An Caisteal, Beinn Chabhair, Beinn a’ Chroin + Beinn Tulaichean
Monday 25 June 2012
16.2 km/1826 m/10:00 hrs
Munros: An Caisteal, Beinn Chabhair, Beinn a’ Chroin + Beinn Tulaichean (Nos. 236 – 239)
Another backpacking trip inspired by Steven Fallon: the seven Munros S and E of Crianlarich. It was a sunny morning and already very warm when I started my walk from the lay-by on the A82, opposite Keilator Farm. First I had to cross a field that, according to the walk description, “often contains a bull and cattle”… but not today, thankfully!
From the bridge across the River Falloch I could see the first target of the day, Sròn Gharbh, the top at the N end of the ridge leading to An Caisteal.
At a small cairn I left the track and followed a faint path to the foot of the hill and up the steep slopes. The sun was beating down on me, there was no wind and I was actually hoping for some clouds to cover the sun.
Until now, I had still been looking around me anxiously, in case there were cows somewhere nearby, but from higher up, I could see the herd of cattle lurking about on the track down in the glen. Time to relax, at last!
Looking back to the start of the walk, Beinn Challuim on the right.
After arriving on the ridge, it is a pleasant walk along Twistin Hill – and with the sun in the clouds by now, it wasn’t quite so hot anymore.
Approaching An Caisteal.
Just before the summit is a short and easy scrambling section.
An Caisteal summit.
From the summit, I descended along the S ridge until I could find a way down the steep, grassy slopes towards Beinn Chabhair.
On the way down, I tried to figure out a feasible route up Beinn Chabhair – this is the route I took:
On the descent from An Caisteal.
Coire a’ Chuilinn with the Ben Lui group in the distance.
I left my rucksack behind a boulder at the bealach and ascended Beinn Chabhair with a small daypack.
From the ascent I could get a good view of the route up the third of today’s Munros, Beinn a’ Chroin. I would walk in a diagonal line to the Bealach Buidhe below the rocky W end of the ridge.
View back to An Caisteal.
On the summit of Beinn Chabhair I had my lunch break, sitting beside the cairn and enjoying the views.
Then I returned along the same route to collect my rucksack, and made my way up the grassy slopes to the Bealach Buidhe.
Coire a’ Chuilinn.
Bealach Buidhe, looking back to An Caisteal.
From the bealach, a path leads S at first and then up to the ridge, as the direct ascent is blocked by crags. There is one short scrambling section that I found a bit awkward with a big rucksack, but after several attempts I managed to haul myself up the high rock step.
View down to the bealach.
Sunshine over Coire a’ Chuilinn.
Soon I reached the first of several cairns on the ridge.
Beinn a’ Chroin ridge with the summit ahead.
Beinn a’ Chroin summit, the middle one of three cairns along the ridge.
The route ahead: Stob Glas, the craggy obstacle in the centre, can be bypassed on either side, but as I was planning to camp on the bealach between Cruach Ardrain and Beinn Tulaichean, I was going to traverse around the crags on the right hand side.
From the E top I walked along the N ridge for about 600 m, and then descended into Coire Dhonnacha.
The wide bealach below Stob Glas, with Beinn Tulaichean on the right.
The route below the crags was easier and less steep than it had looked from the distance.
Looking up to the crags of Stob Glas.
View back to Beinn a’ Chroin. I filled my water bottles at one of the small streams in Coire Earb, because I didn’t expect to find water on the ridge above.
Approaching the ridge to Beinn Tulaichean.
After I had finished pitching my tent, it was only just after 21:00. My legs could have done with a little rest by now, but Beinn Tulaichean was only a short walk away, so I decided to take advantage of the good weather and climb my fourth Munro of the day.
Stob Binnein in the evening sun.
Looking back to the bealach and Cruach Ardrain.
Beinn Tulaichean summit cairn.
View E along Loch Doine and Loch Voil, with Ben Vorlich and Stuc a’ Chroin on the skyline, lit up by the last rays of the setting sun.
Cruach Ardrain, Stob Binnein + Ben More
Tuesday 26 June 2012
17.9 km/1256 m/10:15 hrs
Munros: Cruach Ardrain, Stob Binnein + Ben More (Nos. 240 – 242)
Just as well I climbed Beinn Tulaichean the previous evening, because in the morning visibility was down to a few metres.
Just after 07:00 I was ready to go and although I couldn’t see very far, the clear path up Cruach Ardrain was easy to follow.
About 40 minutes later I arrived at the summit which is supposed to provide “excellent views”…
The descent from the summit is on a very steep and loose path, with some slippery, near vertical rocks to negotiate.
On the bealach between Cruach Ardrain and Stob Garbh I suddenly noticed a movement a couple of metres above me, I looked up and saw a figure in the mist, quickly moving away. I was so startled that it took me a few seconds to realise that this was a fellow walker, dashing into one of two tents that were pitched on the bealach.
I was wondering why he ran away and never spoke to me – did I frighten him that much?
I carefully navigated around Stob Garbh until it was safe to descend into the glen to my right.
On my way down into Coire nam Boc, the clouds suddenly began to lift.
After a lunch break by one of the streams flowing into the Inverlochlarig Burn, I headed towards Bealach-eadar-dha Bheinn between Ben More and Stob Binnein.
From the distance I thought I could see a path beside the stream that leads directly up to the bealach, and really, it was a path. Using this, the going became a bit easier.
From Bealach-eadar-dha Bheinn, I could see down the other side into the wide Coire Chaorach.
I left my rucksack on the bealach and climbed Stob Binnein first.
Looking SE from the summit towards Stob Coire an Lochain.
On the way back to the bealach, looking across to Ben More.
In the meantime, grey clouds had appeared, the wind had picked up and I knew it wouldn’t be long until the rain would start.
View back to Stob Binnein.
Just before the summit is a rock step that can be climbed directly, but at this stage I didn’t fancy any scrambling, and walked around it on the right.
The moment I reached the trig point, it started to rain…
But I could still get a (hazy) view towards Crianlarich and into Strath Fillan.
Glen Dochart, with Loch Tay in the distance.
I returned to the bealach, picked up my rucksack and followed the path beside the stream that I had come across on the ascent. It leads all the way down to Benmore Glen.
Down in the glen, the path turns into a track that ends at the A85 near Benmore Farm. By now, it was raining heavily and as I trudged along the main road, I felt very lucky that I had managed to climb six out of seven Munros in dry weather!
After a short rest in the bus shelter in Crianlarich and a quick stop at the village shop to buy some cold drinks, I resigned to the fact that the rain wouldn’t stop anytime soon and continued on my way along the A82.
Just past Crianlarich, a small car stopped beside me and the elderly couple in it asked me if I wanted a lift – they didn’t seem to mind that me and my rucksack were soaking wet and that my car was only just around the corner! So I happily accepted their kind offer and had a short, but interesting conversation with them before they dropped me off right beside my car 🙂