Monday, 13 October 2014

The Tyndrum Grandslam

Walk Summary
Rail workers river crossing over River Lochy towards Inverlochy
With the early departure of John P. it looked like the chance to bag four Munros had slipped off the trip schedule, due to it being a point to point walk and requiring a lift back to the start point to pick up one of the vans.
There is a circular walk from Dalrigh but that would amount to 18 miles. 15 miles proved to be about my daily limit with nearly 2000m of ascent and that would take 12 hours, demonstrated last May on a previous trip last May to Tyndrum walking The Tyndrum Handful. The owner from By The Way Hostel & Campsite had kindly offered to give me a lift to Ben Lui car park on the A85 yesterday but after listening to rain all night and the prospect of more rain during the day along with only 10% chance of cloud free Munros that day I really did not fancy a 12 mile walk in thick cloud and the possibility of getting soaked. Unfortunately this was the only day he could give me a lift as he was going away for half term with the family. The option of using a taxi was discarded as I did not fancy paying for a taxi from Crianlarich but then it occurred to me what I had spent on diesel to get to Scotland from Suffolk, the £15 taxi fare charged by Crianlarich Taxis would be money well spent.

Walk Statistics
Walk Date - 13 October 2014
Walkers - Steve Smith

Accommodation - By The Way Campsite and Hostel, Tyndrum
Start Point - Ben Lui car park Oban bound side of A85 (GR - NN 23918 27829)
Start Time - 09:45
Finish Point 
By The Way Campsite and Hostel, Tyndrum (GR - NN 32860 30123)
Finish Time - 18:51
Duration - 9hrs 06mins
Average pace - 1.39mph
Distance Walked - 12.64miles
Height Ascended - 1845.70metres


Other walks on this trip
2014
September

30th Conic Hill & Gualann
October
01st Ptarmigan & Ben Lomond
03rd Meall Corranaich & Meall a' Choire Leith
04th Ben More & Stob Binnein
05th Not quite Meall Buide (Glen Lyon)
07th Cruach Ardrain & Beinn Tulaichean
08th Beinn Dorain & Beinn an Dothaidh hammerhead
10th Ben Challum [Beinn Challuim]
12th Beinn a' Chreachain & Beinn Achaladair
13th The Tyndrum Grandslam

Peaks visited
Munro (282)

Beinn a'Chleibh (32)
Ben Lui [Beinn Laoigh] (33)
Ben Oss (34)
Beinn Dubhchraig (35)
Murdo (443)

Beinn a'Chleibh (44)
Ben Lui [Beinn Laoigh] (45)
Ben Oss (46)
Beinn Dubhchraig (47)
Corbett (221)
NONE
Graham (224)
NONE
Marilyn (1218S - 1552E,W&S))

Ben Lui [Beinn Laoigh] (32S - 103E,W&S)
Ben Oss (33S - 104E,W&S)
Beinn Dubhchraig (34S - 105E,W&S)
Hump (2168S - 2976E,W&S)
Beinn a'Chleibh (42S - 161E,W&S)
Ben Lui [Beinn Laoigh] (43S - 162E,W&S)
Ben Oss (44S - 163E,W&S)
Beinn Dubhchraig (45S - 164E,W&S)
S: Scotland. 
E,W&S:England,Wales & Scotland

