Camping on the Orchy 5

Munros: Beinn a' Chreachain, Beinn Achaladair, Beinn an Dòthaidh, Beinn Dòrain, Beinn Mhanach

Date walked: 03/08/2014

Time taken: 45 hours

Distance: 40km

Ascent: 2827m

Mrs Santa will link to this report later when she gets the necessary lead to download the gps route.
After 2 breakfasts and a journey we headed into the Real Food Café for some proper tea. It was way too early and a bit like an eastbound international flight when all the meals concertina on each other and you get uncomfortably full, but necessary to preload with a proper meal before all those snacky meals we’d be having later.
We set off around 6pm planning to have a base camp between Beinn Achaladair and Beinn an Dothaidh in Coire Daingean.
The first bit of path across the bog had a long leafed sundew growing there right in the middle. I saw a piccy of one on someone’s report fairly recently and so I knew straight away. Thanks to that person – I can’t remember who it was now.
DSCN2208 (690x518).jpg

The rain was on and off but nothing too bad.
DSCN2210 (690x518).jpg
A bit of sunshine

DSCN2209 (690x518).jpg

There was a lot of water in the burns though and we couldn’t get across the ford so went straight up to the right of the bigger burns.
A big fat green caterpillar turned out to be an Empire Moth caterpillar (I think).
DSCN2212 (690x518).jpg

As we approached the beallach the rain decided it was definitely on, so we pitched the tents asap finding a couple of perfect mossy hummocks for the site. The tents got soaked inside and out and we had to mop them out. Mrs Santa’s e-cloth was amazing at mopping a lot of water even when it was soaked already.
We kept getting woken in the night by blustery squalls trying to flatten the tent, but it was good and held well. All the burns were making a huge roaring noise all night. No thunder though.
We weren’t in a hurry to get going in the morning because the MWIS said it would get dry a few hours after sunrise, so when we did finally set off we thought it would clear any moment.
We took the stalkers’ path around the east of Beinn Achaladair until it met the fence, and we followed the fence line down to the beallach and round to the NE slopes of Beinn a’ Chuirn, which we bypassed on our way to Beinn Mhanach. It was fairly heavy going and even though we expected the rain to stop and the clouds to clear any minute, they just weren’t listening. I didn’t take any pictures because of the non-existent view. We returned to the beallach the same way and carried on along the fence, contouring round Beinn Achaladair to reach Beallach an Aoghlain between Achaladair and Meall Buidhe. It was a nice walk along the proper path at the top but it would have been way nicer with a view. We were so optimistic that the view would appear at each summit, but Beinn a’ Chreachain was engulfed too. We went the wrong way off Beinn a’ Chreachain for a short time until we realised there shouldn’t be a cliff at our left. Finally the rain stopped and the clouds started to break up and at quarter to four we finally got our view from the summit of Beinn Achaladair, where I could wave to my friend Sally who was up Ben Nevis with some teenage relatives. It’s amazing how your spirits lift when there’s a view and the water stops trickling down your back and legs!
DSCN2219 (690x518).jpg
Loch Tulla from Beinn Achaladair

DSCN2220 (690x518).jpg
Over the Black Mount to Rannoch Moor

DSCN2221 (690x518).jpg
North east to Loch Laidon

DSCN2228 (690x518).jpg
over the top of Beinn a' Chuirn to Beinn Heasgarnich and Creag Mhor

I had total boot failure with soaking feet and once we got back to the tent they got very cold. After eating tea we separated into our tents pretty early and my feet soon warmed up inside my sleeping bag. I think we were asleep by 8pm. Actually Rudolf, being the brave pioneer that he is, had a foray up the slopes of Beinn an Dothaidh to check out tomorrow’s route while Mrs Santa and I flopped.
I woke for the necessary at 10.30ish and this is what I saw. Makes it all worthwhile!
DSCN2236 (690x518).jpg
Ben Nevis and her neighbours

