Ben Vorlich & Stuc A Chroin

Route: Ben Vorlich and Stuc a'Chroin

Munros: Ben Vorlich (Loch Earn), Stuc a'Chroin

Date walked: 12/05/2012

Time taken: 6.5 hours

Distance: 13.5km

Ascent: 1145m

My original plan for this weekend was to go up to Loch Awe and do the Cruachan horseshoe (scene of a previous failed attempt :( ) but the weather forecast was putting me off again. Friday night I was browsing the Munro map searching for my best options and these 2 Munros just called out to me! MWIS forecast was 80% chance of a cloud free Munro for this area, so that decided it. Alarm set for 6.30am.

6.20am I was awake and raring to go, everything was in the car, Foo Fighters on the CD player and the Sun was shining......Great! :D There is no traffic anywhere at that time in the morning so I was at Ardvorlich House by 7.40am. Only me, and a Father and Son fishing, so no competing for parking space. I could see some snow on top, but figured it would be soft so I left the heavy gear in the car.


I can understand why this route up Ben Vorlich is popular as the path was excellent and without having to worry about path finding I could really appreciate the sunshine and the views. Ben Vorlich looked fantastic in the Sunshine and the views north to the Lawers and Tarmachan ranges were great.

Ben Vorlich

Lochearn with Tarmachans & Ben Lawers Range.jpg
Looking north

I thought I was going to be the first up this morning, but as I passed the path that would be my return route I saw another chap on the way down, how keen is that?? Not to worry though, he'd just done a quick up and down of Ben Vorlich before going shopping. Not my idea of fun. About 20mins later I hit the snow line and no probs reaching the summit trig point by 10am.

In the snow line heading to the 1st summit

The snow at the top was fresh and just waiting for me to leave a single line of foot prints marking my way towards the bealach on the way to Stuc A Chroin.

Snow on Ben Vorlich

Top of Ben Vorlich (Camera on trig)

Stuc a'Chroin

Stuc a Chroin from Ben Vorlich.jpg
Stuc a'Chroin Panorama from Ben Vorlich

I quickly saw what I had been looking forward to i.e. the steep scrambly prow of Stuc A Chroin. There wasn't a lot of snow on it that I could see, though, I couldn't see the route up either until I was at the boulder field. I don't think at any point considered avoiding this in favour of the Scree path and I was also convinced that I would return via the same route, so I dumped my rucksack behind a rock to collect later.

Stuc a'Chroin (Scrambly bit)

Un hampered by my rucksack I made quick progress and it felt good using my hands for a change. There were a few smatterings of snow here and there but nothing to worry about. I reached the first wee step and remember thinking "Gosh its steep" :shock: (censored for more sensitive viewers) when looking down. Once over that I thought, "maybe I’ll come back via the scree path" and walk back for my bag, no sense in putting myself at risk of falling when it’s not necessary (and on my own).

It became clear that there was more snow than I had thought from here on in. I kept losing the route and figured the easiest and safest route was to head up a small gully. The snow was quite slippy and wet and a few times I was on my knees (2 hand / 2 feet / 2 knees = 6 points of contact) thinking “I can't turn back!". To be honest though, by taking my time and making sure I had good hand holds, I did enjoy the rest of the climb and it was no bother which meant I was at the summit by midday. 2 Munros by noon, I was impressed with myself and felt the need to phone my Dad for some male appreciation!

Summit cairn (Stuc a'Chroin)

As I said, I was definitely going down via the scree path and quickly because I was getting hungry and my lunch was in my bag (only a pack of extra strong mints to keep me going). On my way down I saw a few others just getting to the bottom of the scramble and wouldn’t have minded watching them make their way up, but somehow I couldn't see them by the time I collected my bag.

Time for a Ginsters Cornish Pasty and a sit in the sun admiring the view south. I had considered doing these 2 from Callander but thought the walk in would be to long and boring on my own. At least from here I could see the 2 ridges that would have been taken and was able to reflect that the popular route up Ben Vorlich and the on, was the best option for me.

The rest of the route from here on was just contouring round the 2 coires back to the main path to Ardvorlich Hse. As I said, a very popular route, as evidenced by the ant like string of walkers heading to the top of Ben Vorlich and the line of cars along the single track road.

Had I planned this better I might have considered continuing on from Stuc A'Chroin to bag a Corbett (Beinn Each) and then made my way up Glenample, but time was short as usual and I don't know how I would have got back to the car anyway, but I think it would have been an adventure all the same.

Again, another fantastic day out in the hills. Next up?? Well Ben More & Stob Binnien again looked enticing or maybe the Lawers 5? I will have to put a date in my diary and hope for good weather.

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Comments: 6

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Location: Bishopbriggs
Occupation: Radiographer
Interests: Hill Walking / Cycling / Obsessing about either!
Activity: Mountain Walker

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