Lindsay Boyd's Trip Reports

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Section 1 -The Midland Valley to the River Tay

Loch Lomond
Loch Lomond
Sunset from Benvane
Sunset from Benvane
The Brack
The Brack
Loch Long
Loch Long

This section refers to the hills and mountains around the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. It includes the Arrochar Alps, the Cowal peninsula, east and west of Glen Falloch and south of Crianlarich. They cover the Corbetts, Grahams, Munros and New Donalds that I have climbed in this area since 2003. The Sub 2000 Marilyns within this section can be viewed here while the Sub 2000 Marilyns in the south-east of this area can be found here. Section 1 Humps can be located here.


Section 1 Index

Corbetts Grahams Munros New Donalds
Achnafree Hill Beinn a'Mhanaich An Caisteal Beinn nan Eun
Beinn a'Choin Beinn Bhalgairean Beinn a'Chleibh Beinn Odhar
Beinn an Lochain Beinn Bheag Beinn a'Chroin Ben Ever
Beinn Bheula Beinn Bhreac Beinn Bhuidhe Blairdenon Hill
Beinn Chuirn Beinn Chaorach Beinn Chabhair Innerdownie
Beinn Each Beinn Damhain Beinn Dubhchraig Tarmangie Hill
Beinn Luibhean Beinn Dearg Beinn Ime Uamh Bheag
Ben Donich Beinn Eich Beinn Narnain Whitewisp Hill
Ben Ledi Beinn Lochain Beinn Tulaichean  
Benvane Beinn Mhor Ben Chonzie  
Creagan na Beinne Beinn na Gainimh Ben Lomond  
Creag Mac Rannaich Beinn Ruadh Ben Lui  
Creag Uchdag Ben Cleuch Ben More  
Meall an Fhudair Ben Venue Ben Oss  
Meall an t-Seallaidh Cnoc Coinnich Ben Vane  
Meall na Fearna Creag Each Ben Vorlich - Loch Earn  
Stob a'Choin Creag Gharbh Ben Vorlich - Loch Lomond  
Stob Coire Creagach Creag Mhor Cruach Ardrain  
Stob Fear-tomhais Creag Ruadh Stob Binnein  
The Brack Creag Tharsuinn Stuc a'Chroin  
The Cobbler Cruach an t-Sidhein    
  Cruach nam Mult    
  Cruach nan Capull    
  Cruinn a'Bheinn    
  Doune Hill    
  Fiarach    
  Meall Buidhe    
  Meall Dearg    
  Meall Mor    
  Meall nan Caorach    
  Meall nan Gabhar    
  Meall Odhar    
  Meall Reamhar    
  Mid Hill    
  Mor Bheinn    
  Sgiath a'Chaise    
  Shee of Ardtalnaig    
  Stob an Eas    
  Stob Breac    
  Stob na Boine Druim-fhinn    
  The Stob    
  Tullich Hill    
  Uamh Bheag    


Section 1 Trip Reports

Ben Lomond

1 November 2015

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Map - OS Landranger 56. Time taken - 4.75 hours. Distance - 12.5 kilometres. Ascent - 1040 metres.

The start for the ascent of Ben Lomond was Rowardennan located at the end of the public road on the east shore of Loch Lomond. Parking or stopping was not permitted on the final six mile stretch of this road from Drymen meaning the only option was to leave my vehicle in the car park and pay £3 for this privilege.

It was misty as I set off north along the vehicle track with more ‘Do Not’ signs which I thought were inappropriate and off-putting in a National Park. Anyway I passed the Youth Hostel and a couple of houses as I continued north avoiding the start of the path for the Ptarmigan’s south ridge as I wanted to find an alternative route to avoid the crowds, not that there were many folks about at this time of day.

On reaching the Ptarmigan Lodge the vehicle track made a slight incline and crossed a stream. Here an old path was followed up the north side of the burn before coming to an end. The trees were well spaced making it possible to continue the ascent and I soon reached another track which was occasionally marked by pieces of orange tape on the now closely planted fir trees. Drainage had also been installed but there were still some muddy sections. Near the top end of the forest several trees had been blown over as I weaved my way through them to reach and cross a stock fence.

By this time the sun was out although low cloud concealed Loch Lomond. It was a steady climb, avoiding some rocks, to reach the path on Ptarmigan’s south ridge just below the 731 knoll. I never spotted anyone on this ridge so in hindsight it had been an unnecessary detour. I walked north over this knoll then the path turned north-east onto Ptarmigan’s summit. By this time there was a cold wind blowing which was even stronger as I ascended Ben Lomond. Fortunately the route up the north-west ridge afforded some shelter from the wind sweeping up out of the corrie.

I reached the summit trig point where it was less windy and after taking a few photos commenced my descent south-east soon meeting walkers on their approach to the summit, the first folks I had seen except for a mountain biker on the shore of Loch Lomond. The worn path then descended south where I continued to pass walkers on their ascent. Lower down it became quite pleasant in the sun but the latter section of the path was badly worn and muddy. The car park looked almost full making lots of money in parking charges.

previous ascent

Ben Lomond Munro sixth ascent 974 metres

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Meall Reamhar

31 October 2015

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Map - OS Landranger - 52. Time taken - 2.75 hours. Distance - 8.25 kilometres. Ascent - 355 metres.

In October 2011 we planned to combine Meall nan Caorach and Meall Reamhar but after climbing the former and descending to the col between the two Grahams we were advised that stalking was taking place on the latter so there was no option other than to head back down the glen and return another day.

The forecast was for the weather to improve as the day progressed so the plan was for a late start. On approaching Amulree from the south, on the A822, we noticed that the access road leading to Girron Farm had been widened. Here we met the farmer who had no objection to me leaving my vehicle there as long as it was parked close to the fence.

It was raining as we set off across the wooden bridge over the Girron Burn then along the widened track towards Girron Farm. At a junction of tracks we took the left fork for the farm, the other one being used by construction traffic. Beyond the farm a muddy track took us under the pylon lines before the underfoot conditions improved as we walked up the glen. There was a short steeper section before the track ran below Creag Ghorm.

At another steeper section just before the col between Meall nan Caorach and Meall Reamhar we left the track then crossed some heather and marshy vegetation to reach a rusty fence topped with barbed wire. Once over it and more wet ground the ascent of Meall Reamhar commenced. It was a steady climb through heather and grass keeping to the north of some rocks. The cairn was soon reached and here it was rather windy but the cloud was clearing. I also visited a point on the other side of the fence which was apparently the same height.

A bit of shelter was found to take a break looking west towards Loch Freuchie, Glen Almond and in the distance Schiehallion. Thereafter we returned by the approach route as the weather continued to improve and eventually some sunshine.

Meall Reamhar Graham second ascent 620 metres

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Beinn Dubhchraig and Ben Oss

27 September 2015

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Map - OS Landranger 50. Time taken - 8 hours. Distance - 20.75 kilometres. Ascent - 1300 metres.

I decided on an early start to climb the Munros, Beinn Dubhchraig and Ben Oss but that meant initially I had to contend with a bit of mist. However the forecast was for a reasonable day, 60% cloud free Munros, although it didn’t turn out like that.

The starting point was the parking area at Dalrigh, just off the A82 Crianlarich to Tyndrum Road and from there I walked south-east on what was probably an old section of the main road. This led to the bridge over the River Fillan and immediately thereafter the vehicle track which ran west along the side of the railway line. This track later crossed the railway via a bridge but rather than take the muddy walker’s path directly to the Allt Gleann Auchreoch, I opted to continue along the vehicle track for another 250 metres before descending to this stream.

I was aware the bridge no longer existed but checked it out to discover only two steel beams remained. There was no way I would attempt the crossing using one of them so headed upstream until I located a suitable point where I forded the burn with dry feet. I then joined the path that headed through the Coille Coire Chuilc woods. In fact it’s a serious of paths as walkers wander around trying to avoid the quagmire. The underfoot conditions were pretty awful and worse than I recalled from my last visit, possibly due to the wet summer that we have endured this year.

The open hillside was reached and a wet peaty path continued up the north-west bank of the Allt Coire Dubhchraig. Previously I’ve then crossed the moorland onto Beinn Dubhchraig’s North Ridge but the path continued up the side of the stream and into the coire and the low cloud. It then steepened as I climbed onto Beinn Dubhchraig North-West Ridge where the gradient eased and an easy stroll took me to the summit cairn where I had a break.

Unfortunately the cloud which I expected to lift didn’t so I returned down the north-west ridge to the lochans then by an eroded path through the rocks to the col with Ben Oss where the cloud very briefly cleared. I continued along the path for Ben Oss but at a small cairn left it and took another path that led onto its north-east ridge where I made a slight diversion to take in its North Top. A slight drop south-west then a steady climb on an obvious path led to the summit of Ben Oss marked by a cairn.

With fairly poor visibility there was no point in hanging around so I returned to the col with the North Top meeting a lone walker en-route. I walked round its south side where the path seem to disappeared but later relocated it before heading back to the col with Beinn Dubhchraig. I then re-ascended this Munro but only as far as the lochans then to the path beside the Allt Coire Dubhchraig. I opted to descend through the vegetation on the south-east side of this stream which I thought was easier than using the wet path. I also emerged from the low cloud as a number of folks were heading upwards.

On reaching the edge of the forest I continued down the side of the stream planning to cross it lower down. However I came across a cairn marking a short section of path that led to a forest track. Rather than wander through the boggy ground used on the ascent I opted to follow this track into Gleann Auchreoch where I met a chap on his ascent. This added a fair bit of distance but the walking was easy although to leave the forest I was forced to climb over large padlocked metal gates. The vehicle track continued to the bridge over the railway and then the outward route was followed back to my car. I arrived there at the same time as a chap, who had set out just after me, and had climbed Ben Lui.

previous ascent

Beinn Dubhchraig Munro sixth ascent 978 metres
Ben Oss Munro sixth ascent 1028 metres

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Ben Vane

22 August 2015

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Map - OS Landranger 56. Time taken - 4.75 hours. Distance - 12.5 kilometres. Ascent - 1070 metres.

I parked in the car park at Inveruglas on the west shore of Loch Lomond and walked south for around half a mile along the path on the west side of the A82 to the start of the tarred road leading to Loch Sloy Dam. Once beyond the kissing gate at the side of the main gate, which was secured by several padlocks, I walked up the zigzag tarred road, fairly steep here, until it straightened out and the gradient eased. I was soon passed by a couple of young chaps and wishing that I could walk at their pace!

The numerous electric pylons in the area spoilt the views although on this visit the hill tops were covered in cloud. An electric sub-station was reached and here a new large building had been constructed. At a road junction I took a left for the Glen Loin circuit route, while the tarred road continued to Loch Sloy. I crossed the bridges over the Inveruglas Water and after a few hundred metres a small stream. Here a path, eroded and wet in places, headed steeply uphill before the gradient eased.

The path here was also wet and boggy in places until the incline steepened and didn’t really relent until high up on the hillside. As the path wound its way uphill avoiding the rocky outcrops it appeared to more eroded than on my previous visit in 2008. I met a chap on his descent then entered the cloud base. High up there was a rocky scramble again with a fair bit of wear and tear caused by walkers and probably the weather. I spoke to another walker before crossing some rather wet rock to reach a cairn and this was followed by a short easy stroll to a higher cairn. Apparently a rock beside this second cairn was the highest point on Ben Vane.

The descent was by the upward route. Just below the rocky area I met four chaps sitting at a knoll thinking they were at the summit as they couldn’t see beyond a slight drop. Lower down there were a number of walkers on their ascent.

previous ascent

Ben Vane Munro sixth ascent 915 metres

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Mid Hill

2 August 2015

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Map - OS Landranger 56. Time taken - 4.25 hours. Distance - 10.75 kilometres. Ascent - 735 metres.

I drove into the village of Luss on the west shore of Loch Lomond to discover lots of parking restrictions so I left my vehicle in the pay and display car park where the charge per hour was 80 pence. I settled for five hours in case we didn’t make it back in the predicted four hours.

We set off from the car park, crossed the main road through the village, the footbridge over the A82, and then passed through a kissing gate. Immediately to the right of this gate there was a stile which once across took us onto a grassy path that led towards Strone Wood. The path passed through some long bracken and to a stock gate. Beyond it was a steady climb in light rain on what was now a very wet and in places muddy path with several areas of bog which had to be avoided.

The gradient eased for a while before increasing as the cloud began to lower. We decided to stop for a break here with views across Loch Lomond. However the cloud continued to lower and we were soon engulfed.

On the move again we followed the still wet and muddy path and near Creag an t-Seilich met three runners on their descent. The summit of the Graham Top, Beinn Dubh, marked by a cairn and surrounded by wet peat was reached then a gradual descent on the path that ran alongside a stock fence. This fence soon headed off to the north-east so we remained on the ridge although the path here wasn’t always obvious.

On making our way towards Mid Hill out of the gloom appeared a small unattended digger. Areas of vegetation had been built up but I couldn’t figure out why. A cairn was reached but we continued to a second westerly one which appeared higher, confirmed by GPS. However a piece of ground slightly to the east was shown as being even higher.

With no views we returned to the village of Luss by the upward route.

Mid Hill Graham second ascent 657 metres

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Beinn Bheula

16 May 2015

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Map - OS Landranger 56. Time taken - 6.25 hours. Distance - 15 kilometres. Ascent - 1240 metres

I drove to Lochgoilhead then along the shore of Loch Goil towards Lettermay with the intention of climbing the Sub 2000 Marilyn, Cruach nam Miseag and possibly the Corbett, Beinn Bheula. Finding a parking space at Lettermay has always been a problem but with the appearance of more holiday cabins it is now even harder. I did manage to park on the grass verge immediately north of the Lettermay Burn.

Once geared up I set off along the road but left it after a few metres to join a vehicle track, passing a few houses, to gain the forest tracks. A lot more trees had been cut down since my previous visit in 2008 making the tracks and surrounding hills more visible.

I encountered a few rain showers as I walked along the forest track looking for a fire break which would permit me access to the north-west face of Cruach nam Miseag. I came to the end of the mature firs and here there was a narrow break then a large area of young trees. I opted to walk up this gap where lots of the mature trees had been blown over. The ground was quite rough and in places wet but I didn’t encounter any real problems. I did come across an old ATV track which I initially ignored but later used it before crossing some brash to clear the upper reaches of the forest. Surprisingly there was no deer fence.

The ascent was then across a mixture of grasses with a few undulations. It was rather windy and on the final approach to the small summit cairn a fair bit of buffeting. On the other side of this top I found some shelter with views of Loch Goil, Loch Long and Lochgoilhead.

Afterwards I headed west across a couple of tops, one being classed as a Highland Five, before descending to Lochain nan Cnamih, avoiding some crags, then crossing a stock fence. I was undecided whether to continue to Beinn Bheula but finally made up my mind to include this Corbett rather than re-entering the forest. I headed up the side of a gully across some rough vegetation, over another stock fence, to reach the cliffs below Creag Sgoilte. Here there was a wing of a crashed aircraft. It was still windy but more so now as I worked my way round the crags and onto the top of Creag Sgoilte buffeted by the wind.

The next section of the walk was rather exposed so I avoided a path above the rocky east face by keeping slightly to the west. A short descent was then followed by a gentle gradient to reach the summit of Beinn Bheula marked by a trig point and surrounded by a cairn.

There was very little shelter here from the wind so I didn’t linger and headed off in a north-easterly direction. This route through the rocks was filled with snow and not feasible without suitable equipment which I wasn’t carrying. I therefore moved further north, worked my way round some cliffs, to reach a point below the snow filled gully. Thereafter I continued my descent north-east sometimes on a walker’s path to eventually reach the stream flowing out of the Curra Lochain. Here a wet and muddy path was followed to the Sruth Ban Falls where the path, marked by some white posts, was in a worse state but led me through the rocks. The path then continued through the trees but was like a quagmire in places before reaching the forest track which was followed back to the start.

previous ascent

Beinn Bheula Corbett third ascent 779 metres

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Fiarach

13 December 2014

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Map - OS Landranger 50. Time taken - 4.5 hours. Distance - 9.5 kilometres. Ascent - 510 metres.

The start for the ascent of the Graham, Fiarach, was Dalrigh on the A82 Tyndrum to Crianlarich Road where there was a car park on the west side of the road capable of holding several vehicles. We exited the car park at its south end by descending a few steps and this led to a gate on a tarred road which had a thin covering of snow and ice. The West Highland Way was crossed then the River Fillan via bridge.

Immediately beyond this bridge we turned right and followed a vehicle track along the north side of the Crianlarich to Oban railway line. This track later crossed the rail line via a bridge before gradually gaining a bit of height as it headed south towards Gleann Auchreoch. The snow covered track passed through some well spaced trees then more moorland before reaching padlocked gates at the start of a commercial forest.

Here we left the track and commenced the ascent of Fiarach through some ankle deep snow. The gradient increased and led to the top end of the forest where the slope eased. The deer fence, which had a few breaks in it, continued east then south to the west end of Lochan Fiarach which was frozen over. There was then a slight loss of height as we continued to follow the deer fence which in places had collapsed before it was then replaced by a stock fence. There were a number of other fences or fence posts visible amongst the snow covered hillside. A gentle rise led us through some drifting snow and ice to Fiarach’s summit area and its highest point marked by a few boulders.

We arrived at the summit as a snow shower hit the area. It was also rather windy so after waiting for the shower to blow through we returned to Lochan Fiarach encountering some spindrift. Beyond the lochan we left the deer fence and descended north to the bridge over the railway line then returned to the car park by the outward route just in time to avoid some sleet and rain.

previous ascent

Fiarach Graham second ascent 652 meters

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Beinn Eich, Cruach an t-Sidhein and Doune Hill

7 September 2014

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Map - OS Landranger 56. Time taken - 6.5 hours. Distance - 14.25 kilometres. Ascent - 1140 metres.

I was down in the Loch Lomond National Park as a Graham bagging friend wished to climb some of the Luss Hills. Having previously ascended the ones on the north side of Glen Douglas we decided to tackle the more central ones, Beinn Eich, Cruach an t-Sidhein and Doune Hill.

Glen Luss was our starting point, reached from the A82 at Luss on the west shore of Loch Lomond, along a single track road which was rather narrow especially the further west we travelled. I found a parking spot for a single vehicle between the bridge over the Mollochan Burn and Edentaggart Farm. While preparing to set off park rangers arrived in a vehicle and approached us. A tent was pitched just above where I was parked and they were disappointed to discover we weren’t’ the illegal campers. On checking the tent they found it empty, dismantled it, and left it lying there.

We set off along the road towards Edentaggart Farm but soon came across a signposted route avoiding these buildings. Once over the stile a wet field was crossed to reach two further stiles to gain Beinn Eich’s south-east ridge. A walker’s path led up the narrowing ridge to the summit cairn where we had some reasonable views of the surrounding hills.

The descent was by the north-west ridge and from the col with Beinn Lochain commenced the ascent of this hill. On gaining a bit of height we traversed below its south-west face then made a short descent to the col with Cruach an t-Sidhein before climbing this Graham. On returning to the second col we completed the ascent of Beinn Lochain followed by an easy stroll to the trig point on Doune Hill, although it appeared to me that nearby rocks were higher. From here we had views of the re-vamped military establishment in Glen Douglas.

After a break we parted company and my walking companion made the descent towards Glen Mollochan while I descended to Bealach an Duin and climbed the Graham Top, Doune Hill East Top. Thereafter I returned towards the bealach before descending south-east through some rough vegetation and into Glen Mollochan. Here there was a quad vehicle trail but it was wet and boggy. Lower down I joined a track where there was an improvement in the underfoot conditions.

I caught up with my walking companion and once through a gate we descended to the road beside the bridge over the Mollochan Burn, crossed a fence and returned to the car, thus avoiding cattle on the final section of the track.

Beinn Eich Graham second ascent 702 metres
Cruach an t-Sidhein Graham second ascent 684 metres
Doune Hill Graham second ascent 734 metres

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An Caisteal and Beinn a'Chroin

6 July 2014

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Map - OS Landranger 50. Time taken - 6.25 hours. Distance - 15 kilometres. Ascent - 1165 metres.

I was surprised to discover that I was the first car that morning to park in the lay-by on the A82 Crianlarich to Glasgow Road, in Glen Falloch, just south of Keilator Farm, although a few minutes later a lone female parked behind me.

Once geared up I crossed a stile then a boggy field to reach he vehicle track beside the railway underpass. Beyond, the track crossed the River Falloch via a bridge and headed towards Coire Earb. I soon came to what appeared to be a path which would lead me onto Sron Gharbh. Initially it was boggy and had recently been used by cattle but fortunately they were resting further down the glen. The path wasn’t always obvious as it headed up the north side of a small stream before crossing it to reach a stock gate.

Higher up the gradient steepened as I wound my way through some rocks to pass the North Top of Sron Gharbh on its west side where the gradient eased. A well used path continued along the ridge although I made slight diversions to take in the summits of Sron Gharbh and Twistin Hill. Beyond, the route gradually steepened to reach a few rocks which involved some easy scrambling including the crossing of an obvious cleft. The final section to the summit cairn was an easy stroll. There was a second cairn a few metres to the south-west but I wasn’t able to tell which was higher.

After a short break at the summit I descended, fairly steeply at times, on a stony path to reach the Bealach Buidhe. The path then continued south-east as I commenced my ascent of the Munro, Beinn a’Chroin. It took a slightly different route from what I can recall on previous ascents with more scrambling involved. The summit plateau was reached and I climbed to the West Top as rain then hail fell. From the West Top it was only a short walk to the Centre Top, classed as the Munro, apparently being two metres higher than the East Top. The highest point of Beinn a’Chroin appeared to be a large rock rather than the cairn.

I continued to follow the path out to the East Top before descending north. This path wound its way through a mixture of vegetation and round some rocky outcrops to reach a junction of streams. The route then crossed the south-west tributary and headed down Coire Earb on the west side of the River Falloch. It was wet and boggy in numerous places and at points I followed quad vehicle trails which hadn’t improved the underfoot conditions. Lower down the vehicle track was joined and used to return to Glen Falloch and my car.

previous ascent

An Caisteal Munro sixth ascent 995 metres.
Beinn a'Chroin Munro sixth ascent 942 metres

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Creag Uchdag

24 May 2014

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Map - OS Landranger 51. Time taken - 6.5 hours. Distance - 17.25 kilometres. Ascent - 950 metres.

On this ascent of the Corbett, Creag Uchdag I wanted to include the Hump and Corbett Top, Creag nan Eun, so the easiest starting point was Glen Lednock reached from the village of Comrie. Vehicular access to the dam at Loch Lednock was no longer permitted and the recommended parking area was beside the access road leading to Coishavachan. Unfortunately the parking area only holds around four cars and was already full so I left my vehicle on the wide grass verge immediately to the west.

I set off along the tarred road to Loch Lednock initially on a fairly level plane but once beyond the turn off for the Right of Way to Ardeonaig it became a fairly steep climb. On arrival at the dam I followed the rough track on the east side of the loch where I spoke briefly with the farmer and a local couple. The track soon turned and headed north on a fairly steep gradient easing slightly before its termination. Here there was a new fence and gate and beyond a wet and boggy quad vehicle trail which was leading me slightly off course. I therefore crossed some heather and rough vegetation to reach the Allt Mor. It was probably possible to reach this stream from a short section of track and another new gate to the west just before the termination of the track mentioned above.

Animal trails above the gullies of the Allt Mor tributaries, there were several, were followed north to an obvious grassy gully which once climbed led to an easy ascent of Creag nan Eun, the summit marked by a stone shelter and old metal fence post. Although clear of cloud some was circulating below the nearby Munro, Ben Chonzie.

Old fence posts marked my descent route to the peat hags at the col with Meall Dubh Mor and to the unmarked summit of this sub Corbett Top. From there it was a short descent north-west followed by a steady climb to the trig point marking the summit of Creag Uchdag. Low cloud was floating about so I sat at the summit for a while until it cleared sufficiently to get some views.

My plan also included a circuit of Loch Lednock so I briefly continued north-west before descending steeply south avoiding lots of boulders and small rocky outcrops keeping to the west of the cliffs at Creag Bheag. I never saw any indication of the path from Ardeonaig so continued my descent to and crossed the River Lednock where the water level was low.

I walked to the power station at the west end of Loch Lednock then along the tarred road on the south side of the loch, where I spotted several hares. When the track climbed south I descended towards a building in search of the path shown on my map. I only spotted an animal trail which I used but it soon disappeared in the long heather. A bit of height was gained before I descended to the tarred road then followed it back to the route for Loch Lednock Dam and to the car park.

previous ascent

Creag Uchdag Corbett third ascent 879 metres

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Mor Bheinn

11 January 2014

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Map - OS Landranger 57. Time taken - 5.5 hours. Distance - 12 kilometres. Ascent - 755 metres.

I was asked by a Graham bagger to take her to Mor Bheinn, located west of Comrie in Perthshire. On my only previous ascent of this Graham I walked in from the east so on this occasion planned an ascent from the south which would enable me to include the Graham Top, Ben Halton.

It was a slow drive to the start. The B827 Braco to Comrie Road hadn’t been gritted and was rather icy. There was an abandoned damaged vehicle which had obviously collided with verge at a series of bends. The road along Glen Artney, which I didn’t expect to be gritted, was also icy. I parked on a muddy lay-by opposite the School House, which appeared to be vacant. Any way the local farmer passed and didn’t stop to make any comment so I took it this meant it was okay to leave my car there.

We walked down the farm road passed Dalchruin, where the farmhouse was boarded up, then over the Water of Ruchill via a bridge. Here we bore right, crossed the bridge over the Allt Glas then immediately left this track and climbed a steep embankment to join a grassy vehicle track which took us to a set of sheep pens. Once through a gate we were into some rougher vegetation although further on we came across another grassy vehicle track. We spotted several red kites on the drive along Glen Artney and on this section of the ascent but my photography skills let me down again.

A stone dyke topped with wire fencing was crossed then we joined very briefly the vehicle track that ran round three sides of Ben Halton. At a set of gates in the deer fence I discovered that if wearing your rucksack the kissing gate was only for the slim people. Immediately beyond these gates we left the track and followed a less obvious vehicle track to the north of Dun Dubh. This area had been planted with trees but they didn’t appear to be doing very well.

We came across another deer fence but discovered a gate nearby and once through it initially followed the fence across some boggy ground before climbing towards the summit of Ben Halton. The cairn marking its highest point was located on a ridge where we had good views across Comrie towards Crieff.

There was a cold wind blowing so we returned along the ridge then descended to the col with Mor Bheinn. From here we ascended this Graham through some long heather to reach a cairn around 160 metres north-east of the trig point which apparently was the highest point. As well as a cold breeze there were a few snow flurries so we found shelter for lunch before returning later to the cairn to take a few photos. We then walked along the ridge to the trig point where I spotted a couple of walkers on the south face.

The descent was by the south ridge to the col with Ben Halton then across the west shoulder of this hill to reach the deer fence at a point where on the ascent we had spotted a stile. Once over this stile we crossed some rough ground then descended to the vehicle track on the west side of the hill. We followed this track back to the first set of deer gates used that morning then followed the outward route back to the start.

previous ascent

Mor Bheinn Graham second ascent 640 metres

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Meall an Fhudair and Beinn Damhain

17 November 2013

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Map - OS Landranger 50 or 56 Time - 7 hours. Distance - 16.75 kilometres. Ascent - 1230 metres.

It was a fine frosty morning when I parked up beside an unused gate on the west side of the A82 in Glen Falloch, almost opposite Glen Falloch Farm. I then set off westwards along a vehicle track which crossed the railway line via a bridge before zigzagging round Troisgeach Bheag to a junction of tracks. The views to Loch Lomond were spoilt by the many electric pylons in the area.

Here I took the left fork which led me to the Lairig Arnan where I had views of the first two hills I planned to climb. I later left this track, crossed the Allt Arnan without difficulty, to reach the deer fence surrounding the forest on the south-east side of this stream with the thought of walking round the edge of the forest. However a section of the fence was down so I followed deer tracks through the trees, along the edge of a wee burn, and onto the open hillside. From there I climbed to the summit of the Highland Five, Garabal Hill, spotting a few deer en-route. There were some reasonable views from this summit including Ben Vorlich and the Arrochar Alps.

After a short break I descended south-west across some wet ground keeping to the high points south of Lochan Beinn Daimh. I came to the deer fence, which I had forgotten about, but again there were breaks in the fence so once through it I climbed onto to the south ridge of the Graham, Beinn Damhain and headed to the summit cairn where once more I had some good views.

The descent north was down a gully, a mixture of heather and grasses, avoiding a few rocks to reach the small lochan at the rather wet col with Meall an Fhudair. The ascent of this hill was mainly through long dead grass which concealed several small holes but higher up the going was easier as I made my way to the summit which was marked by a cairn.

I didn’t linger long at this Corbett as it was obvious the weather was deteriorating with the hills to the west clouding over and I had a bit of work to do to get back to the start. I followed a walker’s path to the col with Meall nan Caora then climbed to the top of this hill watched by a couple of hinds. I then walked south-east along the ridge to Troisgeach.

The cloud lowered as I descended this Graham Top, fairly steeply at times, following traces of a walker’s path but on several occasions I lost its line especially on the more rocky sections. The final drop was through dead grass, avoiding rocky outcrops, to reach the junction of tracks beside Troisgeach Bheag. I then followed the vehicle track back to the start as the rain commenced.

I was surprised not to meet or spot any walker on these hills especially as they are fairly close to the Central Belt.

previous ascent Meall an Fhudair

Meall an Fhudair Corbett third ascent 764 metres
Beinn Damhain Graham second ascent 684 metres

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Beinn Tulaichean and Cruach Ardrain

6 October 2013

slide show

Map - OS Landranger 56. Time taken - 5.5 hours. Distance - 13.5 kilometres. Ascent - 1045 metres.

It was back to Inverlochlarig, reached from the A84 through Balquhidder, this time to climb the Munros, Beinn Tulaichean and Cruach Ardrain. On my arrival the car park was empty and once geared up I walked along the road to Inverlochlarig Farm then crossed the bridge over the burn with stags roaring on both sides of the glen. At the far side of the bridge was the signpost for Beinn Tulaichean and Cruach Ardrain but a notice below indicated that the route was closed due to electrical work with a temporary diversion. (A small hydro dam was being constructed in Inverlochlarig Glen with ancillary cable work and building.)

The diversionary route took me west for a short distance to a signpost indicating the route north. This involved a short steep drop followed by a walk across water logged vegetation, not in my opinion a suitable alternative route. However I was now on the lower slopes of Beinn Tulaichean and its ascent was a steady plod mainly following a path which at times was just flattened vegetation with occasional swampy ground. There were a couple of fences to cross as well. Higher up, where at times low cloud was being blown across the hillside, the path was a bit more obvious. Finally the gradient eased and it was just a stroll to the summit of Beinn Tulaichean which was marked by a cairn.

With cloud temporarily covering the summit I descended north to the col with Cruach Ardrain. The ascent of this hill entailed, in windy conditions, following a path which was eroded in sections to the cairn marking the summit of Cruach Ardrain. Here I was back in the cloud which lifted briefly to give views down to Crianlarich and Inverlochlarig.

I returned to the col en-route meeting a couple of chaps who had ascended the hill from Crianlarich, the only people I met all day. I had expected to see more folks on these Munros. On reaching the col a small pile of stones marked the start of a path which descended east into Inverlochlarig Glen. This path, which wasn’t always obvious, followed a couple of streams and eventually reached the vehicle track on the west side of the Inverlochlarig Burn.

