A mild night but conditions still good so no time to waste and grab another couple of summits (Munros Completed : Beinn Achaladair (71), Beinn a’Chreachain (72)).
Today was a return to the Bridge of Orchy hills and although the Weather was overcast with a chilly easterly wind the visibility was excellent with the tops cloud free.
The start is a walk along the track to the Allachder farm, through the gate by the ruin, along the stone wall and to the ford. This route I was a bit uncertain about, because of the several river crossings and I wasn’t sure if the bridge of Tulla was still in place but I decided I would vary my route if necessary.
Also, the ford isin’t passable in spate, but in this dry weather it was easy to find a way across with a very small detour by the ford. I continued on the track to the 1st bridge which is opposite the ruined farm, where the track then bears to the right & continues on to a further two bridge crossings. However, I wasn’t sure whether the furthe two bridge were in place, plus I was a bit bored walking along the flat track with quite a bit to go so felt that a route over the river to the woods on the other side would be better. I searched for something to indicate a path on the other side and soon spotted a stile over a fence to the Black Wood of Rannoch & decided to try and cross the broad but low river.
Approach to Beinn Achaladair
I was able to do cross the river with a bit of care & adding a few larges stones but it certainly wouldn’t be passable in spate. Once across the river, the path takes you through some small woodland & then a small bridge over the railway (not an underpass as described in other routes). The path from then on isin’t well defined and I lost it for a while but continued to follow a fence out of the woodland toward an open area of tussocky grass with a moderate rise. I aimed upwards traversing to the left to the corrie in front and reach the valley. In retropsect it probably didn’t save a lot of time and the walk was quite boring up the slope. I should have continued on the track and then turned right into the valley as once I reached the valley bowl plateau, the views upwards were fantastic. Here I reached the snow line so continued along the valley floor to the beginning of the slope to put on my crampons. The ascent up the snow slope to the ridge was moderate, but was longer than it looked, and then it was a matter of following the ridge to the summit at 2:45pm.
Summit Beinn a’Chreachain
The descent was fine, a nice broad ridge apart from a small narrow tricky section. The weather continued to be good, no sunny spells as forecast but no snow flurries either. A cold wind came in and out but for the most part there was no wind at all. The final ascent to Beinn a’Chreachain was quite steep and I ended up doing some front pointing on the crampons a couple of times, which was fun. There were a few false summits before reaching the top which also turns out to be 200m E of the true summit. I reached this Munro at 4:15pm which was quite later than I had anticipated.
The return was long though, down to a minor top then a long descent to the bealach where you turn right and follow the river valley down. I did have fun doing a couple of glissades though. Once I reached the bealach, I turned right into the river valley. Even at this low height there was still snow lying around though it was a time to be observant as there were many burns feeding off the slopes into the stream & it would have been easy to fall through one of the many snow bridges covering these burns.
I could not find or see the path so just continued down the valley following close to the stream. The sides to the river were quite steep and I kept having to cross back and fore across the stream in order to find the easiest route. Eventually, I came across a small hydro dam and saw a flat track on the other side which wasn’t on the map so must have been recently built for the vehicles to bring materials to build the small dam. I crossed the stream (almost falling in!) to a path which eventually became a wide track. This takes you, under the railway bridge (the path on the opposite side has a bridge to take you over the railway bridge) and to the farm by the ruin. I was finally back at the car at 6:45pm just before the light started to fade having had another wonderful winters day in the hills without seeing a single person all day.