Route
GPX can be downloaded from www.shareyouradventure.com

Walk Description
Beinn a'Chleibh
Ben Lui car park and storage area
for rail workers on on other side of river.
Suggesting an easy crossing?
The plan was to finish at Ben Lui car park on the A85 to Oban where a vehicle had been parked to drive back to walk start point. However because  I was on my own and needed to get to car park by taxi I decided to use the taxi at the beginning of the walk rather than rely on a mobile signal at the end of the walk and waiting for a taxi to arrive. The downside is that the river crossing is at the beginning of the walk risking wet boots rather than at the end of the walk when it is not such an issue. The plus side was I confirmed By The Way, Hostel & Campsite is a reasonable start (and end) point thereby taking out the boggy path through forest plantation near Dalrigh. 
Seeing there was construction work on the West Highland Line evidenced by equipment store at car park I briefly allowed myself to think there would be a decent crossing over the River Cononish, but I soon found out it was only a ford. I did manage to cross with just the hint of water overflowing in to one of my boots but was enough to warrant drying feet and changing socks. Ideally I should have had some thick bags to slip over my boots and had the river been faster flowing may well have been more of an issue to keep feet dry.
Looking back at munros Beinn Eunaich
and Beinn a'Chochuill over
Fionn Choiren
and beyond Beinn na Sròine
Unusually for Scottish OS explorer maps there was a path marked through the forest all the way to the bealach between Ben a'Chleibh and Ben Lui. Unfortunately as is often the case through forest was boggy for much of the way. Expect it to continue all through the forest and do not be tempted over the bridge half way up. At the bridge continue straight up hill to the forest boundary and through more of the same or even worse bog.
When you reach the forest boundary the bog does end so after passing through gate continue up Fionn Choiren towards the bealach
The ascent is fairly gentle until the base of the final ascent to the bealach were the path veers to the right ascending diagonally to the top. Once on the bealach turn right and follow the path all the way to Beinn a Chleibh summit cairn

Ben Lui [Beinn Laoigh]
Ascent route up Ben Lui clearly visible
on way down Beinn a'Chleibh
As can be seen from the photos I was blessed with clear skies and excellent views north to future Munros including the Beinn Cruachan and Ben Starav groups. Turning round to return to bealach also revealed a clear path up the other side to Ben Lui. It took me 1¼ hours to ascend the 300m to the bealach between the two Ben Lui tops preceded by a 141m descent from Beinn a'Chleibh which robbed it of it's Marilyn status by just 9m. Before heading for the main summit I had to detour to the left and bag the lower NW Top, only an ex-Munro Top but as it is listed on www.hill-bagging.co.uk worthy of a visit.
From here it was a case of following back the path already taken and continue up to the main Ben Lui summit by way of a very minor scramble.

Ben Oss
Significant detour south around
Creag Dubh a' Bhealaich
before tuning left to ascend Beinn Oss
Still bright sunshine on Ben Lui summit, but with some evidence of cloud build up to the south and west over the Arrochar Alps. In the opposite direction fairly close to the east excellent views of Ben Oss and Beinn Dubhcraigh. Slightly further however by foot (due to Coire Laoige inconveniently placed between Ben Lui and Ben Oss) via bealach above Creagh Dubh a' Bhealaich.
I had planned to head due south to avoid a too craggy a descent, however I was able to stay close to the rim of Coire Laoige thereby reducing distance to walk and still avoid a difficult descent down what looked like difficult crags on the map.
Looking over Creag Dhubh a'Bhealaich
to Ben Lui
The obvious path from the summit of Ben Lui does soon disappear but with clear conditions was not a problem to find a safe descent route. Unfortunately there is not a clear obvious path at the bottom across to the start of Ben Oss ascent so it is worth spending a little effort to concentrate on staying on what path there is that heads east rather than being seduced too far south which may have been the case for me.
Having crossed the bealach I again managed to find a vague path that headed towards Ben Oss summit. Although it was a bit of a slog it weaved its way around rocky out crops avoiding any need to scramble anywhere during the ascent.

Beinn Dubhchraig
Rain to the north but fine on Ben Oss
Ben Oss marked the half way point in terms of distance but with over 5½ hours of walking I was pleased it was not the half way point in time. Ben Oss represents the 3rd Munro and 2nd Marilyn of the day and although Beinn Dubhcraigh is the 4th and final Munro and is still a Marilyn, I felt most of the ascent and hard work had already been completed.
On the other hand the weather seemed to be deteriorating with rain clearly visibly falling out of the black clouds to the north beyond Glen Lochy and Glen Orchy, so with 6 miles ahead was not a time to be hanging around.

