walkhighlands

Two Munros and Two Corbetts South of Loch Earn.

Munros: Ben Vorlich (Loch Earn), Stuc a'Chroin
Corbetts: Beinn Each, Meall na Fearna

Date walked: 30/04/2014

Time taken: 8.75 hours

Distance: 32km

Ascent: 1900m

I left St Fillan, situated at the head of Loch Earn, at 0810 on Wednesday 30th April 2014. The plan was to walk a route from St Fillan to Lochearnhead walking over two Corbett's and Two Munros. I had a bus to catch at Lochearnhead at 1705 and therefore I had just under 9 hours to complete this walk. With the calculated ascent and distance I was sure that I had given myself plenty of time but due to the complete clagged in conditions above 500m for the round and the lumpy undulating nature of the terrain, it turned out to be a pretty tight schedule indeed.

The weather was pleasant as I walked along the road which follows the Loch Earn shoreline. The birds were singing and spring was in the air. The weather on Tuesday had been clear skies with blazing sunshine so I wondered if I was going to get a tad sunburnt today, but alas I was sadly mistaken. The weather had turned. It was nice and clear below the hills but around approximately 500m there was a heavy layer of mist consuming all within. I thought to myself that as I progressed the mist would surely lift and the sun would come shining through but this was not to be the case.

The tarmac road runs all the way to Ardvorlich and beyond and the distance to Ardvorlich from St Fillan, where walkers usually park their cars, is approximately 8kms. I was walking at quite a good pace and reckoned this part of the journey would take me 1 hour. As I neared Ardvorlich a Landrover and trailer combination, which had passed me in the opposite direction earlier, pulled up beside me with the driver winding down his window. He said “you are surely tanking along”. Ha ha “wait till you see me struggling later” I said. We had a chat about the walk and he shook his head saying “why don’t you wait till you can see the route. You won't see nothing up there today”. And, ironically, after wishing me a fine day he drove on.

He had a point though. I had planned this route a while ago and had already one failed attempt at it in the snow this year. The sunny weather of yesterday had given false hope about the possible weather conditions and here I was. Should I stop? Would you? I think it takes a lot to stop us walkers. If I was to wait for good weather for my walks then I would never have finished my Munro round. Mind you a walk of this nature in the clag is not always a good idea but hey ho as they say. This was the day and this was the hour and all that.

As I reached the hump back bridge over the Ardvorlich burn there were two cars parked up with walkers getting ready for their Munro fix. I spoke to the lady, I think she spoke with a French accent, briefly and her walk for the day was to be Ben Vorlich. I nodded to the chap and continued on my way. Turning Left off the main track and then taking a Right turn in front of the cottages and then a Left turn in front of Advorlich house, the route clearly signposted at this point. The track meanders along the side of the burn climbing as it goes. After approximately 1.5km the track splits. The right hand fork is the route to Ben Vorlich so I take a Left and continue on my way.

After another kilometer or so and crossing a large wooden bridge the track arrives at a couple of wiers. From here on the track, still an ATV track, is a bit overgrown but can still be followed into the hillside. The terrain is lumpy for want of a better description and the ATV track starts to head of in the direction of Beinn Domhnuill.

I arrived at a large boulder and noticed a steel flask standing upright on top. There was no one around and when I opened the flask it contained cold tea. I decided to remove the flask from the hillside and later I will raise a post on the lost items forum on Walkhighlands. So after stowing the flask in my rucksack, I continue up the Glen for a bit then decide to take a direct route heading Slightly South of East ascending to the beallach below Beinn Domhnuill. At this point I enter the clag. It is also raining very lightly so I stop to put my waterproofs on.

Meal na Fearna is just under 1km away in a Southeasterly direction but I can't see more than maybe 15 metres in any direction. Its a bit debilitating but I have two gps devices with me and a compass. I normally take a map but on this occasion I didn't have one with me. Forgetting the gps location and route identification capabilities of my devices, each of them have full maps on display so it is just as easy to take an approximate compass bearing from them should I not have a gps signal. And unlike maps they are both fully waterproof. If both were to fail I just need to walk North to get back to Loch Earn. But as usual the gps signal was strong and and an accurate fix on my position was evident.

There are some large peat hags on this beallach and they took a bit of meandering to get through. In the process I found myself off course, heading East on a couple of occasions and had to correct my route. However once I started the final ascent up to Meall na Fearna it was pretty much plain sailing and I was soon at the summit. I had allowed 3 hours to get from St Fillan to Meall na Fearna summit and I arrived here 20 minutes ahead of schedule.

It was a little bit windy on top so I take a bearing West and head down the pathless hillside. Its approximately 1km to the base of the Glen dropping 250m and the hillside is not very steep. In fact this would make a good alternative ascent to this Corbett.. It doesn't take long to arrive back in the Glen and I stop for a good break and have some lunch. Cheese and Ham sandwich, some chocolate and some chocolate raisins, a favourite hill food of mine.

