Beinn a Chreachain and Beinn Achaladair. 5th November 2017

Date: Sunday 5th November 2017
Distance: 25.3km
Ascent: 1350m

After a wee jaunt near Drumochter on the Saturday, in mainly fine conditions we were looking to utilise what looked like an improving day on the Sunday.

A Saturday night confab in the Nevisport Bar saw us pondering a return to Beinn a Chreachain. A long walk out to Gorton Bothy would co-ordinate best with the forecast for clearing skies.

Parked up at the newish parking area at Achallader at just after 0715, got walking for 0730.

Pinkish skies and snow-capped hills provided an attractive start.

Took the track out towards Gorton Bothy – there are a couple of mini-fords to cope with prior to Barravourich, then once on the north side of the river it’s a good track all the way to the bothy.

It’s an attractive area, the sound of traffic receding and the woods south of the river. Worth a wander even without hills in mind.

There were a couple of showers passing through as we headed east.

Passed the path marker for the river ford/defunct bridge at NN 353 468. We’d ascended Beinn a Chreachain that way on our only previous visit in 2004. For this one we fancied heading out to Gorton and using the bridge at NN 379 480. This would allow more of the nice NE ridge of Beinn a Chreachain to be ascended.

Passed a few walkers heading back from Gorton, there had been quite a few cars in the parking area at NN 314 446.

Eventually passed Gorton, a nice setting for a bothy. Carried on towards the bridge. A little sunshine began to light our locale.

SW towards Cruachan:

There’s a substantial bridge across the Water of Tulla at NN 379 480. The Blackmount peaks up above the high ground north of Gorton.
Crossing the Water of Tulla near Gorton:

The track continues under the railway and then peeters out. From here on it’s unbroken hillside up 850m of climb. In truth, the unpathed terrain is an easy walk.

The little prominence of Dun Laoghan catches the eye on the way past. We ascended up the west side of the forestry enclosure of Bad na Gualainn before heading due south to the ridgeline of the NE ridge.

Stob Dearg beyond Dun Laoghan:

Plodded uphill at a reasonable pace – 2017 has left us rather below par on the fitness front, but we kept a decent plod pace.

To the north the views over Rannoch opened up, with a patchwork of light and cloud. The recent snowfall was an attractive addition.

Across Rannoch from the ascent of the NE ridge of Creachain:

To the NE we could see the Ericht trench – could just make out the Marilyn Cruben Beag out the far end of the loch.

NE to Loch Ericht across Rannoch:

Reaching the ridgeline we had a nice view across Gleann Meurain – this must be little visited other than the Estate staff. Beyond, the Corbett Meall Buidhe and then on to Stuchd an Lochain.

Across Gleann Meurain to Meall Buidhe:

The way forward was, as it had been most of the morning, shrouded in cloud.

Uphill to the summit, still in cloud:

We’d been watching a mob of ravens for a while. Hearing calls I thought they were back, but looking up we were overflown by a group of Whooper swans…..nice.

Whooper swans:

The spotlights were intermittently lighting up distant hills – Sgurr a Mhaim put in an appearance.

Sgurr a Mhaim:

Once on the 894m point the ridge snakes around over nearly 2km to ascend the remaining 200m.

894m point:

Showers were still pulsing through from the north, occasionally on Blackmount, more frequently to our east. We were lucky and avoided them.

Showers out towards Black Mount:

Crossing over the top of Coire an Lochain we’d joined up with the SMC red route, the top of the ascent from the defunct bridge at NN 353 468.

Coire an Lochain:

The clouds were receding and evaporating, and the brisk breeze diminishing as we reached the summit. Happily arrived just as the top cleared to sunshine. Very nicely timed.

Nearing the summit:

Took a little time to enjoy the views – 14 years since our last visit. How time flies.

Loch Lyon from the summit:

East to Meall Buidhe and Stuchd an Lochain:

Air clarity, for once, seemed good – we picked out some very recognisable hills 110km away to the SW.

Jura in the distance:

We had a quick bite to eat and then headed on. Dropping west to the bealach with Meall Buidhe the eyes were drawn to the view across Rannoch Moor.

The path to Beinn Achaladair and out across Rannoch:

Ascended to the top of the intermediate top of Meall Buidhe. One of the very attractive aspects of this pair of munros is how much of a great view is seen for a great deal of the walk. Unlike some summits where the summit holds the best of the views, this walk has great views across a few km of walking.

Clach Leathad from Meall Buidhe:

The ascent route up Beinn Achaladair tackles it straight up. Quite steep.

Beinn Achaladair:

Once up the steepest part it’s back to hands in pockets plodding with great views.

NE from near the summit of Achaladair:

H on the shoulder of Achaladair:

The summit of Beinn Achaladair is a cracking viewpoint though. Lingered a little here to appreciate it.

Achallader Farm, Loch Tulla and the Blackmount:

Loch Tulla and Blackmount:

West to Ben Starav:

North to Ben Nevis:

Aware that time was passing we headed south. It’s a pleasant 3km down to the bealach with Beinn an Dothaidh.

Along Loch Lyon from the south arm of Achaladair:

The jumble of Section 2:

Clach Leathad and Loch Tulla:

Auch Corbetts:

Then we dropped down into Coire Achaladair for the final walk out. Spotted 2 Golden Eagles circling briefly close to one another before heading in separate directions.

Coire Achaladair was a reintroduction to the joys of Munro Soup – unpathed bog churn on a Munro red route. Been quite a while since we had the “pleasure” of one of these routes.

Coire Achaladair:

Still, distracting views between squelches.

Low sun on Beinn Achaladair:

Plowtered down through the soup, followed by the soupy bypass route avoiding the farm.
Back to the car just after sunset.

Loch Tulla sunset:

A cracking day out – had almost forgotten what a great pair of hills these are for views. A summit camp has been on the to-do list for a while – now bumped up in priority.

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