Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Crianlarich Munros (west), Sep'14

Duncan, Victoria, Diane and myself (with Jake) met up in the long layby a mile or so south of Crianlarich. Our objective was to hike over the three westerly Crianlarich Munros in an anti-clockwise direction. Forecast was for a pretty misty and miserable morning, but improving gradually and clear by 4pm - fingers crossed.

Keeping to the track, we avoided the bog that most folk sink through to reach the bridge under the railway. Up to where a small cairn denotes the start of the faint path up An Caisteal, we left the track behind. Hoping and jumping, we seemed to manage to avoid most of the soggy bits and started the hike uphill. The 'Twisting Hill', was exactly that - several minor bumps and changes in direction. Up to the summit, no views whatsoever, so after a brief hi-five we carried on southwards. 

The clamber downhill involved a few bits of easy scrambling, the rock proving a bit slippy in the damp conditions. At the col between An Caisteal and Beinn a'Choin, options were put forward - some of us wanted to head over to Beinn Chabhair, others weren't fussy. The decision was made to all head over - and after trudging though deep grass, we were all glad we did as the sun briefly came out, the mist rose and we were rewarded with some views. We left our rucksacks at a small lochan at the col between the Munros and started up Beinn Chabhair. Feeling much lighter (somehow also like cheating), we quickly strode up the hillside. Alas, the mist came back in, so no views from the summit, our fingers were still crossed for the 4pm sunshine.

Back to our rucksacks, time for a wee break and munch. We returned to the col bewteen An Caisteal and Beinn a'Choin and started up the path to our third and final Munro of the day, Beinn a'Choin. The path climbs gradually, then turned sharply for a clamber up some slimey rock - Duncan remembered this affectionately from a previous trip ! Up onto the crest and still in mist, this was going to be navigationally challenging picking the right bump to say we'd definitely reached the summit. Over one bump, then another, we reached what I thought was the summit - but wait, no cairn !!! Just as I was having doubts, the cloud magically lifted and we checked with sight-lines - this was definitely the top. Time for a break and an opportunity to take in views and pick out distant summits and lochs - 'Is that Loch Lomond ?', 'Naw, Loch Long', 'Maybe it's Loch Chon' and so the debate continued. It had turned 4pm and right on cue, the sun came out.

The girls wanted to head over to the easterly summit of Beinn a'Choin, us guys weren't bothered, but we followed them up like two lost sheep. Glad we did though, as the views were lovely and worth that wee bit extra effort. 

North next and down Beinn a'Choin's northerly shoulder. The path is becoming more obvious with each passing year, though once over the burn in the glen below, it is a bit of a quagmire in places. Past some curious cattle and some weird erratic boulders with their own eco-systems on top, we returned to the roadside, all very content with the day's hike.

We'll be up the east Crianlarich Munros soon !

More photos are in this Flickr album