My route now is to head directly West climbing a steep 300m up the East flank of Ben Vorlich then join the South East ridge for the final 150m of ascent to the summit. The rain had stopped so I removed my waterproof trousers before ascending as I figured I was going to get pretty hot during the ascent. I came across a couple of rocky crags but it was easy enough to find a route through them. There are two summits to Ben Vorlich, East and West about 20m apart with the trig point on the West summit the recognised top. I arrived at the East summit to be greeted by the two walkers I had met at the car parking area. They may have walked in together and had decided to walk to the second summit just in case it was higher. After a brief chat I continued to the trig point to stop and have more refreshments. I had planned on getting to this point in 4 hours and I was pleased to see that I was pretty much on schedule. Unfortunately the clag had not lifted and the only thing in view was the trig point. After a minute or two the lady came past and headed into a large steep snowfield on the North face making her way down the mountain. I could hear the other walker talking loudly so I think he was talking on the phone. It then went quiet and peace and tranquility returned.

My next target was Stuc a Chroin and I was soon on my way. There is a well eroded path that descends the steep South West face of Ben Vorlich so I could put my mind in neutral and tab on. Care has to be taken but its not too bad. The distance between the summits is just under 2km and the path is well worn. That is until I started to ascend Creag Chassain to get to the North top of Stuc a Chroin.

Just as the path starts a steep ascent there was a large snow field. I didnt want to walk on it and decided to go over the large rocks on the left side. The path was now no where to be seen so I decided just to ascend directly up the prow of the crags. The rock was wet and a bit slippy and it wasn’t one of my best decisions but I had never been up this side of Stuc a Chroin and thought to myself “How hard could it be” hahaha.

After a few scary moments I was at the North top with a small cairn. It was now an easy walk to the summit of Stuc a Chroin and again I was on schedule, 5 hours from St Fillan.

My final summit of the day was to be Beinn Each. I realised that this was not going to be so easy. I had planned for maybe an hour and ten minutes from Stuc a Chroin to Beinn Each but with the clag and route finding it was to take me much longer.

I left Stuc a Chroin heading in a Southwesterly direction trying to keep to the obvious ridgeline as I descended but due to the clag I ended up slightly disorientated and heading in the wrong direction. This part of the ridge around Creag Chroisg is particularly gnarly with crags and clefts and boulders and stuff. I am sure the way forward would be perfectly clear on a good day but hill shapes would appear in the clag completely throwing me off guard. On a number of occasions I found myself traversing around some crag until I arrived at the bealach below Crag Chroisg. I knew I now had to ascend to arrive at the ridgeline that runs to Beinn Each and I duly headed up the clagged in hillside. As I arrived at the spot height, or just below it, I picked up a path that follows the fence line along the ridge. It was now an easy enough walk to Beinn Each but I arrived at the summit a good 30 minutes later than I had planned.

I had initially thought that the complete walk would take me 8 hours and I would have 40 minutes to spare before the bus came but I had now used up most of my spare time and there was nothing for it but to keep going. Mind you there was nothing to see so it pretty much made no difference anyway. After a quick stop to eat the rest of my sandwich and fill my pocket with jelly babies I was again on my way.

I strode down the hillside heading West. The hillside was wet and steep and looking at the map there were a few contours that came pretty close together so I would have to be aware of sudden drops. There were also some very steep crags dropping down the hillside and avoiding them was also in the back of my mind. I hadn’t researched walking routes for this Corbett and if I had I would have been reassured by the good path which ascends the hillside from Glen Ample. As it turned out, I stumbled across the obvious path and although it was going in the wrong direction initially I followed it all the way down into the Glen.

I now had a 10km walk out, along the good but undulating path along Glen Ample out to the A84 and up to the bus stop in Lochearnhead. On the walkout the rain hammered it down but foolishly I couldn't be bothered putting my waterproof trousers back on. The result of which was a shivering cold wet idiot on a bus back to Crieff hahaha.

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Comments: 2



Ben Chonzie and Auchnafree Hill

Attachment(s) Munros: Ben Chonzie
Corbetts: Auchnafree Hill
Date walked: 08/01/2014
Distance: 33km
Ascent: 1500m
Comments: 11
Views: 3785

Montyagain


Activity: Mountaineer
Pub: Clachaig
Mountain: Ben Nevis
Place: Glencoe
Gear: Aldi jacket
Ideal day out: A big round in reasonable weather




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Statistics

2014

Trips: 2
Distance: 65 km
Ascent: 3400m
Munros: 3
Corbetts: 3


Joined: Feb 02, 2014
Last visited: Jul 25, 2018
Total posts: 6 | Search posts