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Bridge Of Orchy: Beinn Achaladair & Beinn a'Chreachain

Bridge Of Orchy: Beinn Achaladair & Beinn a'Chreachain

Postby jwramsay » Sun Apr 10, 2011 9:07 am

Route description: Beinn Achaladair and Beinn a'Chreachain

Munros included on this walk: Beinn a'Chreachain, Beinn Achaladair

Date walked: 09/04/2011

Time taken: 9 hours

Distance: 19 km

Ascent: 1270m

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The weather forecast for Saturday 9th April 2011 was for wall to wall sunshine in the west, with a day more akin to a Summers day in the pipeline. Peter and I decided to do something big to get back into the swing (my first munros of 2011), so this pair of Beinn Achaladair and Beinn a'Chreachain looked exactly what we were after.

The day started off with mist all the way from Glasgow to the Bridge of Orchy area, but it was obvious that would burn off. Being into photography, we stopped off at Loch Lomond and then Loch Tulla on the way to get some landscapes.

Time to reflect at Loch Lomond:

Beinn Dorain looking good:

Loch Tulla:

The mist is clearing away:

Another nice reflection - Creise:

It is simple to find the start of this walk, at the end of Loch Tulla, turn right (if coming from Glasgow) into a road marked Achaladair, which takes you to a cracking carpark created by the accomodating farmer (I've since read there is an honesty box for donations, so feel guilty that I never saw it!). There is an old ruined tower here.

The sign off the A82 which points the way to the Achaladair farm car-park:

The ruined tower at the car-park:

Very importantly, at this point you need to decide whether to tackle the circular route in a clockwise or anti-clockwise direction. More by accident rather than design we chose the latter, so headed straight up to the Beallach between Beinn Achaladair and Beinn an Dothaidh. In retrospect, I think the clockwise route would have been a better choice, as you walk towards the munros in Glen Lyon. There is one very steep area in this walk and it is just beside the top of Beinn Achaladair. We descended this, it was pretty easy, looking back it looks much steeper. Ascent would be fine too I reckon - there is no exposure.

So, we walked over the bride at the railway line and up the well defined path. This reminded me of Coire Leis with Beinn an Dothaidh being the North face of Ben Nevis and Beinn Achaladair being CMD. Unlike the route at Nevis, you follow the Coire Achaladair all the way to the top. We had a break for lunch behind a large rock, sheltering from the wind sweeping over the top of the beallach.

Beinn a Dothaidh:

Jim Ramsay (me):

Peter Adams:

Waterfall in Coire Achaladair:

The top of the beallach, view back down Coire Achaladair:

Looking over to Beinn a Dothaidh from the top of the beallach:

Then it was a left turn and an ascent along the sweeping ridge of Beinn Achaladair, reaching the first 1002m top soon thereafter. It was at this point that we realised that Beinn a'Chreachain was a fair old distance away and this was going to mean a MAJOR walk back to the car! An older couple we'd met- the woman was 69, decided that was too far for them, so accompanied us to the true summit of Beinn Achaladair (1036m) and then doubled back.

Loch Tulla from the Beinn Achaladair ridge:

The summit of Beinn Achaladair with the Beinn a'Chreachain summit in the far distance!:

Rannoch Moor with Ben Nevis behind:

We began the decent, beside the impressive cliffs to the Meall Buidhe hill, which separates the 2 munros. This is quite steep but not exposed and a great deal of fun. The drop is 700 feet and then you have to ascend Meall Buidhe, walk along another high ride and then only a slight descent to the start of the final push up Beinn a'Creachain to attain the 2nd munro summit of the day, the higher 1081m Beinn a'Chreachain. Elated now that the climbing is over for the day and we have the joy of the long walk back!

Those cliffs at the summit of Beinn Achaladair:

The ridge of Beinn Achaladair:

The descent down and then the haul back up to the distant Beinn a'Chreachain:

Peter engages with a group coming clockwise:

Beinn a'Chreachain:

Glen Lyon with Beinn Heasgarnich:

The summit of Beinn a'Chreachain and looking back to Beinn Achaladair:

The descent from Beinn a'Chreachain:

Just down from the top, we catch our first view of the very impressive Lochan a'Chreachain, glinting in the evening sunshine. We descent down to the burn, but get caught between 2 burns and have to make a tricky descent, burn crossing and ascent.

