Sunday 27 March 2011

Beinn Mhanach

Distance: 19.5km, Ascent: 920m, With Colin

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Last spring whilst climbing Beinn a'Chreachain and Beinn Achaladair with Colin, we had considered including Beinn Mhanach in our walk but by the time we had reached Beinn Achaladair we decided that we didn't have enough daylight left to include it (and we were both tired!).  Therefore we were both left with this single Munro, which we decided to go and bag today.

The Munro guide warned of limited parking at the start of the walk but in the end we were able to find space just off the main road, opposite the Auch Gleann.  We set off walking at around 9:15am and soon passed the buildings at Auch and then under the railway viaduct, from where we got a good view up the glen to our hill for the day.

After a long walk up the glen on a good track, we eventually reached the low bealach from where the track descended down to Loch Lyon.  We ascended on reasonably uniformly steep slopes, with occasional snow patches higher up, and reached the summit of Beinn Mhanach (Munro) soon after 1pm, where we stopped for lunch.  The weather was reasonable with the cloud clear of most of the summits; therefore we had excellent views over the neighbouring hills, Rannoch Moor, the Ben Alder hills, Loch Lyon and the Ben Lawers hills.

We then detoured west to bag Beinn a'Chuirn (Munro Top) before heading south down steep slopes with occasional glissading down the few remaining snow patches.  Eventually we reached the valley floor and the track back to the road.  We returned to the car at around 4pm and set off on the long journey back home.

Saturday 26 March 2011

Southern Black Mount Hills

Distance: 16km, Ascent: 1170m, With Colin

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Colin & I set off from Stockport on Friday evening for a weekend in the Southern Highlands.  We arrived at Bridge of Orchy at 1am, and pitched the tent near the river for the night.

After a lie in, we set off walking from Victoria Bridge at 10am and headed west alongside the Abhainn Shira.  It was mainly overcast with cloud covering most of the summits, together with occasional showers as we walked along the landrover track.  At the tiny Clashgour Hut we headed north on a good path, which at times was impeccably straight leading up into Coire Toaig.

After a couple of kilometers, we crossed a small ravine and ascended steeply up the broad ridge on the west side of the ravine.  We reached the summit of Stob a'Choire Odhair (Munro), which was in the cloud, shortly before 1pm, where we had lunch.

As we descended the west ridge of Stob a'Choire Odhair, the cloud was soon left behind and the view opened up across to Stob Ghabhar.  There was still plenty of large snow patches on the ridge, which were quite soft and very deep in places!  The ground was steep for a couple of hundred metres up onto the Aonach Eagach ridge.  The ridge itself was pleasantly airy as we once again climbed into the cloud and we soon reached the summit of Stob Ghabhar (Munro) soon after 3:30pm.

After retracing our steps for a few hundred metres, we then followed a fence line that contoured across to the SE ridge of Stob Ghabhar.  As we dropped below the cloud base, we got a glimpse of the sea to the west (probably either Loch Etive or the Firth of Lorn).  Once we had dropped down to approx 500m altitude the ground steeped and we clambered down a path near to the impressive Allt Coire na Muic waterfalls, which consisted of at least three separate large falls, with several smaller ones too.

Once below the waterfalls, we stuck close to the left bank of the Allt Coire na Muic down to its confluence with the Allt Toaig.  I waded through the stream, which was no more than 20cm deep at the obvious crossing point.  However Colin had less faith in the waterproof-ness of his boots; hence he opted for a boulder hoping route slightly further downstream, which lead to an amusing scramble up the bank on the far side!

The Clasgour Hut was open as we walked past it with a small group of people outside.  A short distance further downstream we came upon a herd of deer crossing the river.  Soon we were back at Victoria Bridge and we reached the car shortly after 6pm.

We returned to Bridge of Orchy and had dinner in the hotel before re-pitching our tent for the night at 9pm followed by a spot of stargazing whilst sampling the odd dram or two.