Noah Way to get 2 Scammadale Subs done

Sub 2000s: A'Chruach (Argyll), An Grianan (Glen Creran), Beinn Churalain, Beinn Mheadhonach, Cruach nam Fearna

Date walked: 13/09/2020

Distance: 41km

Ascent: 2539m

OK we knew the weather forecast was pants and we might have fared better heading up to Aberdeenshire for Subs up that way, but I was determined to head west, less driving now that the nights are darker earlier. A plan had been formulated to do the two subs nestled in beside Beinn Sguilard and possibly also Beinn Churalain then head down south of Oban for a trio along Loch Scammadale and if there was time do something else in that vicinity. Friday looked like it might be the wettest day.

We got to a site we've used previously near Druimavuic hoping that the pitch site would be free, as we have failed to find many suitable spots along that road. Dark was falling and so was the rain as we pulled in to find a camper van already there. Damn! I wouldn't usually camp if there's other folk in the vicinity, but in a state of some desperation I noted that the van was quite a bit away from the place we've pitched in, so we set up anyway. Just in time before the rain hit. Very mild overnight however.

grianan.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

In the morning we breakfasted on instant porridge and Biscoff filled Oatie biscuits before heading along to the track at Druimavuic. Cloud was down and given the forecast I thought we probably wouldn't be interfering with stalking "please keep to the tracks"...there was a bottle of hand sanitiser by the gate, nice touch by the estate. When I'd been looking at the routes for Beinn Mheadhonach and An Grianan I saw, rather late in the day, that I'd only noted down 1 way distances - it makes sense to combine them rather than try and do them separately not least because you have to get over the bealach of the track up Coire Buidhe which is almost 550m, then drop down to around 300m before going up Mheadhonach - to have to go back up over the bealach too would be too much for me :D Anyway, the track is the track, lots of water coming down the hillsides, no sign of anyone else about. On the east side of the bealach the track actually continues right down to the river - albeit as a boggy ATV track rather than the bulldozed one earlier on - , then heads north. We had to head upstream a bit to find a safe place to ford the stream, swollen from all the overnight rain, then pick a line up the grassy slopes of Mheadhonach.

Image6DCF5053-CD9C-4558-915A-1D2C9350B5EC_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

A misty Beinn Mheadhonach from the top of the bealach
Image53DBCCC4-CB26-4FB6-8616-401A633DB8C1_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image700DFA31-E1CB-4969-B868-DCA9FA4E8E2A_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageCAA37683-00A6-4D91-9A75-A296A74A3243_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Summit was reached, with a break in the clag, and we were even treated to a few moments of sunshine. Walking along the back of the hill it isn't hard to see that it's a near relative of Beinn Trilleachan, which lies directly east - there's the same boilerplate slabs poking through the grass. We met up with our ATV track again which we followed for some time, essentially skirting around the lower flanks of Sguilard. The track started to pull away further east - I wondered if it was going into Glen Etive, so we left it and went over some hillier stuff to end up on the proper track that runs by Airigh nan Lochan. It looks like the track we were following does meet with this one, so you could save yourself some ascent by continuing along it.

Looking back at the track over the bealach
ImageFB9E42D8-B396-48C0-B1B6-163B422AC538_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageE8482A89-922F-4EAB-B50C-F8C5D63CC57B_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Airigh nan Lochan
Image149974C5-CE68-4DF1-AC71-E8328406A3DA_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

An Grianan with rainbow
ImageE474B148-33FC-4B28-B5F9-8C35632DE58C_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageC5F8A61A-79F6-4DD3-AA65-5C3A23860829_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Anyway, I knew we had to cross the River Ure at its Y junction to get up onto An Grianan. We'd come in this way once to do Sguilard and camped somewhere nearby, but I couldn't remember if there were bridges or not. I was delighted to see that there were :D Once across both arms of the Y we set off up the grassy slopes of An Grianan. There's 300m or so to gain to reach the summit, but th gradient is fairly good and the height was achieved smoothly. We even got sunshine on "the sunny place". Sguilard looks impressive from here, even if the peak was wreathed in cloud. Back the same way as we'd come up and we stayed on the bulldozed track to regain the road beside Druimavuic. Did have to go through a muddy farmyard at one point, otherwise the going is good. We noticed signs for climbing Sguilard from this track, not a way I've gone up. We also saw a couple of devils' coachhorse beetles as we walked along the road, one behaving very aggressively, like a miniature scorpion with its tail forked up.