The track took me south passed the new hydro dam. On approaching the farm a sign indicated the diversion route which again crossed waterlogged and muddy ground. There was only one additional sign so the route I was expected to take wasn’t obvious but a deer fence kept me away from the farm. Eventually I joined the track used that morning and returned to the car park by the outward route.

previous ascent

Beinn Tulaichean Munro sixth ascent 946 metres
Cruach Ardrain Munro sixth ascent 1046 metres

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Stuc a'Chroin and Beinn Each

14 September 2013

slide show - ascent Stuc a'Chroin
slide show - return from Stuc a'Chroin

Map - OS Landranger 57. Time taken - 9 hours. Distance - 21.75 kilometres. Ascent - 1370 metres.

The initial plan had been to head for Glen Luss and climb some of the hills there but I was offered a lift to Braeleny Farm, north of Callander, from where I could climb the Munro, Stuc a’Chroin. It was a lovely sunny morning as I set off along the short section of farm road to Braeleny where there was no activity although there was some scaffolding round the house.

After passing through a few gates I followed what appeared to be a little used vehicle track across the hillside above the Keltie Water. Just after a Water Board Hut the track descended to this river at a point where the bridge had been washed away in a storm several years ago. The water was too deep to cross here but a few metres upstream, above the merging of the Allt a’Chroin and the Allt Breac-nic, I managed to cross these two streams with ease to re-join the vehicle track. Here a sign informed me that stalking took place on weekdays between August and February and to keep to recognised paths. Although it wasn’t informative enough as to where shooting was taking place it said weekdays and this was a Saturday.

The track narrowed and led to the secure building at Arivurichardich then below the Graham Top, Meall Odhar. I was tempted to climb this hill but my route plan already included several hills which would be enough for one day. The path, which was a bit muddy in places caused by sheep use, led to the Bealach Beag-Iaraich then steepened to gain the south-east ridge of Stuc a’Chroin. Here I took a break sitting in the sun looking back at my approach route.

A bit reluctantly I left this fine viewpoint and continued up the ridge. When the Graham Top, Leacann Amarach, came into view I traversed round the side of the ridge trying not to lose any height but in the end descended to and crossed the Eas Lochan a’Chroin watched by a herd of stags. Beyond this burn it was an easy climb to the summit of the Graham Top, marked by a boulder.

I descended to the idyllic Lochan a’Chroin, followed its south bank, then climbed back onto Stuc a’Chroin’s South-East Ridge and to its summit. There was a choice of two cairns but I suspected the easterly one was the highest although I visited both. There were a number of folks in the area, the first people I had seen or met on this trip. After a few minutes at the top I descended west following a path and a line of old metal fence posts. A steep section of the path was badly eroded and here I passed a couple going in the opposite direction.

It seemed a long drop to the Bealach Glass before I was able to ascend Stuc a’Chroin West Top, a Graham Top. Here I stopped for lunch although since my earlier break more cloud had formed. After lunch I continued south climbing the Graham Tops, Beinn Each’s Far North Top and North Top. The latter was fairly rocky and I had to search for an easy route up. Thereafter the path was rejoined and I climbed the north face of Beinn Each through some rock bands to reach its summit marked by a few stones.

I descended south still following the line of old metal fence posts to the Bealach Coire nan Saighead then climbed to the summit of Meall na Caora, a Corbett Top. There were two areas that I thought were the highest points so I visited both before descending south-east and climbing the final hill of the day, the Graham Top, Beinn Each Point 694 metres. From here it was a gradual descent still heading south-east but later it became quite steep and took me to the Allt Breac-nic. Progress was then slow through some long tussocky grass as I aimed for the Water Board Hut. Once this was reached I followed the track back to Braeleny Farm and down the tarred road towards Callander where I obtained a lift.

previous ascent Stuc a'Chroin

previous ascent Beinn Each

Stuc a'Chroin Munro sixth ascent 973 metres
Beinn Each Corbett fifth ascent 811 metres

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Ben Chonzie

13 September 2013

slide show

Map - OS Landranger 51. Time taken - 4.75 hours. Distance - 14 kilometres. Ascent - 865 metres.

I settled for the Glen Lednock approach to the Munro, Ben Chonzie. With Invergeldie as the starting point this allowed me to include a few of the lower hills.

On arrival at Invergeldie I left my vehicle in the car park at the beginning of the private road leading to the houses at Coishavachan then walked along this vehicle track passed these dwellings. Soon afterwards I left this route and headed east climbing over some grass, reeds, wet ground and a nailed down gate. Beyond, the hillside was mainly of heather which in places had been managed by the Estate as areas had been burnt. Cloud was floating about mainly on the lower hills and as I approached the summit of Creag na h-Iolaire, a Highland Five, I was engulfed by it.

With only a brief view of Loch Lednock I descended east making a slight detour for some cliffs and this was followed by a fairly steep ascent of Dubh Chreag, another Highland Five. This time there were no views so it was onto the next wee hill. More cliffs were avoided, heather and a fence crossed to reach Dubh Mor, a Sub Highland Five. Despite its low status it was a rocky hill and to gain its summit involved walking round to its north face.

My plan was to keep to the high ground and continue to Meall Reamhar but with the poor visibility and lots of undulations on a contorted ridge I set course north and as the cloud lifted crossed some rough and in places rocky ground to join the vehicle track to the south-west of Ben Chonzie. This track had recently been improved and I followed it until an obvious right turn. Here a cairn marked the start of a walker’s path, which in places was wet and boggy, and led to the south ridge. Rather than follow the old metal fence posts marking the ridge line I cut across to the south-west ridge then climbed to the large cairn marking the summit of Ben Chonzie.

I had lunch at the summit taking in the views of the nearby hills before setting off back to Invergeldie. This time I kept to the ridge line before following the walker’s path then the vehicle track to Invergeldie Burn and the car park.

previous ascent

Ben Chonzie Munro sixth ascent 931 metres

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Stob Binnein and Ben More

27 July 2013

slide show

Map - OS Landranger 51 and 57. Time taken - 7 hours. Distance - 13.5 kilometres. Ascent - 1750 metres.

I decided to climb the Munros, Stob Binnein and Ben More from Inverlochlarig to the south where there is a car park which quickly fills up at weekends. On this visit I was surprised to find ample parking spaces. Once geared up I set off across a style and onto the south face of Stob Invercarnaig. It was a fairly steep climb following a path which was badly eroded in sections. Higher up a second style was crossed and thereafter more height was gained before the gradient eased.

Here the walker’s path wasn’t so easy to follow as the area was a bit marshy but it soon became obvious again as I headed up the south ridge of Stob Coire an Lochain, named on the map as Na Staidhrichean, and into the cloud. The walking was easy and with no views I arrived at the summit cairn of the Munro Top, where I met a lone female who had set off just before me. I continued onto Stob Binnein where I took a break sheltering from a cool breeze. A group of walkers arrived from the north but soon disappeared back the way they came.

After my break I descended Stob Binnein’s fairly stony and rocky north ridge following a path. As I lost height the cloud began to lift and I met and saw several walkers. On reaching the col with Ben More I commenced its ascent passing several folks on their descent including the female I spoke to earlier. On reaching the trig point there were a number of walkers about waiting or better views as the cloud continued to clear. Prior to leaving this summit I visited the nearby large cairn.

I returned to the col with Stob Binnein and had decided to re-ascend it rather than walk round its west side a route I had taken before and found rather rocky. I re-climbed Stob Binnein and on this occasion had some good views before returning to Inverlochlarig by the upward route.

previous ascent Stob Binnein

previous ascent Ben More

Stob Binnein Munro sixth ascent 1165 metres
Ben More Munro sixth ascent 1174 metres

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Ben Vorlich (Loch Earn)

8 July 2013

slide show

Map - OS Landranger 51 and 57. Time taken - 4.75 hours. Distance - 11.25 kilometres. Ascent - 1015 metres.

I arrived at Ardvorlich, on the south shore of Loch Earn, reasonably early as I wanted to avoid the midday heat and also afterwards I was headed home. I parked on the rutted rough ground at the side of the road where the only other vehicle was a camper van which appeared to have been there overnight.

Once geared up, although I didn’t need a lot of clothing as it was already warm despite the cloud cover, I set off along the driveway to Ardvorlich House then followed the sign posted route for hill walkers which took me passed a new electric power station and into Glen Vorlich. There were several gates to cross but some of the stiles are in the need of repair. The cloud was breaking and lifting clear of the hill tops.

At the Allt a Choire Bhuidhe, where a new water intake had been constructed, I left the vehicle track and walked along the path for Ben Vorlich. Initially it was in good condition having been upgraded several years ago but later I came across sections where the top surface had been washed away. Inevitably walkers are using the edges of the path which are now wearing away.

The gradient later steepened and here to the best of my knowledge the path has always been badly eroded although it may be worse with the amount of boot activity it gets. This led to Sgiath nam Tarmachan then to the summit of Ben Vorlich marked by a trig point. I did take a stroll out to the east top, which was apparently one metre lower, before returning to the summit for a cuppa. There were views from Mull round to Glencoe and the Cairngorms. Unfortunately I was joined by some midges and was about to leave when a couple, whom I had spotted earlier on their ascent of the north ridge, arrived at the summit. I spoke to them for a few minutes. They were the only hill walkers I met in four days hill bashing.

I descended Ben Vorlich’s north-west ridge where a couple of Ring Ouzels were flying from rock to rock and I wondered if they were juveniles. The ridge was a bit rocky but lower down mainly grassy vegetation. There were lots of sheep and lambs around some lying in the peat hags possibly sheltering from the sun. After what seemed ages I reached the col with Creagan nan Gabhar and made the short easy climb to the summit of this Graham Top. There was a cairn but an area to the south-west looked higher so I visited both points. It was getting rather warm so after drinking more water I descended north to the col with Ben Our. The ascent of this Graham Top also seemed to take longer than it should have, maybe it was the heat. On reaching the summit cairn I thought a nearby rock seemed higher so obviously visited it as well.

There was a path or it may just have been an animal trail that led on an easy gradient to Sron Mhor. Lower down the trail disappeared and the descent, which was now steeper, crossed some long heather with a few grassy patches. The gradient didn’t ease until I reached a small copse when it became an easy stroll passed sheep fanks to the vehicle track just above Ardvorlich House. After a short walk to my car in the lunchtime heat it was time for the journey home.

previous ascent

Ben Vorlich Munro sixth ascent 985 metres

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Creag Mac Ranaich and Meall an t-Seallaidh

6 July 2013

slide show

Map - OS Landranger 51. Time taken - 6.75 hours. Distance - 17.45 kilometres. Ascent - 1230 metres.

Studying my map and the list of Hill Tops it became obvious that a circuit of Glen Kendrum would allow me to take in the Corbetts, Creag Mac Ranaich and Meall an t-Seallaidh as well as several Tops.

I’ve noted cars parked in the bell mouth at the access to a forest track on the east side of the A84 just to the north of the private road to Edinchip so I decided to leave my car there rather than start from Lochearnhead. A single vehicle was parked on my arrival but there was adequate space for me and maybe a couple of others without obstructing the gate. I then set off along the busy A84 before crossing it and walking along the tarred road to Edinchip looking for any signage to direct me away from the dwellings.

On approaching Edinchip House a sign indicated the route to the dismantled railway and Glen Kendrum and led to Edinchip Farm. Just prior to the farm buildings another sign directed me along the edge of a field to the dismantled railway where I took a left turn. After a short walk along this path, where I passed under an old bridge, I came to the vehicle track leading to Glen Kendrum.

I followed this track for a few hundred metres then left it, passed through a gate, and climbed towards the south-east ridge of the Graham Top, Meall Reamhar. The going was quite rough with some bracken to avoid and higher up a stock fence topped with barbed wire was crossed. With height gained the underfoot conditions improved although there was a cold wind blowing the cloud across Meall Reamhar. However the cloud soon lifted to reveal an impressive summit with a steep climb to the cairn marking its high point.

A short steep drop to the east took me to a large peat hag then some of the lost height was gained as I climbed onto the north-west ridge where more rough terrain and peat bog was crossed. Old fence posts would assist in poor visibility but it didn’t always take the driest route. There were a few ups and downs, twists and turns but it was now warming up a bit and the cloud was lifting off the higher tops. In the dips I disturbed a few deer that were sheltering from the wind. The summit of Meall Reamhar’s North Top was reached where a couple of stones marked its highest point.

The next Graham Top was close by so a short descent was followed by a steep climb through long heather, avoiding rocks, to reach the summit cairn. Slightly to the east there was a smaller cairn where there were good views towards Killin and the Lawers Mountains. I then headed over to the north-east ridge of Creag Mac Ranaich where I was now half way round my circuit of Glen Kendrum. It was a steady climb to the summit of Creag Mac Ranaich marked by a cairn positioned on top of a large rock.

I also visited its South Top, a Sub Corbett Top, before finding a bit of shelter from the wind for lunch. Thereafter I descended a steep gully to the bealach between Glens Kendrum and Dubh. A large area of peat hags was crossed but traces of a path made things easier. Beyond, the gradient steepened as I climbed the gully to the north of the Corbett Top, Cam Chreag followed by an easier ascent to its summit.

After a slight descent south I climbed to the trig point on Meall an t-Seallaidh then to its cairn which was slightly higher. The route continued along its south-east ridge and lower down l headed towards the point where I had left the track in Glen Kendrum earlier that day. Later I spotted an old ford and aimed for it but there was no problem crossing the Kendrum Burn as the water level was low. An old vehicle track took me onto the Glen Kendrum track around five hundred metres north-west of where I had left it. The track was followed to the dismantled railway where I reversed my route through the Edinchip Estate.

previous ascent Creag Mac Ranaich

previous ascent Meall an t-Seallaidh


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Creagan na Beinne

5 July 2013

slide show

Map - OS Landranger 52. Time taken - 6.5 hours. Distance - 19.25 kilometres. Ascent - 1020 metres.

Just under three hours after leaving my home in Aberdeen I arrived at the hamlet of Ardtalnaig, on the south shore of Loch Tay, and parked my car on rough ground just west of the Ardtalnaig Burn. My plan was to climb the Corbett, Creagan na Beinne, via the Graham Top, Beinn Bhreac and maybe some of the Corbett Tops further east.

I crossed the burn via the road bridge then passed through a gate into a field of sheep and lambs with some hens also running around. At the top end of this field I located another gate and the track which was overgrown and at times a bit difficult to follow despite having used it before. As height was gained the track became more obvious with several gates to negotiate. A section was overgrown with heather but once beyond it and through another gate I left the track and followed a stock fence, over grassy vegetation onto the west ridge of Beinn Bhreac. Here a deer fence ran almost to the summit of this Graham Top, marked by a trig point.

I left Beinn Bhreac and headed for its South-East Top, which was a mass of peat hags, then descended to its col with Creagan na Beinne. From here it was a steady climb over a mixture of vegetation and a few peat hags. There were traces of an old fence with a newer one slightly to the west. Higher up the gradient relented and it was an easy walk to the summit cairn with views of the nearby hills. A haze didn’t do justice to the distant mountains.

While studying the map the previous day I had marked a few hills to the east of Creagan na Beinne which were Corbett Tops and could possibly be included in this outing but the downside was getting back to Ardtalnaig. In the end I opted just to climb one more hill, Creagan na Beinne East Top, which was just a sub Corbett Top. On reaching the col it was a mass of peat hags and bog which continued partly up the west side of the East Top. Its summit also had some wetland and was a mass of bog cotton. There was no indication where the summit was so I wondered around what appeared to be the highest points.

I headed back to the col, well just to the north, round the head of Coire Reithe where I crossed more peat hags and disturbed several mountain hares. I then aimed for a point above the cliffs of Creag Dhubh before descending back to the col between Beinn Bhreac and Creagan na Beinne. I re-ascended Beinn Bhreac’s South Top, a sub Graham Top, and searched for the highest point which I had forgotten to do earlier. I wandered through the peat hags visiting a few different areas of vegetation to ensure that I had been to its summit as it wasn’t obvious.

Afterwards I continued north to locate the rusty gate which marked the old track that crossed the hillside. I descended this track, which was marshy and rutted, to the point where I left it earlier that day then returned to Ardtalnaig by the upward route.

previous ascent

Creagan na Beinne Corbett third ascent 888 metres

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Meall Odhar

17 February 2013

slide show from photographs taken on walk.

Map - OS Landranger 50. Time taken - 4.25 hours. Distance - 10 kilometres. Ascent - 545 metres.

After a day of inactivity due to low cloud and drizzle it was good to get out onto the hills. I had decided to climb the Graham, Meall Odhar and combine it with the Corbett, Beinn Chuirn in a circular route from Tyndrum Lower Railway Station. This small tourist hub has two stations, the Lower for Oban while the Upper is the Fort William line.

Once parked up I crossed the railway at the official crossing point then followed the path north-west along the side of the railway line until it joined another coming in from Tyndrum. Here I left the railway line and commenced a fairly steep ascent to the old lead mines which were fenced off with appropriate warning signs. The path then zigzagged up the north side of the derelict mine shafts crossing fairly stony ground which led to the upper reaches of the mine. Just above this point there were some old metal fence posts and here the path disappeared so I climbed the grassy vegetation to reach the summit cairn of Sron nan Colan.

It was an easy descent as I aimed to keep just above the tree line but at the col the terrain was rather wet and boggy with several snow patches. Once through this area I commenced the ascent of the north-east face of Meall Odhar following a line of rock as a herd of deer cut across the hill above me. The summit of Meall Odhar was soon reached but the views were restricted due to cloud covering the higher tops.

While at the top I studied the route to Beinn Chuirn. I suspected that I would manage through the trees at the col between Meall Odhar and Beinn Chuirn but the snow high up to the north of Coire na Saobhaidhe looked a different prospect. Obviously I couldn’t determine the snow conditions until on the ridge but using my binoculars there appeared to be no escape route once committed to the climb.

I decided against continuing to Beinn Chuirn so descended south-west, disturbing more deer, to the edge of the forest where I located a firebreak. I used it and another one to take me to a deer fence a few metres above the track leading to the gold mine. I clambered over the fence and joined the track which was followed to Cononish Farm then east along the side of the Cononish River. The sun was now out so I had a pleasant lunch break sitting at the edge of the river.

After lunch I continued along the river track before leaving it and taking another vehicle track through the forest and back to Tyndrum Lower Station.

previous ascent

Meall Odhar Graham second ascent 656 metres

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Beinn na Gainimh

16 December 2012

slide show from photographs taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 52. Time taken - 6.25 hours. Distance - 15.5 kilometres. Ascent - 1070 metres.

The forecast was for some mixed weather in the Southern Highlands with the chance of some areas being clear and others cloudy but where the best of the weather was to be found wasn’t stated. Well I obviously picked the wrong area when I set out for Glen Quaich, west of the hamlet of Amulree on the A822 Crieff to Aberfeldy Road.

I parked on a grassy area immediately south of the bridge over the Allt a’Mhuilinn then set off across the bridge and along the road to the track leading to the house at Croftmill. This track was rather icy and it was in this condition for a few hundred metres as it passed the house on its north side. After around five hundred metres I came to a junction of tracks and took the right fork as my plan was to firstly climb the Corbett Top and Hump, Meall nam Fuaran, which was covered in cloud as was the Graham, Beinn na Gainimh. With the sun shining on the hills to the north of Glen Quaich I was optimistic that the cloud would soon lift.

The track was in reasonable condition and as I progressed uphill I passed a number of grouse butts. Despite the shooting season being over for this year there were still plenty grouse around as several took flight during the walk. The track didn’t end as shown on my map but became quite awkward to use as in places it was filled with snow drifts forcing me onto the rough banks at the side. Unfortunately the weather didn’t improve as hoped and I soon entered the cloud. In fact the conditions deteriorated with thickening cloud and drizzle.

Progress was a bit slow as I continued to follow the track which was now buried in snow. The track appeared to come to an end on snow covered terrain amongst numerous peat hags. Visibility was quite poor as I either navigated over or round these peat hags being unsure whether the peat bog would hold by weight. The walking poles helped me to calculate the depth of the snow concealing a lot of the bog. I reached what I thought was the summit area and wandered around a bit and to my surprise came across a cairn in the middle of some peat hags. I don’t know where the stones came from as there was nothing obvious nearby.

It was now getting quite wet so I set off down the south ridge over numerous peat hags, but later to avoid cliffs shown on my map, descended south-west across heather moorland. This took me to the vehicle track in Glen Shervie as the rain ceased and the cloud appeared to lift. The track was followed down the glen to its junction with the path from Glen Lochan, part of the Rob Roy Way.

I climbed out of this glen, steeply in places, and made my way towards the south ridge of Beinn na Gainimh as the cloud again lowered and engulfed me. On reaching the ridge I came across the twin electric fences which I was aware of and knew I had to cross. The first fence consisted of two strands of wire and it was easy enough to stand on the top one which lowered to ground level. This wasn’t possible with the second fence as it had three strands of electric wire but with the assistance of a fence post I gingerly balanced on the top wire before making it to the other side.

The walking was now easy as I made my way through the cloud towards the summit. I spotted a few what appeared to be fresh boot prints in the snow, also headed for the top. The summit cairn was located but the weather conditions were a bit unpleasant. There was no sign of anyone else around so I made my way across to the electric fences and followed them to the col with Creag Grianain.

The west ridge of Creag Grianain was ascended but the summit of this Graham Top was on the other side of the electric fences so I had to re-cross them then made the short walk to the unmarked summit. It was well past lunchtime and I needed to take on some fuel so had lunch looking into the cloud filled Coire Grianain.

After this brief stop I headed for the summit of the Graham Top, Meall Mor, firstly descending through some lying snow followed by a fairly steep climb. The compass bearing turned out to be unnecessary as the electric fences ran to the summit, in fact it appeared that a wooden post supporting the fence was the high point.

I then descended north-east, initially very gradually, before the gradient steepened. This led to a stone dyke topped with a fence and was followed north-west across some boggy ground to a gate. Rather than attempt a crossing of the Allt a’Mhuilinn, which was probably a bit high, I crossed the gate and walked along tramlines, through rushes and across wet ground. When the vehicle track changed direction I kept to the edge of the stream and crossed a fence, to reach a gate that gave me immediate access to my car as dusk was descending.

previous ascent

Beinn na Gainimh Graham second ascent 730 metres

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Meall na Fearna

18 November 2012

slide show

Map - OS Landranger 51 & 57 Time taken - 6.25 hours. Distance - 16 kilometres. Ascent - 970 metres.

I had previously climbed the Corbett, Meall na Fearna from Glen Artney and from north of the Bracklinn Falls at Callander, so on this occasion I decided on a northerly approach. I drove to Ardvorlich, on the South Loch Earn Road, and parked my car amongst others on the south verge, which was muddy with some large puddles.

I walked towards Ardvorlich House then followed the signs for Glen Vorlich passed a new building, part of the Ardvorlich Hydro Scheme. The track up the glen was followed through several gates, some with stiles at the side. As height was gained the wooden bridges were covered in ice so required a bit of skating or avoiding.

On reaching the Allt a’Choire Bhuidhe, where a new dam had been constructed, I left the Ben Vorlich path and crossed some rough vegetation, which had a coating of snow, to reach the Ardvorlich Burn. Once over it I joined the track towards Bealach Gliogarsnaich, which was muddy in places although this was concealed by the snow. However several sheep were up front and their trail aided me to avoid most of the mud.

I lost the line of the route to the Bealach Gliogarsnaich but an ATV track led me towards Beinn Dhomhnuill before disappearing. I crossed the east shoulder of this hill to be confronted by a massive area of peat hags covered in snow. It took some time to work my way through this area often having to retrace my tracks but eventually I reached the north face of Meall na Fearna, where it was windy with spin drift. The gradient increased as I made my way to the summit cairn where I took a short break.

The route through the peat hags were retraced although part way through I took a diversion to climb the Graham Top, Meall na Fearna West Top. On reaching the summit area I visited a couple of spots to satisfy myself I had been to the highest point. I then returned to the peat hags and followed my bootprints towards Beinn Dhomhnuill before climbing to the summit of this Graham Top, marked by a pile of stones on a rock.

The descent of Beinn Dhomhnuill initially meant heading north-east to avoid some crags before descending to the col with Creagan an Lochain. Deep heather and some more peat hags were crossed to reach Lochan na Mna, rounding it on its east side. I then climbed to what appeared to the highest point on Black Craig, another Graham Top, as it was unmarked. Despite the cold wind I stopped here for lunch, before returning to Lochan na Mna. On this occasion I walked round its north side before climbing through more deep heather to the col between the two knolls of Creagan an Lochain. I visited both knolls although I suspect the west one to be the highest point of this Graham Top.

Earlier in the day when walking up Glen Vorlich I spotted what appeared to be a vehicle track coming off the hills to the east. I therefore descended south-east towards An Dunan and wandered through some heather before locating this old vehicle track. It wound its way down to the Ardvorlich Burn which I crossed upstream of a ford. An upgraded vehicle track for the hydro scheme was then followed before I rejoined the route used that morning and returned to Ardvorlich.

previous ascent

Meall na Fearna Corbett third ascent 809 metres

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Stob Fear-tomhais

17 November 2012

slide show from photographs taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 57. Time taken - 6.5 hours. Distance - 17.5 kilometres. Ascent - 935 metres.

On studying the map the previous evening I noted that a circuit of Gleann Dubh, south-west of Balquidder, would allow me to take in a couple of Graham Tops, one also having a Hump classification, together with another ascent of the Corbett, Stob Fear-tomhais.

I parked at the end of the public road in Glen Buckie, beside Ballimore Farm, before walking across the bridge over the Calair Burn then following the signposted route for the ‘Right of Way’ to Brig o’Turk. The sun was out but unfortunately my route on the south side of the Calair Burn was in the shade.

The path itself was fairly wet and muddy and later made a ninety degree turn south towards Glen Shioinne. I continued along this route before leaving the path, crossing a stock fence and a small stream, to gain the north-east ridge of Creagan nan Sgiath. The going was rough with areas of marshy ground and it wasn’t long before I encountered a heavy sleet shower which left the hills white. Higher up a stock fence followed the line of the ridge as it took several twists and turns but with good visibility I took a more direct route to the top. It had taken me a bit longer than expected but eventually I reached the unmarked summit of Creagan nan Sgiath, a Graham Top and Hump.

My intended route was to drop to the col with Taobh na Coille but this area was a mass of peat hags so I descended to north of the col managing to avoid most of these peat hags. I climbed a gully then passed some knolls to reach a stock fence. Once over this fence, a second fence and an ATV track were followed towards the summit of Taobh na Coille as another snow shower approached. The unmarked summit of this Graham Top was reached during this shower.

The conditions were a bit unpleasant so I returned to the fence I crossed earlier as the snow shower eased. I then followed this fence and ascended the south ridge of Stob Fear-tomhais where there were several old fences higher up. I spotted a chap, the only person I had seen all day, appear to take a bearing then disappear down the East Ridge. I reached the trig point marking the summit of Stob Fear-tomhais just as it started to snow again.

I also headed down the East Ridge and on finding a bit of shelter stopped briefly for a bite to eat. I then continued along the ridge, across a few knolls, before descending towards the Allt Fathan Glinne as the snow ceased and the cloud began to lift. The wet snow made this descent slippery. On reaching lower ground I aimed for the bridge over the Allt Fathan Glinne crossing some very wet and marshy ground.

Once across this bridge I passed a large steading building where the surrounding tracks were wet and muddy. I followed one of these vehicle tracks towards a large herd of cattle and calves which were making a racket. Fortunately I didn’t need to o too close to them as the track bypassed their feeding troughs. The farmer was in the vicinity in his 4x4. I followed this track as it gained a bit of height before dropping to Glen Buckie and back to my car. The only obstacles were two metal deer gates which were locked and had to be climbed.

previous ascent

Stob Fear-tomhais Corbett third ascent 771 metres

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Sgiath a'Chaise and Beinn Each

16 November 2012

slide show from photographs taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 57. Time taken - 6 hours. Distance - 11.5 kilometres. Ascent - 1175 metres.

The forecast wasn’t ideal but with my accommodation arranged all I needed to do was decide what hills to climb. After scanning maps I settled for a second ascent of the Graham, Sgiath a’Chaise, and a fourth ascent of the Corbett, Beinn Each, with the possibility of including a few Graham Tops.

I parked in the lay-by on the A84 Callander to Strathyre Road just north of the house at Ardchullarie More and walked up the driveway towards this property. I thereafter followed the narrow path along the edge of a fence which led to a steep eroded path through the trees. This ascent was warm work so I was glad to reach the vehicle track where the going was easy.

The vehicle track, part of the ‘Right of Way’ to Edinample on the south shore of Loch Earn, soon emerged from the forest and continued in a northerly direction towards Glen Ample, passed a signpost for Beinn Each which wasn’t there on my previous visit. I stayed on this track to beyond its high point where on the west side an old stone dyke, marked the edge of the forest. This dyke was followed over some wet and boggy ground until above the tree line where the gradient increased and the walking was through long heather as I entered the cloud base.

I tried to avoid some of this heather as I climbed towards Sgiath a’Chaise’s South Ridge. Here the going was again easy with traces of a path through the vegetation, although there were areas of bog to cross. The summit, marked by a couple of posts, was reached but with no views there was little point on lingering here so headed off in an easterly direction over some grassy vegetation. The cloud lifted a bit and I could now see a small section of Loch Earn and my route ahead. There were a few deer below but they had already spotted me and were on the move.

Lower down the terrain consisted of more long heather and areas of bog. I reached and crossed the Burn of Ample then the ‘Right of Way’ to Loch Earn. I then aimed for the top corner of a forest, not shown on my map, following deer tracks through the heather. From the edge of this forest I climbed to the ridge just south of Stuc a’Chroin’s West Top as the cloud lowered again. A path then led to the cairn marking the high point of this Graham Top.

Visibility was poor with a cold wind and some drizzle so the plan to locate a second Graham Top over a kilometre to the east was abandoned. I therefore descended to the Bealach nan Cabar and climbed the north ridge of Beinn Each, which was rocky in places. The small summit cairn was reached then I found some shelter for a rather late lunch.

There was another Graham Top around two kilometres to the south-east but time was marching on and with poor weather conditions it was likely get dark early. I therefore headed off in a south-westerly direction surprising a few deer as they appeared out of the mist. Lower down I located and followed a path on the north side of the Eas an Eoin emerging from the cloud before reaching the Right of Way to Glen Ample beside the new signpost. I then followed the morning’s outward route back to the A84.

previous ascent Sgiath a'Chaise

previous ascent Beinn Each

Sgiath a'Chaise Graham second ascent 645 metres
Beinn Each Corbett fourth ascent 811 metres

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Stob Breac

2 September 2012

slide show from photographs taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 56 & 57 Time taken - 5.25 hours. Distance - 12 kilometres. Ascent - 670 metres.

I was interested in a return ascent of this Graham, mainly to get a view, as on my previous visit in February 2007 winter conditions prevailed with snow showers and low cloud. With better conditions forecasted I drove along the single track road from Balquhidder to the car park just prior to Inverlochlarig Farm.

Once geared up I set off along the track to the east of the car park which took me passed a herd of cattle which were fortunately fenced in with an electric fence although their calves were free to wander along the track and amongst the trees. I soon came to a couple of bridges which were used to cross the Inverlochlarig Burn and the River Larig.

The track continued passed the house under renovation at Blaircreich, to the start of the forest track up Glen Sgionie. The deer gates, although not in great condition were locked, but an adjoining style afforded me access. Although there were several fire breaks which I could have used to access Stob Breac I followed the track to its end as I wanted to include the Graham Top, An Stuchd, located at the south end of the ridge.

On reaching the end of the track there wasn’t an obvious firebreak going east although I later noted that had I continued south on a clearing I would have located one. I returned north along the track for around two hundred metres and ascended a firebreak. Underfoot it was wet in places and on approaching the open hillside I spotted a few deer above me. I tried some photo stalking but failed miserably as they soon saw me and disappeared amongst the trees.

