Wednesday 4 May 2011

Cruachan Horseshoe

Distance: 14km; Ascent: 1770m; Solo

It was now my turn to have a day out in the hills, so I opted for a round of the Cruachan Horseshoe given that it included my closest unclimbed munros (along with some munro tops and a corbett).  I set off from the road at around 10am and began the steep ascent up through the woods; it was already quite warm so the ascent was hard work!

Eventually I reached the track below the dam and soon started to ascend up onto the the south ridge of Meall Cuanail (Munro top), whose summit I reached at midday.  It was very windy here, but there were excellent views of Ben Cruachan and out to the west towards Mull, Morvern & Lismore.  I descended over rocky ground down to the bealach before ascending the south ridge of Ben Cruachan; the first 50m or so were up a scree path; this was then followed by areas of boulder fields.  I reached the summit of Ben Cruachan (Munro) at around 1pm and had lunch enjoying the excellent views north along Loch Etive towards the Glencoe hills and Ben Nevis.  There was barely any wind on the summit and in the other directions I could make out Jura, Rum and the Cairngorms.

I descended the east ridge, scrambling down a small gulley and continuing past an awkward slab to eventually reach the summit of Drochaid Ghlas (Munro top) soon after 2pm.  I continued heading east to climb up to the summit of my second munro of the day, Stob Diamh (Munro).  Again the windy was quite strong on the ascent, especially in the bealach, but it was quite calm on the summit itself.  The views from here were excellent, especially looking across toward Ben Lui and neighbouring hills.

I descened the south ridge and reascended to reach the summit of Stob Garbh (Munro top), with the sun still shining.  I continued south and descended to the bealach.  From here, Beinn a'Bhuiridh presented a uniformly steep unpleasant looking slope, which I slowly picked my way up.  Eventually, I reached the summit of Beinn a'Bhuiridh (Corbett) shortly before 4:30pm.  After briefly taking in the view, I hurried back down to the road to meet Lynsey & Isabel, where I arrived at 5:45pm after an excellent day in the hills.

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