Beinn a'Chochuill and Beinn Eunaich from Dalmally

Munros: Beinn a' Chochuill, Beinn Eunaich

Date walked: 13/08/2017

Time taken: 5.5 hours

Distance: 12km

Ascent: 1216m

Beinn a'Chochuill and Beinn Eunaich sit to the north of the little town of Dalmally. Whilst upon first inspection it is but a roadside town to break up the boundless wild landscape as one nears the coast, Dalmally is a perfectly situated little place for accessing the Cruachan Range and its neighbouring hills.

These are two such hills, often forgotten due to its overbearing neighbour and famous dam of the same name. Beinn a'Chochuill and Beinn Eunaich are a great escape for the day, and more than anything provide stunning views of the Cruachan Ridge and the panoramic which includes Glencoe, Argyll and Bute and the edges of Stirlingshire.

From Tyndrum, continue along the road west, as opposed to taking the road north to Glencoe. It is a stunning road to drive (and I bet a good one to ride a road bike on), as it winds its way towards the coast beneath the likes of Ben Lui and its partners.
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About 11 miles from Tyndrum you'll arrive in Dalmally. A signpost for the Highland Critters Gift Shop stands on the right of the road, indicating the turn-off you should take. Another signpost directs you to Stronmilchan as you approach the junction.

Following the winding single track road you will notice there are a large number of pylons in the area. Although these are the arteries of the Cruachan Dam, they do cast a dreary sight over the otherwise picturesque landscape.

Travel for 2.3 miles down this road where you will see a cattle grid on your right, just before a small bridge. You may notice you are turning back on yourself at this point, but it is here you will stop.

Parking is essentially some grass at the side of the road, but from here you are at the very start of the walk.

Stage 1: Up the Scar

Cross the cattle grid next to where you have parked (pausing to look despondently at the tiny sign at the side of the cattle grid marking the area as a European Union funded environment), and strike out north westward.

Ahead of you, you'll see what looks equivalent to a scar up the hillside to your right. Although this is just the Land Rover track (funny how a car manufacturer has ownership of trail names), it cuts a deep line up the side of the hill. This is your path.

Go through a large gate and begin the gradual ascent up the track. It can be quite steep, despite some reports describing it as an "easy ascent", but it does go up to ~15% gradient. If you have a dog, keep it on the lead, as sheep leap from behind the heathland.
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Into the jaws

As you climb you get this bizarre sensation you are entering a great mouth: the track acts like a tongue, and as you climb higher the glen opens its mouth wide, bearing its teeth that form the Cruachan Ridge and our two hills on the left and right.

Continue along the track and soon it descends slightly, taking you to a small bridge. Here, a track forks left, but keep right and continue. Soon, the path hairpins to the right, which is where your track walking concludes.

Up the hillside

Now the climbing begins in earnest. A small cairn sits 300m after the right hairpin, marking the spot where you begin to climb. There is a very faint path at times, and in wet weather - to which I can attest - it is quite marshy. The ground holds the water like a sponge, and in places it would like to take you down into the mountain, but skirt around these and you will be fine.
Up the hillside

Bear NNW as you climb, and soon you will join a faint path which eventually establishes itself and takes you close to the summit.

A T-junction is reached, from which you can see the path to Beinn Eunaich (989m) strike to your right, but the path towards the summit of Beinn a'Chochuill (980m) bears left. One false summit and you are there, with beautiful views over Glen Etive, Ben Cruachan and Black Mount.

To Beinn Eunaich

Leave the top of Beinn a'Chochuill and return to the junction. Continue heading more or less east, and descend into the bealach. At its lowest, the bealach is around 705m, meaning the climb to the top of Beinn Eunaich is around 284m. A few marshy patches dot the path, but soon there is some scrambling over rocks.
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Junction to Beinn Eunaich

In the damp, these rocks are slippery; covered in moss and lichen, they are a challenge to any good set of boots. The ascent isn't steep, however, nor very taxing, and you are rewarded with a very sudden gratification as the top pops into sight.

Take it the views to the south over Argyll. At this point in our walk, the sun was finally breaking the clouds after a mochie day which had promised good weather, and the warm light was casting long shadows on the mid-August day.

It's straight back down

After taking in the sights and a sandwich (or two) descend over the top in a south westerly direction. If in doubt, bear slightly to the right as you descend; there is a point at which the path disappears but it soon reappears in this direction.

As you near the nose of the hill, the path jumps downwards to the right and boy! Does it go downwards! For those less spry than they used to be, occasional bum slides are acceptable for such descending, but for those with some nerve it is relatively straightforward to skip from platform to platform where the ground has slipped.
The final top

At about -50% gradient at times, it is quite steep, but nothing to difficult - our border terrier managed just fine, as well as the two fiftysomethings in tow. You will now return to the Land Rover track, spat out next to a large cairn marking the exit.

From here, make your way back to the car. How to finish the walk off? Head back to Tyndrum to the Real Food Cafe, and have yourself a burger and a beer. These are not particularly long or challenging hills, but they have their moments, and especially their views.

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Activity: Mountain Walker
Pub: Ben Nevis Inn
Mountain: Ben Nevis
Place: Fort William
Gear: Rab top
Member: None
Ideal day out: Good hard climbs with not too much muddy slogs with the kids and our dog.

Munros: 203
Corbetts: 6
Grahams: 3
Donalds: 5
Sub 2000: 2

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Ascent: 2716m
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Trips: 2
Distance: 32.3 km
Ascent: 943m
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Joined: Jul 16, 2012
Last visited: May 10, 2021
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