Take small detour to bag Ben Oss North Top
as path passes to the south
Continuing straight over Ben Oss summit the path is easy to follow for the ½ mile to Ben Oss North Top. Special effort has to be made to visit the cairn and 941m spot height (I did) as the path passes lower down to the south as part of it's descent to Bealach Buidhe.
The path continues to the ascent turning north where if you where not bothered about bagging Beinn Dubhcraig could continue north descending in to Coire Dubhcraig and on to walks end. If you had started from the opposite direction it is also the point where you would do the there and back walk to Beinn Dubhcraig before returning to carry on to Ben Lui. Neither of these scenarios apply today so turning east continued up hill to the first ridge. It cannot be confused as a false summit but does reveal as you pass the high point the more significant Loch Oss as well as the final major ascent to bag Beinn Dubhcraig just under 1 mile ahead.
Loch Oss to right of Beinn Dubhchraig
From this point if I was simply walking the planned route in reverse to Dalrigh it would be 3¾ miles to walks end. The route back to Tyndrum turned out to be just under 4 miles so all in all Tyndrum is good choice as both a start and a finish point. However although the descent down the NE flank of Beinn Dubhcraig is straight forward the path along Allt Coire Dubhcraig is boggy and the route north around Creag Bhocan along the fence down the east side to the River Cononish is not obvious and well overgrown. On reflection it would be better on the west side of the fence so if you want to give it a try cross the fence higher up as lower down it is 6ft high and as such suggests it is not to be crossed. I carried on and at the bottom there was a crossing point in the form of a purpose built hole which I presume was for sheep. Big enough for me anyway.
Right Hand forest track I headed for.
SHOULD HAVE USED LEFT HAND TRACK
(off picture) to avoid fence
There is a crossing of the Cononish which was not a problem with trek poles and long steps between semi and fully submerged stones, but I guess it is an entirely different proposition in periods of spate.
The final difficulty was accessing the right had track up and through the forest to the track higher up that contours around Sron nan Colan. Unfortunately I was confronted by a high fence in excess of 6' high. I was too tired and too far away from the track to the mines to go back so found a way of getting over it in the corner. However don't take this route stay on the track to the mines for about 400m and turn right up hill along the same track which contours around Sron nan Colan. By now it was getting dark so it was just as well navigation was easy following the same track that takes you all the way back to Tyndrum Lower rail station, By The Way Tyndrum and home on the other side of the track.

More Photographs
Lunchtime view near summit of Ben Lui down Glen Lochy towards Beinn Cruachan and Loch Etive
Click on photograph to view slide-show

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Beinn a' Chreachain & Beinn Achaladair

Walk Summary

Crossing point over Water of Tulla just beyond abandoned bridge,
Beinn Achaladair behind
After yesterday’s rest day, short walking day up Beinn Challuim the day before and another rest day the day before that, not only was I well rested but decidedly raring to go. During the preceding 9 days I had managed 7 days walking covering over 55 miles and more than 7000m of ascent. More than enough to establish my hill fitness and combined with recent rest gave me the confidence to tackle one of the longer walks from the trip plan.
The planned distance was 13.1 miles and the actual walking distance was 13.9 miles. The extra was more to do with the new car park nearer to the A82 entrance drive to Achallader Farm than any navigational errors. In fact as increasingly seems to be the case my actual routes walked are getting remarkably close to the routes planned. More a testament to the good weather enjoyed today but also down to getting to know my own pace and learning from previous mistakes.


Early Lesson
When planning on anquet mapping I use a pace of 1.75mph with the addition of 1 hour per 600m of ascent. This gave a planned duration of 9 hours 36 minutes against an actual time of 7 hours 57 minutes with an average pace of 1.76mph.
I have observed this sort of difference in pace before, suggesting I should maybe increase my planned pace to 2¼ mph.
But for now I am going to stick with 1.75mph until I have had a chance to compare with walking in winter conditions or in times of poor visibility when more time needs to be devoted to navigation. 

Taking this approach gives a good margin for safety especially as days become shorter.
In addition the improved pace suggests I have built up hill-fitness over the duration of the trip as well as the last three days giving my body a chance to recover.