Once clear of the forest I climbed steeply onto An Stuchd. As I approached the summit I saw the heads of hinds lying down and staring at me. They soon rose and ran off but on this occasion I did manage to get a few photographs. Beyond the summit there were views of Loch Katrine although it was a bit cloudy at this time.

Heading north from An Stuchd it was an interesting walk along a switchback ridge with several ups and downs. A few more deer were spotted and on approaching the summit of Stob Breac there was a short rain shower. I continued further north where there were better views and had lunch looking down on some deer also partaking of food. The rain cleared as did some of the cloud so I got reasonable views and a few photographs.

Afterwards I returned to the summit of Stob Breac then descended steeply west avoiding several crags. I selected the fire break to use to access the forest track which once reached was followed back to the car park. En-route I spotted a deer feeding at the edge of the track and a Jay which was perched on a tree.

previous ascent

Stob Breac Graham second ascent 686 metres

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Shee of Ardtalnaig

1 September 2012

slide show from photographs taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 51. Time taken - 6.5 hours. Distance - 17 kilometres. Ascent - 1025 metres.

With a mixed forecast we decided to climb the Graham, Shee of Ardtalnaig which is located on the south side of Loch Tay. A single track road runs along this side of the loch. From previous visits I was aware that parking was non-existent on the road to Claggan so I parked beside the tennis court just above the hamlet of Ardtalnaig where there was space for a couple of vehicles.

We walked up the tarred road to Claggan Farm where we had a chat with the local keeper. Later that morning he was expecting a client for stalking but wasn’t sure where they were going. I advised him of our planned hill and mentioned possibly heading further west. He was happy enough with us going up the Shee of Ardtalnaig and told us about deer in the crags. I think he was referring to Creag Gharbh.

On leaving Claggan Farm we followed the vehicle track that wound its way round the west side of the Shee of Ardtalnaig and headed almost onto its north ridge. Thereafter the vegetation was wet with a few peat hags to avoid and on closing in on the summit area there were traces of a path as the cloud lifted from the tops. An interesting feature was a fissure passed en-route to the summit of Shee of Ardtalnaig, which was marked by a few stones.

We left the summit heading south intending swinging round to the west. A 4x4 parked at the head of Gleann a’Chilleine and an ATV going south towards Dunan, away from our planned route, satisfied us that stalking was taking place elsewhere. We made the westerly descent to the head of Gleann a’Chloidh and spotted several deer on the south-east end of Creag Gharbh.

The ascent towards the 819 point at the south-east end of Creag Gharbh took us below some cliffs and up a gully. On the final approach there was a rather loud rifle shot which appeared to be very close and I spotted a couple of folks just in front of me. I immediately hungered down and decided it was maybe an appropriate time to stop for lunch. My walking companion, who was some distance behind, also heard the noise and though it was rather close. During lunch a second shot was heard but this time it appeared lower down. My thoughts were that we may have crossed into another estate.

We considered our options and thought it best to continue onto the wide ridge above. There was no sign of anyone so we followed old fence posts to Meall nan Oighreag, a Corbett Top, where the highest point was apparently marked by a fence post. There was still no sign of the stalker so we retraced our route for a few hundred metres before following an old vehicle track across some boggy ground although the track was now incomplete. A change of direction took us down the north ridge following a fence. On approaching the col with Tullich Hill there was a large herd of deer which ran off leaping the fence. From this col we made an easy ascent to Tullich Hill, a Graham Top, where the summit was marked by a few stones.

It was now time to return to the car so we descended Tullich Hill’s north ridge towards a forested area where the map showed a path leading to Ardtalnaig. However there was no sign of this path and with the adjoining field containing cows and calves we crossed the deer fence and entered the forested area. Initially progress wasn’t too difficult but lower down trees blocked the route so we re-crossed the deer fence into the field of cattle which were now out of sight. The Claggan Road was reached and followed back to the start.

Shee of Ardtalnaig Graham second ascent 759 metres

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Meall Dearg

23 June 2012

slide show

Map - OS Landranger 52. Time taken - 5.25 hours. Distance 16.75 kilometres. Ascent - 750 metres.

The forecast was for a showery or even wet day with some of the better conditions to be found in Perthshire so we decided to tackle Meall Dearg. Last time I climbed this Graham it was directly from the A826 in Glen Cochill so on this occasion it was decided to approach the hill from the south.

We parked beside the now closed Amulree Hotel before setting off across the River Braun using the old road bridge. The vehicle track on the north side of the river was followed west towards Glen Quaich, this being part of the Rob Roy Way depending on route choice. It was fairly windy which was welcome as it kept the midges at bay. There were lots of birds around including a curlew, oystercatcher and red kite. Lochan Lodge was passed and just before reaching Wester Kinloch Farm we left the Rob Roy Way and headed up the track towards the Kinloch Burn.

Not far up this track we came to a stock gate and just beyond, blocking the track, was a herd of cattle and their calves. Once through the gate we took a diversion to avoid them before rejoining the track. Higher up the burn changed direction while the vehicle track continued north passed named and numbered shooting buts.

We reached a junction of tracks and briefly followed the right hand one before leaving it and crossing boggy ground to reach the 608 metre knoll. The right hand track, which was shown on my map as ending after around four hundred metres, actually continued into Glen Fender and to the summit of Beinn Liath.

From this 608 knoll it was a short descent before we climbed to the top of Creag an Loch, a Graham Top. On its descent we stopped for lunch sheltering behind a boulder and looking across Loch Fender. Afterwards we continued to the lochside then climbed to the summit trig point on Meall Dearg. Here the views to the east were spoilt by the massive Griffin Wind Farm with its 68 turbines.

I had planned to head west to climb a few more Graham Tops but it was a tad windy so I took the easier option and headed down Meall Dearg’s south ridge to Beinn Liath. Here the vehicle track, mentioned above, was followed into Glen Fender then another track, shown on my map, down this glen to Cablea Farm. This was followed by a two mile road walk back to the Amulree Hotel.

previous ascent

Meall Dearg Graham second ascent 690 metres

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Creag Mhor

17 December 2011

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 57. Time taken - 3.25 hours. Distance - 6.5 kilometres. Ascent - 485 metres.

It was a fine winter’s day when we set off for Glen Buckie, south of Balquhidder. We were fortunate to follow a gritter from the A84 to Balquhidder but beyond conditions were a bit different with areas of ice as well as frosty roads to contend with.

We parked at the edge of a grassy passing place, just north of the cottage at Ballimore Farm, before waking up an old vehicle track which joined others beside a gate in the deer fence, where a sign indicated we were entering a private deer farm. This gate was locked so we climbed over it before continuing along the track. There was a herd of cattle eating from a feeder but behind them was an albino stag. He slinked behind the cattle keeping his head high to watch us. Strange that my walking companion, who is scared of cattle, was prepared to get close to the herd to obtain photographs of the stag.

The vehicle track continued west but we needed to leave it and head north to ascend Creag Mhor. When we came to an unlocked gate in the deer face, which rang along the side of track, we used it to access the hillside. A less used vehicle track was then followed, although at times it disappeared in the vegetation, but it was headed in the correct direction and led to another deer fence. However the wire strands were pretty slack so we were able to squeeze through. Creag Mhor’s snowy crags looked rather imposing but there were several patches of grass leading towards its north-east ridge.

Beyond the grass we were into the snow where there was some spin drift blowing around. The snow wasn’t consolidated with knee deep drifts so progress was slow as we made our way onto the ridge. We also stopped a few times to take in the views, to the east of the snow covered Ben Vorlich and Stuc a’Chroin and to the south Benvane and Ben Ledi. Once on the ridge the Braes of Balquhidder, Stob Binnein and Ben More were visible.

We followed the undulating ridge, avoiding some of the minor tops, as we tried to keep to the lee side as the wind was quite strong. There still was some spindrift, but the snow was firmer. The final few hundred metres was a bit of a battle against the wind but we eventually reached the summit of Creag Mhor marked by a few stones perched on a rock. The views were impressive although cloud now covered the tops of the higher mountains.

Including the nearby Corbett, Stob Fear-tomhais, had been a possibility but with the strong wind and the snow slowing us down we decided to give it a miss and headed south out of the wind. This involved traversing east at times to avoid the crags. Areas of snow had collapsed creating small avalanches. A suitable gully was located and we descended it before cutting across to the deer fence, a section of which was flattened. No wonder we never saw any of the hinds from the deer farm. Once beyond this fence we followed the upward route back to the car. The stag was still hiding amongst the cattle.

Creag Mhor Graham second ascent 657 metres

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Meall nan Caorach

14 October 2011

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 52. Time - 3.5 hours Distance 10.5 kilometres Height - 430 metres

The intention was to climb the two Grahams to the east of the Sma’ Glen from the A822 south of Amulree. On a previous visit in 2001, I parked on the verge near the access road to Girron Farm but this is now obviously frowned upon as large boulders were strategically placed to prevent parking. I therefore continued to Amulree where I parked outside the public hall.

We walked back along the main road then up the private road to Girron Farm. Here the track was rather muddy as we walked below the power lines. It appeared that extensive work was in progress in and around these electric power lines with upgrades to some of the access roads within the Sma’ Glen.

The vehicle track was followed up the glen and along the side of a burn. After a gate the track rose for around fifty metres or so to a bend in the track where the gradient eased. Here we left the track and climbed through a mixture of vegetation onto the north ridge of Meall nan Caorach. Around the 550 metre mark we entered the cloud base which had been rising and lowering as we approached the hill.

A fence was reached and this led to the summit trig point and a demolished cairn which was apparently the highest point. Due to the low cloud there were no views so we descended, steeply in places and with another fence in sight, to the bealach with Meall Reamhar. We emerged from the cloud and saw estate vehicles parked at the bealach. On reaching these vehicles we were requested to stay on the track as stalking was taking place on Meall Reamhar.

The chap was quite pleasant so after speaking to him for a while we disappointedly headed off down the track to Girron Farm and Amulree.

Meall nan Caorach Graham second ascent 623 metres

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Tullich Hill and Beinn Bhreac

2 July 2011

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 56. Time taken - 5.25 hours. Distance - 10.5 kilometres. Ascent - 1060 metres.

The weather wasn’t great on previous visits to the Luss Hills so with a reasonable forecast we set out for Glen Douglas on the west side of Loch Lomond. Last time I climbed these particular hills it was in an anti-clockwise direction so on this occasion I decided to go in the other direction and tackle Tullich Hill first. I left my car around five hundred metres east of Invergroin as parking beside this house was limited. When we arrived at this parking spot a French couple, who had obviously been camping there, departed in their vehicle.

We walked west along the road to just beyond Invergroin and Tullich Farm before passing through an open gate and into a field of rough pasture. The gate at the top of this field was also open so there were no access problems. It was then a steady climb of Tullich Hills’ south-east ridge with ever improving views of the Grahams on the other side of Glen Douglas. It had been warm and sunny lower down but higher up we encountered a slight breeze which was very welcome.

The summit cairn was reached but we continued slightly further west where we sat and ate half our lunch with good views across Loch Long to the Arrochar Alps. In the far distance, to the south, were the Arran Hills.

After our break we descended the north-east ridge. It became quite rocky with a few crags which meant a bit of searching to locate a route round them. The bealach, Ant Sreang, was reached with some old metal fence posts visible on the south-west ridge of Ben Reoch. The ascent of this ridge was for some reason hard work so we were glad to reach its summit cairn where it was a bit cloudier. This peak has the classification of a Graham Top and a Hump. The Arrochar Alps were still clear and we now had views of the north end of Loch Lomond.

A slight descent and re-ascent took us to Ben Reoch’s East Top which is also a Graham Top. This was followed by another easy descent to the col with Beinn Bhreac where a few peat hags were easily avoided. It was then a stroll up Beinn Bhreac’s south ridge, passed some fissures, and onto the summit trig point. Just before the top I was surprised when an eagle flew out from a crag but I was too slow in getting my camera out.

We had the second part of our lunch at this summit trying to catch any breeze as the midges were out. Here again we had some good views in particular towards the islands at the south end of Loch Lomond.

The return was down the south-west face towards the edge of the forest near Invergroin. The sun had reappeared but lower down the ground was a bit damp in places. We followed the edge of the forest, rough going in places, which led directly back to where I had left the car.

previous ascent

Tullich Hill Graham second ascent 632 metres
Beinn Bhreac Graham second ascent 681 metres

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Stob a’Choin and Meall Mor

9 – 10 April 2011

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 56. Time:
Day One: 3.5 hours.
Day Two: 5.25 hours.
Distance:
Day One: 7 kilometres.
Day Two: 11.5 kilometres.
Ascent:
Day One: 800 metres.
Day Two: 590 metres.

It was late afternoon as I drove west from Balquhidder along the single track road towards Inverlochlarig. The hills had obviously been busy as there were vehicles parked on the verges indicating the car park at the end of the public road was full when the verge parkers arrived. However the early risers had departed and I found a space in the car park.

We set off along the vehicle track to Inverlochlarig Farm and once beyond the farm buildings continued west on the north side of the River Larig. The track was in reasonable condition although muddy in sections especially where the cattle were being fed. We had to pass between these feeding animals to reach the bridge over the River Larig.

Once over the bridge a tied down gate was crossed as the stile had collapsed. The ground on the other side of the fence was initially wet and boggy but improved slightly as the gradient increased. We made our way towards the Bealach Coire an Laoigh reaching the stream flowing out of the coire. The burn ran through a steep gully so we continued the climb south until a suitable crossing point was found. On reaching the west bank we climbed a grassy gully onto the north ridge of Stob a’Choin.

We drifted over to the west side of this Corbett to inspect our descent route before climbing to its summit cairn. Our thoughts had been to sleep on the summit but it was a bit windy. Stob a’Choin’s North Top was visited before we descended its west face avoiding several areas of crags. The ground was quite steep and even wet in places so we were well down when we found a raised area of dry ground to place our bivy bags.

It was hoped, from looking at the forecast, that we would get a fine sunset but it didn’t materialise, just a small area of red sky appeared briefly. Once the sleeping gear was laid out we made the evening meal of fresh pasta cooked in packet soup. After coffee and a few biscuits it was time to get into the bivy bags for the night.

During the night Glen Lairig was shrouded in cloud but we were fortunate to be high enough not to be engulfed by it. As the sun rose the cloud started to break up. After breakfast we packed our gear and continued the descent of Stob a’Choin to the point below Meall Gaothach where there was some bog and an old fence to cross. It was then a steady climb avoiding several areas of crags to reach the Graham Top, Stob an Duibhe.

The route to Meall Mor was along an undulating ridge but in poor conditions old metal fence posts would be a guide. A couple of stags, who were resting in a hollow, ran off. On arrival at Meall Mor’s summit cairn a cool breeze was blowing and it was rather hazy so we descended into Coire nan Eilid where we found a sheltered and sunny spot with access to water for a brew. After our break we continued our descent into Glen Larig across some wet and boggy ground avoiding several crags. The River Larig was reached and crossed without any problems before we joined the vehicle track which was followed back to the car park. The cattle were still at the same location and some were lying on the track but they didn’t move as we again walked between them.

previous ascent Stob a'Choin

previous ascent Meall Mor

Stob a'Choin Corbett third ascent 869 metres
Meall Mor Graham second ascent 747 metres

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Beinn Dearg

2 April 2011

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 57. Time taken - 5.5 hours. Distance - 14 kilometres. Ascent - 790 metres.

We waited for the early morning rain to clear before setting out for Glen Artney, accessed from the B827 Braco to Crieff road. There was a large car park just west of the Church where we left my vehicle and walked back along the single track road.

At the old School House we followed the vehicle track to and round the rear of Dalchruin Farm where the farmhouse was boarded up. The track then descended to the Water of Ruchill, which we crossed by a bridge, disturbing a couple of roe deer on the north bank. There were lots of game birds in and around this area as well as a couple of red kites.

Once across the bridge we took the left track which passed the derelict Dalclathick Lodge and led to a gate. Beyond this gate the track continued west along the north side of the Water of Ruchill so we left it and commenced the ascent of Sron na Maoile where the ground was initially quite wet. The vegetation later changed to tussocky grass but higher up the underfoot conditions improved.

There were lots of small holes in the ground and we spotted several voles. A large bird rose from the grass and flew low to the ground until it was out of sight. On inspecting the area where the bird rose it was thought that it may have been a short eared owl. A number of deer were on the ridge and in Coire a’Choire.

Sron na Moile, a Graham Top, was eventually reached and we visited a couple of high points as there was nothing to indicate the summit. We had views of the Corbett, Meall na Fearna and the Munros, Ben Vorlich and Stuc a’Chroin. A cool breeze was blowing so we sought shelter on the east side of the hill for lunch.

After lunch we resumed the undulating circuit of Coire a’Choire with an ascent of Meall na Moine. This was followed by a short drop to Bealach Bha Airigh and an ascent of Sron nam Broighleag. It had been mainly sunny but here we encountered our first light shower of rain. Fortunately the wind and rain were on our backs. Next on the agenda was the Bealach na Moine before the second Graham Top of the day, Stuc na Cabaig.

Beyond another slight descent took us to Bealach a’Choire Ruchain before we crossed the knolls of Na Bealaich Chaoil which led to the summit of Beinn Dearg. The cloud to the north lifted enough for us to identify the Lawers Range of mountains and Meall na Tarmachan.

The descent was by the south-east then south ridge to the Bealach Mor. Beyond, the ground was a bit wet with more tussocky grass. It led to the Alt Coire Choire and we walked along its north bank, crossing a high fence, as it ran through a small gorge. On approaching the Allt Glas we came across an old vehicle track and followed it as it crossed the Allt Coire Choire at a ford. The track then led to the bridge over the Water of Ruchill and the route back to the car park.

Beinn Dearg Graham second ascent 706 metres

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Meall Buidhe

3 January 2011

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 51. Time taken - 3 hours. Distance - 7 kilometres. Ascent - 470 metres.

The forecast was for heavy snow with blizzard conditions later in the day. We therefore decided to climb the Graham, Meall Buidhe, as it was a short walk and there was a vehicle track for part of the route to aid navigation if conditions deteriorated as predicted.

We parked in the car park at the head of Glen Ogle on the A84 Lochearnhead to Lix Toll Road. It was icy and due to these conditions the main car park was closed.

Once booted up and microspikes fitted we entered the forest by means of a wicket gate at the side of a locked gate in the deer fence. The snow and ice covered track was followed uphill before we later emerged from the forest. Just before the radio masts we exited the fenced off area by means of another gate, which was unlocked. There were some snow flurries and the cloud base frequently rose and lowered again.

The track ended at the radio masts where we found a bit of shelter in a hollow for a cup of coffee. Afterwards, with the cloud down, we climbed towards Beinn Leabhainn, a Graham Top, over a mixture of heather and hard packed snow with the occasional icy patch. On reaching this summit there were brief views before we descended to its col with Meall Buidhe.

Similar terrain was crossed as we climbed to the summit cairn of Meall Buidhe. Just beyond the summit was another cairn where again we had breaks in the cloud which permitted us to see Loch Earn and the village of Lochearnhead.

We returned to the col between Meall Buidhe and Beinn Leabhain before traversing below the Graham Top as the snow began to fall. The radio masts were reached and the track was followed back to the start as the snow became heavier. The fresh snow caused our microspkes to ball up, which was only a minor problem compared to their advantages on hard packed snow and ice. In fact they are quite good in the heather as well.

previous ascent

Meall Buidhe Graham second ascent 719 metres

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Ben Lomond

25 December 2010

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 56. Time taken - 5 hours. Distance - 12 kilometres. Ascent - 970 metres.

The date for the ascent of Ben Lomond was set many months ago as it was to be the final Munro of my fifth round. However it has been a bit of a struggle to reach this stage as the early onset of winter weather curtailed attempts to complete various mountain groups. It wasn’t until the 12 December when I climbed my penultimate Munro, Stob Coire an Laoigh, in the Grey Corries, that a completion became possible.

There was a light covering of snow on the carriageway as I drove from Drymen to Rowardennan with some mist in places. On reaching the car park at the end of the public road I geared up, including fitting crampons, and set off along the path through the forest. The path was covered in snow, some of it hard packed, with sections of ice, so I was glad that I had put on my crampons. Despite the temperature being below zero there were a couple of rain showers.

The trees had been extensively forested so there were some early views of Ben Lomond. A new vehicle track was crossed before I reached a wicket gate at the top end of the forest followed by some more icy patches. Beyond a second wicket gate, the gradient increased and I passed a couple here on their descent. The showers were now of sleet.

Sron Aonaich was reached and the going became a lot easier but as I approached the south-east ridge of Ben Lomond it was in cloud. The wind picked up and there were some snow flurries. I climbed onto the south-east ridge through deeper and drifting snow but the line of the path was still visible.

The ridge with its steep rocky drop to the north was followed and the path eventually disappeared under the snow as I made the final climb with spindrift blowing around. Just as I approached the top the cloud began to lift and from the trig point I eventually had views including Loch Lomond, the Arrochar Alps and the Luss Hills.

It was still windy but I managed a bit of shelter from the trig point to enable me to eat lunch. Afterwards I returned by the ascent route. On reaching my car I met a chap who was walking the West Highland Way and sleeping out in his bivy bag.

I had already completed a round of Corbetts and Grahams on the 25 December (different years) so this ascent now added a Munro completion to this date.

previous ascent

Ben Lomond Munro fifth ascent 974 metres

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Beinn Bhuidhe

27 November 2010

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 50 or 56. Time taken - 7 hours. Distance - 18.5 kilometres. Ascent - 1220 metres.

My initial plan for the ascent of this Munro was to cycle up Glen Fyne as far as Inverchorachan and climb Beinn Bhuidhe from there. However with some lying snow and icy conditions we decided to walk in and out but by a different route.

We parked in the car park at the head of Loch Fyne beside the bridge over the river of the same name. Once geared up we headed along the road leading to the Clachan Power Station which had a light covering of snow, before continuing through a gravel quarry. Beyond the quarry we walked up the track that rose to and through Mark Park Forest. Here my walking partner saw a fox but all I got was a photo of a paw print.

On emerging from the forest the track continued above the Merk Burn and its condition began to deteriorate. It actually went further than shown on the map, possibly as far as the col on the north side of Newton Hill. At the point where the track descended to cross the burn we commenced a rising traverse of the north-east ridge of Beinn Chas until a suitable point was found to climb through the rocks onto this ridge.

A stile was reached which was used to cross a fence and beyond this point, for the first time, we saw our destination. Some rough ground, which was mostly frozen and with a thin covering of snow, was crossed, as we aimed to the east of Meall an Daimh. From there we headed across to a gully which consisted of some hard packed snow and ice most of which we managed to avoid.

This took us onto the north-east ridge of Beinn Bhuidhe where a path led to the summit although we occasionally avoided the path as it was full of ice and hard packed snow. Just prior to reaching the summit we met a couple commencing their descent.

From the summit cairn we had views of Lochs Awe and Fyne, the Cruachan and Arrochar Mountains and several of the ranges to the north. We found a bit of shelter from a cold wind for a late lunch before commencing our return by the ascent route. Not long after leaving the summit we met another couple, whom we had seen in the car park, but they had walked in via Inverchorachan.

previous ascent

Beinn Bhuidhe Munro fifth ascent 948 metres

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Creag Gharbh

20 June 2010

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 51. Time - 3.75 hours. Distance - 10.5 kilometres. Ascent - 440 metres.

On my previous ascent of this Graham I climbed it from the west so on this occasion I decided on an easterly approach starting from the small hamlet of Ardeonaig, on the South Loch Tay Road. Parking in and around this hamlet was very limited, with the few spaces already occupied, so I drove up the single track road to the Abernethy Outdoor Centre, which appears to be a public road, and found a space there to leave my vehicle.

I walked to Brae Farm, which appeared vacant, as cattle were lying around on the front grass. Once beyond the farm I passed through a gate and followed a vehicle track south to a bridge over the Newton Burn. The track then became a path which led to copse of trees but beyond this point the path was rather intermittent. A nosy curlew flew overhead several times.

Further on I cane to a pipe line and another vehicle track which I followed west as it gained height. At the highest point, beside a radio mast, I left this track and crossed some heathery and boggy ground to the west of Meall Odhar before climbing to Creag Gharbh’s trig point. Here I had my lunch with views of Loch Tay, the Lawers Range, Ben More, Stob Binnein, Ben Vorlich and Stuc a’Chroin.

Rather than return by the upward route I set off roughly in a north-easterly direction, crossing a mixture of vegetation, working my way round bogs, and occasionally following animal tracks. On this descent I spotted a fox at the same time it saw me but it quickly disappeared, although I did find its den.

The descent did involve some fence crossings but there were no problems and I eventually arrived back at the bridge over the Newton Burn. It was then a short walk to my car.

I later discovered that the vehicle tracks and path I used on this walk were part of the Rob Roy Way, which runs from Drymen to Pitlochry.

previous ascent

Creag Gharbh Graham second ascent 637 metres

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Beinn Ime and Beinn Luibhean

16 May 2010

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 56. Time taken - 4.25 hours. Distance - 7.5 kilometres. Ascent - 1110 metres.

On 1 January this year I climbed Beinn Narnain but progress was slow due to the snow and I abandoned the plan to include Beinn Ime. This was fortuitous as on checking the map prior to this walk I noticed there was a Corbett Top to the north of Beinn Ime which would be awkward to include with an ascent of Beinn Narnain.

I parked at the side of the A83 near the foot of the Bealach an Easian Duibh, crossed the road, and entered Butterbridge Forest where the trees had been forested. I walked up the forest track for a few metres before following a path that led to a radio mast. Here I crossed a fence and walked up the south side of the Allt Beinn Ime until I found a suitable crossing point. The mountain tops at this time were covered in cloud.

It was then a steady climb of the west face of the Corbett Top, Beinn Chorranach and as I gained height the cloud began to clear the tops. Higher up the gradient increased with several rocky sections to avoid. On reaching the summit cairn I had views east to Ben Vane and Lochs Lomond, Arklet and Katrine, to the south, my next hill, Beinn Ime, which was now clear of cloud, to the west further views of Glen Kinglas and Beinn an Lochain and to the north Ben Lui, Ben Oss and Beinn Dubhchraig.

After a short break, sheltering from a cold wind, I descended the south ridge of Beinn Chorranach to the Glas Bhealach and commenced the ascent of the north ridge of Beinn Ime which was steep and rocky in places, although there were no real problems. I reached the summit where metal stanchions and pieces of concrete were the only remaining evidence of the trig point.

The route off Beinn Ime took me along the south-east ridge, where there was a path, but I soon left it and descended steeply south-west to the Bealach a’Mhargaidh. I was aware that the weather was deteriorating from the west and the summit of Beinn Ime was now back in cloud.

From the bealach I climbed Beinn Luibhean working my way round the rocks until I reached the summit, a few stones on top of a large boulder. The cloud was getting lower and I felt the first few spots of rain so I set off down Beinn Luibhean’s north ridge but soon had to stop to put on rainwear. Thereafter I continued on my descent to the Allt Beinn Ime and followed a rough path down its south bank to the radio mast and the outward route back to my car.

previous ascent

Beinn Ime Munro fifth ascent 1011 metres
Beinn Luibhean Corbett third ascent 858 metres

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Creag Each and Creag Ruadh

27 March 2010

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 51. Time taken - 6.25 hours. Distance - 14.5 kilometres. Ascent - 990 metres.

I climbed these two Grahams back in October 2007 but didn't have any views as the summits were covered in cloud so with a forecast of cloud only on the higher hills I was hopeful of at least some views from the tops.

The starting place was the same, a lay-by on the north side of the A85 Lochearnhead to St Fillans Road just west of Woodhouse Farm. (Grid Ref. NN6695224665). A short walk west from the lay-by took us to a vehicle track marked with a sign 'Public Footpath'. This led through a gate and up a very muddy track with cattle feeding from silage close by. The track crossed a dismantled railway line before climbing steeply to a couple of old houses, which may occasionally be occupied.

Beyond the houses the gradient eased as we followed this track up Glen Tarken to just before the stream flowing down from Creag Each. It was less windy here and the walking was relatively easy on a mixture of terrain where a couple of newts were spotted. On reaching the burn we followed its south bank. Higher up the gradient steepened and we were back into the wind as we climbed a rocky gully to some peat hags before heading to Creag Each's cairn. At least this summit was cloud free which wasn't the case for Ben Vorlich or to the north, Ben Lawers.

The next section of this walk took us to the knoll to the north-east of Creag Each before descending its north ridge, over mainly heathery terrain, to near the junction of tracks in Glen Tarken (Grid Ref. NN6556227530). My plan was to follow the track round to the head of the glen and climb to Loch Eas Domhain. However my walking partner preferred the more direct approach to Craeg Ruadh so we descended slightly, crossed a couple of streams and the track on the north-east side of the glen. The ascent route was to the north-west of a steep gully containing the Allt Eas Dhomhain passing several shooting butts. Around the 580 metre mark we crossed the Allt Eas Dhomhain and headed towards the summit of Creag Ruadh over a mixture of long, short and burnt heather until a faint path led to the rocky summit cairn.

We found shelter behind a large boulder for lunch before making a circuit of the summit area. We had views across Glen Lednock to the Corbett, Creag Uchdag and the Munro, Ben Chonzie. The descent was south-west to the track on the north-east side of Glen Tarkin and en-route spotted a mountain hare, which was still very visible with its grey/white coat.

On walking along this track we heard a noise and after a few seconds realised it was a croaking sound from the frogs in the nearby ditch. There were lots of them and loads of spawn with more further down the track. After around a kilometre we came to a right hand branch in the track and followed it initially to a Hydro Electric tunnel intake, which appeared to be defunct, as it was full of frogs and spawn. This track later came to a ford in the Glentarken Burn but it wasn't a suitable crossing point on foot so we walked a short distance upstream before crossing with dry feet. The track was rejoined and it led to the route used earlier that day which we followed back to the lay-by.

previous ascent

Creag Each Graham second ascent 672 metres
Creag Ruadh Graham second ascent 712 metres

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Uamh Bheag, Beinn Odhar and Beinn nan Eun

20 March 2010

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 57. Time taken - 6 hours. Distance - 14 kilometres. Ascent - 780 metres.

I've made a couple of attempts to climb this group of hills, most recently on 9 January 2010, but with only partial success so with fine weather forecasted and the ground still likely to be frozen this was my opportunity to make a full circuit.

We drove to Glen Artney, reached from the B827 Braco to Comrie Road, and parked in the large car park opposite the church. We then continued on foot west along this single track road to a small forest plantation, east of the bridge over the Water of Ruchill, at grid reference NN6983015679. Here we entered a field, via a gate, and climbed along the east side of this small wood to another gate which led to the open hillside. We then traversed below Auchnashelloch Hill to the Allt Ollach where we found a footbridge at grid reference NN6953614516. Once over this bridge we crossed some rough ground to the foot of Am Beannan followed by a fairly steep climb to its summit where we took a break with views of Ben Ledi, Beinn Each, Stuc a’Chroin, Ben Vorlich and Meall na Fearna.

A faint path was then followed over to the north ridge of Meall Clachach, where a fence led over this Sub Donald to Uamh Bheag. However it didn’t go to the highest point on Meall Clachach so we took a slight diversion following another fence to what appeared to be the summit, marked by a boulder and an old fence post. We returned to the original fence and ascended Uamh Bheag, a Graham and New Donald. The summit, was easy to locate, as it was beside a junction of fences and consisted of a cairn and metal spike. On top of the spike was a piece of wood with a 'happy face' inscribed thereon. Here we had views of Callander, Ben Gullipen, Beinn Dearg and Loch Venachar.

