sun came out. I stood in front of the summit cairn watching the cloud clearing away from Ben More and Stob Binnein. The sun was directly behind me creating a Brocken Spectre as the last of the cloud drifted across the valley below. This was my second Brocken Spectre experience (the first was on the Aonach Eagach) and a sort of perpetual one is it kept disappearing and reappearing as the cloud filtered through.

I had views in every direction and I even got to see what Beinn a’ Chroin looked like minus the clag. On the way down, the sun was already melting the snow away and the skies were blue again. There was still a lot of cloud over the north-western hills though and I figured it would only be a brief respite.
The descent from the bealach to the estate track in Inverlochlarig Glen was nice and easy, sticking to a visible path which followed several burns down to the valley floor.
And then it was on to the Rob Roy bar in Kinghouse for a pint of shandy to discover I wasn’t barred after my recent ridiculing of the Scottish Premier League. Maybe they had a sense of humour after all?

Driving back along Loch Earn there was a huge swirl of cloud on Ben Vorlich but still blue skies elsewhere. I started off this walk early. Anyone leaving it later might well have enjoyed the best of the weather but they missed all the fun. Yes, it’s nice to get clear conditions but, sometimes, it’s even better to get a bit of everything.

Crian1.JPG
A reflective Loch Voil.


Crian2.JPG
Follow the red route.


Crian3.JPG
Bonsai tree Highland style.


Crian4.JPG
Loch Voil from the lowers slopes of Beinn Tulaichean.


Crian5.JPG
A cloudy Ben Lomond from Beinn Tulaichean summit cairn.


Crian6.JPG
Heading for Cruach Ardrain - don't know what that phallic shadow is all about, but it's got nothing to do with me. Honest!


Crian7.JPG
Snow shower's coming!


Crian8.JPG
Cruach Ardrain.


Crian9.JPG
Probably the only snow I'll see this year.


Crian10.JPG
Okay, so I've got a summit cairn fetish. It doesn't make me a bad person.


Crian11.JPG
It's one of those things again.


Crian12.JPG
Looking West.


Crian13.JPG
Snow's melting already.


Crian14.JPG
Ben More & Stob Binnein from Cruach Ardrain summit.


Crian15.JPG
Beinn Tulaichean & Stob a' Croin.


Crian16.JPG
Three Peaks!


Crian17.JPG
Ben Ledi (I think).


Crian18.JPG
Beinn a' Chroin & An Caisteal.


Crian19.JPG
Distant shot to the Arrochar Alps.


Crian20.JPG
Ben Lomond.


Crian21.JPG
Snow showers over Stob Binnein.


Crian22.JPG
Snow's all gone.


Crian23.JPG
You know what they say? - If you don't like the Highland weather, wait five minutes.


Crian24.JPG
My fan club!
houdi
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Re: Beinn Tulaichean & Cruach Ardrain from Inverlochlarig

Postby mountain coward » Thu Oct 28, 2010 4:50 pm

A great humourous report that! :lol: Especially the phallic shadow, whatever it was! That garden rock in your photo is great - we have those (in the Lakes) and they're never as spectacular as that one - such a small area of rock top and such a lot of plantlife! There is one really great garden rock in Upper Eskdale though.

I'm not surprised you don't have snowploughs if you only get one day of snow a year. I think I'll have to move down your way - we (in Yorkshire) had a month of solid snow. It snowed at least a couple of days a week to add to it and in between it froze hard. That's the second year that's happened up here! We're just not used to it...

That's the route I should have taken to those 2 mountains (as I commented in my report a couple of weeks back) - it looks far superior to the walk from Crianlarich! We didn't get that weather though - we got what you usually get - I've done most of my Munros in clag so far in fact. It looks great when you can see it looking at your photos so thanks for that :D

While I'd recommend Stobinian from that side, i wouldn't recommend Ben More from there I don't think - wouldn't you have to do the 1000 foot drop between the 2 twice then? Or can you get back from the valley which you drop down from the col to?
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Re: Beinn Tulaichean & Cruach Ardrain from Inverlochlarig

Postby monty » Thu Oct 28, 2010 5:13 pm

Excellent report Houdi, You really were exposed up there :lol: :lol: Was that three seasons in one day?