Walk Statistics
Walk Date - 12 October 2014
Walkers - Steve Smith

Accommodation - By The Way Campsite and Hostel, Tyndrum
Start Point - Achallader Farm car park (GR - NN 31294 43773)
Start Time - 09:56
Finish Point 
Achallader Farm car park (GR - NN 31294 43773)
Finish Time - 17:53
Duration - 7hrs 57mins
Average pace - 1.76mph
Distance Walked - 13.97miles
Height Ascended - 1353.38metres


Other walks on this trip
2014
September

30th Conic Hill & Gualann
October
01st Ptarmigan & Ben Lomond
03rd Meall Corranaich & Meall a' Choire Leith
04th Ben More & Stob Binnein
05th Not quite Meall Buide (Glen Lyon)
07th Cruach Ardrain & Beinn Tulaichean
08th Beinn Dorain & Beinn an Dothaidh hammerhead
10th Ben Challum [Beinn Challuim]
12th Beinn a' Chreachain & Beinn Achaladair
13th The Tyndrum Grandslam

Peaks visited
Munro (282)

Beinn a' Chreachain (30)
Beinn Achaladair (31)
Murdo (443)

Beinn a' Chreachain (40)
Beinn a'Chreachain - Meall Buidhe (41)
Beinn Achaladair (42)
Beinn Achaladair South Top (43)
Corbett (221)
NONE
Graham (224)
NONE
Marilyn (1218S - 1552E,W&S))

Beinn a' Chreachain (30S - 101E,W&S)
Beinn Achaladair (31S - 102E,W&S)
Hump (2168S - 2976E,W&S)

Beinn a' Chreachain (40S - 159E,W&S)
Beinn Achaladair (41S - 160E,W&S)
S: Scotland. 
E,W&S:England,Wales & Scotland


Route
GPX can be downloaded from www.shareyouradventure.com

Walk Description
Beinn a' Chreachain

Remains of Achallader Castle
near Achallader Farm
The first part of the walk is over easy ground with very little ascent for 3¾ miles following The Water of Tulla, from the new car park near Achallader Farm to the river crossing where the footbridge has now been washed away. Today that was not a problem, but after heavy rain or when the river is likely to be in full spate either a longer walk towards the crossing near Gorton would be necessary or more ingenious methods of keeping water out of your boots as well as maybe staying on your feet would have to be employed.
Follow path further past waterfalls
before looking for a crossing point
From here the ascent begins in earnest and after crossing under the West Highland Line I followed the path to the right and along the fence up the west side of Allt Coire an Lochain. The path was fairly well established and only reverting to mud on a couple of occasions. As the ascent continued it became obvious that at some point it would be necessary to cross the stream and as I looked across to the other side could not help wondering if I should have maybe crossed the stream lower down near the rail line, especially as I could see evidence of footpaths on the other bank.
3½ to this point.
Another ½hour ascent up NE ridge to
Beinn a'Chreachain summit
As it turned out I had no problem finding a crossing point after some reasonably high water falls. Not sure whether this was the best place to cross, suffice it to say the path on the other side did disappear and I ended up making my way to the bealach between the 894m spot height and the first summit of the day, top of Coire Dubh [Beinn a'Chreachain North Top]. It took me 3½ hours to cover 6 miles to the first summit which is actually an ex-Munro top followed by a further significant climb up the north east ridge and another ½ hour to reach the first Munro of the day.