It was then an easy walk, following a fence, to the trig point on the East Top of Uamh Bheag which is classed as Sub-Donald. We continued to follow this fence as it descended east and observed some cairns which I presume were used by shepherds in poor visibility. A few roe deer were disturbed in a gully and crashed through the fence before running off. I could hear the skylarks but couldn't spot them due to the sun. At the col with Beinn Odhar another slight diversion was required to avoid snow filled peat hags. Beyond this col the ground was a bit rougher with some boggy sections, and to the south the unsightly Braes of Doune Wind Farm. The fence went over the south shoulder of Beinn Odhar so near the highest point in the fence we left it and crossed lots of peat hags, several filled with snow, to a cairn and then onto the summit of Beinn Odhar which was unmarked. This was what I was hoping for as on an ascent of this New Donald earlier in the year, in poor visibility and lying snow we never found a cairn. As we arrived on the top we were joined by a fellow walker who was doing the circuit in the opposite direction and confirmed our observation regarding the lack of summit marker.

After lunch at the summit of Beinn Odhar we continued east and found several grassy rakes to follow that took us through the peak hags. It was the same on the ascent of Beinn nan Eun, the final hill of the day. The summit was a mass of peat hags with two stand alone fence posts, one with a few stones at its base. I had climbed this New Donald a couple of years ago in poor weather conditions and all I saw was the fence posts but wasn't sure that this was the actual top so I didn't count it as an ascent. However I was now satisfied that I had in fact been on the summit of Beinn nan Eun.

The return to the car park was down the north-west ridge of Beinn nan Eun initially using more grassy rakes. At the joining of the Allt Mor and Findhuglen Water there was a bridge over the stream which took us through a sheepfold and onto the vehicle track that led back to the public road just east of the car park.

previous ascent Uamh Bheag

previous ascent Beinn Odhar

Uamh Bheag Graham/New Donald second ascent 664 metres
Beinn Odhar New Donald second ascent 626 metres
Beinn nan Eun New Donald first ascent 631 metres

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Beinn Odhar

9 January 2010

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 57. Time taken - 6.75 hours. Distance - 17.5 kilometres. Ascent - 480 metres.

I had climbed the New Donald, Beinn nan Eun, from Glen Artney to the north, a couple of years ago reaching a fence post in the middle of some peat hags but I wasn’t convinced that this was the highest point as visibility that day was very poor. I abandoned that walk, which was to include Beinn Odhar, with the intention of returning in better visibility. I had since studied maps and thought it possible to climb Beinn nan Eun, Beinn Odhar and Uamh Bheag from the wind farm at the Braes of Doune, making use of their access roads. I’m not a fan of wind farms, especially the Braes of Doune one, as in my opinion it is an eyesore for visitors heading north towards the Highlands, but I thought I would at least get some benefit from it.

The weather was reported to be fine with a hard overnight frost so I thought this was an ideal opportunity to attempt these hills. However during the night fresh snow fell and it was still snowing lightly as we drove north up an unclassified road from the A84 at Buchany, just west of Doune. The road was covered in a few inches of snow so I was fortunate that I had my old Honda CRV which did well on this twisting road where the snow got thicker as height was gained.

We weren’t exactly sure where the road to the wind farm started but it was pretty obvious when we arrived at a large locked gate with various signs, just west of Loch Mahaick, and shown on my map as a junction of tracks. (Grid Ref. NN700067). There was ample parking at the large bellmouth where there were also some piles of snow. A new track, which had obviously been constructed solely for the wind farm, initially headed south east descending slightly before turning north through the forest and to the east of the Garvald Burn. The track had been ploughed within the past few days but had started to fill in again.

The snow had ceased and it looked like it might clear but low cloud began to engulf the hills ahead of us and some of the wind turbines. There were several cattle grids to cross with gates to permit the movement of animals as well as wicket gates for walkers. However these were blocked by snow. It had taken us a lot longer than expected to reach the wind farm but I'll put it down to the underfoot conditions as the snow was now quite deep despite the presence of a plough earlier in the week.

We were now in the cloud and passed a couple of wind turbines before coming to what appeared to be a main junction with directional signs for the wind turbines, which were all numbered. I decided to take a right here, towards a sub-station, and a few minutes later a left and gained some more height. Although the vehicle track was reasonably obvious it was filled with drifting snow and it was difficult to see where these drifts were due to the light and I occasionally stumbled into them. There were several 'Exit' signs on the route through the wind turbines and when these signs pointed in our direction of travel I realised that we had reached the highest point and that the road continued round in a loop.

The track was left at Grid Ref. NN717117 and progress became even slower as we worked our way through deep soft snow trying to avoid large hollows, which were probably peat hags, by walking where the top of the heather was visible. However this wasn't always possible so on occasions we slid into these snow filled hollows to maintain our ascent route. Eventually we reached the summit area but there was no evidence of a cairn or anything visible to mark the top. Visibility was around 20 – 30 metres so we spent time searching for some form of marker but found none, although it was possibly buried by the snow.

Satisfied that we had been on the highest point of Beinn Odhar we returned to the wind turbines by following the trail made on the ascent. On reaching the vehicle track we continued round the loop and eventually joined the track used earlier and followed it back to the start arriving there in the dark. During the descent the cloud lifted and we had views of Uamh Beag, the Ochils, the Wallace Monument and Ben Ledi.

Next time I'll probably go back to the Glen Artney approach.

Beinn Odhar New Donald first ascent 626 metres

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Benvane

4 January 2010

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 57. Time - 6.75 hours. Distance - 18.5 kilometres. Ascent - 1070 metres.

This was another walk planned to start close to a main road due to the snow and icy conditions. There is a car park on the west side of the A84 Callander to Strathyre Road just north of the Pass of Leny. This is the usual car park for an ascent of Ben Ledi. There was a single vehicle here when I set off north up the west side of the Garbh Uisge following the vehicle track that leads to the self catering log cabins on the west shore of Loch Lubnaig. The car park was very icy although the track was less so as there was some virgin snow that could be walked on.

I left the vehicle track just before the property at Stank where there were marker posts indicating the route to the hill. I followed the icy marked path through the forest and up the side of the Stank Burn, passed a frozen waterfall. The path crossed a vehicle track on a couple of occasions before heading into the Stank Glen proper. The old forest was now left behind and the younger fir trees allowed for views of Ben Ledi and across Loch Lubnaig to Beinn Each, which I had climbed two days ago.

This route was part of a forest walk and the snow was hard packed here with deep soft snow beyond. The path was still waymarked but signs indicated that there were no marker posts on the open hillside, which I didn’t expect or want. I came to a stile and once across it I was out of the forest and using my own navigational skills. However walkers had gone before me over the proceeding days so it was easy to follow the route, although there were some icy stretches to avoid, onto Bealach nan Corp, between Ben Ledi and Benvane.

On reaching this bealach, where there were old fence posts, I saw my destination, Benvane, in the distance. I basically followed this line of fence posts as I made my way north over a couple of rises to Stuc Dhubh. A walker had gone before me, probably the previous day, as there were crampon marks to follow. From Stuc Dhubh there was a slight descent before climbing the rocky Creag Chaoruinneach from where the fence posts turned and headed west as did the crampon marks. I continued to follow the fence posts and these marks as they crossed some deep soft snow with possibly peat bog below. The route then turned to head north again and here there was quite a bit of drifting snow which I was able to avoid as I climbed to the summit cairn. From the summit I had a 360 degree view, including The Stob which I had been on the previous day.

The return was by the ascent route. Earlier I had seen a couple some distance behind me but from their bootprints they had turned about and returned to the Bealach nan Corp. At this bealach I saw a couple trying to break the ice on a lochan and also walking out onto the ice. I hoped that they wouldn't fall through as it was too cold and dangerous for me to attempt a rescue. I put on my crampons here which made for an easier descent especially lower down on the icy path through the forest and along the road back to the car park.

previous ascent

Benvane Corbett third ascent 821 metres

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The Stob

3 January 2010

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 51. Time taken - 6.75 hours. Distance - 11 kilometres Ascent - 755 metres.

The choice of walk was between the Grahams, The Stob or Creag Mhor, depending on the condition of the access road beyond Balquhidder, which is reached from the A84 north of Strathyre. The road west of Balqhuidder, along the north shore of Loch Voil, was open but did require care due to the hard packed snow and ice.

We parked at the side of the access road to Monachyle Glen, which is just west of the Hotel. A short walk took us to a locked gate, which we climbed to gain access to the vehicle track through the forest. Within a few minutes we heard some squealing and were soon surrounded by hungry pigs. They had obviously dug up the surrounding vegetation but that was no longer possible as the ground was bone hard and covered in snow and ice. These squealing pigs followed us up the glen but then disappeared into the forest heading in the direction of the farm.

On crossing a bridge I saw a gap in the forest which is the suggested ascent route to The Stob but it wasn’t in my plans, except possibly on our return. We continued up Monachyle Glen where the sheep had large balls of snow stuck to their fleeces. At the end of the track there were signs for a Conservation Area and a signposted route to avoid this area. When I climbed The Stob in December 2006 I continued further up the glen to beyond the fir trees but on this occasion decided to use a fire break just beyond the end of the vehicle track.

The snow was soft and deep as we made out way through the fire break keeping close to the edge of the trees as deer appeared to have been feeding here and this made for a slightly easier climb. Once above the tree line a rocky section had to be worked round before we could head for The Stob which was still some distance away. As height was gained we had views of Ben Challum, Meall Glas and Sgiath Chuil and further up the hill we saw the summits of Stob Binnien and Ben More. The route did not involve a direct ascent as we came across some rock and bog which made for several deviations and included searching for the easiest route through the deep snow. At one point we spotted some avalanche debris. Fence posts were reached and we followed them to the summit of The Stob where the views now included Ben Vorlich, Stuc a’Chroin,Beinn Each, which I had climbed the previous day, and the Corbett, Creag Mac Ranaich. It was now time for a late lunch sheltered behind the cairn from a cool breeze.

The return route initially followed fence posts, avoiding some steep rocky drops as we worked our way south along a twisted and contorted ridge. It also involved some re-ascent including climbing to the top of Stob Caol but it was worth while staying high for the views. At one point I started to cross a section of snow but noticed a couple of full length cracks so made a hasty retreat and found a safer area to descend. It was now approaching sunset and the sky to the south-west, above the Corbett, Stob a'Choin, was pink and later red with this light reflected on some of the surrounding higher mountains. This delayed our descent as we stopped several times to take in the scenery and one or two photographs.

Lower down the snow was quite deep and we disturbed some deer and also a couple of sheep who took off from a rocky area and leapt into the snow. Near the house at Monachyle Beag there was a gap in a fence and beyond that a barbed wire fence had to be crossed as it was too dark to locate a gate, if there was one. A short stroll down the private access road from Monachyle Beag led to the road along the north shore of Loch Voil and the route back to the car. The end of a satisfying but tough winter walk.

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The Stob Graham second ascent 753 metres

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Beinn Each

2 January 2010

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 57. Time taken - 4.75 hours. Distance - 8.5 kilometres Ascent - 765 metres

A prolonged period of winter weather made access to minor roads a bit problematic so I decided to climb the Corbett, Beinn Each, with a possibility of continuing to the Munro, Stuc a’Chroin, as my route commenced from a main road.

It was snowing when I parked in the lay-by on the east side of the A84 at the south end of Glen Ample near the lodge at Ardchullarie More. I was the second vehicle there that morning, the driver of the other vehicle and his dog, set off just in advance of me.

I walked towards the above mentioned lodge and followed the signposted route, a Right of Way through Glen Ample to Lochearnhead, up the side of the burn. The path here was narrow and a bit slippery with fresh snow lying on top of a hard packed base. It soon crossed the burn and headed steeply through the forest before joining a vehicle track where the lying snow was a bit thicker.

On emerging from the forest I continued along the Right of Way to another burn where I was aware that an All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) track headed uphill on the south side of the burn. My plan was firstly to climb the Corbett Top, Meall na Caora, before continuing onto Beinn Each. The burn was soon reached and I followed the ATV track which was covered in deep soft snow but its outline was visible and in places deer had made a trail. On the opposite side of the burn I saw the man and his dog making their way onto the south-west ridge of Beinn Each.

Higher up I lost the line of the ATV track and there was evidence of deer having fed here as the lying snow was scraped down to the vegetation. The snow had stopped falling and the cloud appeared to be breaking up. I gained the north ridge of Meall Liath before descending into another glen where loads of deer moved off. I crossed some more deep soft snow before making an approach to Meall na Caora trying to walk on the top of the vegetation that was visible above the snow. However this didn’t work all the time and on occasions I was up to my knees in the white stuff.

On my ascent of Meall na Caora I spotted a couple of guys on Meall Liath and they seemed to follow my trail until I lost sight of them when it started to snow. I reached some old fence posts and followed them onto Meall na Caora. Here I visited three different hummocks in an attempt to find the highest point but in the end couldn’t decide which was the actual summit. The cloud lowered and the wind picked up blowing the snow around as I followed the fence posts to Beallach Coire nan Saighead where there were some frozen boggy sections to cross before commencing the ascent of Beinn Each. I’ll blame the conditions here as I found it tough going climbing through the soft snow with the spin drift blowing around. Traces of bootprints could occasionally be found in the snow which I presumed belonged to the two guys I had seen on Meall Liath. However I never saw them again nor did I meet anyone on these hills.

I summated Beinn Each as the cloud lifted and I could see the route to Stuc a’Chroin. However I had decided that things had been interesting and challenging enough without going further afield. I found a bit of shelter behind a rock for lunch with the occasional bit of snow being blown into my coffee and sandwich.

The descent was down the south-west ridge but higher up there was little evidence of other walkers having been on this route as their trail had been filled in by the spin drift. There were several rocky sections to avoid and low down walker's trails were obvious in the deep soft snow. Once back on the vehicle track in Glen Ample I returned to my car by the outward route.

previous ascent

Beinn Each Corbett third  ascent 813 metres

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Beinn Narnain

1 January 2010

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 56. Time taken - 6.5 hours. Distance - 10 kilometres. Ascent - 975 metres.

I was looking for mountains to climb that were close to a main road and with some parking facilities as hard packed snow and ice over the previous two weeks or so had made side roads a bit of a lottery. It was also New Years Day and I wasn’t sure when the roads would be gritted. I therefore settled for the Munros, Beinn Narnain and Beinn Ime.

The A82 along Loch Lomond was clear of snow and appeared to have been treated as was the A83 between Tarbet and Arrochar. Just north of Arrochar at the hamlet of Succoth there was a 'Pay and Display' car park with several parked cars and walkers preparing for the day’s outing. The cost of parking for the day was only £1. Although I’m against these council run charges, obviously focussed on the hill walking and climbing fraternity, I thought the price rather reasonable.

I was surprised that the snow wasn’t down to sea level here, it was probably a couple of hundred metres higher, but the west coast hasn’t had as much snow as further east. Once booted up and equipped for the day's conditions we set off across the main road and walked up the zig zag path, which was rather icy. This path was new to me and I expected it to eventually come out at the top of the old rail track, which was the route shown on my map. However on reaching a vehicle track we walked north-east and joined the old path which continued uphill still amongst the trees and now some snow. This path also had icy sections but once above the tree line we lost the path completely as we waded through deep soft snow.

Progress was slow and we eventually reached an area of rocks where the gully ahead didn’t look too inviting so we headed right, through some large boulders and into some deep snow, before making our way onto the ridge where we found the path again and ascended Cruach nam Miseag. A short descent took us to the foot of the upper section of Beinn Narnain where bootprints led to the left of the Spearhead. It was time to put away the walking poles and get out the axes as we followed this trail. It crossed an unstable snow field and led to an area of large boulders which were difficult to negotiate as there were huge gaps between them. However once across these boulders a steep snowfield was climbed followed by a short walk to the summit trig point of Beinn Narnain and a few metres further on its cairn.

We had planned to take lunch at the summit but there was a cold wind blowing so we decided to make a short descent to seek shelter. We had already given up on the plan to include Beinn Ime but still headed down Beinn Narnain's west ridge towards the bealach with The Cobbler. Low down we found a spot for a rather late lunch before joining the path along the Allt a’Bhalachain where we met several other walkers. Crampons had been fitted at lunchtime so walking on the hard packed snow was relatively easy. On reaching the weir we continued down the path which eventually led to the vehicle track used earlier that day and as darkness was approaching the icy path back to the car park.

Beinn Narnain Munro fifth ascent 926 metres

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Ben Ever, Ben Cleuch and Blairdenon Hill

13 December 2009

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 58. Time taken - 5.5 hours. Distance - 17 kilometres. Ascent - 1060 metres.

After a fairly long day on the cloud covered Carn Mairg Group of Munros the previous day, when a cloud inversion was expected, I was looking for something a bit easier and hopefully with some views so I settled for the Ochils where I still had a couple of New Donalds to climb.

I drove to the village of Alva on the A91 Hillfoots Road and parked in the designated car park for Alva Glen. The start was a bit confusing as there appears to be a number of options but I crossed the Alva Burn, via a bridge, and found the path heading east which joined the vehicle track west of Silver Glen. On reaching this track I followed it north as it zig zagged uphill. It was a cold morning with thick mist but around the 250 metre height the cloud thinned and I started to see the hills above me. It wasn’t long until it was completely clear and on looking back I could see the cloud engulfed Forth Valley.

The track passed to the east of The Nebit, and then split. I took the right hand one and climbed steadily onto the south-east ridge of Ben Ever. It was then a short walk to the summit marked by a couple of cairns. Here two runners, who had left the car park before me, passed heading in the opposite direction, having come off Ben Cleuch. A few feet of the power station chimney appeared above the cloud covered Forth Valley with probably the Pentland Hills in the distance. To the south-west the Campsie Hills looked like an island as they appeared above the cloud and to the west the hills around the Trossachs and beyond were visible.

I hadn’t planned to include Ben Cleuch on this trip but it was quite close and wasn’t far off my planned route. I descended to the col with Ben Cleuch and followed the walker’s path to the summit cairn and trig point. I just arrived as a group left the top so I had the summit to myself for the few minutes I was there. From Ben Cleuch I followed a couple of fences to Ben Buck and then an All Terrain Vehicle track to the top of Silver Glen where it joined the upper end of the track I had used earlier.

The route towards Blairdenon Hill was a mass of peat hags but there was a trace of a vehicle track through this maze and eventually I reached another fence. From here a walker’s path led to a cairn to the south-east of the true summit and as I headed in that direction three roe deer ran off. I continued to a junction of fences where just beyond was a few stones and a fence post marking the summit. As I ate my lunch here I had good views down to Braco and Crieff.

I returned to the south-east cairn and descended towards the Alva Burn where I found some sheep fanks and a vehicle track, not shown on my map. I followed this track south above the east side of the Alva Burn but the track later swung round to the north and gained some height. I continued to use this track as the alternative was a steep drop. I soon gained the height required and the track swung east to cross a tributary of the Alva Burn and then south down Alva Glen. Lower down the track cut across the hillside to join the Silver Glen track that I had used that morning. I followed this track with good views of the Campsie Hills as sunset was approaching. I re-entered the cloud covered Forth Valley and strolled back to the car park.

Ben Ever New Donald first ascent 622 metres
Ben Cleuch Graham/New Donald second ascent 721 metres
Blairdenon Hill New Donald first ascent 631 metres

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Whitewisp Hill, Tarmangie Hill and Innerdownie

6 December 2009

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 58. Time taken - 4.75 hours. Distance - 15 kilometres. Ascent - 785 metres.

The Ochils is an area I can only recall having visited once so it was time to climb some of their New Donalds. The start of the walk was Dollar one of the villages along the Hillfoots to the south. I followed the signs to Dollar Glen and found a designated car park and set off uphill passed several houses with the ruin of Castle Campbell on the opposite side of the Glen. I came to a car park in a forested area with a signpost indicating that there was a small overflow car park further on. Well I obviously got the starting point wrong. From the overflow car park I descended a narrow tarred road to the burn where there was a small footbridge. Authorised vehicles had a ford to cross to reach Castle Campbell.

Just beyond the footbridge I left the road and followed tracks through the dead bracken as I commenced the ascent of Saddle Hill. There were lots of sheep around and their trails made the going a bit easier. Once across a fence the gradient increased as I made my way towards the summit of Saddle Hill where I saw a couple of chaps slightly to my right descending the hill. They obviously had been out early.

There was a small cairn on Saddle Hill but it didn’t appear to be the highest point which was an adjacent small rise. From Saddle Hill there was now a walker’s path which descended slightly before climbing the south-west ridge of Whitewisp Hill. However at this point the cloud lowered and there were no longer any views. The path was followed to the summit cairn and then another path west on a gradual descent to a fence. Once over the fence the path followed a stone dyke and parallel fence to Tarmangie Hill. It appeared to me that this summit was a fence post although there was a cairn slightly to the north which I also visited. It had been quite mild lower down but it was now cold and windy.

On my return to Whitewisp Hill I was passed by a runner and met a walker going in the opposite direction. From Whitewisp Hill I this time headed north, still on a path, and soon came to a deer fence but fortunately there was a stile to aid my crossing. Once over the fence the low cloud started to disperse and I could see my next destination Innerdownie. The path initially kept close to the deer fence then a stone dyke, probably the same one as I had followed earlier. The dyke led to the summit cairn of Innerdownie where I found a bit of shelter for lunch. While there other walkers arrived having climbed from Gllendevon.

After lunch I headed south from Innerdownie but the going was quite rough through long grass and numerous small trees. Underfoot conditions were made worse by lots of small holes having been dug for the planting of these trees. Fortunately after a while I came across an area of cut grass which formed a track. I had noticed this near the summit of Innerdownie but wasn’t aware that it descended by my intended route. I followed this grass track to the south side of Glenquey Reservoir before cutting across more rough ground to meet the track that ran from Dollar Glen to Glendevon.

This track was followed to a couple of gates where it became a rather wet and boggy path. The path rose to the watershed then dropped into Dollar Glen. Once back in the Glen I followed the path at the side of the stream before walking down the road back to my car.

Whitewisp Hill New Donald first ascent 643 metres
Tarmangie Hill New Donald first ascent 645 metres
Innerdownie New Donald first ascent 611 metres

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Cruinn a’Bheinn

5 December 2009

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 56. Time taken - 5.5 hours. Distance - 13.5 hours. Ascent - 815 metres.

I had hoped to climb a Munro or two in the Southern Highlands but the forecast was for low cloud after some overnight rain so I decided to find a lower hill and settled for this Graham. I had previously combined an ascent of Cruinn a’Bheinn with Ben Lomond starting and finishing at Rowardennan, so this time it was to be a northerly approach.

The start of the walk was Inversnaid where there is a large car park located between the Hotel and the banks of Loch Lomond. It was reached along the B829 from Aberfoyle then through Glen Arklet.

We set off from the car park and used the footbridge to cross the Snaid Burn, which was in spate, and made for a decent waterfall as the water dropped below the bridge and into Loch Lomond. Once over the bridge we walked along the path that headed south above the east shore of Loch Lomond. The path is part of the West Highland Way and brought back memories of walking this Way in 1995. I wasn’t expecting to meet any WHW walkers so was surprised to pass a chap heading north, this being his third day of his planned seven day hike. I also met two Belgium chaps going south walking sections of the WHW and camping out.

On reaching the house at Cailness, which is a self catering holiday home, we walked through the grounds of the cottage to a vehicle track, which led to Gleann Gaoithe, Comer Farm and subsequently the B829. The track climbed away from the lochside as it zig zagged uphill. At the watershed before reaching Gleann Gaoithe we left the track and crossed some wet and boggy ground as we walked south-east to reach the north-west ridge of Cruinn a’Bheinn, where the ground was still quite wet. By this time the cloud had lowered and there were no views to be had. A deer fence came in from the right and headed up the ridge and would be a good guide in poor weather conditions. As height was gained there were patches of snow and some ice.

The summit area was reached but unfortunately the cairn was on the other side of the deer fence so it meant clambering over this fence to reach the highest point of Cruinn a’Bheinn. The estate had obviously carried out some repairs to the fence but it is obvious that a gate or stile is required as walkers need access to the summit. Once we reached the cairn we re-crossed the fence and commenced our return to Inversnaid by the outward route. On the WHW path we came across three feral goats who weren’t perturbed by our presence.

previous ascent

Cruinn a'Bheinn Graham second ascent 632 metres

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Cruach nan Capull

6 October 2009

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 63. Time taken – 3.5 hours. Distance - 6.5 kilometres. Ascent - 520 metres.

Cruach nan Capull, is located on the Cowal Peninsula, and was the last Graham in that area I required to bag in my quest to climb all the Grahams. I was also hoping for a clear day as I hadn’t had a decent view from any of the summits of the other four Cowal Grahams.

The starting point was the single track B836 Dunoon to Glendaruel Road at the vehicle track leading to the property Corrachaive. Parking wouldn’t have been appropriate at the side of the public road and the sole parking space on the access road to Corrachaive was already occupied. I therefore drove down the access road and at a 'T' junction took a left where I found a suitable parking area.

On leaving my vehicle I continued along the track for a few metres to a locked gate with an opening to its left for walkers. Immediately thereafter a small stream was crossed before I headed through the forest following the vehicle track up Corrachaive Glen. The ground was a bit damp and slippery from earlier rain but the cloud was breaking up and I could actually see Cruach nan Capull ahead of me.

After a right hand bend in the vehicle track the plan was to head south up another track which I read wasn't easy to spot as other walkers had missed the junction so I made a point of keeping a close eye out for any gap in the trees. If not paying attention the track is quite difficult to spot due to the angle of approach. It appeared unused by vehicles as it was overgrown and in places a bit boggy. However it allowed for reasonable progress as it zig zagged up through the forest.

The track appeared to come to an end near the upper reaches of the forest but a few marks in the vegetation led to the open hillside and onto the ridge near Mid Hill. From here I headed up the north ridge of Cruach nan Capull with two steeper sections to content with before the summit cairn was reached. There are a few fences here with bits of wire lying around like traps.

Unfortunately the views weren’t that great. I could see the Holy Loch, Firth of Clyde, the distant Cowal Graham Beinn Ruadh, the Islands of Bute and Arran which were rather cloudy and to the north Cruach Neuran, which just fails to make Graham Height by a few metres.

I managed to find a hollow where I could shelter from the cool breeze and have lunch looking down to the Firth of Clyde. I would have liked to have descended Cruach nan Capull’s north-east ridge but I couldn’t see a break in the forest to enable me to drop back into Corrachaive Glen. I therefore returned by the route of ascent. The only problem with this was finding my way back into the forest as it is not marked, nor is it obvious, so it took me a while to find the correct spot to re-enter the trees.

Cruach nan Capull Graham first ascent 611 metres

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Beinn a’Chleibh, Ben Lui, Ben Oss and Beinn Dubhchraig

9 August 2009

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 50. Time taken - 8.75 hours. Distance - 20 kilometres. Ascent - 1785 metres.

I joined some friends to climb the Munros, Beinn a’Chleibh, Ben Lui, Ben Oss and Beinn Dubhchraig as a linear walk. We left a vehicle in the car park at Dalrigh, which is on the west side of the A82 between Crianlarich to Tyndrum, and drove round to the car park at NN238278 on the A85 Tyndrum to Dalmally Road.

We walked down to the River Lochy then along its north bank until near the railway bridge where we used the stepping stones to cross the river, which was relatively low. Once over the railway line the path on the north side of the Eas Daimh was followed but I missed the route I had used previously to reach the Fionn Choirein. The path shown on the map is incorrect from the point where it turns south as that section of the path doesn't exist. The walker's path is further west and goes up the side of a stream.

The further east we headed on a rather muddy and in places boggy worn path I realised that I had missed the turn. I looked for an alternative route through the trees and probably should have continued east to the forest edge but decided to retreat to a gap in the forest where we could cut through to the walker's path. We headed south on this path, which was also muddy and very boggy in places causing us to take diversions through the trees, before we eventually emerged at a broken stile.

Once on the open hillside we walked into the Fionn Choirein and climbed to the col between Beinn a’Chleibh and Ben Lui where we took a break. Afterwards it was a short climb to the summit cairn of Beinn a’Chleibh with views of Loch Awe and the cloud topped summits of Ben Cruachan, Stob Diamh and Beinn Bhuidhe.

After several minutes on the summit we returned to the col and commenced the ascent of Ben Lui and with lots of chat it didn’t seem to take long despite the extra height climbed. From the summit we had views into Cononish Glen and to our next summit Ben Oss.

This was followed by a long gradual descent of Ben Lui’s south-east ridge to the col above Coire Laoigh before climbing onto Ben Oss's south-west ridge where we stopped for lunch. After our break we continued to the summit cairn of our third Munro of the day.

We left Ben Oss and descended to its col with the 941 knoll before dropping east then south to the col below Beinn Dubhchraig. It was then a slightly rocky ascent to a couple of small lochans where the going was easier for the final pull to Beinn Dubhchraig's summit cairn.

The descent was back to the lochans and down Beinn Dubhchraig's north ridge where a walker's path was followed to the forest edge near the Allt Coire Dubhchraig. The route through the forest was mostly wet and boggy before the dilapidated bridge over the Allt Gleann Auchreoch was reached and crossed. We headed onto the vehicle track from Gleann Auchreoch and walked along it crossing the railway bridge and later the bridge over the River Fillan. It was then just a short walk to the car park at Dalrigh and the end of an interesting day. All that was left was the drive to the start to collect the other vehicle.

previous ascent Ben Oss and Beinn Dubhchraig

Beinn a'Chleibh Munro fifth ascent 916 metres
Ben Lui Munro fifth ascent 1130 metres
Ben Oss Munro fifth ascent 1029 metres
Beinn Dubhchraig Munro fifth ascent 978 metres

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Beinn Mhor, Beinn Beag and Creag Tharsuinn

8 August 2009

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 56. Time taken - 9 hours. Distance - 25 kilometres. Ascent - 1645 metres.

The start of this walk was the end of the public road in Glen Masson, which was reached from the A815 Strachur to Dunoon Road just south of the A880 to Kilmun. I parked beside the bridge but later noted that there was a small car park a few metres further on.

I walked up the Glen on a vehicle track which was in good condition and could easily be cycled. Soon the rain started and the cloud base lowered. Just before the house at Glenmassan I heard the squawking of a buzzard which took off from the forest and flew across the glen.

Just beyond the house a track headed uphill into the trees where the initial section had been forested. The marked track zig zagged, then ran parallel to the Allt Coire Mheasan, before it deteriorated and became more of a path. It eventually emerged from the forest onto open grassy hillside where the cloud was quite low and the rain fairly heavy. The path, which was still marked, was followed onto the south-west ridge of Beinn Mhor, where there were a few old metal fence posts. A couple rocky areas were passed before I eventually reached Beinn Mhor’s summit trig point.

There were no views to be had so once I obtained a bearing I set off down Beinn Mhor’s north-east ridge. On the descent it was obvious there were steep rocky drops to my right. Lower down I took a break and occasionally the cloud briefly broke and I had glimpses of Bealach Bernice and the rocky Bheinn Bheag. I also noted a forest track to the north-west where part of the forest had already been cut.

I later continued the descent to the Bealach Bernice, which was a bit boggy in places with some old and new fences to cross. To avoid the rock faces I headed a bit further west and used the forest as a guide before working my way round some knolls to reach the summit cairn of Bheinn Bheag.

Again there were no views so I returned to the Bealach Bernice and on the descent I saw a couple on a slightly different line heading uphill. Later I was to find out that were a couple from the Aberdeen area, whom I recognised.

It was now decision time, either return over Beinn Mhor with a re-ascent of around 400 metres or attempt to climb the Graham, Creag Tharsuinn from a gap in the forest that I had spotted away to the west. I decided to try and climb Creag Tharsuinn.