Looking back up to the top of Beinn a'Chreachain:

Lochan a'Chreachain:

Looking back up the hill:

The route is to follow the burn all of the way to the railway line and then duck down and go through the wee tunnel under the railway. After this, it was a bit of a nightmare, sqwelchy bog in amongst the scotts pine trees. We crossed the river, again no mean feat (just wet feet!) and headed for the obvious land rover track. This splits and heads over a wooden sleeper bridge to head back to the farm carpark. I've never been so glad to see the car!

We started around 11.30am and finished at 8.30pm, it was still daylight. So, a good 9 hour circular walk of 19km and my legs are telling me all about it as I sit here are write this trip report.

My advice would be to head along the farm track and do the clockwise circuit rather than head for the beallach.

Video of our day:

our_route.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Last edited by jwramsay on Sun Apr 10, 2011 7:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bridge Of Orchy: Beinn Achaladair & Beinn a'Chreachain

Postby ChrisW » Sun Apr 10, 2011 10:07 am

Great report JW and some fantastic photo's - love the early reflections and the shots of Lochan a'Chreachain: :D
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Re: Bridge Of Orchy: Beinn Achaladair & Beinn a'Chreachain

Postby kev_russ » Sun Apr 10, 2011 1:32 pm

Some cracking shots there JW :)
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Re: Bridge Of Orchy: Beinn Achaladair & Beinn a'Chreachain

Postby yokehead » Sun Apr 10, 2011 3:34 pm

A great report! 8) Brought back memories of my day on these mountains, we also went round the way you did, but up the NE ridge of Achallader to the summit. A mountain of some character.

Yes it is quite some way from there to Beinn a'Chreachain, then the long walk back. A great day out! :D
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Re: Bridge Of Orchy: Beinn Achaladair & Beinn a'Chreachain

Postby gammy leg walker » Sun Apr 10, 2011 7:55 pm

Great report and cracking pics JW,man it"s good to see summer on the way,spent yesterday and to-day picking up brownie points shopping with Mrs GLW on Sat and to-day gardening and sorting out all my grand weans toys out the back :thumbup: roll on next weekend and the next,and the next,and the next :lol: :lol:
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Re: Bridge Of Orchy: Beinn Achaladair & Beinn a'Chreachain

Postby Peter913 » Sun Apr 10, 2011 8:29 pm

fantastic post there Jim and photos still feeling it after that hard day

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Re: Bridge Of Orchy: Beinn Achaladair & Beinn a'Chreachain

Postby PeteR » Mon Apr 11, 2011 8:46 pm

Great report and pictures :D Brought back great memories of doing these hills three winters ago. First time I'd used crampons. Personally, given the ice that was about, the decent of Beinn Achaladair seemed plenty steep enough to me at the time :shock: A great route though 8)
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Re: Bridge Of Orchy: Beinn Achaladair & Beinn a'Chreachain

Postby rockhopper » Tue Apr 12, 2011 11:37 pm

oops, nearly missed this one (lot of reports just now). Really enjoyed your report - these hills make for a great walk and you got the weather into the bargain.
It's great seeing them in different conditions - was rather white when I was up earlier in winter - cheers :D
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Re: Bridge Of Orchy: Beinn Achaladair & Beinn a'Chreachain

Postby csimbad » Wed Apr 13, 2011 12:13 am

A great report and fantastic pics jw looked a great day. :)
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Re: Bridge Of Orchy: Beinn Achaladair & Beinn a'Chreachain

Postby steven65 » Wed Apr 13, 2011 10:39 pm

I enjoyed your foto`s & video very much Jim :) , you had a great day for it - these 2 are on my radar amoungst others - hopefully doing them before Easter , a nice wee starter before i do the WHW commencing on Tue 3/5.
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