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


30th Conic Hill & Gualann
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)
Graham (224)
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

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

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