I headed over to the forest track I had seen earlier and found the initial section consisted mainly of deep mud and water so it took me a while to reach the area where the cut trees were being stored. Fortunately it was Saturday and there was no work in progress. I followed the forest track, which headed west, and looked to see if there was a path through the forest to Garrachra Glen, which would have taken me back to Glen Masson, but there wasn't. The track turned north and joined other tracks shown on my map. On reaching the clearing I had spotted, it was planted with some new trees and there were some old cut timber lying around. However the alternative was to return to Bealach Bernice and re-ascend Bheinn Mhor so I decided to continue up through the gap. I actually found a few overgrown old forest tracks which in places made things slightly easier.

Higher up I cleared the forested area and in low cloud surprised a couple of hinds which quickly ran off and disappeared from view. I worked my way onto the north-east ridge of Creag Tharsuinn and headed towards the summit. The earlier rain had ceased and the low cloud was breaking up but the only views I had were of more forests. I worked my way to the summit of Creag Tharsuinn, which was still in the cloud, although the highest point wasn’t that obvious but appeared to be one of two bumps on the hill just north of an old metal fence post.

Satisfied that I had found the summit I descended to Bealach nan Sac, which was clear of the cloud, and then towards Garrachra Glen. I managed to work my way down the side of the forest but lower down I was confronted by more trees. However I found a small break in the trees which appeared to have been used by deer. Here the vegetation was rather wet, overgrown and steep in places and further down consisted of bracken but eventually I made it to the River Massan.

The track down the glen was in the forest on the east side of the river but there appeared no obvious route through the trees to gain the height needed to reach it so I crossed the river and followed it downstream through some wet and rough vegetation. Eventually the vehicle track appeared at the edge of the forest so I joined it and followed it to the buildings at Garrachra where a couple of new ponds had been constructed. I continued down the glen, passing the track I had used earlier that day to climb Beinn Mhor, and back to the start where I met the couple I had seen earlier in the day.

Beinn Mhor Graham first ascent 741 metres
Beinn Bheag Graham first ascent 618 metres
Creag Tharsuinn Graham first ascent 643 metres

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Beinn Ruadh

2 August 2009

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 56. Time taken - 3.75 hours. Distance - 5.5 kilometres. Ascent - 650 metres.

The Graham, Beinn Ruadh is located on the Cowal Peninsula, one of the few areas of Scotland I haven’t visited. I drove south on the A815 Strachur to Dunoon Road along the east shore of Loch Eck to its south end where I parked my car in a small Forestry Commission car park at the east side of the road.

I crossed the Inverchapel Burn by a small footbridge and followed a path, not shown on my map, up the north side of the stream through some trees. The path was quite steep in sections and apparently led to a viewpoint. When the path turned away from the stream and headed north, I left it and continued east above the stream through some rough terrain. There were a few trees around but they were well spaced not to cause a problem.

It was raining and windy with some low cloud so the vegetation was wet. Fortunately I was wearing my waterproofs. The vegetation changed to bracken and this caused me no end of problems. The stream appeared to run through a gorge so I avoided that area. The bracken became very thick and around six feet tall so it was impossible to see where I was headed, other than uphill. It was my impression of being in a jungle and I wish I had a scythe instead of a set of walking poles. To complicate things there were a lot of old felled trees hidden by the bracken.

After around half an hour I had made little progress and was considering going back to the start and attempting to find an easier route. However the bracken became lower and I was able to see where I was going and select areas which were almost devoid of bracken, although cut timber was still a problem. Higher up a fence was crossed and the ground became a bit steeper but compared to the earlier walking conditions this was bliss. I worked my way over some grassy vegetation and round some rocks to Beinn Ruadh's South Top at 620 metres just as it was engulfed by cloud.

I descended north where I found some old metal fence posts which led towards the summit of Beinn Ruadh. On approaching the summit the cloud started to lift and the earlier rain had ceased although it was still windy. On reaching the cairn and trig point on Beinn Ruadh I found some shelter from the wind and took a coffee break. As the cloud lifted I could see the Firth of Clyde.

On going back to the summit trig point some fifteen minutes later I had views of Beinn Ruadh's South Top, Cruach Bheinn and the Graham, Beinn Mhor. I returned to the col with the South Top and decided to find another route back to the start as I didn’t fancy tackling the bracken again. I descended to the west of the South Top with views now of Loch Eck.

In the vicinity of the crags of Creag Liath I crossed a fence and was confronted by some crags. Here I came to a halt as just below me I spotted three foxes, I think a vixen and two cubs. They appeared to have spotted me but as I slowly tried to get my camera out they were obviously spooked by my movement and the vixen ran off uphill while the two cubs disappeared among the rocks. One of them, I presume the vixen, barked a warning. I had a look around the rocks to no avail while being watched by the vixen in the heather above me.

I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t get a photograph of all three together and continued my descent but had to move back towards the fence to avoid the crags. I followed the line of the fence through a mixture of vegetation including bracken and could see a path below me. The last section onto the path was quite difficult through very thick bracken but at least I could see where I was going. I followed this path, which headed south, and was passed by four mountain bikers. The path eventually came out at the wooden footbridge beside the car park.

Beinn Ruadh Graham first ascent 664 metres

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Beinn Chabhair

10 May 2009

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 50 or 56 Time taken - 7.5 hours. Distance - 13.5 kilometres. Ascent - 1020 metres.

The Munro Beinn Chabhair is located to the east of Inverarnan on the A82, Glasgow to Crianlarich Road. The car park beside the Inverarnan Hotel had been extended since my last visit several years ago and the hotel was in a rather dilapidated appearance. However on the opposite side of the road theDrover’s Inn was in a better condition and was already open for business. I therefore enquired at the Drover’s Inn about parking beside the Hotel and it didn’t seem to be a problem as long as I wasn’t staying overnight.

It was sunny, if not a bit chilly, when we set off north along the side of the A82 to the bridge giving access to Beinglas Farm. Once across the bridge we followed the designated route round the farm to the West Highland Way. There were a number of campers around and work appeared to be in progress to extend the facilities at the campsite.

Once across the West Highland Way we followed the path, which climbed steeply behind the farm, on the north side of the Ben Glas Burn towards the waterfall. I was no longer feeing the chill as the area was sheltered from the wind and it was warm work on the steep rough path.

We passed the top of the waterfall and crossed a stile before reaching more open ground. It had been decided that we would ascend Beinn Chabhair in a circular route rather than just an out and back walk so we left the Ben Glas Burn and headed north before climbing onto Meall Mor nan Eag. The west side of this hill was quite rocky with several ups and downs to avoid small rock faces. We eventually reached the summit cairn with the idyllic Lochan a'Chaisteil and the large boulder Ben Glas behind it.

The next section involved more ups and downs as we passed below Stob Creag an Fhithich and climbed to the summit of Meall nan Tarmachan where a snow bunting was perched. It was then a short descent to a col where we arrived at the same time as couple who had climbed up from Lochan Beinn Chabhair. The final section was up the west and then the north ridge of Beinn Chabhair following a path to the summit cairn. From the top we had views of the nearby Munros, An Caisteal and Beinn a’Chroin with the Munros, Ben More and Stob Binnein behind. There were also views to the south of the Graham, Meall Mor, the Corbett, Stob a’Chroin and the Munro, Ben Lomond.

We found some shelter, from the cool breeze, for a late lunch before descending the north and west ridge of Beinn Chabhair looking at the snow capped Ben Lui group of mountains and across Loch Lomond to Ben Vorlich. Once at the col where we had seen the couple, we descended to Lochan Beinn Chabhair and then followed a path, which was wet and boggy in places, down the north side of Ben Glas Burn back to the waterfall. It was then a steep descent following the path we used earlier that day.

Beinn Chabhair Munro fifth ascent 933 metres

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Ben More

9 November 2008

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 51. Time taken – 4 hours. Distance - 9.5 kilometres. Ascent - 992 metres.

Heavy overnight rain made the plan to climb Beinn Chabhair, from Inverlochlarig impracticable as it involved several stream crossings so we decided to climb Ben More near Crianlarich instead. Heading west on the A85 Lix Toll to Crianlarich road it was noticeable that there had been some overnight snow on the mountains. We parked at the side of the A85, just east of Benmore Farm beside a sign indicating the access route to the mountain.

We crossed a stile and followed a vehicle track up the hillside to just beyond a gate. Here we left the track and commenced a fairly steep climb of Ben More’s north face over mainly grassy vegetation. It was rather windy and it wasn’t long before we encountered our first snow shower. As height was gained we reached the snow line and the wind became stronger as it blew across Benmore Glen blasting us with spin drift. We could see a couple of walkers well above us.

To avoid the full blast from the wind we moved further east and continued on the ascent through some rocks and drifting snow. Several birds, I think they were snow buntings, took flight assisted by the wind. Underfoot conditions were becoming a problem due to the ice and some neve snow, which was a bit unexpected, as I never saw any snow the previous day when further south. Eventually we reached a walker’s path where progress improved but this was short lived as the path also had lots of old frozen snow. We had heard voices earlier and saw two walkers, probably the ones we had seen earlier, descending the mountain below us.

The wind was now very strong with either persistent snow or continuous spin drift making walking tough and reducing visibility. We climbed a more grassy area before eventually reaching the rocky summit of Ben More. Reaching the cairn and the trig point, I'm not sure which is the highest point, was difficult in the wind and over icy rocks.

There was no advantage in remaining at the summit as it was impossible to find shelter for a coffee break so we headed back down the mountain. The wind was now stronger and the spin drift, or was it just snowing, was blowing horizontally and several times we had to stop as the wind tried to blow us over. The conditions lasted until we were well down the mountain and eventually we could see the main road which we reached a short time later.

previous ascent

Ben More Munro fifth ascent 1174 metres

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Ben Vane

8 November 2008

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 56. Time taken – 4.45 hours. Distance - 11.5 kilometres. Ascent - 942 metres.

Parking at the start of this route up Ben Vane is discouraged with no parking signs as 24 hour access is required to Loch Sloy dam and the electrical transmission station. It is recommended that you park at Inveruglas Visitor Centre, located around 800 metres further north on the A82, Glasgow to Crianlarich Road.

I walked back along the A82 using the marked footpath and then headed up the tarred road at the side of the Inveruglas Water passed numerous electrical transmission pylons and station, and the unoccupied farm at Coriegrogain. Beyond the farm I crossed the bridge over the outflow of the stream flowing out of Loch Sloy and onto a hardcore road before reaching a small bridge where I left the road and commenced the ascent of Ben Vane.

There was a path, very eroded and boggy in places, up the south-east ridge of Ben Vane which I followed into the low cloud. For a while I walked with a couple of chaps who were planning on continuing to Beinn Ime. Higher up there appeared to be more erosion than on my previous visit with more rock exposed. This necessitated some easy scrambling before reaching a small summit plateau with a tiny lochan and two small cairns. The choice is yours which is the highest point.

I found some shelter from the wind for a coffee and a bite to eat before the rain commenced and I started on my return by the ascent route. The rain became intermittent and I met several other walkers heading uphill. On reaching the tarred road the cloud had lifted and was almost clear of the summits but by the time I reached my car it was raining again.

previous ascent

Ben Vane Munro fifth ascent 915 metres

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Cnoc Coinnich

11 October 2008

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 56. Time taken - 4 hours. Distance - 10 kilometres. Ascent - 850 metres.

The plan had been to climb some of the Galloway Hills, but due to flooding in that area the previous day with several roads still closed I decided to give the area a miss and head for the Arrochar Hills and in particular the Graham, Cnoc Coinnich.

The starting point for Cnoc Coinnich, was Lochgoilhead, which surprisingly enough is at the head of Loch Goil. The village is reached from A83 at The Rest and Be Thankful or from the A815 Dunoon Road, along single track roads. A car park is located at the lochside opposite the shop and Post Office.

I left my car in the car park, crossed the main road, took the lane up passed the public toilets and a couple of houses, over a couple of stiles, across a forestry track, through a small gate onto a track that followed the edge of the forest. This track eventually entered the forest where initially it was a gentle stroll but after crossing the foot bridge the path became rather steep. Higher up it became a bit wet and boggy as I progressed uphill using a fire break. A few posts and a couple of signs also showed me the route.

It had been quite warm work in the forest as I was sheltered from the wind but once onto the open hillside the wind was very noticeable. The path was less obvious with a few posts indicating the route, although in my opinion they are far too far apart to be of any benefit in poor visibility. Before reaching the bealach I left the path and headed towards the north ridge of Cnoc Coinnich which later became a bit rocky. The cloud lowered a couple of times with some short lived rain showers but the higher I got the more exposed I was to the wind.

The summit cairn, situated at the edge of a large rock was reached with a views down to Arrochar at the head of Loch Long and across to the Luss Hills. I found some shelter for lunch looking across Loch Long and briefly saw Ben Lomond until the cloud engulfed me and it rained again, this time a bit heavier and for longer.

Once lunch was over I set off again and was now exposed to the strong wind and rain. The south ridge of Cnoc Coinnich was steep and a lot rockier than the map indicated so I had to search for the best route down. As I did so the rain ceased and the cloud lifted so that made things a bit easier. The ridge gradually turned to the west and then north-west and as the sky started to clear. I had views west to Beinn Lochan and Stob na Boine Druim-fhinn, which I had climbed last month, as well as the Corbetts, Ben Doinich,The Cobbler and The Brack. However I still encountered a few showers but at least it wasn’t as windy. The vegetation consisted of long heather, some bog and tussochy grass as I climbed over Tom nan Gamhna and The Steeple.

Another steep and rocky descent followed and lower down a path that led to the upward route just above Lochgoilhead. On the descent I came across a group of youngsters learning to abseil, the only people I had seen on the hill.

Cnoc Coinnich Graham first ascent 761 metres

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Ben Chonzie

21 September 2008

photos taken on walk

Map – OS Landranger 51/52. Time taken – 3.25 hrs. Distance - 12 kilometres. Ascent - 790 metres.

I was on my way home and had climbed all the Corbetts and Grahams in this area so I decided on a fifth ascent of Ben Chonzie, just in case I decide to complete another round of Munros.

I have climbed Ben Chonzie from Loch Turret and from Invergeldie in Glen Lednock but the latter approach was normally in the winter months so I decided on this route. Glen Lednoch is reached from Comrie, on the A85, at the west end of the village. On my arrival at Invergeldie I was surprised at the number of cars that were parked there as I am now used to having the hills to myself. Well maybe it was the fine sunny morning that brought out the fair weather walkers!

Invergeldie residents must find the parking of vehicles a nuisance especially when the bellmouth entrance, as my photograph shows, was full of cars with others parked at the side of the road. I also managed to park at the side of the road and set off up the track that was signposted round the property at Coishavachan.

The vehicle track was followed almost to the south ridge of Ben Chonzie where a walker’s path, wet and boggy in places, cut across to the summit ridge. Old fence posts run along the ridge but I opted to cut out the corners and head more directly to the summit disturbing lots on mountain hares who were hiding amongst the boulders. On the ascent I saw several walkers on their way down and at the large summit cairn met more walkers sheltering from the cold wind and partaking of lunch.

Some of the walkers were about to leave and kindly gave me their sheltered spot for me to have a bite to eat. More walkers arrived at the summit, some whom I had passed on the way up and others who had come up from Glen Turret. After my break and a chat with fellow walkers I headed back by the route of ascent although I did take a more direct way down to the vehicle track cutting out a bit of distance and time.

There were some late departing walkers heading up the track as I was returning to my car and the end of a pleasant and quick ascent/descent of Ben Chonzie.

previous ascent

Ben Chonzie Munro fifth ascent 931 metres

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Beinn Lochain and Stob na Boine Druim-fhinn

20 September 2008

photos taken on walk

Map – OS Landranger 56. Time taken – 5.5 hours. Distance - 11 kilometres. Ascent - 1060 metres.

The start for the ascent of these two rather rocky mountains was Lettermay, on the opposite side of Loch Goil from the village of Lochgoilhead. The area is reached by a single track road from the A83 at the Rest and Be Thankfull or from further west on the A815 Dunoon Road. This is the same starting point as for the Corbett, Beinn Bheula.

There was limited parking and signs indicate 'private road, no parking', or requested parking elsewhere, so my first impression was that the local residents weren’t very friendly towards walkers. However I managed to find a place to park at the wide bell-mouth, just off the main road at Lettermay.

I walked up the forest vehicle track and after around one and a half kilometres took a right turn to cross the Lettermay Burn. This was rather difficult. The first section consisted of a concrete dam but the latter section, which was under water, was slimy rock with a steep drop to my right. There wasn’t many options as I slid into the pool of water rather than go over the edge.

My problems weren’t over as once across the burn the path was very wet and bogy as I followed a fence at the edge of the forest. I had also to contend with fallen trees before I was able to access another vehicle track. I followed it but there was no obvious break in the forest to access the lower reaches of Beinn Lochain, so I had to go to the end of the existing standing trees. For anyone thinking about climbing this Graham, it would be better staying on the original forest track as it loops round to the second track I used. This was not shown on my map. However things may change again as several areas of the forest were being felled.

On leaving the vehicle track the going was extremely awkward as tress had been felled a while back and the old branches and tree trunks were greasy and slippery. The area was also quite boggy with long wet vegetation and new conifers planted so it took me a long time to reach the fence at the top of the forest. I later looked for a more suitable route but there was either mature tress or felled woodland so options seem to be very limited.

Progress was now easier although steep with lots of rocky areas to avoid. The cloud base was mainly above the summit of Beinn Lochain, although other mountain tops were cloud covered. After two hours, of some tough walking I reached the summit of Beinn Lochain, which was marked by a few stones at the edge of a rock face. The views weren’t that great due to the cloud base and I found somewhere suitable for a coffee break. Beinn Lochain was then engulfed by cloud so once my break was over the descent north was initially in poor visibility, although the cloud did clear occasionally so I could see the route ahead. At the col I climbed over the summit of Beinn Tharsuinn disturbing a deer.

The low cloud continued to come and go as I dropped to the next col before climbing onto the south-east ridge of Stob na Boine Druim-fhinn. It was then a short undulating climb to its summit trig point where I had a view down to Loch Fyne. I took another break here and could here a farmer shouting on his dog but I couldn’t see either, although there were lots of sheep around. I presume he was taking them in for weaning.

The descent was down the south-east ridge of Stob na Boine Druim-fhinn but required care as the low cloud that continued to come and go hid the many large areas of rock and made the gully descents look rather intimidating. However by following the sheep I disturbed I managed to find a safe route. I also spotted a red kite.

Lower down I came to a wide firebreak with traces of an animal track and followed it downhill, across a vehicle track and towards the business property at Corrow. Here I followed another vehicle track, not shown on the map, but ended up with another crossing of the Lettermay Burn before joining a track that led me back to the start.

Beinn Lochain Graham first ascent 703 metres
Stob na Boine Druim-fhinn Graham first ascent 658 metres

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Meall nan Gabhar

6 April 2008

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 4.5 hours. Distance - 12.5 kilometres. Ascent - 720 metres.

Meall nan Gabhar appeared to be a bit problematic in relation to access as the map showed the approach from the A85 Tyndrum to Dalmally Road was obstructed by a forest. An alternative was a long approach from Glen Falloch on the A82 south of Crianlarich where a cycle could be used for part of the route.

In the morning it was windy with frequent snow showers so I thought that I would explore the northern approach as the forest would afford some shelter and as the weather wasn’t great I could abandon the ascent if there wasn’t a way onto Meall nan Gabhar.

A forest track left the A85 just west of the road to Glen Orchy and opposite the house at Corryghoil. There was no signs preventing me driving up this track for nearly two kilometres to the bridge leading to Succoth Lodge. Here a sign, near a gate, did indicate that vehicular access was forbidden without permission so I parked nearby and continued through the forest on foot.

The vehicle track crossed under the railway line and followed a line of pylons before turning 90 degrees to continue up through the forest. At the point where the forest track did a U turn a new track, not shown on my map, headed down to and across the Allt Coire Lair and then north along its east bank, possibly to join the track shown on the map south of the Allt a'Chaorainn.

Some tree felling had taken place on the east side of the Allt Coire Lair and although the going was rough and awkward over some felled trees which had been left to decay I found a route through them. A deer fence also had to be scaled but at least I had found a route towards Meall nan Gabhar. The ground was fairly solid due to the cold weather with some snow cover and I worked my way onto its south-west ridge.

Once on the ridge I had a views to the Munro Beinn Bhuidhe and the Cruachan mountains. A snow storm latter blotted out these hills but missed me. As I gained height there were views south to Ben Vorlich and Ben Vane.

I eventually reached the summit of Meall nan Gabhar as shown on my map, where it was very windy. However I had read that the true summit was now being stated as the knoll to its south-east so I walked over to it. From these knolls I had views of the snow clad Munros of Beinn a’Chleibh, Ben Lui and Ben Oss. I continued south-east to Meall nan Tighearn where the views of these mountains were even better. The long alternative route from Glen Falloch was also visible as were the Crianlarich Hills and the Corbett Meall an Fhudair.

The return was across some icy ground onto the south-west ridge of Meall nan Gabhar and back to the start by my ascent route. I was glad I had climbed Meall nan Gabhar from the north as it was a lot shorter and I didn't have to use a cycle. However for anyone planning on following this route it is possible to cycle from the A85 up through the forest to the Allt Coire Lair.

Meall nan Gabhar Graham first ascent 743 metres

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Stob an Eas and Cruach nam Mult

5 April 2008

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 4.5 hours Distance - 11 kilometres Ascent - 1030 metres

These two Grahams are located in the Arrochar area in the west of Scotland on either side of Gleann Beag ( Hell's Glen). A single track road, the B839, runs through Gleann Beag and is reached from either the A815 Dunoon road or from the B828 Rest and Be Thankful to Lochgoilhead Road.

Near the highest point of the road through Gleann Beag there were a couple of forest tracks on either side. The bellmouth of the easterly one was sufficiently wide to allow parking. I set off along this easterly track which initially climbed through the forest to a couple of zig zags. The path then levelled out before it continued well beyond what was shown on the map, although latterly it did start to deteriorate. It then climbed through a break in the forest until I came out onto the open hillside. I was surprised to find that there was no deer fence. I saw a fellow walker near the summit of my next hill, Cruach nam Mult on the other side of the Glen.

I followed the side of a stream that flowed down from Stob an Eas passed some Tormentil, the first of the year, to the rocky summit of Stob an Eas. It was then just a short climb to the summit trig point where I took a break with views of Beinn an Lochain, The Cobbler, Ben Donich, The Brack and Beinn Bheula.

The return to my vehicle was by the route of ascent reaching the shelter of the forest just as the first snow shower of the day started.

I had been trying to see if was possible to access Cruach nam Mult by the track on the west side of the road but there was nothing obvious. I therefore drove back down Gleann Beag to the end of the forest on its west side.On the opposite (east) side there was a small parking area for a single vehicle. Wild primroses were flowering on the nearby embankment.

I crossed the road and a small stream before climbing up the side of the forest over some rough ground as I encountered another snow shower. A couple of gullies had to be avoided as I headed for the bealach between Stob Liath and Cruach nam Mult where there was a fence. The fence was followed for a short distance before it dropped south-west towards Gleann Canachadan. I was then confronted by a rocky summit but a move to my left found a steep but suitable walking route to the summit which was marked by a small cairn of around three stones. Here I had lunch in another of the now frequent snow storms.

The return was by the upward route and was uneventful. The end of a successful day climbing a couple of new hills.

Stob an Eas Graham first ascent 732 metres
Cruach nam Muilt Graham first ascent 611 metres

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Meall Dearg

21 January 2008

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 2.25 hours. Distance - 5 kilometres. Ascent - 400 metres.

This hill is located to the west of Glen Cochill and the A816 Aberfeldy to Crieff road runs through the glen making access relatively easy. Climbing this hill should take around two hours so rather than make a special journey to this area I decided to take a diversionary route home to bag this Graham.

Parking is a bit restrictive at the point where I wanted to stop but I found an area on the east side of the road just south of the bridge over the Cochill Burn. I left my vehicle, crossed the road and a fence and headed over rough ground avoiding some bog. Patches of snow were down as far as road level but it was mainly soft snow so I tried to avoid it.

I crossed the old General Wade's Military Road, which is now used by sheep, and shortly thereafter started the ascent of Meall Dearg. The snow conditions were very variable. Sometimes it held my weight, other times I was up to my shins in the snow. Occasionally it was icy especially where the sheep had been and the bootprints left by walkers, probably a few day's earlier.

The ascent was just a matter of seeking the easiest route following the edge of a stream until a slightly steeper ascent took me to the summit trig point. Here there was a cold wind blowing but I made use of my new down jacket and sat there for a while taking in the surrounding views which included the Ben Lawers mountains, Carn Mairig Group, Schiehallion, Beinn a'Ghlo and the Drummochter mountains.

The descent was by the upward route. Half way down a mountain hare ran off but then stopped long enough for me to get a photograph.

Meall Dearg Graham first ascent 690 metres

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Beinn Bhalgairean

20 January 2008

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 3.5 hours. Distance - 10.5 kilometres. Ascent - 590 metres.

This Graham is located to the south-east of the village of Dalmally and can be accessed through Brackley Farm. However parking or even stopping on the busy A85 was rather hazardous so I parked in the village. A new Health Centre, not on my map, had recently been constructed on the eastern outskirts of the village so I used their car park as it was a Sunday and the Health Centre was closed.

I walked back along the A85 for around 350 metres and up the un-tarred road to Brackley Farm. I worked my way round the farm, over the railway line via a bridge and entered a field. I stayed on the vehicle track which went steeply uphill before leaving it and following another track through the field towards the forest. Once through a further gate I crossed a small stream onto a recently upgraded section of track which took me to a wide wet and boggy area. I had views back to Ben Cruachan, the Dalmally Horeshoe, Beinn a'Chochuill and Beinn Eunaich.

Once across this area I joined another section of improved track where several new fences had been built, including deer fences. Beyond the top end of the forest the track became wet and in places boggy but I soon left it and climbed onto Meall Breac. Thereafter I followed the Allt Mhaluidh until I could see the summit of Beinn Bhalgairean.

To reach the summit I had to avoid some deep wet snow before a steeper section took me to the summit. There was a cairn there but it didn't appear to be located on the highest point.

It was cold and windy on the summit so I found some shelter for a break looking over to the cloud covered summits of Beinn na Sroine, Meall nan Gabhar, Meall an Fhudair and Beinn Bhuidhe.

I returned towards Meall Breac before taking a more direct line to the edge of the forest and followed my upward route back to Brackley Farm and Dalmally. At the farm the hook on the gate had been knocked off since I had passed through the gate in the morning. When I saw the farmer he advised me that he had just moved some cows and the bull had gone a bit wild and had damaged the fence and gate. Thankfully I had missed that excitement.

Beinn Bhalgairean Graham first ascent 636 metres

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Fiarach

23 December 2007

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 3 hours. Distance - 9.5 kilometres. Ascent - 510 metres.

The forecast was for the weather to deteriorate later in the day so I decided on this short ascent of the Graham Fiarach.

The starting point was the car park at Dalrigh on the west side of the A82 between Crianlarich and Tyndrum. This is also one of the starting points for Beinn Dubhchraig and Ben Lui.

The short walk to the bridge over the River Fillan was rather treacherous as the tarred road was just a sheet of ice. Once across the bridge I took a right and followed the vehicle track which led to the bridge over the railway line.

Once over the bridge I continued along the icy track towards Gleann Auchreoch and on reaching the forest followed its edge uphill. Care was still required due to ice but the advantage was that it was easier to cross the boggy sections.

Navigation wasn't a problem as a fence continued to the frozen Loch Fiarach and onwards towards the summit. The gradient beyond the Loch eased and was rather boggy, although fortunately for me frozen. There were several fences crossing the area which could be confusing in bad weather but one of the fences led towards the summit cairn which was perched on top of some crags.

It was rather cold and windy on the top but I managed to find some shelter for a bite to eat before heading back to Loch Fiarach. From here I took a more direct route to the railway bridge used on the upward route and followed the vehicle track back to the start.

Fiarach Graham first ascent 652 metres.

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Meall Odhar

2 December 2007

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 4.25 hours. Distance - 10 kilometres. Ascent - 580 metres.

Tyndrum was the starting point for this walk and it is a very interesting wee village. There were gold and lead mines worked here and it has two railway stations, which is rather unusual for such a small hamlet. It is popular for the Green Welly Stop, which is on the main road north from Glasgow to Fort William, it is on the route of the West Highland Way and a tour bus company is based here.

I parked beside the Lower Station, which is on the railway line for Oban, and crossed the line at the level crossing before walking north-west through a forest along the side of the railway line. After around 650 metres the path left the railway line and climbed through the forest and later became rather steep and stony as it reached the old lead mine workings which date back to the beginning of the 18th century.

The lead mine area was fenced off with numerous warning signs but a stony path wound its way uphill on the north side of the old mine. The views back down into Tyndrum and Strath Fillan were inspiring with patches of low cloud hanging around and as height was gained the snow capped peaks of the surrounding mountains came into view.

The path continued to well above the old lead mine and thereafter an easy short walk led to the summit cairn of Sron nan Colan where I sat for a while taking in the views. There was no wind and despite the snow capped tops it wasn't too cold.

Sron nan Colan wasn't my target hill it was further west so a short descent took me to the top of the tree line above Cononish Glen. It was a bit boggy here as I walked between a few stunted trees before commencing the ascent of Meall Odhar, which was rocky in places. There were some deer feeding on the horizon but they soon disappeared.

It was a relatively easy ascent and just before the summit I came across a couple of stags but they had also spotted me and ran off before I could get a decent photograph of them with the snow capped Beinn Chuirn in the background.

From the summit of Meall Odhar I again had some good views including the Crianlarich Hills, Ben Oss and Beinn Dubhchraig, Ben Lui, the Tyndrum Corbetts, Beinn Dorain and Beinn a'Chreachain and away north to Meall a'Bhuiridh and Creise.

Once I had tried to name all the visible hills I returned to the tree line east of Meall Odhar and followed the Allt nan Sae through the forest into Cononish Glen. This route was rather boggy in places churned up by the deer but at least there was a gap in the trees instead of fighting my way through the forest.

On reaching the vehicle track on the north side of the River Cononish I walked along it for a few metres before following another vehicle track that climbed through the forest before descending to the Lower Station at Tyndrum and the end of a very pleasant circular walk to the Graham, Meall Odhar.

Meall Odhar Graham first ascent 656 metres

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Creag Each and Creag Ruadh

14 October 2007

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 4.75 hours. Distance - 14 kilometres. Ascent - 960 metres.

The start of this walk was the north side of Loch Earn where the A85 runs between St Fillans and Lochearnhead. Just west of a house called Woodhouse there was a large farm building where ample parking was available in lay-bys at either side of the road.

Immediately I alighted from my car I heard the roar of the stags on the south side of Loch Earn. I went through a gate and walked up a rough vehicle track passed some derelict buildings, some of which were being restored, and into Glen Tarken. There were a couple of other gates to pass through and beside one there was a misleading sign stating "keep to roadways during shooting season 12 Aug - 15 Feb". In terms of the access legislation this blanket ban isn't permitted and in any case it was a Sunday when stalking doesn't take place.

As I continued up Glen Tarken I could hear the roar of the stags above me and on reaching the stream flowing down from Creag Each I left the track and headed uphill. Initially I had to avoid some cattle and then tried to work my way round bracken and into a small corrie where I disturbed some deer. This obviously upset the stag as he wasn't able to control his harem of hinds which disappeared into the cloud.

The roaring continued as I climbed a gully and also entered the cloud before reaching some peat hags. At this point I climbed to the summit of Creag Each, which in the mist didn't appear as rocky as the map showed.