Beinn Achaladair
Route to Beinn Achaladair
via Meall Buidhe
from descent down Beinn a' Chreachain
After photos, logging and celebrations? go back on yourself and look for path off to left down hill towards bealach at top of Coire a'Mhath-ghamhna. From here you can ascend to the 972m spot height and follow ridge to the next summit of the day. I chose to stay lower following path towards the west, I did however have to keep my eye on progress and leave the path to the right in order to avoid missing the summit of Meall Buidhe. It is only a Munro Top but is also a Murdo and therefore easily qualifies in my eyes as a summit worth visiting.
Decent climb ahead up Beinn Achaladair
from Bealach an Aoghlain
Prepare yourself now for a significant 200m descent to Bealach an Aoghlain then a bit of a minor scramble before more gentle ascent to complete the 220m total to the summit of Beinn Achaladair. well if you want more than one Marilyn in a work this amount of descent and reascent is part of the territory.
Watch out also for the two cairns on the summit area. The first and most distinctive at the 1036m spot height to the east is not the summit and neither is the west cairn further along. The summit is a rocky outcrop between the two, with a small pile of stones claiming to be a cairn marking the high point.
With the second and last Munro now bagged all that remains is to make a safe descent to Coire Daingean following the path from Beinn Achaladair. Again if you follow the path do not forget to visit Beinn Achaladair South Top as the path passes the summit of a Munro Top and Murdo below to the west.
Loch Tulla from Beinn Achaladair
From Coire Daingean it occurred to me that it would be possible to continue up to Beinn an Dothaidh without too much difficulty and then on to Beinn Dorain as a point to point walk, bagging four Munros in total, however for me it would need an earlier start and a summer day to make this feasible in daylight.
Into the evening sun towards
Loch Tulla along path diversion
From the bealach it is still 1 hour back to the van down what is quite a difficult path especially with tired legs. Thank goodness for the trek poles. There was an option to cross Allt Coire Achaladair higher up and stay on the difficult path. I decided to stay on the east side and although there was not a path, as long as you do not descend into the Coire too early descending up and down the feeder tributaries I found it easier going on the knees.
After rejoining the path on the west side of the stream it is a simple case of following it back towards Achallader Farm. The last part is quite boggy in a couple of places - but not too much of a problem. That is because the path is diverted to avoid the farm passing it to the south for the last leg back to the new car park.

More Photographs
Beinn Achaladair South Top towards days other 3 summits, (l-r) Beinn Achaladair, Meall Buidhe and Beinn a'Chreachain
Click on photograph to view slide-show

Friday, 10 October 2014

Ben Challum [Beinn Challuim]

Walk Summary
River Cononish beyond Auchtertyre Farm. Ben Lui top left
After yesterdays rest day, partly enforced by the poor weather but also to give the old bones a rest I was quite keen to get out on the hill today. Unfortunately overnight rain was slow to clear leaving a damp feel in the glens close to drizzle. If it is like this at glen level I am sure it will be a lot worse higher up.
After nearly 10 days of walking most of my short day options on the trip plan had been used up, but there was one I had up my sleeve which I was really saving for a future trip to pick off during a stop-over in Tyndrum when driving further north to say Isle of Skye, Northern Highlands or simply just north of The Great Glen.
The peak in question was Ben Challum [Beinn Challuim] and the route in question was an 8 mile  circular route from Auchtertye Farm up Allt Gleann a' Chlacaln, up the NW ridge of Ben Challum, continuing on to the South Top and returning via the sub-Graham Top of Creag Loisgte and finally along the WHW back to Auchtertye Farm.
Unfortunately John had returned home a couple of days early leaving me to carry on bagging alone.  I had read in Ralph Storers Ultimate Guide to the Munros Vol 1 that the NW ridge was a bit craggy and that combined with the damp conditions I opted for the shorter up and down option from the A82 via Kirkton Farm.

Walk Statistics
Walk Date - 10 October 2014
Walkers - Steve Smith

Accommodation - By The Way Campsite and Hostel, Tyndrum
Start Point - Layby on A82 north bound just before WHW crossing (GR - NN 35922 27744)
Start Time - 10:20
Finish Point 
Layby on A82 north bound just before WHW crossing (GR - NN 35922 27744)
Finish Time - 15:08
Duration - 4hrs 48mins
Average pace - 1.59mph
Distance Walked - 7.61miles
Height Ascended - 991.95metres


Other walks on this trip
2014
September

30th Conic Hill & Gualann
October
01st Ptarmigan & Ben Lomond
03rd Meall Corranaich & Meall a' Choire Leith
04th Ben More & Stob Binnein
05th Not quite Meall Buide (Glen Lyon)
07th Cruach Ardrain & Beinn Tulaichean
08th Beinn Dorain & Beinn an Dothaidh hammerhead
10th Ben Challum [Beinn Challuim]
12th Beinn a' Chreachain & Beinn Achaladair
13th The Tyndrum Grandslam