ImageE5826CE8-DCB1-4205-B0C2-CE3DCA8CAAC7_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

An Grianan
Image309D14C5-980E-44A6-9421-1D2091A02EC4_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Looking toward Sguilard
Image78E4EFE3-CE60-4A85-9289-32DE5010DE03_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageFB46A40A-F6A9-4639-97B7-0E4FE534BE8B by Al, on Flickr

Summit An Grianan, Sguilard beyond
Image58D0D84F-124C-46D6-ABF0-84CD5A07D758_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image74D890AB-1449-41FD-AFCE-5D9C2F2709B6_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Beinn Churalain
Image35DA9339-982F-413C-B5F5-8E07987519AE_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image837701C6-54B5-469C-BA72-1655203724CC by Al, on Flickr

Back at the car we elected to return to the same place we'd camped the night before - it had been a long and tiring day - these are proper hills, not easy subs. The camper van was still in place - Allison spoke briefly to the occupant who looked as if he'd been out on the hills himself. We enjoyed some of the benefits of car camping, namely a quicker burner to make the tea.

churalain.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

More rain overnight, but all very quiet otherwise. We packed up and headed along towards the roundabout at Creagan to get up Beinn Churalain. I'd cribbed the route from on here without paying that much attention - it's under 4km well that will be a quickie. Oh no it wasn't! We parked at the start of a track leading into the woods. Past a cow feeder then the path disappears. And there's lots of trees. And bracken. We followed a cow path up by the river, keeping it close by prevented us getting lost in the trees. We came to a fence, which put paid to the cow tracks, but sheep or deer obligingly continued up steepening slopes until another fence line was reached - we followed this for a wee while then launched off straight uphill - some craggy bits to be navigated before reaching the summit (the smaller of the two cairns is the top). Good views across to Sguilard, Fraochaidh and up into Glen Etive. Paused to enjoy lunch in the shelter of the larger cairn whilst the weather was dry, before picking our way back down. Decided to see if we could find the burial ground which is marked on the map - and did so, although it was hidden in a sea of bracken. Graves seemed to date from late 18th to late 19th century, many illegible now. Found a vague path descending from here back to our outward track. Three hours to do less than 5k!

Image6439F2CF-B0FC-4C80-A2CA-FD028F188924_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

End of the track...
ImageE210BF50-C6DB-463B-88D9-A3411F799EFF_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageFA9CCFC7-7AFA-4FB2-9A5A-2C73E1149700_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image103B852F-C29A-4D99-9C0A-F24D25F5652B_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Summit Churalain
Image0753A7E0-A8A6-4E90-B240-77D244CD1067_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image4A351B9B-E019-4981-8BDE-3AB8459EB7D2_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Gate to the burial ground
Image1D73ADEB-EF2D-4BFD-8E3C-A7E24A365D5B_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image323DA6B7-81CD-4ABC-B395-4038422D50C4_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image95BCB78F-EEF0-41DD-BB1B-A67028299D03_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageAEEC375B-FF77-4722-8EDF-BFBCA1761F68 by Al, on Flickr

scam1.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

We motored through Oban heading for Loch Scammadale. I reckoned we'd have an easy day and just do A'Cruach, leaving Beinn Chapel and Carn Dearg for the following day. We parked just after Scammadle Farm, at the beginning of the public footpath sign and started off up the track in the rain. After a bit the track comes to an end - we continued towards the perimeter fence around the summit of A'Cruach. I'd noted suggestions that you should keep to the fence-line rather than break a way through the forest, and this proved to be good advice - the fence line has a wide fire break around it and there was no fighting with conifers required. A bit squelchy underfoot. Summit reached, rain started falling more heavily and we beat a retreat to the car.

Start of the track
ImageF117501E-5553-4557-96B9-7023C2137CBA_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image8681C332-748B-46FA-A2E8-86F8F1E8FB62_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageFBE2AAC1-0BFE-418B-8F9D-1BA51079AD4E_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image0A9DDFB1-C1CB-458B-BC41-A2CBA7AA24A1_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Carn Dearg, on the other side of Loch Scammadale
Image6095C3BC-989D-46B5-8E41-50361AB666A2_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image5AE7ED91-8FE0-4A51-BC10-208F1402AABE by Al, on Flickr

I wasn't sure where to pitch - we drove along to Bragleenbeg where we planned to climb the other two hills from tomorrow, but that area is inhabited by a number of farm/estate houses and there didn't look to be a place to pitch unobtrusively. Did think about packing up the big bags and heading off to find somewhere on the hillside, as we've been doing of late, but so glad we didn't. Drove back the way, passing a suitable bit beside the loch which was too close to a cottage, and ending up on a bit of flat grassland beside the road, maybe a mile west of Scammadale Farm. As there are lots of free roaming cows about, this maybe wasn't the most ideal spot, but it as raining too much to faff about. Pitched, food on, tucked up into the warmth of the sleeping bag, admittedly having to dry off soaking goretex boot liners by lying them on top of you.