I left this summit and followed a bearing, roughly north, until I cleared the cloud and descended to the vehicle track in Glen Tarken. On the descent I found evidence of a deer having been shot, probably in the past few days, as there was blood and intestines lying about. I walked along the track in Glen Tarken and heard voices in the distance. There were probably about a dozen walkers about a kilometre behind me.

At the point where the track turned and headed back along the opposite side of the Glen I left it and commenced the climb of Creag Ruadh. As I gained height I aimed for Loch Eas Domhain and spotted a vole which quickly disappeared. In fact I saw at least three voles that day.

In was very misty at the Loch so I needed to walk on a bearing to reach the summit of Creag Ruadh working my way round some rocks. It was a bit cold and windy on the summit but there were ample sheltered places to eat lunch in the mist.

After lunch I descended into Glen Tarken, where again I had to avoid some cattle, crossed the vehicle track on the east side of the Glen and followed various animal paths to the west side track. I then followed it back to my car again with the roar of the stags above me and from the other side of the Loch.

Creag Each Graham first ascent 672 metres
Creag Ruadh Graham first ascent 712 metres

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Creag Gharbh

13 October 2007

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 3 hours. Distance - 12 kilometres. Ascent - 630 metres.

The plan was to walk elsewhere but the weather forecast for the weekend wasn't very good with low cloud and some rain so I settled for some Graham bagging.

The start of this walk was the South Loch Tay Road around 1.5 kilometres from the village of Killin at the bridge over the Achmore Burn. There are very few parking spaces at this location. I left my car and walked along the tarred road, on the east side of the burn, which climbed steadily through the forest. Eventually I cleared the forest at a communication tower and the road continued along the edge of the forest and onto the Scottish Hydro Electric dam at Lochan Breaclaich.

At this point the tarred road ceased but a rough track continued and I walked along it for just under two kilometres to a 'U' bend. From here it was a relatively short climb over some rough terrain to the summit cairn of Creag Gharbh.

It was rather windy on the summit so after taking a few photographs of Loch Tay and the surrounding mountains, the tops of the higher ones being cloud covered, I found some shelter for a bite to eat with views of Loch Tay.

After my snack I took a more direct route back to Lochan Breaclaich and re-traced my steps along the tarred road to the start of the day's walk.

Creag Gharbh Graham first ascent 637 metres

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Mor Bheinn

23 September 2007

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 4.25 hours. Distance - 12 kilometres. Ascent - 660 metres.

The Graham Mor Bheinn is situated south of Comrie and was a convenient hill to climb on my return home from the west coast. The ascent started from Craggish on the south-west side of the village on a narrow road where only verge parking was available.

I walked along the signposted private road to Aberuchill Castle by-passing the Castle by a vehicle track to the south-east. At Tomanour, which appeared to be holiday homes, a vehicle track, not marked on the map, headed towards Mor Bheinn. The Estate had obviously spent a lot of money on fencing and improving the Estate and was obviously breeding pheasants to shoot. In fact I have never seen so many pheasants together flying about and squawking.

I followed this newly found vehicle track which initially followed the stream flowing from the bealach between Mor Bheinn and Ben Halton. Unfortunately the track later changed direction and I was left with no option but to wade through heather and bracken as I headed towards Mor Bheinn. Occasionally there were some animal tracks to follow.

There was no relenting from the deep heather and as I headed towards the summit several deer ran off down the north–east ridge. The summit trig point was eventually reached with views of St Fillans and Loch Earn, as well as the Ben Lawers range of mountains, Ben Mor, Stob Binnein, Ben Vorlich and Stuc a’Chroin.

It was rather windy on the summit but I found shelter for lunch looking out over Comrie towards Crieff and Perth. There were a couple of cairns to the north so I visited them but they didn’t appear as high as the trig point. I then commenced the descent of Mor Bheinn and found some grassy areas to use which was easier than going through the heather and bracken. I came across some feral goats which ran off when they spotted me. There was also another family of goats on the opposite side of the glen.

The descent route eventually took me back to the vehicle tracks used earlier that day and I followed them back to the start.

Mor Bheinn Graham first ascent 640 metres

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Meall Mor

22 September 2007

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 5.75 hours. Distance - 16 kilometres. Ascent - 870 metres.

I had been contemplating the ascent of this isolated Graham for a couple of years and had thought of combining it with the Corbett Stob a’Choin but I was glad I hadn’t as it was a tough hill to climb in its own right.

The start of this walk was the car park at Inverlochlarig where the fairly large car park fills quickly on a fine day. Fortunately when I arrived there were only two other vehicles there.

I walked to Inverlochlarig Farmhouse and as per the request on the car park notice board I enquired whether there was any stalking taking place that day to be told there was none. I continued through the farm buildings and along the vehicle track on the north side of the River Larig. It would be quite possible to use a mountain bike on this track. After around four kilometres I left the track and crossed some wet and boggy ground to the River Larig, which I crossed. There was no improvement in the condition of the vegetation on the south side of the river, in fact it was worse with the boggy ground churned up by cattle hooves.

It took me some time to find the best route across the bog before the climb of Stob an Duibhe commenced. The higher I climbed the steeper the hill became and I was forced to zig zag my way up the hill. On reaching the summit of Stob an Duibhe I realised that I had been sheltered from the wind. It was rather cold and windy on the summit where I had views of Lochs Katrine and Lomond as well as the Crianlarich mountains.

The descent of the west ridge of Stob an Duibhe for around 80 metres was rather steep and rocky. There were some old fence posts along this ridge but they weren’t always positioned on the best descent route. The walk continued along the ridge with several ups and downs and here I heard the roar of a stag from Glen Gyle in the south-west. The first roar of the year so the rut had started and it would now be easier to spot the stags on the mountainsides.

It took some time to traverse this ridge but I eventually arrived at the highest point on Meall Mor which was marked by a small cairn. I had good views in all directions including Ben Lomond to the south. I sought some shelter on the north side of the mountain behind a large boulder looking towards my ascent route. On arrival at this boulder I had obviously disturbed a herd of deer who ran off to the west but my attention was drawn to a ledge below me where a fox was wandering around sniffing out some prey. I watched this fox, which was unaware of my presence, for some time before sitting down to eat my lunch.

As I was about to leave I spotted a fellow walker above me who I think must have ascended from Glen Gyle. I descended steeply down the north side of Meall Mor avoiding lots of rocky outcrops and lower down avoiding a herd of cattle in the glen. I did have a short section of wet and boggy ground to cross before reaching the River Larig. I crossed the river and then followed the vehicle track back to the car park in a pleasant sunny afternoon.

Meall Mor Graham first ascent 747 metres

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Beinn Bhreac and Tullich Hill

21 September 2007

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 4 hours. Distance 9 kilometres. Ascent - 1010 metres.

The start of this walk was Invergroin in Glen Douglas reached from the A82 Glasgow to Tarbert Road at Inverbeg. There was very limited parking at Invergroin where there was a bungalow and static caravan. The adjacent Tullich Farm appeared to be derelict.

I parked on the bridge between Invergroin and Tullich Farm and walked east for a few metres to the gate leading to the static caravan. I went through the gate and followed an All Terrain Vehicle track towards Beinn Bhreac through another couple of gates. The ground was rather waterlogged due to the recent poor weather. Higher up the ground was a bit steeper with a few rocky outcrops.

The summit trig point on Beinn Bhreac was reached where there was a strong cool wind blowing. The views down Loch Lomond made up for the inconvenience of the wind. Once I had taken a few photographs I headed along Beinn Bhreac’s north ridge to its bealach with Ben Reoch. Here I decided to climb Ben Reoch as it appeared an easier option than to traverse to the bealach at Ant-Sreang.

I ascended Ben Reoch where it was very windy and walking into the wind was hard work. However once I descended towards the Ant-Sreang bealach walking became easier. Fence posts would assist navigation in poor weather but they do go over several rocky outcrops. I kept to the north of the fence posts and on reaching the Ant-Sreang bealach found it to be wet and boggy.

Once on the other side of this bealach I commenced the ascent of Tullich Hill as the rain started but it was short lived. I kept to the north of a rib of rock and worked my way through long vegetation to the summit of Tullich Hill. The actual summit wasn’t that clear. There were several knolls with a couple of cairns on two of them. The largest cairn was on the west end of the rather large summit area so it may be the highest point.

I descended the south-east ridge of Tullich Hill where lower down it was again rather wet and boggy before I reached the road in Glen Douglas at Tullich Farm.

Beinn Bhreac Graham first ascent 681 metres
Tullich Hill Graham first ascent 632 metres

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Meall Buidhe

25 August 2007

Time taken - 1.75 hours. Distance - 5 kilometres. Ascent - 400 metres.

The route of the A85 Lochearnhead to Lix Toll Road goes through Glen Ogle and at its high point, opposite Lochan Lairig Cheile, there is a parking area. Here a 'hot food' van operates so the car park may be busy.

East of the car park the area has a large deer fence with a vehicle track, not shown on my map, that leads uphill to a radio mast. A locked gate prevents vehicle access and a sign indicates that walkers should find an alternative route although they have built a wicket gate. As alternative routes are over rough terrain I went through the wicket gate and followed the path to the radio mast, which is actually beyond the top end of the deer fence, where there is no advice regarding route taking.

The weather consisted of some low cloud and light rain but the track made for good progress and from the radio mast I headed over rough ground to the bealach between Beinn Leabhainn and Meall Buidhe. From the bealach it was a short climb to the summit of Meall Buidhe which has two cairns. The northern one appears the highest and the southern one a viewpoint down to Glen Ogle and Loch Earn. I had a brief view of Loch Earn before the cloud closed in again.

The return was by the route of ascent. There appear to be no problem using this track despite the notice at the start. There is also a fence round the radio mast but I left the track a few metres before reaching the mast.

Meall Buidhe Graham first ascent 719 metres

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Beinn na Gainimh

29 July 2007

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 4 hours. Distance - 9 kilometres. Ascent - 565 metres.

I was looking for a short walk prior to my return home so I settled for this Graham and decided to climb it from Glen Quaich. Access to Glen Quaich was from the Sma' Glen on the A822 north of Crieff at Amulree. There is a single track road running through the Glen and parking at the start of the walk at Croftmill wasn't possible but I managed to find some verge parking further east.

I walked back along the road, up the side of the house at Croftmill, through a gate and onto a vehicle track which I followed to Lochan a'Mhuilinn. It was a bit windy but at least the sun appeared on occasions. Beyond the lochan the track ceased and became a path with some wet sections as the ground at this point was fairly flat.

At a suitable location I left the path and climbed through heather to just west of Beinn na Gainimh's North-East top. On looking back into Glen Lochan I saw a couple of ruined cottages, probably flattened during The Clearances and Lochan Uaine which was covered in weed.

On reaching the ridge I was confronted by a double fence, both electrified, so I followed it to a bealach and up the side of the crags to the north of Beinn na Gainimh. Here the wind was rather strong and cold despite the sun. There was no break in the fences so I had no option but to cross them before I headed to the summit of Beinn na Gainimh. The summit which was covered in Cloudberry in fruit. was marked by a few stones.

There were views of Auchnafree Hill and Ben Chonzie to the south and Beinn a'Ghlo to the east so I managed to get a few photographs. I left the summit and traversed to another top to the east but again I never found any break in the twin electric fences. Once across them it was a pleasant decent to Meall Mor where the gradient increased but there was no difficulties. Lower down the ground was a bit wet before I joined the vehicle track used on the outward route and returned to my car.

Beinn na Gainimh Graham first ascent 730 metres

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The Cobbler

21 July 2007

photos taken on walk

Time taken – 2.5 hours. Distance - 5 kilometres. Ascent - 620 metres.

It was a fairly cloudy morning as I headed for the Arrochar Alps but at least the cloud was above the summit tops. At the end of the forest on the east side of the A83 in Glen Croe, I found a small parking area which was capable of holding around five vehicles. It was empty when I arrived.

A path, wet and boggy in places, was followed up the south side of the stream that flowed between The Cobbler and Beinn Luibhean. Higher up the path followed a tributary that headed towards the bealach east of the summit of The Cobbler. It wasn’t necessary to go to the bealach so I headed directly to the crag which is the highest point on The Cobbler. Two other guys were already on the crag but had decided against going to the actual top.

I climbed onto the crag, crawled through a hole and onto the top of the rock where I had a 360 degree view. Once I had descended the crag I had a coffee break and watched a few walkers climb to the summit of The Cobbler. Others decided the short climb wasn't for them. The descent was by the upward route although I did shorten it by cutting across the hillside. On my return the car park was full but I hadn't seen many walkers on my descent route.

The Cobbler Corbett second ascent 884 metres

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Beinn Tulaichean and Cruach Ardrain

20 July 2007

Time taken – 6.5 hours. Distance - 12.5 kilometres. Ascent - 1030 metres.

I met my client, Linda, in Lochearnhead and we drove south on the A84 to the Kingshouse Hotel and thereafter along the unclassified road passed Balquhidder to the car park just east of Inverlochlarig Farm.

We walked along the farm road, crossed the Inverlochlarig Burn by a bridge and took the signposted route up the side of the stream. The path was very wet and muddy but it soon joined the vehicle track that headed up Inverlochlarig Glen. We soon left this track and headed uphill towards Beinn Tulaichean. The hillside was fairly wet and boggy underfoot and higher up the vegetation was almost knee deep which meant for wet trousers. The cloud base was fairly low, around 400 metres, so it was just the sake of seeking the best route through the vegetation trying to avoid large areas of bracken and some rocky ground.

Higher up the walking was easier with the shorter grass and at times there were traces of a path. Where possible we followed these paths which eventually led to the summit cairn of Beinn Tulaichean. There was no advantage in remaining at the summit as there were no views and the visibility was still poor so we descended Beinn Tulaichean’s north-west ridge following a path which continued to the summit of Cruach Ardrain. Here we stopped for lunch and were joined by a chap from Orkney who had ascended Cruach Ardrain from the west. He was on his third round of Munros.

We returned to the bealach between Cruach Ardrain and Beinn Tulaichean and descended east down the hillside, avoiding a few gullies, and lower down we came out of the cloud. Route finding was now easier as we headed for the vehicle track in Inverlochlarig Glen which was followed to the farm and the short stroll to the car park.

previous ascent

Beinn Tulaichean Munro fifth ascent 946 metres
Cruach Ardrain Munro fifth ascent 1046 metres

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Ben Vorlich - A Final Munro

1 July 2007

photos taken on walk

Time taken – 6 hours. Distance - 14 kilometres, Ascent - 940 metres.

After over 4 years of guiding Laila to the summit of more than one hundred Munros, in all weather conditions, Ben Vorlich was to be her final Munro. Latterly, due to her age, it had been a bit of a struggle as she had left the harder and remoter Munros to last. However she was a determined lady who had set her mind on finishing albeit a year or so later than planned. Unfortunately the enjoyment of climbing the Munros had got a bit lost in the struggle to finish.

Laila, Shona, Fraser and I met at Inveruglas on the west shore of Loch Lomond where there was a large car park beside the Visitor Centre. We walked south on a path along the west side of the A82 to the start of the private road to Loch Sloy dam and followed this tarred road to just south of the dam. The tops of the mountains were mostly cloud covered but it was fairly humid in the glen.

A small cairn marked the start of a walker’s path into the corrie below the south ridge of Ben Vorlich. The path was wet in places and disappeared on occasions in the newly grown grass, although it appeared later that lower down there was more than a single path towards the corrie.Higher up the path was more evident. Laila was a bit reserved and didn’t want to consider her success until she had reached the summit of Ben Vorlich. En-route onto the ridge it started to rain which meant donning the rain gear but the shower was short lived.

Eventually we reached the south ridge and followed it north towards the summit with a couple of breaks in the cloud to give us some brief views. It was a fairly gentle stroll, in the low cloud, towards the summit trig point and a short distance further on to the cairn marking the highest point on Ben Vorlich.

Shona and Fraser set up a 'guard of honour' with their walking poles as Laila approached the summit cairn and then it was congratulations to Laila on her achievement. A few photographs were taken assisted by another walker. Shona and Fraser produced the champagne and cake for the summit party and a few more walkers appeared at the cairn and one joined in the celebrations.

The weather improved during the summit party and eventually we had views of some of the Arrochar Alps and of Loch Sloy. However the summit photos had already been taken so they couldn't be reinacted.

After some time at the summit we commenced the descent by the upward route and from the south ridge of Ben Vorlich we had views over the south end of Loch Lomond.

On returning to our vehicles we were invited by Laila to tea and cake nearby where Laila presented me with a framed certificate for guiding her during the past four years.

Laila intends to keep walking but at a lower level and without setting herself any targets. She later notified me that she had registered her completion with the Scottish Mountaineering Club and was Munroist number 3843.

previous ascent

Ben Vorlich Munro sixth ascent 943 metres

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Beinns Luibhean, Ime and Narnain.

20 April 2007

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 7 hours. Distance - 11 kilometres. Ascent - 1280 metres.

The plan was to climb the Corbett, Beinn Luibhean and the Munros Beinns Ime and Narnain from the A83 Arrochar to Inveraray road just east of Butterbridge and descend to Arrochar. To facilitate this we left a car in the pay and display car park near Succoth, just west of Arrochar.

We left the A83, south-west of Butterbribge, and followed a path, passed a ruin, and up the side of a burn towards the Bealach a’Mhargaidh. Before reaching this bealach we headed up the east ridge of Beinn Luibhean, through some rocks, to the summit cairn. It was rather chilly on the summit with occasional breaks in the cloud so we didn’t linger long before descending to Bealach a’Mhargaidh.

From this wide bealach we commenced the ascent of Beinn Ime taking what appeared to be the easiest climb until we reached a path which led to the summit cairn. The trig point no longer exists. There were no views but we were able to find some shelter to have lunch.

The descent initially followed a path which appeared to disappear in some soft and boggy terrain and in low cloud I had to correct my descent route to reach the fence and gate at the Bealach a’Mhaim. This was followed by the ascent of Beinn Narnain with the low cloud breaking up for a few minutes before we were engulfed again.

Beinn Narnain’s summit trig point was reached but there was a cold wind blowing and visibility was poor. We commenced the descent initially having to search for the gully to go down and thereafter a rough, and lower down boggy, path was followed. We emerged from the cloud and followed the path to the car park near Succoth.

This is where the problems started. We commenced the return journey along the shore of Loch Long on the A83 to collect my car but we were soon stopped by the Police as the road was closed due to a chemical spill. Norman offered to drive the diversionary route but this would have involved a one way trip of over 55 miles. I decided to walk the track through the forest, by-passing the chemical spill, and along the road to my car, a distance of approximately 11 kilometres. Shona, my other client had left personal items in my car so she was forced to join me on our second hike of the day. After well over an hour of walking and attempting to hitch a lift from the few vehicle’s using this route we eventually got a lift which we were very appreciative of.

Beinn Luibhean Corbett second ascent 858 metres
Beinn Ime Munro fourth ascent 1011 metres
Beinn Narnain Munro fourth ascent 926 metres

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Uamh Bheag

11 February 2007

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 5.25 hours. Distance - 14.5 kilometres. Ascent - 650 metres.

The previous day’s heavy snow had taken a bit of shift after some overnight rain and milder temperatures. With this in mind and the possibility that the snow higher up would be rather wet making for some tough walking I decided to climb this Graham rather than some of the higher mountains.

I drove up the road signposted to Bracklinn Falls from the main A84 road that runs through Callander. Once beyond the houses the road became single track and passed the car park for the Falls. I continued along this public road to a parking area at the northern end of the forest. Here a track took me down to the bridge over the Keltie Water and into the forest.

I continued along the snow covered track to a ‘T’ junction and took the higher path out of the forest. It was a bit colder and windier here and the vehicle track had a good walking surface although it was still covered in a few patches of wet snow. There was also evidence that a vehicle had been along the track, probably the previous day. The track soon dropped slightly to cross an unnamed stream before rising again on a gradual gradient. It passed close to what must have been an old farm named Leathan Dhail but there is only a large hut and some sheep pens left there now.

The vehicle track continued up the north-west side of Meall Leathan Dhail and into the cloud the base of which had lowered. There was a lot of drifting snow on the south-east side of the track with evidence of sheep having tried to get through.

I eventually came to the end of the track as shown on the map. I was surprised that it did end at this point as frequently tracks continue beyond what is shown on the map as the estate gradually extend them. From this point I crossed some rough ground with the hollows concealed by wet snow. It was around two kilometres from the end of the vehicle track to the summit of Uamh Beag but it was to be tough going.

The first section involved a slight descent to a stream where there was a fence to cross as well. On the other side of the fence there were some sheep and they had made various trails through the snow. I tried to utilise them as I followed a bearing set for the summit. It wasn’t always possible to stay on the bearing as there were lots of snow drifts to avoid. I had to try and find the easiest route round them and at the same time try to remain in the correct direction as visibility was poor and I could only see around 25 metres.

I eventually came to another fence, which possibly led to the summit but it wasn’t going in the correct direction. I had my GPS with me to confirm my position. To be honest that is all I ever use the GPS for as I haven’t learned how the other functions work. My bearing led to a slight drop before continuing the ascent of Uamh Bheag. The snow was a bit drier and was beginning to hold my weight. I still tried to avoid the drifts but they were becoming more frequent and I had to climb over them. Visibility was even poorer now and at one point it was difficult to tell what was snow and what was cloud.

The snow and cloud gave the impression that it was going to be a rocky approach to the summit but in fact it was just wind swept stones. This part of the ascent was sheltered and I had thought about having lunch on the summit. Out of the cloud appeared a fence which was coated in snow and ice and nearby was the cairn which marked the highest point of Uamh Bheag. Three fences in fact met at this point.

It started to rain just as I arrived on the summit so I about turned and headed back down the hill. This was a lot easier than the ascent as I just followed my bootprints. Lower down I did stop in the rain for something to eat as the cloud had lifted briefly. Nearer the path some of my bootprints had disappeared as the snow had melted.

On reaching the path I followed it back to the start. I eventually cleared the cloud and had views over towards the Campsies where it was brightening up. Ben Vorlich was also visible although the summit was still in cloud.

I am told that Uamh Bheag is a tough mountain to ascend due to the terrain so the snow and poor visibility just added to the challenge.

Uamh Beag Graham and New Donald first ascent 664 metres

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Stob Breac

10 February 2007

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 4.5 hours Distance - 10 kilometres. Ascent - 575 metres.

This walk meant a return to Inverlochlarig which had been the starting point for the ascent of Stob Binnein five days earlier.(see below) On that occasion the weather had been sunny with a cold wind and some good views but this morning it was cloudy and windy with sleet, and snow above 200 metres.

There is a car park just east of Inverlochlarig, accessed by a single track road from Balquhidder along the northern shores of Lochs Voil and Doine. Balquhidder itself is a few miles west of the A84 Strathyre to Lochearnhead Road.

We left the car park and walked along the vehicle track towards Blaircreich Farm crossing the River Larig by a bridge before passing an old house, now empty, which was not shown on the map. Just beyond this house a track left the farm road and headed into the forest. There was a locked six foot high gate but a stile to its west afforded access.

The track had a light covering of wet snow which made it slippery but as height was gained the snow was drier and there was a more substantial covering. At a junction we took the track heading south up Glen Sgionie. It was snowing and a bit windy with some blowing snow. There were lots of animal tracks but we never saw the culprits.

We continued up Glen Sgionie for around half an hour until we came to what appeared to be a suitable fire break in the forest.Here we left the forest track and headed uphill through the firebreak. It was very sheltered here and we stopped for a short break as the weather conditions higher up wouldn’t permit a snack halt. Thereafter we continued up the fire break to the edge of the forest at around 450 metres.

It was still snowing and on leaving the protection of the forest we were confronted with the wind and some spin drift.We continued in the same direction and arrived on the south ridge of Stob Breac around one kilometre from its summit. However it was very windy here with lots of blowing snow and visibility was reduced due to the low cloud.

It was hard going in the cross wind especially at the cols and progress was very slow. There were some snow drifts which were already knee deep. I was measuring the distance travelled by pacing as timing wouldn't have worked due to the wind slowing us down and at times bringing us to a halt. My fellow walker was operating a GPS, a useful tool in these conditions, as there were several knolls to cross. I had a record of the grid reference for the summit which was needed.

Eventually we reached what we agreed was the summit, a rock on top of a knoll. The GPS confirmed this as it was impossible to tell by the white wilderness around us.

We returned along the south ridge but only as far as a peaty and wind swept col. It was decided that at this point we would leave the ridge rather that fight against the wind and blowing snow and headed down the side of a stream. However as is common in the mountains the wind and snow were coming from various directions with lots of spin drift. There were some rocky outcrops to avoid but we reached the top end of the forest beside a fire break. This fire break was a bit steeper and rougher that the one we had used earlier but at least we were out of the wind and spin drift.

The fire break was followed to the track but the majority of our bootprints had been covered by fresh snow. There were some animal tracks and we eventually spotted a red deer which disappeared into the forest. This was the only wild life we saw other than a robin at the start pf the walk that had decided to have a look in my car.

We followed the track back to the car park but it must have been a degree or two milder as some of the snow on the lower section of the forest track had turned to slush.

Stob Breac is only a Graham, but despite that the wind and wintry conditions made it rather hard going and as tough as some higher mountains that I have climbed.

Stob Breac Graham first ascent 688 metres

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Stob Binnein

5 February 2007

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 5.75 hours. Distance - 9.5 kilometres. Ascent - 1100 metres.

Stob Binnein can be climbed from Glen Dochart in the north and include Ben More in the ascent or from the south near Inverlochlarig Farm. My client had already climbed Ben More in winter conditions so it was decided that the southern approach would be more suitable.

Inverlochlarig Farm is accessed along a single track road from Balquhidder which is just west of the A84 Strathyre to Lochearnhead road. There is a car park just over half a kilometre east of Inverlochlarig Farm on the south side of the road.

From the car park we crossed the road and a stile and headed steeply uphill following a walker’s path which was eroded in places. It was a frosty morning, the sun was shinning and visibility was good. There were only a few patches of snow on the surrounding mountains. On the ascent we spotted a number of deer before reaching another stile higher up.

Above this stile the ascent was slightly steeper before the path crossed below Stob Invercarnaig and headed for an unnamed knoll. Here there was an icy wind but we managed to find some shelter for a break before continuing.

The next section of the walk was on more level terrain with some patches of snow on the eastern corries. Further on we climbed the ridge shown on the map as Na Staidhrichean before ascending the Munro Top, Stob Coire an Lochain. After a short descent with more lying snow, all of which we managed to avoid, we made the final ascent to Stob Binnein. The area surrounding this Munro was covered in hoar frost and the wind was very cold. However visibility was very good and we had good views down Loch Tay, over to the Ben Lawers range and of Ben Lui to mention a few.

We spent a while taking in the views before we returned by the route of ascent making a couple of stops en route, one for a late lunch. There was more high cloud by now but the weather was still superb for a winter walk in February.

previous ascent

Stob Binnein Munro fifth ascent 1165 metres

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Stob Coire Creagach

4 February 2007

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 4 hours Distance - 4 kilometres. Ascent - 640 metres.

This mountain is unnamed on the Ordnance Survey map but appears to have been given the name Stob Coire Creagach. However it is also known as Binnein an Fhidhleir although this is also the name of the summit about 1.5 kilometres further west, which is lower by six metres.

The start of the walk was the A83 Arrochar to Inveraray Road just east of the farm at Butterbridge where there is a large car parking area on the south side of the road. Diagonally opposite this car park is the start of the estate road up Glen Kinglas.

We left the car in the car park, crossed the road but instead of heading up the estate road we passed through a gate into an area of forest regeneration and followed a fence uphill. It was a fairly steep grassy climb, wet in places, which eventually led to a stile and beyond that some crags. Up to this point there was evidence of a path being created through the vegetation but not so higher up. The hillside was engulfed in low cloud but a grassy gully was found and this led through the crags and eventually the gradient eased.

The angle of ascent increased again and led to some more crags and in the limited visibility a bit of searching was required to find a way through. There was now a bit of a breeze with some particles of sleet and snow. However other than a couple of small patches the mountain was devoid of snow.

The summit cairn was eventually reached but it was cold and windy. We used a bivy shelter and had an early lunch before descending the west ridge hoping that the cloud would break. The intention had been to continue to Binnein an Fhidhleir for the views to the west but the cloud wasn't going to break up so prior to the ascent of Binnein an Fhidhleir we turned south and headed downhill where we spotted three stags before they disappeared into the cloud.

The cloud appeared to be very variable. It was low over the A83 and blowing up the Glen while Beinn an Lochain on the south side of the road was clear in places, even higher up.

Eventually we came to the deer fence, followed it to the A83 before walking along this road to the car park, in the rain.

Stob Coire Creagach Corbett second ascent 817 metres

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The Stob

17 December 2006

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 4.75 hours. Distance - 11.5 kilometres. Ascent - 630 metres.

The drive along the unclassified single track road, from the Kingshouse Hotel on the A84 Callander to Lochearnhead road, through Balquidder and onto Monachyle was rather frosty and in places icy due to the excess water lying on road from a week of heavy rain.

The start of the walk was just west of the Monachyle Hotel where a vehicle track enters the forest. There is limited parking here and a locked gate blocks vehicle access with an Estate sign stating stalking in progress keep to the lower glen. In terms of the Land Reform Scotland Act 2003 this sign is no longer appropriate and not within the spirit of the Act. These types of signs need to be updated daily and in any case it was Sunday when stalking isn't permitted.

Once on the track my annoyance at this inappropriate signage diminished as I enjoyed the walk through the forest on that chilly morning. The local farmer's dog was operating on its own rounding up a stray sheep. Further north the sun was able to penetrate the trees and I had to remove my hat and gloves as I warmed up.

After around 3.5 kilometres I came across a hut, solar panel and small windmill. There was also a weir which I later learned was for measuring the velocity of suspended sediment and bedload samples. Beyond this I came to the end of the vehicle track although All Terrain Vehicle tracks continued up the Glen. A sign erected by the Forestry Commission Scotland indicated that I was entering a 'Sensitive Conservation Area'. Apparently the area is of archaeological interest but some damage had been caused by forestation. A walking route was signposted which prevented several crossings of the Monachyle Burn but the path was very wet and boggy in places.

Beyond the evergreen trees I headed uphill through some trees that had been cut down several years ago which made the ascent a bit awkward until I got above the tree line although deep heather had still to be contended with. Well beyond the tree line I reached a deer fence but found an area of the fence that had been damaged and managed to climb through a gap. I spotted a vole as it tried to run away and hide.

I was now out of the sun and it was lot colder so the hat and gloves were once again required and around the 470 metres point I reached the snow line. The snow was fairly dry and there was more than I expected. Higher up the drifts were knee deep with lots of knolls and undulations to traverse before reaching a fence. Well getting to the fence was a bit of an obstacle as the area to the west consisted of peat bog and small lochans concealed under the snow. However the bog and water weren't firm enough to take my weight and it took me several attempts to find a suitable crossing. Once across I climbed to the old fence posts and to the summit cairn of The Stob.

Here I had some good views particularly to the east and south-east with Ben Vorlich and Stuc a'Chroin standing out. The view to the south was obscured by the low sun while there was a bit of cloud affecting the westerly and northerly hills.

I had my lunch at the summit enjoying these views before heading south, initially following the line of fence posts. However even with the clear and sunny weather it was difficult working out the best line to follow with numerous knolls, undulations and some rocky outcrops. I came over Stob Caol and Creag nan Speireag before descending fairly steeply to the east of Monachyle Beag, over some fences and dykes, before joining the road along the side of Loch Voil which I had driven along that morning. The road was still icy and slippery but I followed it for the short distance back to the starting point.