Peaks visited
Munro (282)

Ben Challum [Beinn Challuim] (29)
Murdo (443)
Ben Challum South Top [Beinn Challuim South Top] (38)
Ben Challum [Beinn Challuim] (39)
Corbett (221)
NONE
Graham (224)
NONE
Marilyn (1218S - 1552E,W&S))

Ben Challum [Beinn Challuim] (29S - 100E,W&S)
Hump (2168S - 2976E,W&S)
Ben Challum [Beinn Challuim] (39S - 158E,W&S)
S: Scotland. 
E,W&S:England,Wales & Scotland

Route
GPX can be downloaded from www.shareyouradventure.com

Walk Description
Ben Challum South Top [Beinn Challuim South Top]
Remains of St. Fillan's church under tree
on left, near Kirkton Farm
Only a short walk from By The Way Tyndrum, but by the time I had parked the van at walks start point in the layby near the WHW crossing point on the A82 and crossed the bridge over the River Fillan, the drizzle had stopped and the mist was clearing to reveal peaks both north and south. I could also make out the ridge beyond Kirkton Farm which I think is Creag Loisgte, but could see no sign of the days target Munro Ben Challum. The mist seemed to be hanging about around the top of the ridge masking anything that may be revealed beyond. In any event I was not expecting any more because even on a clear day I understand the higher peaks beyond cannot be seen until the ridge is gained. So dressed for 20 minutes in to the walk without my coat I shook off the early chill and pressed on past Kirkton Farm, remains of St. Fillan's Church and both cemeteries following the private road to the farm then unmade track to the rail line.
Ladder stile over high fence
to protect newly planted
indigenous
 saplings from deer
There is a footbridge off to the right, over the rail line that I intended to use but in the absence of a clear path I missed it and crossed the rail line at the track crossing. The first and only deviation from the intended route.
On the other side of the rail line stay on the track briefly looking for a path off to the left around a hillock and stay left to join a more obvious muddy path this side of the fence line. From the map I was expecting a thick mixed forest but in reality it is fairly recently and sparsely planted. But regardless of this the fence is there to follow on the north west side all the way to the first summit, the sub Graham Top of Creag Loisgte. Not a well known peak I am sure, in fact the path continues to the left of the summit, but as a "sub" top of any type is definitely of interest to me.
On a clear day it would give a good view of the route ahead but today with the return of the drizzle and low cloud I could only just about make out the scar of the muddy track heading north east towards 
Beinn Challuim South Top.
Beinn Challuim South Top.
Not sure if cairn or rock is the high point
Returning to the path and descending to the bealach, as  well as the path there was the fence on the left to handrail until it disappears half way up Beinn Challuim South Top. Beyond the fence the path remains easy to follow. The only thing to watch out for in poor visibility is to not confuse the first cairn with the summit. The main summit, although not visible today, is another 100m further on. I only mention it to avoid a repeat of an earlier mistake this trip, but I think it is unlikely  that anyone would be heading for the south top without the intention to carry on to the Munro. Anyway, for the avoidance of doubt the summit area is a cairn and a rocky prominence, not a lonely cairn on the ridge.

Ben Challum [Beinn Challuim]
Approaching
Beinn Challuim cairn from the south
Continueing straight over the south top and down in to a gully resulted in me having to reascend the other side to what appeared to be half way along a fairly exposed ridge. In fact it just about gives the sensation of a short ridge walk, but if you want to enjoy its full benefits return to the path to the west of the summit and follow it towards the start of the ridge. The narrowness only lasts for a short while before broadening out where the path continues down the bealach before reascending to the summit and cairn of the days main event - Ben Challum [Beinn Challuim]. 
Looking back at Beinn Challuim South Top
from Beinn Challuim
Not much to report I am afraid because the cloud was blocking any views, so after a few photos of the summit I returned the way I came but this time stayed on the narrow part of the ridge before passing to the right of the south top summit. 
Visibility was not brilliant but the path was easy enough to follow on the required bearing. A lone post did appear heralding the proximity of the fence to follow all the way back to the rail line. More or less before the next post was seen the cloud lifted (or I descended below the cloud) and the route home along the path at the side of the fence could clearly be seen.
Heading downhill (disused?) footbridge
over West Highland Line near Kirkton Farm
About the same time the rain also stopped so I guess the cloud was lifting. Suffice it to say the rest of the return was straight forwards. All I had to concentrate on was staying on my feet as I followed the fence down to the rail line along the muddy path which sometimes disappeared and occasionally deteriorated to bog.
The one variation from the ascent was the path stayed with the fence and revealed the footbridge I had missed on the way up. It was fairly overgrown and I think little used but did provide some excellent frames for a few photos, especially as the sun decided to make its first appearance of the day.
Munro No29 signifying the passing of the 10% completion and now after Ben Lomond earlier in this trip my second solo Munro.