I done this round of munros from your starting point on the 8th May in glorious sunshine. :D MC, I think it is a better way of doing Ben More and Stob Binnein because you can drop down into Inverlochlarig Glen to walk back out again. Its a nice Glen. :D
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Re: Beinn Tulaichean & Cruach Ardrain from Inverlochlarig

Postby kinley » Thu Oct 28, 2010 5:30 pm

Nice one :thumbup:

We were up that way at the weekend - nice part of Scotland. That looked a particularly mixed bag of weather you got there :lol:

Cheers 8)
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Re: Beinn Tulaichean & Cruach Ardrain from Inverlochlarig

Postby Bay Bloke » Thu Oct 28, 2010 5:43 pm

monty wrote:Excellent report Houdi, You really were exposed up there :lol: :lol: Was that three seasons in one day?

I done this round of munros from your starting point on the 8th May in glorious sunshine. :D MC, I think it is a better way of doing Ben More and Stob Binnein because you can drop down into Inverlochlarig Glen to walk back out again. Its a nice Glen. :D


I agree Inverlochlarig Glen is a nice spot but I found it really boggy and energy sapping - I couldn't find any trace of a path until you hit the landrover track a good bit in. I think you need to keep well right to hit the track otherwise it could be difficult to cross the burn further down.

If you are only doing Stob Binnein then it be would far better to retrace your steps, if you go onto Ben More then you're stuffed either way!!
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Re: Beinn Tulaichean & Cruach Ardrain from Inverlochlarig

Postby mountain coward » Thu Oct 28, 2010 5:49 pm

I'm definitely going to do Stobinian again from that side as the views are so much better from there I think... but it will probably be a few years off before I do it again...
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Re: Beinn Tulaichean & Cruach Ardrain from Inverlochlarig

Postby houdi » Thu Oct 28, 2010 9:34 pm

Thanks for all the great comments folks.
MC - I came back to the bealach from Ben More and dropped right down to the bottom of the valley, heading left as I neared the bottom to avoid the crags. There is a small ridge/bealach to negotiate which takes you straight into Inverlochlagin Glen. The burn starts on the slopes on the other side of this bealach, so keep right as you make your way over it and you will be on the right side of the burn for the estate track which starts a little way down the valley from here. It wasn't wet or boggy when I did it, but it was in August. Other than that it's a good way back to the car-park and definitely easier than going back up Stob Binnein.

Oh, and extra thanks Kinley. I've just read your report on the Ochils from Tilicoultry and that phallic thing is some kind of mountain shadow phenomenon. You have called it a K shadow? Not sure exactly what it is but my boasting plan has gone right out of the window :lol:
houdi
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Re: Beinn Tulaichean & Cruach Ardrain from Inverlochlarig

Postby mountain coward » Thu Oct 28, 2010 10:48 pm

:lol: I still think you were holding something huge and phallic to cause that shadow! :lol:

I don't think I'll be bothering with Ben More again, just Stobinian - nothing against Ben More but I don't intend to re-do most of the Munros I've done, only the special ones - and I class Stobinian as very special! :D And I really fancied the look of the ridge leading away from Stob Coire an Lochain towards Inverlochlarig end :D
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Re: Beinn Tulaichean & Cruach Ardrain from Inverlochlarig

Postby houdi » Thu Oct 28, 2010 11:12 pm

Luckily I'm not in Glencoe this weekend then :D
I am in Scotland but will not be heading for the Highlands as the weather forecast is diabolical. Hope you manage to stay dry and don't get caught in a Hurricane. I'm off to do the Pentlands instead, and maybe Tinto if I'm feeling energetic. Yeah, okay, so I'm a fair weather walker.
houdi
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Re: Beinn Tulaichean & Cruach Ardrain from Inverlochlarig

Postby mountain coward » Thu Oct 28, 2010 11:18 pm

Noone can blame you for being a fairweather walker and Tinto looks really nice each time I drive past in lovely weather to get to the Highlands and be greeted with more clag! Still, that's what a high concentration of mountains does I suppose...
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Re: Beinn Tulaichean & Cruach Ardrain from Inverlochlarig

Postby houdi » Thu Oct 28, 2010 11:27 pm

Glecoe is my favourite part of Scotland but the routes I really want to do are not suited to bad weather. Might do something there at Christmas/New Year, if not it'll be next May. Hope you all have a brilliant time this weekend whatever the weather.
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Re: Beinn Tulaichean & Cruach Ardrain from Inverlochlarig

Postby kinley » Thu Oct 28, 2010 11:33 pm

I'm sure we'll manage to have some fun :lol:

Forecast isn't too bad :)
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Re: Beinn Tulaichean & Cruach Ardrain from Inverlochlarig

Postby houdi » Thu Oct 28, 2010 11:40 pm

Yeah, Met office, what the hell do they know? They change their minds from one minute to the next. I'm sure they were all Lloyds bankers in a previous life.
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