walkhighlands

First snows of winter on Cruachan

Route: Ben Cruachan and Stob Daimh

Munros: Stob Daimh

Date walked: 30/10/2019

Distance: 11km

I ate far too much for breakfast (as you do when you're in a B & B) then we drove to Dalmally, stopping at the Green Welly to pick up a sandwich....and never have I felt less in the need of a sandwich - even if it was for later!

We were first at the parking spot at junction of the A85 and B8077 so Ruth had a choice where exactly in that spot to place her car. The gate across the road was open so off we went along the track, looking for the heilan coos I saw the last time I was here to climb Beinn a' Chochuill and Beinn Eunach back in 2011, but they were not to be seen.

On track with Beinn a' Chochuill and Beinn Eunach filling the landscape
IMG_8638.JPG


Ridge we planned to walk up straight ahead
IMG_8639.JPG


Dalmally Horseshoe with a little cloud on top
IMG_8640.JPG


It was Black Panther who put the idea of this walk into my mind, aided and abetted by tweedledog who had offered an apres hill cuppa at his place so we could meet the venerable whippet. I'd decided if it was clear we'd do what's known as the Dalmally Horseshoe the way BP did it, going up the NE ridge and down the SE ridge (missing out the Corbett which BP did).

In the absence of a WH description I found a description of the route the way I wanted to do it on another walking site and printed that out. It said to follow the landrover track towards the mouth of Coire Chreachainn, as far as the bend where it climbs left beside boulders and at that point to leave the track to find a hidden bridge.

In search of a bridge
IMG_8641.JPG


So when we reached a bend beside boulders (although that wasn't definitive as there were so many boulders strewn around) we left the track and followed a faint path in the direction of the river. River duly reached there was no sign of a bridge so we continued upstream until we reached a pipe crossing. I vaguely remembered BP had included a photo of the bridge and it was a proper bridge, not a pipe crossing, and on the other side there was no sign of any path heading up the ridge. This clearly wasn't it.

Not a bridge
IMG_8642.JPG


Close to the pipe crossing there was a track coming down from the original track so we decided to abandon our search for the bridge and head up by the SE ridge instead.

Rather than waste any more time we returned to track
IMG_8643.JPG


Tops now clear
IMG_8644c.JPG


The track led over a bridge (not the one we didn't find) and we looked out for a suitable point to leave it to reach the SE ridge. We could see what may have been an animal track traversing the side of the ridge (albeit in the wrong direction) so climbed up to investigate but as we gained height it made more sense to cut the corner and go straight up. It was steep but easy enough and not too long before we were on the ridge and could see a couple of walkers on the way up ahead of us. They must have parked after us but had made better time without the detour we had searching for the hidden bridge.

Short cut to SE ridge
IMG_8646c.JPG


View other way
IMG_8650c.JPG


Nice ridge once on it
IMG_8652c.JPG


Beinn Eunaich over NE ridge (our planned ascent route)
IMG_8654c.JPG


Around the time we crossed the snow line we sat down to don microspikes, which were helpful and meant no slips. The only snag with them is the build up of snow underneath, like wearing platform soles, which has to be regularly banged off. But for the extra stability they give I'd not be without them.

IMG_8655.JPG


Zoomed to Loch Awe in the gap
IMG_8656.JPG


Munro top Stob Garbh, Stob Daimh, then top Sron nan Isean
IMG_8657c.JPG


Pockets of snow were more than knee-deep
IMG_8659c.JPG


Other parts were wind-scoured
IMG_8660c.JPG


Our objective Stob Daimh
IMG_8662c.JPG


Cruachan reservoir
IMG_8663c.JPG


The wind had strengthened and we could see dark cloud moving in from the north. I wondered if we'd have any views from the top but we made it in time and were in the clear.

Stob Daimh summit (998m)
IMG_8665c.JPG


Ruth
IMG_8666c.JPG


SW to Loch Awe
IMG_8668.JPG


West to Ben Cruachan
IMG_8664c.JPG


Sron nan Isean and NE ridge
IMG_8667c.JPG


SE to Dalmally
IMG_8670c.JPG


South to Stob Garbh
IMG_8669c.JPG


SW to Beinn a' Bhuiridh and Loch Awe
IMG_8675.JPG


Loch Awe with Paps of Jura visible on horizon to the right
IMG_8677c.JPG


One option was to continue over Sron nan Isean and descend by the NE ridge but the dark cloud in that direction wasn't inviting. It was cold and we needed to find some shelter from the wind to eat our Green Welly sandwich so the more sensible option was to retrace our steps. The top part of the SE ridge was steep and snow-covered but at least we'd been up it and could follow our tracks down. So after chatting to a guy doing the more usual Cruachan round we dropped down to find a sheltered spot for lunch.

Handy rocks to sit on and sheltered too
IMG_8679c.JPG


Ben Cruachan from lunch spot
IMG_8676c.JPG


Stob Daimh
IMG_8678c.JPG


Start of the descent
IMG_8680c.JPG


Back down the ridge we came up and steeper than it looks
IMG_8681c.JPG


In a few places indulged in a gentle glissade
IMG_8682c.JPG


Dalmally in the sun
IMG_8683c.JPG


Zoomed to Ben Lui and Beinn a' Chleibh
IMG_8684c.JPG


We eventually came across the traversing deer track we'd seen earlier and followed it down until it fizzled out, from where it was a short yomp over rough ground to the vehicle track. At that point I had that feeling we were home and dry... but we both found it a longer walk from there back to the car than it had felt in the morning.