More Photographs

Cruach Ardrian along Strath Fillan from Kirkton Farm
Click on photograph to view slide-show

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Beinn Dorain & Beinn an Dothaidh hammerhead

Walk Summary
First sight of Stob Ghabhar and Stob a' Choire Odhair
beyond Black Mount from Coire an Dothaidh
Yet again another favourable weather report both with the BBC and MWIS. Today was also the day we left Maragowan Caravan Club Site, Killin and moved to By The Way Campsite and Hostel, Tyndrum. But first we would park both vans near Bridge of Orchy rail station and make the best of the early morning sunshine. This route was not in the original plan but John suggested including the "Orchy Hills" as they are easily accessible from Tyndrum. I did not need any persuading when Beinn Dorain was mentioned. With its conical mass, it is one of the first "stop the car and photograph peaks" you come across as you leave Tyndrum along the A82 and head towards Rannoch Moor and Glen Coe beyond.



Walk Statistics
Walk Date - 08 October 2014
Walkers - Steve Smith, John Parkin

Accommodation - By The Way Campsite and Hostel, Tyndrum
Start Point - Road side parking near Bridge of Orchy Rail Station (GR - NN 29981 39570)
Start Time - 10:33
Finish Point 
Road side parking near Bridge of Orchy Rail Station (GR - NN 29981 39570)
Finish Time - 16:38
Duration - 6hrs 05mins
Average pace - 1.36mph
Distance Walked - 8.27miles
Height Ascended - 1187.37metres

Other walks on this trip

2014
September

30th Conic Hill & Gualann
October
01st Ptarmigan & Ben Lomond
03rd Meall Corranaich & Meall a' Choire Leith
04th Ben More & Stob Binnein
05th Not quite Meall Buide (Glen Lyon)
07th Cruach Ardrain & Beinn Tulaichean
08th Beinn Dorain & Beinn an Dothaidh hammerhead
10th Ben Challum [Beinn Challuim]
12th Beinn a' Chreachain & Beinn Achaladair
13th The Tyndrum Grandslam

Peaks visited
Munro (282)

Beinn an Dothaidh (27)
Beinn Dorain (28)
Murdo (443)

Beinn an Dothaidh (36)
Beinn Dorain (37)
Corbett (221)
NONE
Graham (224)
NONE
Marilyn (1218S - 1552E,W&S))

Beinn an Dothaidh (27S - 98E,W&S)
Beinn Dorain (28S - 99E,W&S)
Hump (2168S - 2976E,W&S)
Beinn an Dothaidh (37S - 156E,W&S)
Beinn Dorain (38S - 157E,W&S)
S: Scotland. 
E,W&S:England,Wales & Scotland