The Stob Graham first ascent 753 metres

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Ben Vorlich and Stuc a’Chroin

12 October 2006

photos taken on walk

Time - 5.25 hours Distance - 14 kilometres Ascent - 1100 metres.

This was the final day of the Ashwood House walking holiday and the plan was to climb the Munros Ben Vorlich and Stuc a’Chroin. Access to the starting point had improved recently with the re-building of a bridge on the South Loch Earn Road which had been washed away in a storm a couple of years ago.

Once again only Steve was available to climb these mountains as Vanessa was still suffering from a knee injury sustained on the first day of the walking holiday.

The starting point was the South Loch Earn Road at Ardvorlich where there were already several cars parked. We followed the signs which directed us away from Ardvorlich House and onto the Right of Way which eventually leads to Callander.

Once below the north ridge we followed the path, listening to the stags roaring, to Ben Vorlich’s summit trig point which appears to be one metre higher than the cairn a few metres further east. It was a fine day for a change so we had some reasonable views.

From the summit we descended to the Bealach an Dubh Choirein before ascending to the east side of Stuc a’Chroin and climbed up a gully onto the summit of Stuc a’Chroin. After a lunch stop we followed the north-west ridge to a small bealach before descending to just below Bealach an Dubh Choirein. From here we traversed round the north-west ridge of Ben Vorlich and rejoined the upward route before following it back to the start.

previous ascent of Ben Vorlich

previous ascent of Stuc a'Chroin

Ben Vorlich Munro fifth ascent 985 metres
Stuc a'Chroin Munro fifth ascent 975 metres

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Ben Venue

11 October 2006

Time taken 4.5 hours. Distance - 9 kilometres. Ascent - 640 metres.

This was the third day of the Ashwood Apartment Holiday package but unfortunately the weather forecast was for heavy rain during the day. The plan had been to tackle Ben Vorlich and Stuc a’Chroin but Steve suggested he would be happier with a shorter day so we decided to climb Ben Venue instead.

We drove to Loch Achray Hotel on the A821 Callander to Aberfoyle Road and parked at the rear of the Hotel. However, it appears that a new marked route had been created from the car park further north on the A821 beside the bridge over the Achray Water.

From the rear of the Hotel we followed a track thought the forest and up Gleann Riabhach. We left the track shown on the map and followed a path through the forest as the rain commenced. On reaching the edge of the forest the cloud base had lowered and the path was wet and boggy.

On reaching the bealach we followed the path up the south west ridge of Ben Venue and eventually reached the summit. Apparently the highest point is west of the trig point and higher by a couple of metres, although the OS Map I was using just showed the trig point height.

It was wet and windy on the summit with poor visibility so we headed over to the trig point and down the south-east ridge before turning north off the ridge. On this descent we heard the roar of a stag, which was close by, but despite making a search for the stag in poor visibility we could not locate it, despite hearing its continued roars.

We continued on the descent which became rather awkward and steep through trees, some rocks and wet vegetation. This awkward descent could probably have been avoided if we had moved further west.

The wet path on the south side of the Achray Water was eventually reached and we followed it into the forest and then tracks back to the start. Despite the waterproof gear we were both rather wet.

previous ascent

Ben Venue Graham third ascent 729 metres

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Ben Ledi

9 October 2006

Time taken - 6.5 hours. Distance - 9.5 kilometres. Ascent - 650 metres.

I have an arrangement with Ashwood Apartments in Callander to guide guests booking their hill walking package. On this occasion the guests were Steve and Vanessa and the plan for their first day’s walking was to climb Ben Ledi.

We drove to the car park on the A84 Callander to Strathyre road just south of Loch Lubnaig.Access to the car park was via a narrow bridge to an area of rough ground on the west side of the Garbh Uisge.

From the car park we followed a path, steeply in places, up through the forest onto the open hillside. It was a fairly mild morning for the month of October but once onto the south-east ridge of Ben Ledi we were exposed to a strong wind and later some spots of rain.

On reaching the summit of Ben Ledi we had lunch before descending the north ridge. Cloud engulfed the ridge and it was very windy and a bit chilly compared to earlier in the day. Once at the bealach we descended into Stank Glen and followed it to the west shore of Loch Lubnaig and the path back to the start.

previous ascent

Ben Ledi Corbett fourth ascent 879 metres

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Beinn Bheula

4 September 2006

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 5.75 hours. Distance - 10 kilometres. Ascent - 750 metres.

The start of this walk was Lochgoilhead at the head of Loch Goil. Well this is where the residents of Lettermay would like walkers to park according to the numerous 'No Parking' signs, but there were suitable parking spaces which shouldn't annoy the residents too much.

From Lettermay we followed tracks, not all shown on the Ordnance Survey map, through the forest but from a previous visit I was aware initially not to follow the stream due to the amount of fallen timber. If the correct tracks are used they meet below a waterfall which is the outflow from Curran Lochain.

On the south side of the waterfall white posts marked a route of ascent but in places it was very wet and boggy however it was easier than trying to make our way through the long tussocky grass.

Once above the waterfall we left the path and commenced the climb of Beinn Bheula working our way round numerous rocky outcrops. It was windy in places but dry with occasional sunny spells. The local farmer and some helpers were collecting the sheep from the hills probably to take the lambs to market.

The final section of the ascent was through a steep gully followed by gentle slopes leading to the summit trig point of Beinn Bheula. It was windy here but we managed to find some shelter for lunch looking over Lochs Goil and Long and the River Clyde. The sun even appeared from behind the clouds and it was a pleasant spot to enjoy our snack.

Our return was by the route of ascent.

Beinn Bheula Corbett second ascent 779 metres

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Sgiath a'Chaise

3 September 2006

photos taken on walk

Time taken: 3.75 hours. Distance: 10 kilometres. Ascent: 535 metres.

I was booked to go to Knoydart but due to the forecast of rain and strong winds the trip was cancelled at short notice so I had some time to spare in this area. Unfortunately it was very wet but the weather was expected to improve in the afternoon so I decided to take a stroll up this Graham after an early lunch.

I set off from the A84 at Loch Lubnaig and climbed steeply up the Right of Way into Glen Ample. Once beyond the forest I headed up onto the south ridge of Sgiath a'Chaise where the showery rain became steady and heavier.The cloud base lowered to obscure my view.

I followed old fence posts which led to the first knoll at 640 metres. However there was no spot height shown on my map which in fact showed two knolls both between 640 and 649 metres. There was no way to distinguish which was the highest point so I continued in a northerly direction, climbed over a deer fence, and reached the second knoll. Neither knoll had cairns but at least I was satisfied that I had been on the highest point of Sgiath a'Chaise.

I had brief views of Balquhidder but it was still wet so I returned to the start by the upward route with occasionally clear spells that allowed me views of Beinn Each and Stuc a'Chroin.

Sgiath a'Chaise Graham first ascent 645 metres

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Beinn Dubhchraig & Ben Oss

8 July 2006

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 5.75 hours. Distance - 23.5 kilometres. Ascent - 1240 metres.

It was raining heavily as I drove to the start of this walk on the A82 Crianlarich to Tyndrum road at Dalrigh, where there is a parking area for several vehicles. However it was dry when I parked my car and in this sheltered area the midges were waiting for walkers to arrive.

I got ready as quickly as possible and soon left the midges behind and walked along the old A82 to the crossing of the River Finnan before I followed a track west and parallel to the railway line. This track subsequently crossed the railway at a bridge and then I left the track and took a wet and boggy path to the bridge over the Allt Gleann Auchreoch, which is not shown on the map.

The bridge, which was a bit unstable with a few rotten planks, led to a forested area on the west side of the burn. There are various paths through the forest, some wet and boggy in places but they lead to a style over a deer fence. The style is useless as half of it is missing and holes in the fence have developed. A second style, which is in good condition, is then reached but with large gaps in the fence this style is by-passed. Finally before reaching the open hillside there is a third fence but it is down at the point where walkers cross.

Once on the open hillside I took a walker's path, which again was wet and boggy in places, that followed a stream towards the north ridge of Beinn Dubhchraig where I encountered the first of several showers. It was windy and the cloud was low down on the hill side as I climbed to the two small lochans before heading up onto Beinn Dubhchraig.

There was no view from this summit so I retraced my steps to the lochans before descending to the Oss/Dubhchraig bealach as the cloud began to I followed the path round the east side of Point 941 before climbing to the col to the south-west and onto the summit of Ben Oss. The cloud was clearing and I did have some views although they were a bit cloudy.

From the summit of Ben Oss I returned to the col, climbed over Point 941 and headed back to the Oss/Dubhchraig bealach. To avoid the rock face I had to climb back to the small lochans before descending the north ridge of Beinn Dubhchraig and down to the forest.

On walking through the forest I disturbed an adult snipe which was obviously upset so on looking down I saw a young snipe, near my feet, which I took a photograph of. Another young snipe waddled off with its wings open and while trying to photograph it, unsuccessfully, the other young snipe disappeared into the bracken. I was happy that I had spotted the young and that I had avoided standing on them. The rest of the descent was uneventful.

Beinn Dubhchraig Munro fourth ascent 978 metres
Ben Oss Muinro fourth ascent 1019 metres

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An Caisteal & Beinn a'Chroin

16 May 2006

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 6.25 hours. Distance - 13.5 kilometres. Ascent - 965 metres.

It was raining with low cloud when I met my client in Crianlarich and we drove the 3.5 miles south on the A82 to a car park near the River Falloch. By the time we arrived at this car parking area the rain had almost ceased.

The first obstacle of the day was the crossing of a wet and boggy field to a vehicle track that went under the railway line. We followed this track for a short distance before heading up onto the north ridge of Sron Gharbh, crossing a barbed wire fence en-route.

Once over Sron Gharbh we walked along the ridge, known as Twisting Hill, and ascended An Caisteal, which has a gully to cross before the ridge narrowed and the summit was reached. The cloud had been trying to break along Twisting Hill and over onto our next hill, Beinn a'Chroin.

We descended the south ridge of An Caisteal as the cloud engulfed us again and on reaching the bealach we commenced a fairly steep ascent with some minor scrambles onto the west end of Beinn a'Chroin. Even on a clear day it is difficult to decide which is the highest point on the ridge but according to the map it is the third knoll, which is shown as 942 metres. We crossed all the knolls and headed over to the 940 metre point, which was in the cloud as was the rest of the ridge.

After a short break we descended by the north ridge as the cloud started to break up again. Once off this ridge we crossed the River Falloch and followed it down Coire Earb. It was rather wet and boggy in places but improved once we reached the vehicle track further down the glen. The sun came out as we re-crossed the boggy field and headed for our cars.

previous ascent of Beinn a'Chroin

An Caisteal Munro fifth ascent 995 metres
Beinn a'Chroin Munro fifth ascent 942 metres

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Creag Uchdag

14 May 2006

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 4 hours. Distance - 11 kilometres. Ascent - 755 metres.

Ardeonaig, on the south shore of Loch Tay was the starting point for this walk where a sign indicated the 'Right of Way' to Glen Lednock and Comrie. The initial section of this track was difficult to find as it crossed fields of sheep and cattle.

Once onto the open hillside the path, sometimes wet and boggy, was more obvious as it followed the east side of the Finglen Burn. It then became more intermittent so I left it and climbed up the north ridge of Creag Uchdag and near the summit I spotted a few hares which ran off.

At the summit trig point there was a cold breeze but at least I had some views down to Loch Lednock, over to Ben More and Stob Binnein and across Loch Tay to the Lawers Range.

The return took me along the north ridge of Creag Uchdag before gradually descending to the 'Right of Way' and back through the fields of cattle and sheep.

Creag Uchdag Corbett second ascent 879 metres.

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Beinn a'Chroin

10 April 2006

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 6.75 hours. Distance - 13.5 kilometres. Ascent - 905 metres.

I needed to climb Beinn a'Chroin and on previous occasions I had done so from the A82 south of Crianlarich. On this occasion I decided to climb it from Inverlochlarig.

It was a lovely sunny morning, albeit a bit cold, when I set off from the car park at Inverlochlarig and walked along the Right of Way beside the River Larig as far as Ishag Glen.

Once over the stream and through a gate I headed up to the crags, traversed below them, climbed through some steep snow filled gullies to a knoll east of Beinna'Chroin. The whole area up here was covered snow, a lot of it wind swept.

From the knoll I headed onto the east ridge of Beinn a'Chroin where the snow conditions were very unstable with lots of soft drifting snow on top of a hard packed base. However it had not bonded and there was a very high avalanche risk with some evidence of minor snow falls. It was difficult finding a route onto the summit as the rocks were concealed by the snow and I made several attempts before I discovered a save and suitable route.

Once on the east summit I had to put on crampons as the surface was very icy. I headed across to the west top. Manuals and maps differ on which is the highest point on this ridge but according to my map a knoll in the middle of the summit ridge is the highest point at 942 metres. However I walked over all tops lest there be another change.

From the west end of this ridge I descended south towards Carn Liath. The snow here was again very deep and there were lots of rocky outcrops to avoid but the snow filled gullies made for an easy descent into the corrie. A young chap passed me here. He had ascended the hill from the near the south corrie and had heard the noise of an avalanche. He had been happy to follow my descent as it meant he didn't have to study the route down through the rocks before descending the gullies.

I crossed over the corrie, being careful at streams as they were full of soft snow, and headed to below the snow line. The return to the track and the walk back along the Right of Way was easy compared to climbing through the snow.

Beinn a'Chroin Munro fourth ascent 942 metres.

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Ben Donich and The Brack

9 April 2006

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 6.75 hours. Distance - 13 kilometres. Ascent - 1070 metres.

It was a sunny morning with a strong cold wind when we set off from the Rest and Be Thankful car park on the A83 Arrochar to Inveraray Road with the intention of climbing Ben Donich and The Brack.

A short walk along the B828 Lochgoilhead Road took us to a forest track, where there is actually a new parking area for those climbing these hills. There was also signposts directing walkers to a new but steep path which took us above the tree line to a stile.

Once over the stile the ground was a bit icy and higher up we reached the snow line and beyond that there was lots of drifting snow, some hard packed snow and some bare patches. Progress had slowed as care was required and I needed to try and follow the line of the path, occasionally finding the snow up to my knees. We eventually reached a section of hard packed snow that couldn't be avoided and here we put on our crampons. There was also a steep rocky drop before traversing some boulders and the final climb to the summit trig point.

The early morning sun had disappeared and had been replaced by broken cloud but the first snow shower of the day could be seen heading in our direction.

We descended towards the bealach between Ben Donich and The Brack as the first snow shower arrived. The descent was down some deep snow fields but we had to avoid some rocky outcrops. We left the snow covered hillside and eventually reached the bealach followed by the start of the ascent of The Brack. This was over some easy but wet vegetation before we reached the snow line again.

Visibility wasn't very good and we worked our way up through various snow filled gullies until we saw the summit. At this point we were struck by very strong winds and snow and everything closed in around us as we reached the summit trig point. Here we put on goggles as we were now going to be faced with walking directly into the snow and wind and left the summit cairn following our ascent route.

We had just left the summit when the cloud suddenly cleared and the snow stopped giving some wonderful views to the west and interesting views to the east as the snow storm and cloud cleared the Arrochar mountains.

The descent back to the bealach was uneventful although we did use the wet snow fields to make a quick descent. At the bealach we followed a path that took us into the forest and from there we followed a forest track back to the Lochgoilhead Road and the short walk back to the car at the Rest and Be Thankful.

previous ascent of Ben Donich

Ben Donich Corbett third ascent 847 metres
The Brack Corbett second ascent 787 metres

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Ben Vorlich

3 April 2006

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 3.5 hours. Distance - 8.5 kilometres. Ascent - 875 metres.

The minor road along the south shore of Loch Earn is still closed near its west end as a result of a bridge being washed away over a year ago so to reach Ardvorlich, the normal starting point for Ben Vorlich it is necessary to approach from St Fillians to the east. It should also be noted that access from the south is also problematic as a bridge there was also washed away in the same storm.

The first section of the walk up Glen Vorlich is on a track which is a Right of Way. Eventually I left the Glen and climbed a good path onto the north ridge of Ben Vorlich. Initially it was sunny but this was replaced by some cloud and a cold northerly wind.

Higher up on the north ridge an axe and crampons were required for the final climb to the trig point. I also ventured along the ridge to the 984 point, which is one metre lower than the trig point, according to the map.

After a few photographs I descended by the ascent route back to my car.

Ben Vorlich Munro fourth ascent 985 metres

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Ben Vorlich

25 February 2006

photos taken on walk

I met my four lady clients at St Fillans and we drove to Ardvorlich on the south shore of Loch Earn. From here we walked passed Ardvorlich House and followed the Right of Way which leads to Callander. At the moment it isn't possible to follow this route all the way to Callander as at the south end a bridge has been washed away.

Further up Glen Vorlich we took the path onto the north ridge of Ben Vorlich and reached the snow line around 750 metres. Here there was a cold wind blowing and as we gained height it became stronger. I spoke with a couple of blokes who were descending the ridge but they advised me that the strength of the wind had stopped them reaching the summit.

I continued for another few metres but the snow conditions required ice axe and crampons and my clients didn't have either nor did they know how to use them so I decided to turn about and return to the start.

They weren't unduly concerned about this decision and it was a cold windy walk back to the start.

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Creagan na Beinne

24 February 2006

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 4.25 hours. Distance - 12.5 kilometres. Ascent - 760 metres.

The start of this walk was Ardtalnaig on the south shore of Loch Tay. A sign on the gate on the north side of the bridge over the Allt Chilleine suggested the Right of Way on the opposite side of the stream should be used. However I crossed the gate and set off across the field following vehicle tracks.

There were several gates to cross and a number of different tracks which required a bit of decision making before the one I wanted headed uphill in a series of zig zags. As I gained height I had views of Loch Tay and to the snowy Ben More. Once beyond the zig zags the track headed to the bealach south of Beinn Bhreac. Although this was possibly an old drover's track, it is now a bit wet and churned up with cattle.

Once at the bealach the wind was cold but the sun was trying to break through the cloud, which was at this time above the lower summits. I negotiated the 658 knoll with its peak hags before descending to more peat hags which were mainly frozen.

From these peat hags it was a steady climb up the north ridge of Creagan na Beinne disturbing some deer. It was now very windy with some spin drift and it started to snow as the cloud lowered. Old fence posts led to the summit where it was very chilly in the strong wind and blowing snow.

I didn't stay long at the top and returned along the north ridge before descending into Gleann a'Chilleine where there were dozens of hares. Once in the Glen I followed the track, a Right of Way, to Claggan and then the tarred road back to the start.

Creagan na Beinne Corbett second ascent 888 metres

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Stob a'Choin

18 February 2006

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 5.75 hours. Distance - 10 kilometres. Ascent - 810 metres.

It was a very cold, frosty and sunny morning as I set off from the car park near Inverlochlarig farm and walked west through the farm yard where a couple of ponies blocked the bridge crossing. Once beyond the farm I followed the track on the north side of the River Larig to the footbridge which I used to cross the river.

As it was a sunny morning and I was approaching the hill from the north side I decided to climb the north- east ridge of Stob a'Choin, which is actually the north-east ridge of Meall Reamhar, but this summit is not named on the maps I use. It was a steady climb which took me onto the snow covered ridge and into the heat of the morning sun. Old fence posts marked the line of the ridge which was slightly undulating and the snow very variable. Early on it had a thin top crust that broke and slid away but later on the snow either collapsed under my weight or was solid so I was never sure what was going to happen.

There were a couple of steep climbs until I reached a knoll at the south end of the ridge where I had some great views to the south. This was followed by a change of direction and a steep descent followed by a re-ascent to the summit of Meall Reamhar. I was now on an undulating and contorted ridge before a steep descent to the Bealach Coire an Laoigh where I spotted boot prints in the snow. The owner had come off Stob a'Choin and had headed down the gully to the River Larig, probably the previous day, as the prints were frozen.

From the Bealach Coire an Laoigh I commenced the final climb to the summit of Stob a'Choin, which actually has two summits. I visited both as I couldn't tell which was higher but one reference states it is the south top. The walker from the previous day only went to the south top, but maybe the cloud conditions were such that he didn't see the north top.

I had planned to continue to a Graham, further west but the ascent of this Corbett had taken me well over 3.5 hours due mainly to the underfoot conditions but I did stop frequently to take in the views. I therefore headed off down the north ridge of Stob a'Choin and met a couple on their way to the summit. Lower down I headed into the gully that took me to the stream, flowing out of Coire an Laoigh, which I crossed lower down before heading for the footbridge I used that morning and the track back to the start after a wonderful but tough day out.

Stob a'Choin Corbett second ascent 869 metres

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Creag MacRannaich and Stob Fear-tomhais

21 January 2006

photos taken on walk

Creag Mac Ranaich: Time taken - 2.75 hours. Distance - 5 kilometres. Ascent - 540 metres.
Stob Fear-tomhgais: Time taken - 4.25 hours. Distance - 11.5 kilometres. Ascent - 600 metres.

I had climbed Creag MacRanaich on a previous occasion from Glen Kendrum so on this occasion I decided to climb it from Glen Ogle, with the advantage of starting at 280 metres.

The start involved crossing an old railway bridge and walking up the side of a forest. I followed a vehicle track but it was very wet as the ground was saturated. I disturbed a number of grazing roe deer who ran off into the forest.

Once beyond the forest the walking conditions changed and not to my advantage either. Knee deep heather with hidden hollows had to be crossed avoiding various rocky outcrops, which slowed down my progress.

Higher up I reached patches of wet snow and there was a strong cold wind blowing but at least the heather was now shorter and I also had some views of the surrounding mountains.

I crossed a knoll before approaching a tall slim cairn, which is not the highest point and I am unaware of its significance. The actual summit was a few metres further south. However I returned to the slim cairn as I had spotted some shelter to have a snack.

After a bite to eat I headed down the route I had climbed and was surprised to meet three individuals approaching the summit. This was the first time I had seen anyone out on the lower hills for several weeks. Later on I was to spot a group of four who were taking a slightly different route.

The descent wasn't any easier and I still had to wade through the heather and the saturated ground but I eventually returned to the main road where my car was parked.

I then drove to Ballimore Farm in Glen Buckie where the farmer enquired where I was headed as stalking was in progress. Fortunately it wasn't on my next Corbett, Stob Fear-tomhais, well this is what some call it. It is also known as Ceann na Baintighearna and Beinn Stacath but on the Ordnance Survey map it is un-named.

I set off along the Right of Way to Brig O'Turk along, in places, a fairly wet and boggy path. On the opposite side of the river is a deer farm with an albino stag. After nearly two kilometres the path changed direction and I headed down to the stream, across some more wet and boggy ground. To have crossed there would have meant wet feet so I headed off up Gleann Dubh for several hundred metres to a bridge which is not shown on the OS map.

Once across the bridge more wet and boggy ground was crossed before a steady climb onto the east ridge of Stob Fear-tomhais. Here I saw four guys descending and another couple almost onto the ridge. I later passed this couple as we got our first view of the summit and as they were struggling a bit and the summit was still some distance off they decided to return to the start.

I continued along this undulating ridge, which had patches of snow, managing to bypass a few of the knolls. Here I passed another couple returning from the summit so obviously the hills were busy this Saturday compared to the norm.

The summit trig point was reached and I took in the views of the surrounding mountains before setting off on my return to Glen Buckie by the route of ascent. It was uneventful and I had by this time the hill to myself. On reaching Ballimore Farm the stalkers were returning and had three hinds hanging from the fork lift of a tractor.

Creag Mac Ranaich Corbett second ascent 809 metres
Stob Fear-tomhais Corbett second ascent 771 metres

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Beinn Chuirn

2 January 2006

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 5.75 hours. Distance - 13 kilometres. Ascent - 700 metres.

The weather forecast was for a 'low' to cross this area during the afternoon, so prior to returning home, I sought out another Corbett to climb that morning.

I decided upon Beinn Chuirn as it wasn't too long a day and I could make it back to my car before the rain started.

Beinn Chuirn can be climbed from the A85 Tyndrum to Dalmally road to the north, which was the route I took on my last visit, so on this occasion I decided to approach the Corbett from Cononish Glen.

I parked my car in the car park at Dalrigh, just off the A82, south of Tyndrum. There is a confusing amount of tracks in the immediately vicinity but the correct route is round the north side of a new house, re-joining the track which then takes a right loop to the bridge over a stream. The alternative route, a few metres south, involves crossing the stream at a ford. The West Highland Way route between Glasgow and Fort William joins the track here for a few hundred metres before branching off north towards the village of Tyndrum.

The track, which follows the north bank of the River Cononish, had a thin covering of snow and ice which made it slippery and slowed my progress as I tried to keep upright. The track had been used by sheep searching for food. I later came across some of these sheep and noted that they were an unusual breed, but similar to the Black Face, which are normally found in the mountains of Scotland.

The track up the Glen was later joined by the track from Tyndrum Lower Railway Station, which comes through the forest. Further up the Glen I met the farmer who was feeding his sheep. He told me that they were Swaledales, which is an unusual breed to find in Scotland. He thought they were superior to the Black Face, but obviously not as hardy, as the Black Face were all higher up in the Glen and didn't need extra food.

The cloud was very variable, sometimes lifting to give me views of the lower reaches of the mountains and at other times engulfing them. I soon reached Cononish Farm, where there is a track to an old lead mine. This mine is also the location of Scotland's only gold mine, but I decided against prospecting for gold.

I continued up the Glen through a couple of gates before heading uphill, well away from the Eas Anie waterfall, which was partially frozen. The higher I got the easier the walking became as there wasn't much snow to contend with and I soon reached the stream feeding the Eas Anie, which I needed to cross. I searched for a suitable crossing point as there was a lot of ice at the edges and on the boulders to avoid.

Once across the burn I continued uphill as the cloud lifted on several occasions. I eventually reached the snow covered gullies near the summit, but there was no view due to the cloud. It was only a short walk to the summit cairn which was covered by ice.

The cloud didn't clear so I set off home by following the boot prints I had left in the snow and I was soon back in Cononish Glen. The snow and ice on the track had softened in most places so walking was a bit easier and I returned to the car park as the rain started.

previous ascent

Beinn Chuirn Corbett second ascent 880 metres

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Meall an t-Seallaidh

31 December 2005

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 6 hours. Distance - 11 kilometres. Ascent - 860 metres.

Heavy snow fall the previous day curtailed my plans as the side roads were difficult to drive on due to slush and snow and unfortunately my car doesn't like these conditions.

I decided to try and get to Balquhidder near Lochearnhead and climb Meall an t-Seallaidh from Kirkton Glen. The road into Balquhidder was passable and I was able to park where the snow plough had left a large pile of snow.

I walked to the Church and through with the graveyard on its west side. The snow was very wet and slippery and it was obvious at this early stage that progress would be slow. The path climbed steeply behind the Church and joined a forestry track where the gradient eased.

The track through the forest continued for around 3K before a narrow path was found and it took me out of the forest. However beyond the forest the path disappeared under the blanket of snow as I headed up to Lochan an Eireannaich, which had a thin covering of ice and some snow.

The rain that threatened only came in brief light showers and visibility at this time was improving and I was hoping that the cloud would lift. From the Loch I headed up towards Meall an Fhiodhain and had a brief view towards the hills on the other side of the Glen and also into Glen Dochart. However this was short lived as the area was once again engulfed in low cloud.

Old fence posts assisted navigation as I visited both Corbett Tops of Meall an Fhiodhain and on the latter I had a glimpse of my route to the next Corbett Top, Cam Chreag and to the nearby Corbett, Creag MacRanaich. I did contemplate heading across to Creag MacRanaich but the going was quite tough in the soft snow, with some patches of drifting so I decided against it, and in any case this route was long enough.

I dropped down to the bealach before climbing Cam Chreag, a wee rocky summit, before continuing to Meall an t-Seallaidh. A direct route is barred by rocky outcrops, but I still had the fence posts to assist me. The summit of Meall an t-Seallaidh is marked by a trig point and there are also two cairns, so the choice of the highest point is yours.

There were no views so there was no need to hang about so I headed in a westerly direction to meet up with the forest in Kirkton Glen not knowing at that point if I could get through the forest or if I would have to go round it to meet up with the path I used on the upward route.

As I descended I came across a group of hinds who watched me carefully for a few moments before disappearing into the low cloud. I eventually reached the edge of the forest and was surprised to find the remnants of a deer fence followed by an ordinary sized fence which kept the hill sheep out of the forest. I clambered over this fence and worked my way through some small fir trees, trying to avoid fallen timber until I reached the track I used on the upward route.

I followed this track back to the start and the end of a tough day on the hills caused by the wet and slippery snow conditions.

Meall an t-Seallaidh Corbett second ascent 852 metres

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Ben Vane and Ben Vorlich

25 December 2005

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 8.5 hours. Distance - 16 kilometres. Ascent - 1670 metres.

Ah what a wonderful day, one of the best days of the year to have been out on the mountains, despite the lack of snow. Apologies if that has made you jealous but I'm afraid it was a real dazzler of a day.

At Crianlarich it was minus 6 centigrade but a balmy minus 3 centigrade in the car park at Inveruglas. Daylight was making its appearance with some light reflections on Loch Lomond and on the nearby mountains. Everything was white with the overnight frost so it was a white Christmas for me.

I walked the half mile south along the path at the side of the A82 before following the private tarred road, passed the Loch Sloy Hydro Station to Coiregragain. The higher mountain tops were an orange glow as the sun rose and it was great being in the hills in these conditions.

The tarred road ceased at the bridge over the Inveruglas Water and I continued up the rough track to beyond the next stream before climbing steeply uphill. The path I followed was solid due to the overnight frost and there were patches of ice which I was able to avoid. A leveller boggy section, which I by-passed, was reached before the gradient steepened again. The path was fairly eroded but due to the hard frost it was reasonably stable. Higher up sections of ice covered rock caused me to deviate from the path and to take an alternative ascent route to the summit trig point.

Here there were fantastic views of the Paps of Jura, Ben Nevis and the Cairngorms with their snow fields, and the other nearby mountains that were snow free. A cloud inversion blotted out the lower reaches of Loch Lomond and only the top of Ben More on the Island of Mull could be seen above the clouds.

I was reluctant to leave this summit but due to the fine weather I decided to extend my walk so I headed out the north-west ridge to a small lochan and climbed the Corbett Top, Beinn Dubh. From here I traversed the side of the hill and dropped to the Loch Sloy Dam, which I crossed.

On the other side of Loch Sloy the slog really began. Around 550 metres to climb, initially very steep, with no respite. It was tough going but eventually I reached the ridge and an easy walk to the summit trig point and onto the highest point about 120 metres further north where once again I had some terrific views.

I returned to the trig point before heading out to the Little Hills. There is an east and a west Little Hill and they are both Corbett Tops. I stopped for something to eat before tackling these hills and spotted two individuals walking out the north ridge of Ben Vorlich. They were the only people I saw all day.

The ascent of the Little Hills involved a fair bit of up and down and searching for the best gully to descend but I eventually reached both tops. There are a lot of crags around Little Hills so the descent off these hills was a bit time consuming before I found my way across to Coire na Baintighearna. From this point I traversed below the south-east ridge of Ben Vorlich before dropping to the road at the telecommunications mast.

It was now almost dark so, rather than cut across rough ground, I followed this tarred road towards the Hydro Electric Station before joining the morning's route and returning to my car at Inveruglas where it was again minus 3 centigrade.

Ben Vane Munro fourth ascent 915 metres
Ben Vorlich Munro fifth ascent 943 metres

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Benvane

27 November 2005

photos taken on walk

It was another windy morning so I delayed my start before I drove to Ballimore Farm in Glen Buckie, which is accessed from Balquhidder near Lochearnhead.

