walkhighlands

Cruinn a'Bheinn and The World's Steepest Track

Grahams: Cruinn a'Bheinn

Date walked: 29/05/2021

Time taken: 5.6 hours

Distance: 13.8km

Ascent: 800m


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Had an unexpected free Saturday at the end of May, so it was time to finally climb a hill that had been on my lift for years. Cruinn a'Bheinn is firmly in the shadow of the steep steep sides of Ben Lomond, but I figured the view of The Ben from Cruinn would be worth the climb alone. Also the Champions League final that night was Chelsea vs. Manchester City, which couldn't have interested me any less. :?

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I made it to Inversnaid for the first time ever, after seeing it across the lochs about a million times from buses and trains. Didn't want to overcomplicate things by going inside though. #StaySafe

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The picture postcard view of the Arrochar Alps (ignore the power station thing on the right).

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The West Highland Way leads South to Cailness for 3km. It's very undulating so maybe a bit deceptive, but there are great openings at a few points.

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I reached Cailness after about 40 minutes, but struggled to find the start of the zig-zag track. It's to the North of the house but hidden away a little.

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Some trolls from the Disney epic "Frozen" come to say hello.

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This is the start of the path just before Cailness. It's quite subtle and not too clear for the first minute or so, but after you reach a gate it turns into a proper track.

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WhAt CoUlD tHaT hIlL bE?!?!?!? :wink:

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I don't think it was mentioned in the Andrew Dempster guidebook (which seems to suggest that Cruinn a'Bheinn could be climbed in "3-4 hours"?!? :shock: ) but the track is actually really tough. It's a proper route, but in terms of the steepness and effort I've never known a track like it. Each stretch seemed to go on forever...

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...before finally I emerged at the top of the slope at 350m, with the moorland ahead and Cruinn a'Bheinn behind. You actually can't see the hill from Inversnaid, so it was quite the reveal.

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Since it was a clear day it was a case of just heading straight for the hill (avoiding the small cliffs by heading up through the middle) and trying to steer clear of the worst bogs. There was a trace of a path at first but it didn't seem to last long.

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Eventually I ended up next to the old fenceline as it headed straight up towards the dome of Cruinn a'Bheinn.

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Not many photos at this point as the climb was steep (and I was still exhausted from the track...!) but within a few minutes I was up on the summit dome. I thought I was having to fight through a series of false summits, but in fact the next rise ahead was...

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...the real summit! 8) And what a view to go with it.

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Somewhere down there, completely hidden from view, is Inversnaid.

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It was a hot day at the end of May, but there was still a wee patch of snow near the summit of The Ben.

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It's the sort of summit that you could stay at for hours, but eventually I tore myself away for the descent.

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Oh, the track again. :crazy:

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This was a bit of a random sign. I think it was pointing up the other way towards Cruachan, which must be very rarely climbed.

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Just another 3km of the West Highland Way to go then. At least I'm facing the right way now!

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The high road or the low road?

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This was a loooong last stretch (at least psychologically), but the views at the end were tremendous.

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Good luck getting out of that! :? Or maybe that's the coach driver's car?

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Braw. 8)

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It was a longer climb than I'd thought (some of the time estimates in that guidebook are...interesting?) but was a great afternoon. Obviously Cruinn a'Bheinn gets completely overlooked because it's next door to the main event, and it's miles from any road (unless you've got a boat handy), but it's a Loch Lomond hill so the views are incredible. The views of The Ben are a highlight in particular. A Europa League hill on Champions League Final Day, but then there's nowt wrong with the Europa League... :D

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Craiging619


User avatar
Location: Glasgow
Occupation: GIS Technician
Activity: Hill Bagger
Mountain: Goatfell
Place: Arran
Camera: iPhone 7
Walk wishlist

Munros: 57
Corbetts: 31
Grahams: 30
Donalds: 14
Sub 2000: 21
Islands: 21



Filter reports


Statistics

2021

Trips: 3
Distance: 36.5 km
Ascent: 2365m
Grahams: 3
Sub2000s: 1

2020

Trips: 2
Distance: 15.2 km
Ascent: 1360m
Munros: 2

2019

Trips: 3
Distance: 19.35 km
Ascent: 1690m
Corbetts: 1
Grahams: 1
Sub2000s: 1

2018

Trips: 3
Distance: 20.9 km
Ascent: 1330m
Corbetts: 1
Donalds: 1
Sub2000s: 1

2017

Trips: 5
Distance: 68.45 km
Ascent: 3523m
Munros: 9
Grahams: 1
Donalds: 1

2016

Trips: 3
Distance: 28.05 km
Ascent: 1770m
Munros: 2
Grahams: 1
Sub2000s: 1

2015

Trips: 3
Distance: 33.7 km
Ascent: 2180m
Munros: 5
Sub2000s: 1

2014

Trips: 6
Distance: 79.3 km
Ascent: 5070m
Munros: 3
Corbetts: 5

2013

Trips: 14
Distance: 205.05 km
Ascent: 12755m
Munros: 8
Corbetts: 6
Grahams: 7
Donalds: 2

2012

Trips: 3
Distance: 52.9 km
Ascent: 3650m
Munros: 3
Corbetts: 1
Grahams: 1
Donalds: 1

2011

Trips: 9
Distance: 122.8 km
Ascent: 8555m
Munros: 3
Corbetts: 5
Grahams: 6
Donalds: 1
Sub2000s: 1

2010

Trips: 5
Distance: 66.2 km
Ascent: 2950m
Corbetts: 1
Grahams: 3
Donalds: 4
Sub2000s: 1

2009

Trips: 1
Distance: 7.6 km
Ascent: 450m
Sub2000s: 1

2008

Trips: 2
Distance: 25.85 km
Ascent: 2545m
Munros: 2
Grahams: 1

2007

Trips: 1
Distance: 12 km
Ascent: 990m
Munros: 1

2003

Trips: 1
Distance: 11 km
Ascent: 420m
Corbetts: 1
Donalds: 1


Joined: Jul 21, 2009
Last visited: Dec 02, 2021
Total posts: 160 | Search posts