Later the stars were fantastic.
On Tuesday we had a ferry to catch so we had to be away from the car park by 3pm. We calculated we’d better get away by 8am to give us plenty time for faffing along the route (it can happen!) So we followed Rudolf’s route up a bit of the SE ridge of Beinn an Dothaidh ‘til we got above the craggy bit to the south of the summit and contoured round ‘til we met the path to Beinn Dorain down into the beallach and back up past the wee loch and took the bypass path to the real summit.
DSCN2237 (690x518).jpg
Mrs Santa at the beallach with no name (on the map) between Dothaidh and Dorain

The clouds were back down so no view again today.
DSCN2241 (690x518).jpg
Beinn Dorain. No view :-(

We went back along the ridge path, passing the massive cairn at Carn Sasunnaich. In a cloud, you can see why people might think they’ve got to the proper summit.
DSCN2243 (690x518).jpg
Towards Loch Lyon as we came down from Beinn Dorain

DSCN2244 (690x518).jpg
Down to Loch Tulla

Back down and up to Beinn an Dothaidh through the gently sloping grassy Coire Reidh, the clouds lifting all the time.
DSCN2248 (690x518).jpg
From Beinn Dothaidh's middle summit to the SE summit

DSCN2249 (690x518).jpg
To the west from the middle summit

DSCN2253 (690x518).jpg
The tents were in this picture when I took it but I can't see them now

We ran all down the steep grassy slope back to pack up the tents and head down to the car. The burns had gone down a lot and were quite passable again.
DSCN2256 (690x518).jpg
A sparkly pool in Coire Daingean

DSCN2262 (518x690).jpg
Allt Coire Achaladair

Down in the meadow at the bottom of Allt Coire Achaladair there’d been a hatching of (we think) Scotch Argus butterflies and there were loads flying around. They were velvety brown with rich orangey red spots along all 4 wings – beautiful - I’ve never seen one of those before. And there was bogwood, I think. How can you tell it’s bogwood and not just a bit of wood from the trees by the burn nearby, that’s got embedded in the bog?
bogwood (690x518).jpg

We were back to the car and caught the ferry with plenty time to spare.

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: 7

Helvellyn via Sticks Pass, Raise and Striding Edge

Attachment(s) Wainwrights: Helvellyn, Raise, White Side
Hewitts: Helvellyn, Raise, White Side
Date walked: 29/07/2014
Distance: 14.7km
Ascent: 1062m
Comments: 1
Views: 4119

Pap of Glencoe straight up

Grahams: Pap of Glencoe
Date walked: 29/06/2014
Distance: 6.5km
Ascent: 735m
Comments: 1
Views: 2624

Rings off on the Ring of Steall?

Attachment(s) Munros: Am Bodach, An Gearanach, Sgùrr a' Mhàim, Stob Coire a' Chàirn
Date walked: 28/06/2014
Distance: 16km
Ascent: 1676m
Comments: 2
Views: 2942

Three Brethren from Lindinny Wood

Attachment(s) Date walked: 07/08/2013
Distance: 13.4km
Ascent: 355m
Views: 3204

Driesh and Mayar in wintery October

Attachment(s) Munros: Driesh, Mayar
Date walked: 27/10/2012
Distance: 14.5km
Comments: 7
Views: 4857


Activity: Mountaineer
Pub: any burn I'm passing
Gear: boots
Ideal day out: a bit scary, but only a bit, and good friends to chat with

Munros: 43
Corbetts: 2
Grahams: 1
Wainwrights: 7
Hewitts: 9
Sub 2000: 4
Long Distance routes: St Cuthbert's Way   

Filter reports



Trips: 4
Distance: 77.2 km
Ascent: 6300m
Munros: 9
Grahams: 1
Hewitts: 3
Wainwrights 3


Trips: 1
Distance: 13.4 km
Ascent: 355m


Trips: 1
Distance: 14.5 km
Munros: 2

Joined: Sep 19, 2012
Last visited: Jul 03, 2022
Total posts: 29 | Search posts