Route
GPX can be downloaded from www.shareyouradventure.com

Walk Description
Beinn an Dothaidh
Parking on roadside near
Bridge of Orchy rail station
We did expect to park the vans in Bridge of Orchy station car park, however the few spaces opposite the station entrance were clearly marked for the use of rail customers only. Not a problem though as there is plenty of roadside parking adjacent to the station that does not interfere with local access. Start the walk by going under the West Highland Rail Line near the station entrance. It is part of the West Highland Way but instead of turning right along the line back to Glasgow enjoy the expansive views up Coire an Dòthaidh gently ascending to the bealach between the two target Munros of the day.
The days route up Coire an Dothaidh
between the summits as were emerge from
under rail line at Bridge of Orchy station
Turn left passing the radio/mobile telephone mast on the right then turn right heading up hill following the clearly worn path. The ascent to the bealach rises steadily by about 600m over 2½ miles so not overly challenging. It still took us 2 hours though, which in part was down to the relentless ascent, but more to do with numerous photo stops as nearby munros revealed themselves as we rose above the surrounding minor peaks. From the photos you can see we were blessed with ideal weather and therefore had many stops.
No path now across around Coire Reidhe
until start ascent up
Beinn an Dothaid 993m spot height
After a lunch stop just below the bealach the path splits left to Beinn an Dothaidh and right to Beinn Dorain. As we followed the path to the left around the back of Beinn Dothaidh, what looked like the summit was straight ahead. In such clear conditions navigation was not a problem, though with low cloud regular compass checks would be necessary, especially when the path disappears as you cross Coire Reidh. We could see a path ascending from the low ground towards the visible summit, but it was not until we started the final ascent that we looked to our left and realised the main summit had been hidden and we were heading towards the 993m spot height. It was not a waste of time however, it could have been a subsidiary top (it wasn't) that needed bagging. But it did reveal lovely views to the south east beyond Loch Lyon and munros along Glen Lochay to the Tarmachan Ridge.
Turning round we then headed to the first summit of the day Beinn an Dothaidh. Somehow my preparations had missed the West Top (1000m spot height) which is classified as a sub-Murdo, so after photo graphs we headed back to the bealach for the 993m spot height and retraced our steps across Coire Reidh and the main bealach at the top of Coire an Dothaidh.

Beinn Dorain

Heading back across Coire Reidh.
Looks like last of sunshin
on ascent route up Beinn Dorain
As we returned to the bealach from Beinn an Dothaidh we could see the blue sky being obscured from the south west by thick grey cloud from the south west. Bit of a shame really as I was looking forwards to looking down on the A82 towards Tyndrum from Beinn Dorain summit.
Apart from cloud watching on the descent we were also sussing out the ascent route to Beinn Dorain. We could see a clear path ascending from the bealach heading straight for crags beyond which we could see the summit a fair distance beyond.
On the ground the path remained easy to follow up the crag and unlike our expectations the crag did not really involve any scrambling. At the top of the crag the ground levels out as the path bears right towards an un-named lochan. Heading towards the lochan look right across open ground to see the path ascending towards the summit area.
Follow path along Am Fiaclach and
continue up hill to reach Cairn Sassunaich
Turning left the path continues towards the summit and as you reach the skyline , bear left and ascend to the left of more crags at the top of Am Fiaclach. You can stay right below the crags following a path but that would miss out the Carn Sassunnaich.
By the time we reached Carn Sassunaich any sunshine had been obscured by cloud though it was not so low to affect visibility unduly. It did make me think however about our earlier unsuccessful Munro ascent up Meall Buide (Glen Lyon) and reminded me not to be confused by the substantial cairn thinking we had reached Beinn Dorian summit.
Cairn Sassunaich. If visibility is low
DO NOT think this is the Munro summit
it is another ¼ mile further on
Fortunately we could see the next and main summit of Beinn Dorain along a ridge, ¼ mile past Cairn Sassunaich. By the time we reach Beinn Dorain the cloud had descended further obscuring views to the south. I could just about make out Loch Lyon so after summit photos and logging turned round and headed back towards Cairn Sassunaich not bothering with the extra acent to the cairn, staying low and left to rejoin the route home at the top of Am Fiaclach.
Very soon we descended below the cloud line and by the time we reach the bealach at the top of Coire an Dothaidh we had pretty good visibility down towards Bridge of Orchy. From here all that remained was 1 hours ascent for a finish before 5pm allowing plenty of time and daylight to settle in at our new base at By The Way, Tyndrum.

More Photographs
Munros for another trip - Stob Ghabhar and Stob a' Choire Odhair from half way up Coire an Dothaidh
Click on photograph to view slide-show