Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Beinn Tulaichean and Cruach Ardrain

Beinn Tulaichean Summit Cairn
Cruach Ardrain from Beinn Tulaichean

Late start to 2011...

Beinn Tulaichean and Cruach Ardrain
Munros: #101 & #102
Date: Thursday 7th April 2011
Distance: 12km
Time: 5hrs(Car to Car)

After too long a lay-off over the winter, the Easter holidays saw the snow lift from the tops and provided a chance to try out the new lightweight version of me on the hill. The forecast was mixed, but promised strong winds so I picked these hills hoping the approach from the east would give some shelter from the wind. A long winding narrow road down the glen from Balquhidder terminated at Inverlochlarig Farm, where a handy shelter for booting-up sits next to the car park.

Walkers Welcome
Walker's Shelter at the entrance to Inverlochlarig Farm.

On Foot.
Inverlochlarig Farm. End of the public road.

The walk starts along towards the farm where there is a short detour set up to avoid any farming activities. A short uphill section of landrover track and you are soon onto the open hillside. There's no path, it's a free for all - pick your line up the hillside. There are a few crags which are easily avoidable, and lots of boggy ground, which is not. The steep, relentless ascent is soon rewarded with great views back to Loch Voil.

Gaining Height
Loch Doine and Loch Voil.

Up to now I had been sheltered from the wind and had ascended the hill in a tshirt, but as I gained to ridge, the wind was biting a fierce. Quickly, full winter gear was donned before any further progress could be made. Great views across to the shapely hills of Ben More and Stob Binnein. Upon reaching the modest summit cairn of Beinn Tulaichean, the wind was threatening to knock me off my feet. I stopped long enough to take a quick summit snap and then crab-like I descended to the bealach to try and find some respite from the howling gales.

More Views
Ben More & Stob Binnein from Beinn Tulaichean

Beinn Tulaichean Summit Cairn
Cruach Ardrain from Beinn Tulaichean.

Ducking behind a small crag for a bite to eat and some shelter, it was surprising to see how little ascent there is between the two Munros. I imagine Tulaichean could be a future candidate for demotion if it's not careful! Fuelled with coffee, it was back into the wind for the final push onto Cruach Ardrain.

Tulaichean from Ardrain I
Looking down on Beinn Tulaichean from the slopes of Cruach Ardrain.

Cruach Ardrain Summit Cairn I
Cruach Ardrain summit and the view to the North West along Strath Fillan and Tyndrum.

An easy ascent onto the summit. There's two tops with a gully between them. The true summit is the second top - easy to get wrong in poor visibility I imaging. The views came and went between the scudding low cloud. There was shelter on the lee side of the cairn so I lingered awhile, enjoying the high point of the first walk of the year.

The descent back to the bealach was made torture by the headwind. Must be comparable to being in a wind tunnel. It was the kind of wind that makes your eyes stream and drags the contents of your throat and sinuses out through your nostrils..

Rather than reascend Tulaichean, I dropped between the two hills at the bealach and made my way down steep, wet grassy slopes to gain the landrover track which leads back to the farm. I was mildly shocked to arrive back at the car only 5 hours after setting off. Not bad for the first serious walk of the year.

Inverlochlarig Glen
The track back down Inverlochlarig Glen to Inverlochlarig farm.

On the return down the glen, the sun came out so I had a quick stop at Balquhidder to visit Rob Roy's grave.

Rob Roy's Resting Place
Rob Roy's Grave at Balquhidder Church.