The start of the walk was along the 'Right of Way' to Brig o'Turk but only for a few hundred metres as I soon left this path and climbed towards the north ridge of Benvane. Initially the climb was along the side of a fence where there were traces of a path and this took me up onto the snow level. Once higher up I had good views, in particular of the snow clad Stob Binnein, to the north and of Stuc a'Chroin to the east.

Once on Benvane's north ridge there were traces of the previous day's walkers as their boot impressions were frozen in the snow. I followed these impressions, which marked the path, towards the summit with its ever expanding views. They included Beinn a'Choin, my previous day's walk.

Higher up there was another fence that led towards the summit but it was cold and very windy here. However the views were great. As well as the hills already mentioned I could see The Ochils and the Arrochar Alps. The Firth of Forth was visible as was the snow clad Border Hills. Further away the Southern Uplands and the mountains of the Island of Arran were visible. Unfortunately digital photography didn't do justice to the distant views.

The return off Benvane was very windy and cold as I was face into the north wind but lower down it wasn't as bad. The sun was setting in the west but the sky wasn't as spectacular as the day before.

I followed my upward route back to the start arriving at the car as it was getting dark.

Benvane Corbett second ascent 820 metres

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Beinn a'Choin

26 November 2005

photos taken on walk

It had been a very wintry few days in the north of Scotland with gale force winds. The forecast was for the winds to decrease slowly over the weekend so the plan to do some of the Tyndrum Corbetts was abandoned due to the wind. Instead a plan to climb the single Corbett on the east side of Loch Lomond was devised. However the wind was very strong in the morning so a late start was made.

We drove to Glen Arklet and parked close to the dam at the west end of Loch Arklet and set off across a fence and headed onto the south-east ridge of Stob an Fhainne through long grass and dead bracken which tried to trip us up. Once onto this wide ridge we encountered some wet snow but stopped frequently to take in the views around us. To the west was Loch Lomond and on its other side the snow clad Munros Ben Vorlich, Ben Vane, Beinn Ime and Beinn Narnain. To the south Ben Lomond with the Graham Cruinn a'Bheinn in the foreground and to the east the Graham Ben Venue and the Corbetts Benvane and Ben Ledi, although their tops were covered in cloud.

The approach route had been sheltered from the northerly wind but as we approached Stob an Fhainne the wind was stronger and the snow deeper with some drifting. Once we reached the summit of Stob an Fhainne we were able for the first time to see our target hill, Beinn a'Choin. It was still around two kilometres away and it had taken us longer to reach our present position than anticipated due to the terrain and snow.

We wound our way down the north ridge of Stob an Fhainne to the bealach where the frozen bog wasn't quite capable of taking my weight. The south face of Beinn a'Choin had a lot of drifting snow in the gullies so we climbed its south-east ridge avoiding the deepest sections of snow where possible.

Our views now included to the north the Crianlarich Hills and as the sun began to lower some of these snow clad summits were lit up. Just before reaching the summit we had fantastic views of the sun setting in the west. (see photographs). One advantage of a late start.

The final section of the climb involved crossing a fence, passing a frozen lochan before reaching the cold and windy cairn at the summit of Beinn a'Choin. The sun had disappeared by this time and as we only had around another half hour of daylight we set off back towards Stob an Fhainne taking a more steep and direct route through drifting snow.

Stob an Fhainne was reached just as it was getting dark but we were able to head for the finish without the use of a compass as we could see the lights from the house at the dam. We also benefited from the light produced from the lying snow and the fact that we followed the fence down. However lower down we had to switch on our head torches and made several deviations round rocky outcrops and lost the fence line, which was immaterial as we could see our destination.

One concern was that we didn't walk into any cattle that we had seen on the hillside during our ascent route. We also had to contend with the bracken again but couldn't avoid it so we worked our way through it and back to the road beside the lit house.

Despite the cold and wind and the late start, the day was very worthwhile especially being high up as the winter sun set.

Beinn a'Choinn Corbett second ascent 770 metres

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Glen Falloch Corbett

16 October 2005

photos taken on walk

The start of the walk was the A82 Glasgow to Crianlarich road at Glen Falloch Farm. Here a vehicle track, on the west side of the road, climbed steeply up and over the railway line, before zig zaging to another track higher up. We followed this other track northwards for a few metres before climbing steeply onto the east ridge of Troisgeach.

A group of walkers had started off as we arrived but we never saw them again. They definitely weren't headed for the same hill as us so I can only presume that they were climbing Ben Oss and Beinn Dubhchraig, but this wasn't a route I was familiar with.

The east ridge of Troisgeach is rocky and contains various hollows which we used as an ascent route to shelter from the fairly brisk wind. We heard some stags in Gleann nan Caorann but never saw them.

The cloud was floating round the summit of Troisgeach but as we gained height the cloud lifted and on reaching the summit cairn we had some hazy views.

The next section requires careful navigation due to its numerous rocky knolls, hollows and lochans. There is a direct route where some height is lost but in case the cloud base lowered we opted to climb Meall nan Caora first and then follow its undulating south-west ridge to Meall na Fhudair. Even this ridge in poor visibility would be difficult with all its twists and turns and lochans blocking a direct route.

Once across this area it was an easy climb to the summit of Meall an Fhudair. Here we had lunch sheltered behind large rocks. We were sitting looking at Beinn Bhuidhe, where I had been last month, and as the cloud cleared slightly we could also see Loch Fyne, the starting point for that walk.

We decided on a different return route so we traversed below Meall an Fhudair's east ridge and descended to Lairig Arnan where I spotted a hind and its young crossing the river. Lower down we found the track that headed north towards Troisgeach Bheag and we followed it until we met our upward route which we followed back to the start.

Meall an Fhudair Corbett second ascent 764 metres

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Meall na Fearna

25 September 2005

photos taken on walk

The normal approach to Meall na Fearna is from Glen Artney or from Loch Earn but I was residing overnight in Callander and it looked more obvious to start from there than drive round to the north or east side of this hill.

Overnight and early morning heavy rain delayed our start but we drove the short distance up the Glen north of Callander to Braelony Farm. My last visit here saw the Right of Way through the farm ankle deep in mud, but on this visit there was only a thin covering of mud, what you would expect after heavy rain. In fact the farm looked a bit deserted as we went through several closed gates.

We followed the track across the hillside to the Keltie Water, just south of Arivurichardich, where I was aware that the bridge had been washed away in storms earlier in the year. However the overnight rain had made the crossing of the Keltie Water impossible at this point and to add to the water level it started to rain again. We headed upstream beyond where the stream split and after wading our way through wet knee deep grass we found a suitable crossing point. I spent a while creating a new stepping point using loose boulders but several were washed away in the current.

Eventually we crossed the stream and headed across more wet grass and hidden hollows to the second stream but we found it impossible to cross and set off up its bank to a small reservoir, which I am advised is the water source for Callander. Here a small dam was easily crossed and we headed through more wet grass to Arivurichardich where we took a break.

It had taken us over an hour and a half to reach this point which should only have taken us half that time. The rain had stopped but started again while we snacked. My companion was still keen to head for Meall na Fearna so we set off up the path on the south-west side of Meall Odhar. I had hoped to include Ben Vorlich on this outing but time and the awkward stream crossing put paid to that plan.

We followed the path, which was boggy in places, to the bealach west of Meall na h-lolaire. Progress was now a lot easier but the Right of Way disappeared in the peat bogs but it was easy enough to pick our way down the other side of the hill where we found the path again. Eventually we reached Gleann an Dubh Choirein where we had two further swollen streams to cross, but they were easier than our earlier adventures.

Once on the other side of these streams we commenced a rising traverse of Meall na Fearna disturbing various herds of deer. Higher up some more peat bogs were encountered before the final climb to the summit cairn of Meall na Fearna.

We sought shelter from the wind and had a very late lunch looking down to numerous peat hags where approximately forty deer were gathered. They appear confused that we were directly above them and moved from peat hag to peat hag and back again before one decided to head uphill and they all followed in single file. The hills to the north were dark with cloud and there was a rainbow to photograph, but not very successfully.

The ascent of this hill had taken four and a half hours so we were looking for a quicker return, at least before nightfall, although we did have torches but we wanted to cross the swollen streams in daylight. The descent back to Gleann an Dubh Choirein didn't take long and it appeared to us that the stream levels had dropped. This was followed by a gradual climb up the side of a stream to the bealach west of Meall na h-lolaire and a descent on the path towards Arivurichardich and to the dam at the reservoir.

The long grass had dried out and we just had the hollows to avoid as we crossed to the final stream which was easier as the water level had definitely dropped slightly from the morning crossing.

Once successfully across the stream we followed the track back to Braelony Farm and arrived there well before darkness.

Meall na Fearna Corbett second ascent 809 metres

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Stob Binnein and Ben More

24 September 2005

photos taken on walk

I had a day off so I decided to make an ascent of Stob Binnein and Ben More from the south so I drove to the car park at Inverlochlarig from Balquhidder. However I found the car park busy with a group of walkers preparing to take off, so I quickly put on my boots and rucksack and headed off to avoid the crowds.

I crossed a style and this was followed by a steep climb onto the west ridge of Stob Invercarnaig before reaching its summit. A short descent followed before an easier ridge walk to the summit of the Munro Top Stob Coire an Lochain. Here I passed some early morning walkers who were returning down the ridge.

There was a cold wind blowing but at least it was dry for a change. I continued along the ridge to the summit of Stob Binnein followed by a long descent to Bealach-eadar-dha Beinn. From here it was a steady climb to the summit of Ben More where I had some fine views but it was rather cold in the wind.

I returned to the bealach and rather than re-ascent Stob Binnein I followed a sheep track that headed south-west round this Munro. However the track soon disappeared and I traversed round the hillside before descending through some rocky terrain to Inverlochlarig Glen. This is quite feasible in good weather conditions but not recommended in poor visibility.

The initial walk down the Glen was wet and boggy in places and churned up by cows, which were higher up and on the west side of Glen. Lower down I joined a track which took me back to Inverlochlarig and subsequently the car park.

Stob Binnein Munro fourth ascent 1165 metres
Ben More Munro fourth ascent 1174 metres

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Beinn Bhuidhe

23 September 2005

photos taken on walk

It was a very wet morning as I headed west to meet my clients at the Rest and Be Thankful car park on the A83. However on driving north along the shores of Loch Lomond the rain eased and the cloud began to break up and clear.

On meeting my clients, as arranged, we headed further west to Glen Fyne, near Inveraray, where we parked our cars. Here the rain commenced again and it was showery with low cloud as we walked the seven kilometres up the Glen to Inverchorachan where we took a short break.

The weather had deteriorated and the wind was picking up so one of my clients decided that in these adverse conditions she didn't want to continue and returned down the Glen to the car park.

The other two ladies and myself commenced the climb up the south side of a stream which was in spate and thundering down the gorge making a terrific noise. The path up through this gorge was muddy and wet with running water and some rocks had to be clambered over. Any slip could have been disastrous in these conditions so extreme care was required.

Higher up we crossed some of the swollen tributaries before a steep ascent beside the waterfall which was fairly spectacular in these conditions. The path became less steep as we walked over some wet ground and round some small hillocks as we entered the cloud base. This was followed by a steep ascent in wet and windy conditions where the path, which was eroded in sections, was more like a stream before we reached a small bealach.

The next section of the walk along the ridge was the toughest of the day as we were frequently battered by strong winds bringing us to a halt. On an occasion one lady had to be assisted along the ridge due to the ferocity of the wind coupled with driving rain. We tried to seek the most sheltered route along the ridge but the wind seemed to be blowing from all directions but we eventually reached the summit cairn of Beinn Buidhe, where the trig point shown on the map was lying on its side. We didn't linger here but about turned and headed back along the ridge being buffeted by the wind.

The wind speed had increased and the rain was now heavier so it was an unpleasant descent to the lower reaches of the mountain before the rain ceased and we found somewhere a bit sheltered for a late lunch.

Once lunch was over we had the tricky descent of the gully path to traverse before reaching Inverchorachan and the long walk back down the Glen. However the cloud began to break up and later the sun came out, although it was still windy. We saw several deer hinds feeding in the nearby fields but they soon disappeared over the fences and into the trees.

Eventually we reached the car park and the end of another tough day in the mountains of Scotland.

Beinn Bhuidhe Munro fourth ascent 948 metres.

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Beinn Each and Stuc a'Chroin

23 July 2005

photos taken on walk

I decided to climb the Corbett Beinn Each for a second ascent and to include the Munro Stuc a'Chroin for a fourth time due to the fact that other approaches have been made more difficult due bridges being washed away and also I had never combined these two hills together before.

I set off from the lay-by beside Ardchullarie More on the shores of Loch Lubnaig following the Right of Way through Glen Ample. The initial climb is very steep and the path is overgrown and in places badly eroded so it was hot work climbing up through the forest.

The path joins a track before it exits the forest and allows some easier walking. This was short lived as I came to a stream where I had to decide whether to climb up the south or north side to reach Beinn Each. I selected the south side, although I did see a couple of walkers higher up on the north side.

I followed traces of a path and higher up crossed the stream and worked my way round various rises to the summit of Beinn Each where I met the other two walkers. However the area was alive with midges so I only had time for a few words with them before moving on.

I descended the north ridge which is rocky in places and bypassed the small knolls and cut off a section of the ridge. Later on I rejoined the path that makes its way up through some loose rock but navigation isn't a problem as old metal fence posts assists route finding. Navigation wasn't a problem today as the cloud base was by this time above the summits hence the ability to take a short cut.

On reaching the summit of Stuc a'Chroin there was a large party trying to eat their lunch while being attacked by the midges. I tried to find a suitable spot with a bit of draft but before I started I had to give up as the midges were annoying me too much.

I returned down Stuc a'Chroin's west ridge and thought I had found a spot for lunch where there was a bit of a breeze. However not long after starting eating the midges were once again annoying me and I finished as quickly as possible and continued on my descent.

On this occasion I remained on the ridge as far as the Bealach nan Cabar where I cut down to Glen Ample following traces of a path lower down. Once in Glen Ample I followed the Right of Way back to the start.

Beinn Each Corbett second ascent 813 metres
Stuc a'Chroin Munro fourth ascent 975 metres

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Ben Ledi

23 April 2005

I was invited to this walk by a regular client as she was taking two of her friends on their first mountain outing. I had been warned that the "terrible twins", as they had been nicknamed, were man haters and would give me a hard time so I was prepared for their abuse.

They were late in arriving so obviously time wasn't important to them. I had taken along some biscuits for them as a peace offering and this additional small expense worked as they were very quiet.

We set off from the car park at the south end of Loch Lubnaig and climbed steeply up through the forest. One of the "twins" found it easy going as she raced ahead. She had been training by walking upstairs at her work. As for the other, well I think she had been doing her training in an armchair with a bottle as company as she frequently had to stop for a rest. This was fortunate for me as she didn't have the energy to abuse me.

Once out of the forest and with the sun shining we stopped for another break before climbing onto the south-east shoulder of Ben Ledi where a cold wind was blowing. However they enjoyed the views which were a bit hazy.

One "twin" was still rushing on in front while the other required frequent breaks but was determined to make the summit. After several short climbs we reached the sunny summit but the wind was fairly strong and cold.

We sought some shelter on the lee side of the hill where it was quite warm in the sun. The views over towards the Arrochar Alps were a bit hazy.

The return was back by the route of ascent. The faster of the "terrible twins" was feeling the cold but despite being offered some extra clothing declined as they would clash with her outfit so she started to run down the hill to keep warm.

The descent was uneventful and the expected "hard time" never materialised. Obviously climbing Ben Ledi was too tough for them and prevented them from using their planned abuse.

Well maybe that was their first and last mountain experience as I have since heard that they were suffering from blisters and stiff joints the next day. Maybe that is their punishment for being man haters.

previous ascent of this hill

Ben Ledi Corbett third ascent 879 metres

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Cruach Ardrain and Beinn Tulaichean

5 March 2005

Cruach Ardrain is one of the walks on my new walking programme for clients staying in the self catering apartments at Ashwood House, Callander. I decided that as it had been a few years since I climbed this mountain I should carry out a recce as the condition of the paths through the forest were pretty atrocious on my last visit. There were also a couple of new starting points namely from the Youth Hostel in Crianlarich or from just east of the village.

I elected for the approach from the car park east of the village and walked along forest tracks to the old path that runs up through a fire break in the forest. The path was in a terrible state and was a quagmire in places. There were numerous broken branches where walkers had tried to avoid the worst sections but have just created more bog. Maybe when the tress are felled the path will be improved.

Once out of the forest and onto the open hillside I was above the snow line and into a fierce wind that was blowing. Otherwise it was a lovely sunny clear day with good views. The only advantage of the boggy forest path was being sheltered from the wind.

I climbed up onto Grey Heights and Meall Dhamh trying to find the lee side of the hill but the wind appeared to be coming from all directions and the snow was also deeper on the lee side.

A short descent of Meall Dhamh, with some rocky sections, was to follow but there was a fair bit of ice so it was time to fit the crampons before proceeding. Once down to the bealach a climb through snow and ice followed leading to the summit of Cruach Ardrain. The wind was too strong to remain at the cairn for long and I didn't bother to take any photographs despite the terrific views. If it hadn't been for the wind it would have been one of the best days of this winter walking season.

From the summit of Cruach Ardrain I retraced my steps for a short distance fighting against the wind before descending to the the bealach below the north face of Beinn Tulaichean. Here I saw several walkers trying to negotiate sections of ice and one guy falling. They obviously didn't have crampons or thought they weren't needed.

I climbed up onto the summit of Beinn Tulaichean which had less snow than Cruach Ardrain but was a bit icy and very windy. However I did find a bit of shelter for something to eat and I also took a few photographs.

I returned to the bealach and rather than re-ascend Cruach Ardrain I walked under its north face and climbed onto Stob Garbh. It was now several hours into the afternoon and the wind was still as strong. The forecast was for it to slowly decrease in the afternoon but it didn't happen.

I continued down the north ridge and over Stob Coire Bhuidhe to a newly erected deer fence. I crossed this fence on the way up using a stile that had been constructed but on this part of the ridge there was nothing. I had no alternative but to climb over the fence. With the number of walkers that do a circuit of Cruach Ardrain it won't be long before the fence will fail to take the body weight of walkers. You would think in this day and age fencers would take into consideration hill walking routes and erect more crossing points.

I continued down the ridge to the forest which I managed to struggle through to reach the main road and the return to my car.

Having checked out this route I have decided that my ascent of the these two Munros with clients will be from Inverlochlarig to the south thus avoiding the bog of a path through the forest. I would suggest anyone considering climbing Cruach Ardrain from the north re-consider.

Cruach Ardrain Munro fourth ascent 1046 metres
Beinn Tulaichean Munro fourth ascent 946 metres

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Ben Venue Again

16 February 2005

This was Hank's second day being guided in The Trossachs. He required a short day as he had to catch an evening train back to Manchester for his return home to the States the following morning.

I decided on Ben Venue as it is a reasonably easy and short day.

Once again accompanied by Phil, we drove to the Loch Achray Hotel where we parked the car. I had decided to walk this route in the opposite direction from the way I climbed it a few days earlier.

We walked through the forest and along the path towards the Bealach na Bo. As stated previously the birch trees on the south side of the path are not shown on the map, so we walked to the end of the trees before climbing up rough ground and through long heather towards Ben Venue. The cloud base was around 400 metres, with the snow level slightly higher. However the snow was very soft until we reached the bealach east of the trig point.

From the bealach we climbed to the trig point and descended to another bealach, trying to avoid the icy patches, before the final climb to the actual summit. There were no views to be had so we descended west, again avoiding the ice, and picked up the path that headed into the forest.

Once we reached the forest we stopped for lunch before returning to the car. The views had been poor for Hank's second day but he said he was happy to see contrasting weather.

previous ascent of this hill

Ben Venue Graham second ascent 729 metres

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Ben Ledi

15 February 2005

Today I was guiding an American client, Hank, in the mountains around Callander. I had hoped to take him to the Munro Stuc a'Chroin but a couple of bridges have been washed away making access awkward. I also considered Ben Lawers but the road leading to the Visitor Centre, can be impossible in bad weather.

I settled for a slightly lower mountain which would give Hank a circular walk.I decided on the Corbett Ben Ledi, just north of Callander, so it was just a short drive to the start of the walk near the south end of Loch Lubnaig.

The parking spaces were filling up when we arrived, as it was a lovely sunny morning. There were a number of children, in the company of adults, preparing to climb the hill, as the children were on a mid-term holiday. I don't often see youngsters on the hills so it was good to see them. Hopefully it will encourage them to visit the Scottish mountains again, in particular when they are older.

This was the second occasion I had guided Hank in the mountains of Scotland. In December, 2003 I took him up Lochnagar, again in good weather so he has been fortunate on timing his visits to my country.

I was joined in the car park by Phil, who has various interests including American politics, so he agreed to join us on this walk.

On leaving the car park we headed up through the forest onto open ground. Here it was time to remove some of our excess clothing and Hank was joking about me advising him to wear and carry extra clothing. It was warm in this sheltered area surrounded by snow. I have been colder in the summer months.

We also took this opportunity to have a coffee break although Hank wasn't happy with my instant coffee. He prefers percolated coffee but I don't have a percolator for mountain use. It also allowed Hank time to take some photographs.

After a prolonged stop, enjoying the sun and the views we continued up the path towards the south ridge of Ben Ledi. Most walkers had overtaken us by this time so we had this section of mountain to ourselves.

On reaching the south ridge we had good views of Ben Venue and Ben Lomond, both snow clad. On continuing up the south ridge the vista opened up to include the Arrochar Alps which were wonderful in the snow and sun. A better view we couldn't have asked for, even in the Swiss Alps themselves.

We continued north up the ridge and on reaching the summit all the mountains around Crianlarich and Killin came into view with some awesome views. I think Hank was pleased with the choice of mountain in particular in these wonderful conditions.

I have to admit it was a bit chilly on the summit but we had our lunch here taking in the views and also some more photographs. I hope they come out. I take slides so I won't know what they are like until the spool is full and processed. Hank down loaded his into a laptop and apparently they turned out well. He is so send me a few on his return home so I look forward to seeing them and maybe publishing one or two on my web site.

Once lunch was over we descended the north ridge of Ben Ledi to the bealach below Lochan nan Corp. Here we dropped down into Stank Glen and followed it into the forest and then tracks and paths back to the start. During this descent Phil was able to increase his knowledge of American politics.

The walk had taken over six hours but there had been no rush. It had been a day to take things slowly and enjoy the magnificent views. It isn't often you get such good days so we made the most of it.

Ben Ledi Corbett second ascent 879 metres

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Ben Chonzie

14 February 2005

It was a sunny morning when Phil and I parked in Glen Lednock at Invergeldie, but there was a cool wind blowing.

Once we had sufficient warm clothing on we set off through the farm and up onto the open hillside following a track. We weren't far from the farm when a shepherd on a quad bike past us with a dead sheep on board. He was heading higher up the hill to either bury or dump the sheep as he past us again on his return without the sheep.

Further up the track we met a young lad on his way back down. He had set off at 7.30am and found it very windy on the summit ridge. Later we met two ladies who were having an early lunch. In the short discussion we had with them I learned that they both originated from my home city of Aberdeen, although they now resided elsewhere.

We reached the snow level around 450 metres but there were numerous boot prints on the snow covered track. We were interested to know how many successfully reached the summit the previous day in the fierce winds that swept the country but we will never know.

Higher up we left the track and headed onto the ridge where it was windy. Most of the snow had been blown off the summit ridge so walking was reasonably easy as we avoided pockets of snow.

On the final climb to the summit cairn the wind was very strong and any conversation was impossible. Once we reached the top of Ben Chonzie we had a quick look at the surrounding summits and headed back down the ridge. Lower down we were able to resume our conversation but it was too windy and cold to stop to eat. In fact we didn't find a reasonably sheltered area until we reached the dam at the Invergeldie Burn. On our descent we met several people heading to the summit.

After lunch it was a short walk back to the car but it was noticeably windier there than when we set off. However it had been reasonably sunny so it hadn't been too bad a day.

Ben Chonzie Munro fourth ascent 931 metres

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Ben Venue

13 February 2005

I was staying in Callander in the Trossachs for several days as I had some guiding work to do. This was to be one of these working days. The previous evening and early that morning I checked out the weather forecast. It indicated some strong winds but the best of the weather was to be found in Argyll and the west coast of Scotland. As I was taking clients up Beinn Bhuidhe near Inveraray it seemed that this would be in the best location to avoid the bad weather.

Early that morning I set off for the car park at the Rest and Be Thankful, west of the village of Arrochar, where I had arranged to meet my clients. However on arriving there the weather began to deteriorate with the strong wind rocking my car and blowing lying snow around.

On the arrival of my clients I got out of my car and had great difficulty staying upright and was being blown backwards. I discussed the weather situation with my clients and told them that the walk would have to be cancelled due to the adverse weather and I returned to Callendar.

Later that morning the weather improved, the cloud cleared and the wind dropped slightly so after lunch I drove to the Loch Achray Hotel which is located at the west end of Loch Venachar.

As I prepared to leave my car I met a couple who had returned from an attempt to climb Ben Venue but had abandoned the idea while close to the summit due to the strong winds. I knew the lady as she had been on one of my navigation courses the previous year.

I set off through the forest along some newly constructed paths. Once out of the forest, the path became a mixture of wet snow and bog, but the sun was still out. I continued on this path to the bealach although it was obvious from the number of boot prints that there had been various routes of ascent. The path was becoming icy with compacted snow caused by the number of walkers.

From the bealach I climbed through deeper snow and into a gully which eventually led to the summit. The summit surrounds were covered in ice and care was required to reach the cairn as it was very windy.

After taking a few photographs I descended slightly and climbed to the trig point, which is slightly lower than the true summit. From this point I went down the east ridge to another bealach and down a wide gully towards the Achray Water.The gully was initially fairly easy to descend despite the wet snow but later the gradient became steeper and I came into some birch trees. These trees are not marked on the map although the rocky outcrops are. I made my way through the birch trees and round the rocks with care using some of the trees as a support.

Once through this steep section I reached the path at the east end of the Bealach na Bo, which is shown on the map. I followed this path which returned me to the forest and then a short stroll took me back to my car at the Loch Achray Hotel.

After the wasted journey in the morning the day wasn't a total wash out as this was to be my fiftieth Graham.

Ben Venue Graham first ascent 729 metres

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Auchnafree Hill

3 October 2004

The forecast was for a wet and windy day and when we arrived at the Loch Turret car park it was raining. However the prospects looked favourable and by the time we had donned our outdoor gear the rain had stopped.

We set off on the track along the east side of Loch Turret and at the far end of the Loch we climbed another track which led almost to the summit of Auchnafree Hill. There is traces of a path that lead you the final few metres to the summit cairn.

From the summit we were able to pick out a few neighbouring Corbetts together with the nearby Choinneachain Hill, which is only two metres lower but looked higher than our present location. My fellow Corbett bagger questioned whether or not we were on the correct hill but I was able to re-assure her that we were at the correct location.

We commenced the descent but immediately encountered a heavy shower and a strong wind. Fortunately it didn't last and we were able to return to the cat park reasonably dry.

Once back in Crieff the weather forecast for earlier in the day of wind and rain struck so we had been reasonably lucky.

Auchnafree Hill Corbett second ascent 789 metres

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Ben Lomond

24 September 2004

I was en-route south but had some time to spare so I headed for Rowardennan on the eastern shores of Loch Lomond. From the car park at the end of the public road I followed the path through the forest and onto the open hillside. It was a sunny morning but there was a cold wind. The route of ascent is obvious and the path is well worn in places.

There was a strong wind at the summit trig point of Ben Lomond so I found some shelter and put on additional clothing before descending its north ridge. The wind here was even stronger and I was being buffeted about on this upper section of the ridge.

Once lower down the conditions improved and I continued down the now grassy north ridge to a bealach. From here I climbed to the summit of Cruinn a'Bheinn before I returned to the bealach.

Rather than climb back up Ben Lomond's north ridge I traversed below the Ptarmigan on its west side. Here I observed some wild goats and disturbed a herd of deer before I picked up the path that led from the Ptarmigan's south ridge down to the shores of Loch Lomond and back to the start.

Ben Lomond Munro fourth ascent 974 metres
Cruinn a'Bheinn Graham first ascent 633 metres

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Rest And Be Thankful

7 - 8 August 2004

One of my friends wished to visit the hills around the Rest and Be Thankful which is a viewpoint on the A83 Arrochar to Inveraray road. The area is surrounded by Corbetts including the popular hill The Cobbler.

The first day we climbed Beinn an Lochain, hill of the little loch. The first part of the walk involved a stroll north on the busy A83 to beyond Loch Restil before we crossed a stream and climbed up onto the north-east ridge. This was a pleasant climb, steep and narrow in places but with no real difficulties. As we climbed this ridge we had good views of the surrounding hills.

The summit of Beinn an Lochain was reached and we sought shelter from a slight breeze while we ate our lunch. Afterwards we continued along the ridge before we descended steeply into Gleann Mor avoiding many rocky outcrops. This route of descent took us out at the east end of the forest with only a short walk along the road back to the car.

The following day we were back at the same starting point to tackle Ben Donich, brown hill. A short walk through the forest to a fire break saw us climbing the north ridge. Once over the style at the top of the fire break we were on open hillside with a path to follow. This took us to a section of rock which entails some very easy scrambling. Once beyond the rocky section we were into low cloud, similar to conditions I experienced when I climbed this hill a couple of years ago. Higher up we left the path and remained on the undulating twisting ridge until we came to the summit trig point.

We didn't linger here as there was no view due to the low cloud and there was a chilly wind blowing so we returned to the rocky section where we gained some shelter for lunch. After lunch we continued our descent using the upward route.

Beinn an Lochain Corbett second ascent 901 metres
Ben Donich Corbett second ascent 847 metres

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Beinn Chuirn

23 November 2003

A Corbett I had been trying to bag for some time was my target. Located west of the village of Tyndrum, Beinn Chuirn is a good hill to do at this time of year when there is a shortage of daylight.

Once across the river there were traces of tracks through the wood until reaching the open hillside. Higher up a deer fence, which is presently being replaced, had to be overcome. Hopefully when finished they might consider constructing a stile to assist hillwalkers getting over this obstacle.

We then entered a steep gully which caused problems near the top due to the wet snow patches. Once this was overcome and we reached more level ground the snow was enjoyable to walk in. Visibility was poor due to low cloud but we soon reached the summit where we were able to have a snack sitting in the snow. There was also a brief glimpse of a brocken spectre.

A different route off the summit was found to avoid the wet snow at the top of the gully and we returned to the start by lunchtime.

Beinn Chuirn Corbett first ascent 880 metres

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Luss Hills

14 September 2003

I joined a group of Ramblers who were planning to climb two of the Luss Grahams. (Hills between 2,000 and 2,500 feet.

I was hoping for better weather but on arriving in Glen Fruin the cloud base was about 200 metres. The party of twelve set off up the slopes of Beinn Chaorach but the only views were other members of the party in the mist. Higher up it started to drizzle and the wind picked up so on reaching the summit cairn the party did not linger and headed down to the bealach. At this point discussions took place on whether to continue or abandon the walk. Six decided to walk back down to the start and the others including myself decided to continue onto Beinn a’Mhanaich. I was wet anyway so what difference would another hour make and I will probably become a ‘Graham Bagger’ once I have completed the Corbetts. The descent off Beinn a’Mhanaich was down a gradual slope and I am told that good views are had out over the Clyde but nothing was seen. Over five hours on the hills in the mist. Winter must be coming.

Beinn Chaorach Graham first ascent 713 metres
Beinn a'Mhanaich Graham first ascent 709 metres

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