Saturday 23 April 2011

Rob Roy Country

Easter weekend was approaching and the weather was set to be nice. There was no way we were not going to attempt a walk. After some deliberations, it was decided we would try Beinn Tulaichen and Cruach Ardrain. Both these hills are situated in the Crianlarich Hills. The route we were going to take was to start at Inverlochlarig Farm to the South. This would take in Beinn Tulaichen first then following the ridge along to Cruach Ardrain then descending from the bealach between the two.

We made it along the one track road to the car park and finally set off. Walking along the path to the farm, we saw the first of what was ahead of us.

It started off simple enough. There was a track to follow and the farm encourages walkers by placing signs and setting designated routes up. That was until we got to the bottom of Beinn Tulaichen. There comes the point you just have to turn left off the path and head up to get to the ridge. That point is not signposted, so you just have to make your own judgement when you want to head up.

And up we went. There was no beaten track to follow, so every footstep was on fresh hillside which didn't help on what was a pretty unrelentless slog. This was tough going and there were a few more leg stretch stops than there should have been.

Further up, a path had started and the going got easier. Following the path at a steady rate, we finally found ourselves on the first ridge and Munro No. 9 was achieved. This was the toughest one yet. If the first section had similar underfoot conditions to this bit, I reckon I wouldn't have struggled as much as I did. But as it was, we partook in some lunch at 946m. Although the prolonged rest was good, I felt a bit crap as I single-handedly added about 40 minutes of unnecessary rest time on from the first bit up the open hillside.

From the summit there was a clearly defined path NW along the ridge to Cruach Ardrain. I have to admit, if munro no. 9 was difficult, munro no. 10 was easy. It was so pleasant I pretty much led the way for the whole bit which was a first for the day.

The final push was in sight, and there was a strong breeze which was a relief considering how sunny it was.

Double figures have been achieved with Munro no. 10 ticked off. I honestly couldn't see both these summits far enough when we were about 300m [ascent] into the walk. The second one was reached in just shy of an hour which is not far off the time we would have expected so my second wind arrived just in time. Now it was time to get down and back to the car. As stated earlier, we plnned to go the way we came and head down east from the bealach eventually meeting the landrover track back to the farm. After looking at the maps and evaluating the path that was there, we decided to descend on an alternative route.

This route was a bit tougher than expected. There was a lot more sections we navigated that we hadn't encountered before. A couple of slides, slips and mud stained patches later we were passed the rocks and heading steadily down previously untrodden grassy slopes.

After what seemed like an eternity [2hrs 30m], we finally caught site of the track which had the carpark at the end of it.

What we didn't expect was that the car was still a good 4km away. Even with keeping what we thought was a good pace, it still took us 45 minutes to get there. Get there we did though and getting those boots off on a roasting hot day was a bit of light relief.

This was a strange day on the hills. Probably my worst if I'm honest. After achieving munro no.8 a couple of weeks ago, I think I went into this one with a bit of naivity about my fitness level. I'm not even going to say it was a reality shock, because in reality I know I am carrying too much weight [as highlighted by my spare tyre in the summit pics]. I think it highlighted how easy the last one really was and my reliance on a beaten track. If I was on my own, I don't think I'd feel as bad. It would only be my time I'm wasting but when you are with other people who can achieve it easily, it does play on your mind. I've got a couple of weeks off in a few weeks and I was going try and do a solo effort or two so this has definitely spurred me on to get my levels up. Here's hoping next time, it's a bit more successful.

2011-04-22 - Beinn Tulaichean and Cruach Ardrain
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  1. Hi Jonathan, that seemed an interesting climb. Nice photos, and good post.

  2. Love the pics, especially the last one.