The rain, which had started seriously at about 3pm, just didn't let up at all. Darkness came, the rain continued, I imagine something like being under a fire hose. Not much sleep was had, I can tell you, and there was a vague worry about just how many metres up from the level of the loch we were. Morning came, the rain still pounding on the tent. Into wet waterproofs to view a vista of diluvian proportions - the loch was very full indeed, as you'd expect I suppose in a valley that's bounded by steep hills all around. We started to drive towards Bragleenbeg, but after a few hundred metres saw that the road ahead, for several more hundred metres, was completely under water. Given that it was still raining hard, we decided that a) the hills we'd chosen were probably not going to be manageable and b) we might very well get stuck in the glen, possibly under several d=fet of water. So I turned the car round and slowly, carefully, drove back along the 5 miles of the single track road, which was submerged by the neighbouring river in several places along the way.

fearna.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Hmmm, what to do now? Full phone signal on the junction with the A816 allowed me to find Cruach nam Fearna, just a few miles to the south at Melfort - no river crossings, all on track - let's go! There was a lot of surface water on the roads, but no requirement for an ark at least and we parked at the start of a forestry track at Ardanstur. Easy going up a good track, initially through oakwood then onto open hillside. Despite the rain it was warm - the slugs seemed to be having a fine time in the grass. As we walked up the track, numerous little voles shot out from the vegetation in the middle of the track into their little holes at the track side - blink and you miss them. After a bit the track enters forestry, where new gates and fencing have recently been added. I had feared a fight with trees to reach the top, but no - a steep clear section allows access. Up to the trig pillar. We decided to continue on a loop through the trees rather than tracing our tops back the way we'd come, pleasant walk this, wet in places, but then where wouldn't be on a day like this.

Image0F94F5DD-D53F-4977-9B9F-BAEC8234417E_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageBB3D06D1-D03B-4799-942E-AC67DB3BA226_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Don't think these'll be needed today
Image6B0F1092-2E12-4849-B98F-BDCEAC2CC62C_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageCA5C2EF9-A60E-4B69-BC1E-F733288A85CB_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageF8DC2541-E0E2-476B-8AF9-66B4F656FF58_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image24B7C438-B718-4A3A-83EC-42889180CA31_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image955B9B73-F84A-4B86-89F3-2A9C19E231E2_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image7BBDEDCF-D444-4092-B089-75EC1E3F4DFB by Al, on Flickr

Back at the car it was coming up for lunchtime and we'd spotted signs for a vegan cafe in Kilmelford - had to check that out! So we parked there and enjoyed a good lunch at Catchacarrot, which has been open for the last 4 weeks, just at weekends I believe. The first time either of us had eaten out since the pandemic struck - made a pleasant change from our usual sandwiches. Then a very wet drive down the road, via Oban of course as we saw the rest & Be Thankful was once again completely closed. A return trip for the two that "got away" in Scammadale will be required, which kind of screws up my logistics when it comes to planning route for weekends, but will give us another excuse to had=ve a meal out.

Kilmelford church
ImageC19FE620-97DC-449A-9600-3171E0DBBB2F_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Takes you back, eh?
Image6548CE53-CFB0-4589-A24D-2CFC59BE42C6_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

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User avatar
Location: Greenock
Occupation: Bandersnatch?
Interests: Solvitur Ambulando
Activity: Hill Bagger
Mountain: Foinaven
Place: Assynt and beyond
Gear: Satmap Active 12
Member: MCofS
Camera: Olympus TG5 / Sony RX100
Ideal day out: A long walk that thrills, chills and makes me feel alive
Munro rounds: 2
Corbett rounds: 2
Graham rounds: 1

Munros: 214
Corbetts: 44
Grahams: 76
Donalds: 89
Wainwrights: 15
Hewitts: 31
Sub 2000: 331
Islands: 28
Long Distance routes: West Highland Way   

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Trips: 49
Distance: 1628.4 km
Ascent: 67743m
Munros: 10
Corbetts: 2
Grahams: 8
Donalds: 2
Sub2000s: 138


Trips: 57
Distance: 2933 km
Ascent: 180392m
Munros: 11
Corbetts: 193
Grahams: 34
Donalds: 1
Sub2000s: 27


Trips: 61
Distance: 3090.77 km
Ascent: 206176m
Munros: 271
Corbetts: 16
Grahams: 10
Donalds: 9
Sub2000s: 32


Trips: 76
Distance: 2994.86 km
Ascent: 175243m
Munros: 67
Corbetts: 12
Grahams: 72
Donalds: 81
Sub2000s: 97
Hewitts: 13
Wainwrights 12


Trips: 78
Distance: 2035.42 km
Ascent: 124390m
Munros: 17
Corbetts: 4
Grahams: 142
Donalds: 71
Sub2000s: 24
Hewitts: 15


Trips: 68
Distance: 2453.94 km
Ascent: 164961m
Munros: 77
Corbetts: 126
Grahams: 17
Donalds: 8
Sub2000s: 2


Trips: 64
Distance: 2406.7 km
Ascent: 166291m
Munros: 109
Corbetts: 112
Grahams: 16
Donalds: 10


Trips: 64
Distance: 1894.46 km
Ascent: 127277m
Munros: 219
Corbetts: 17
Grahams: 4
Donalds: 3
Sub2000s: 1


Trips: 24
Distance: 254.33 km
Ascent: 16304m
Munros: 26
Corbetts: 5


Trips: 1
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Last visited: Sep 18, 2020
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