Stob na Cruaiche, not quite recovered our weather mojo. January 2011

Date: Sat 8th January 2011
Distance: 14.9km
Ascent: 660m

Chasing the forecasts as usual. Based in Highland Perthshire we were looking to make the most of a window of weather crossing on Saturday. We had thought about taking the track from Bridge of Ericht up to Stob an Aonaich Mhoir but the distances looked ambitious on snow-covered tracks.

Decided instead on the Graham Stob na Cruaiche. This lead to a minor logistical issue – I’d left the Fort William/Ben Nevis OS map at home – the Rannoch Station road penetrates west to just over 10 miles from the Big Bookil! Managed to buy a new map – not a chore as our old one is nearly falling to bits.

There was an overnight snowfall so it was a careful crawl out to Rannoch Station on white roads – arrived at 0830. Our first visit here was just 8 weeks ago – must admit I really like the area.

Across Rannoch Moor to the BoO hills:

Booted up and headed off. The track crosses the railway across a level crossing on the S side of the station. Dawn was kicking off as we headed for the forest. Alpenglow on Stob a Choire Odhair:

The forest track gate at NN 418 579 is locked – but the fence wire has been cut to make a gap on the left that can be squeezed through. The track runs straight up through the woods. It then breaks out into open ground. Meall na Meoig alpenglow:

Beinn a Chreachain over the trees:

The track climbs for about 1km and then becomes an ATV track. Views develop back to the E:

A lot of deer were moving around up here. A few in front of Leum Ulliem:

Schiehallion behind Loch Eigheach:

The track seemed to peeter out at the top of Meall Liath na Doire. From here a first glimpse of the summit:

And back to the E:

A bit of a plowter over unconsolidated snow. On the plus side the peat bogs were frozen so the normally boggy bases made a nice road network.

The 638m top has a double cairn:

Unfortunately the cloud was moving in from the west (the forecast had suggested this might happen – but later).

Got some views across Rannoch Moor:

Once on the summit there was little to see – a Baltic -5C and a stiff wind made for a chilly lunch stop. The roots of the Glencoe hills occasionally cleared:

Turned for home and followed our prints (already filling in). As we got back to the 638m top it started clearing a bit:

Beinn a Ghlo behind the double cairn:

Loch Laidon and the Bridge of Orchy Hills:

As we continued home the views came and went – some nice views W. Blackwater Reservoir Dam and Garbh Bheinn:

West view:

Bridge of Orchy Hills:

The hills to the east were beginning to show the yellows of the low sun as we returned to Meall Liath na Doire.

The management gathered to show us off the premises:

Nice sky:

All in all a great walk although the absence of views from the summit was a scunner. We will be back for this one, in fact there may be a summit camp coming this way.

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