First time out in the Cruachan hills, Beinn a Chochuill & Beinn Eunaich

The Cruachan hills await and I wasn’t disappointed (Munros Completed : Beinn a’Chochuill (59), Beinn Eunaich (60)).

The plan today was to do a moderate route avoiding any wet areas, so I chose the Cruachan hills where there is a hydro electric track as a path for quite a way. Forecast today was OK, though not as good as yesterday, 40-70% cloud free Munros, with possible brief showers. As it turned out, it was another greate day.
At the start of the route just beyond Dalmally there is parking for about 3 cars just before bridge. I didn’t expect to see many people today on a Monday & in fact I saw no one all day.

The start of the walk along the hydro track is easy & there was not a breath of wind either although it was cloudy but high only covering the tops. There is no defined path when leaving the hydro track to go up the ridge but again by picking the obvious line I soon picked up foot tracks in the intermittent snow patches as there was snow as soon as I started up the ridge.
It’s an easy angled ascend on the heather grassy area before reaching a small plateau before it ascends more steeply though it wasn’t exceptionally steep. The ground was now fully snow covered but it was crisp & firm so I stopped to put on crampons.

However, it now became very cold as the wind picked up from almost nothing to fairly blustery so it was necessary to put on 3 base layers & full face covering. The the cloud had started to close in by the time I finally reached the ridge and then it is WNW along an easy angled ascent along the broad ridge. Here, I circumvented a rocky outcrop before continuing a further few hundred metres to reach the summit of Beinn a Chochuill. Visibility came in and out intermittently during this period & sometimes it was down to 30-50m before clearing up to 200-300m.

I retraced my steps down the broad ridge to the point where I had ascended, but then continued on down a dip before an ascent up to Beinn Eunaich. Unfortunately, by now the visibility was down to ~30m and it looked like the cloud was here to stay for a while.

The ascent was quite hard going, not because of its difficulty but more due my to tiredness, but I pushed myself on for the final 500m to the top. The wind had become very strong now too, so I didn’t stay long at the top & almost immediately started the descent.

It was an easy angled descent down a very broad ridge across snow covered heathered grass & I continued to follow any visible footsteps in the snow as before. I reached the point where my map waypoint indicated to turn off at Stop Maol down the grassy slope. However, as I had now descended below the cloud and snow line I could clearly see there was a path, so I followed that on for a further couple of hundred metres until it petered out.

The descent down the grassy slope was steeper than I anticipated which meant I had to traverse across quite a way. It wasn’t long though before I was able to reach the hydro track again. Strangely there was absolutely no wind here at all, the same as on the way up & quite different from above 600m or so.

The walk along the hydro track was 1 ½ km back to the car and I returned at 16:15 on schedule. Another good day, dry this time on the feet, a bit more windy on top and colder but the visibility was mainly good except for the latter half. In effect, typical Scottish conditions & I’ve experienced a lot worse.