Pink cloud above where we walked
IMG_8686c.JPG


We'd had a great walk in the snow and had topped our target hill - but the icing on the cake was still to come. When Andy (tweedledog) picked up we were planning this walk he had suggested we call in for a post hill cuppa and more importantly to meet 'The Whippet' who has featured in a number of reports I had commented on. So once we were debooted we made our way towards our rendezvous with Andy and Azul and were treated to a very welcome mug of coffee and very good lemon drizzle cake."This is not just lemon drizzle cake this is M & S lemon drizzle cake" and 14 year old Azul had eyes for nothing else!

Azul with eyes firmly on cake
IMG_8687.JPG


Thank you Andy for the hospitality and gift of your recently published novel "The Zeno Effect" - set in 2029 when the United Kingdom is no longer united - and which I'm looking forward to getting into. Don't know yet what the connection is with Buachaille Etive Mor, but it's good to see it on the front cover!

Not sure if I'm allowed to do this but here's a gratuitous plug.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Zeno-Effect-Andrew-Tudor/dp/1789017319

After seeing no deer all day and not hearing any bellowing (which you expect to hear in October) I'd concluded it wasn't a red deer area but Andy confirmed that it is. He said the bellowing had stopped four days earlier. When not outbellowing each other in the rut a bachelor herd normally hangs out in a field near Castles Farm and as we left Andy's a stag crossed the road in front of us. They must have some serious catching up to do as they have no time during the rut to eat and perhaps with the early autumn they were exhausted and hungry and couldn't quite make it to the end of the month!

Click to mark this as a great report. Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

Comments: 32



Ben Hope for 282 with banner, pipes and mug

Attachment(s) Munros: Ben Hope
Date walked: 21/09/2019
Distance: 7.5km
Comments: 12
Views: 758


From castle to jungle - a work in progress

Attachment(s) Date walked: 10/09/2019
Distance: 24km
Comments: 7
Views: 568


If I'd known what I know now I'd not have gone

Attachment(s) Munros: Binnein Beag
Date walked: 26/08/2019
Distance: 18km
Comments: 12
Views: 1236


168 miles completed while looking for Lizzie

Attachment(s) Date walked: 15/08/2019
Distance: 19km
Comments: 7
Views: 710


1, 2

Reaching Armageddon and calling it a day

Attachment(s) Munros: A' Mhaighdean
Date walked: 02/08/2019
Distance: 40km
Comments: 17
Views: 1262


Perfection on An Socach but bloodshed in Glen Affric

Attachment(s) Munros: An Socach (Affric)
Date walked: 23/07/2019
Distance: 31km
Comments: 11
Views: 1191


Driven here by low cloud and it worked out fine

Attachment(s) Grahams: Meall Doire Faid
Date walked: 19/06/2019
Distance: 10km
Comments: 2
Views: 444


Off bus too soon but great walk by loch and canal

Attachment(s) Date walked: 25/05/2019
Distance: 17km
Comments: 4
Views: 603


Beinn a' Chreachain - antidote to disappointment

Attachment(s) Munros: Beinn a'Chreachain
Date walked: 24/05/2019
Distance: 20km
Comments: 3
Views: 930

dogplodder


User avatar

Munros: 227
Corbetts: 53
Grahams: 16
Wainwrights: 9
Hewitts: 5
Sub 2000: 24
Islands: 21
Long Distance routes: West Highland Way    Great Glen Way    South Loch Ness Trail    Loch Ness 360   



Filter reports


Statistics

2019

Trips: 19
Distance: 326.2 km
Munros: 8
Corbetts: 1
Grahams: 1
Sub2000s: 1

2018

Trips: 31
Distance: 445.5 km
Munros: 9
Corbetts: 1
Sub2000s: 1

2017

Trips: 25
Distance: 241.25 km
Munros: 6
Corbetts: 10
Grahams: 3
Sub2000s: 1
Hewitts: 2
Wainwrights 2

2016

Trips: 40
Distance: 329.5 km
Ascent: 2974m
Munros: 12
Corbetts: 10
Grahams: 3
Sub2000s: 6

2015

Trips: 34
Distance: 255.5 km
Munros: 6
Corbetts: 14
Grahams: 2

2014

Trips: 24
Distance: 171.75 km
Munros: 15
Corbetts: 2
Grahams: 1
Sub2000s: 3
Wainwrights 2

2013

Trips: 17
Distance: 24 km
Munros: 11
Corbetts: 3

2012

Trips: 21
Distance: 194 km
Ascent: 4594m
Munros: 13
Corbetts: 4
Grahams: 1

2011

Trips: 16
Distance: 182 km
Ascent: 1385m
Munros: 22
Corbetts: 1
Grahams: 1

2010

Trips: 10
Distance: 106 km
Ascent: 1025m
Munros: 16

2009

Trips: 8
Distance: 89 km
Munros: 12

2008

Trips: 7
Munros: 11

2007

Trips: 2
Munros: 3

2006

Trips: 2
Distance: 18 km
Munros: 4

2005

Trips: 2
Distance: 17 km
Munros: 2

2004

Trips: 1
Munros: 4

2003

Trips: 1
Munros: 1


Joined: Jul 16, 2011
Last visited: Dec 11, 2019
Total posts: 3513 | Search posts