Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Milestone at Bridge of Orchy - Beinn Dorain and Beinn an Dothaidh

A Different Perspective
Looking across to the slopes of Beinn Dorain from a crag on Beinn an Dothaidh.

A Munro Milestone...

Beinn Dorain and Beinn an Dothaid
Munros: #99 & #100
Date: Saturday 6th November 2010
Distance: 13.6km
Time: 6hrs 39mins (Car to Car)

MWIS was predicting 90% cloud free summits and the weather was looking promising on the slippery drive across Glen Ogle and down Glen Dochart.

An early morning rendezvous for bacon rolls and coffee at The Green Welly and it was off to Bridge of Orchy.

Beinn Dorain
Beinn Dorain and the West Highland way from the south.

We parked up in the station car park and were soon away off up the track into Coire an Dothaid. The path involves a lot of up and downs with a couple of seriously boggy sections.

Bridge of Orchy
From the ascent to the bealach. Looking back to Bridge of Orchy and the start of the walk.

Onwards and Upwards
Mike pauses in Coire an Dothaidh on the way to the steep headwall of the corrie and the bealach between Beinn an Dothaidh (left) and Beinn Dorain.
It steepens and become rockier as you approach the bealach. We soon arrived to find several groups at the bealach. A busy pair of hills. There were some nice views back down to Bridge of Orchy and across Loch Tulla and beyond, but a band of low cloud was obscuring all of the tops, including our chosen hills. 

Coire an Dothaidh
From the bealach between Beinn Dorain (left) and Beinn an Dothaidh. Looking back down Coire an Dothaidh to Bridge of Orchy and beyond.

Beinn Dorain first and the north facing path was a bit icy. Care had to be taken to stay off the iced-up rocky sections. Just past the lochan, we met the cloud and it was freezing - the ground was white with frost.

Frosty Ridge
Mike approaching the rocky summit ridge of Beinn Dorain.

In the clag, it was easy to see why the first cairn could easily be mistaken for the summit - the ground drops away on all sides and the cairn itself is of a quality which suggests that it's been constructed as a summit cairn. However, we were forewarned and knew to carry on a short distance across a dip in the ridge to the true summit.

Beinn Dorain Summit II
Munro #99

Frozen Sun
Mike triple checks that we're on the correct top. There's a notorious false top and cairn along the way which can easily be mistaken for the summit.

We only hung around for the photos and then retraced our steps to the false cairn where we sheltered from the wind for a snack. It wasn't a strong wind but it was cold and quickly chilled us. We then retraced our steps down to the lochan and back to the bealach.

Approaching Dothaidh
Mike stands on the crags above the bealach. Beinn an Dothaidh is behind to the north.

At the bealach, we watched someone who has passed us going up as we descended. He had hit the summit and was descending at an impressive rate of knots. A brief chat and he reckoned if he got his skates on he could get up and down Dothaidh and be at Bridge of Orchy to catch the train at 1400. It was 1245. We wished him luck and he took off - wonder if he made it?

We struck off along the Beinn an Dothaidh path which angles away from the bealach up the slope. We bumped into a group who were cutting straight down the slope. They suggested that this way would avoid the boggy ground so we took their advice and cut stright up the steep grassy slope, zig-zagging through some rocky outcrops.

A Different Perspective
Looking across to the slopes of Beinn Dorain from a crag on Beinn an Dothaidh.

Looking across to the slopes of Beinn Dorain from a crag on Beinn an Dothaidh.

We should have kept ascending, but made the mistake in the clag of taking a direct line for the high ground we could occasionally glimpse across the shallow corrie. It turned out to be the bog-fest that we had tried to avoid. Fortunately, it was short and after climbing the slope we popped out between the south top and the summit.

Bog Country
The wrong line up Beinn an Dothaidh. Easier to follow the ridge line (avoiding the crags) than cross directly to the tops, as we found out on the descent.

Milestone on Beinn an Dothaidh
Munro #100

Beinn an Dothaidh Summit II
My 100th Munro & Mikes 40th. Despite the clag, you can still see Schiehallion, albeit in liquid form ;)

As a small celebration, Mike managed to produce two glasses and a bottle of beer from his pack! Funny how you can see Schiehallion from so many summits Smile Wink

Beinn an Dothaidh Summit III
Bear hits the grand total of 6 Munros

On the descent, we headed toward the north top and spotted a path which took a much drier line back to the steep grass above the bealach. A careful descent down here took us back to the bealach and eventually to the car.

We then zipped off to Stirling to see an excellent Doug Scott lecture - Himalayas - Alpine Style.

Here's to the next 100...