Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Crianlarich Hills: An Caisteal (147) and Beinn a' Chroin (233)

Walk date: 21/10/06
My Munro #'s: 96 and 97

Pronunciations - translations - heights:
Aan kaistail - The Castle - 995m
Byn a chroin - Hill of Danger - 940m

Statistics:
Duration - 11:45 - 16:45
Distance - 13.9km
Weather - breaking cloud, warm in sun, rain at end of day
Team - solo

Plotted route in blue, taken route in red:


The mist clearing on Coire Andoran:


Mist remaining in the glen, over to Stob Glas:


Panoramic of the breaking cloud:


Summit of An Caisteal from the south:


Beinn a' Chroin from the slopes of An Caisteal:


All that work for some rocks!


A break in cloud reveals An Casiteal from Beinn a' Chroin:


Start of Alien anyone? Rocks through the mist:


After quite a drive from Aberdeen, which included great views of the monstrous Ben More rising through broken cloud, I parked up besides my targets of the day, but by that time with the cloud fully descended down to 200m!

Once kitted up, I made my way down the farm track and over the River Falloch on a bridge built by the R.A.F! The 'path' leaves the track on the turn before the cottage, and passing through a gate starts following the river upstream. However, this was starting to depart from my plotted route, and with height to gain I'd always rather get at it sooner than later, so I veered off ESE towards the higher flow of Allt Andoran. The terrain here was of long springy grass and often I thought I was seeing paths of previous hikers, but more likely I was seeing grass bent over due to considerable water-flow! It didn't take long to realise that looking for a path was going to be a fruitless venture, and so through the mist I just kept my line to meet the river below the slopes of Coire Andoran.

The slopes up Coire Andoran and onto the appropriately titled 'Twistin Hill' were no mean feat, and I was getting very hot as I doggedly increased my height as the first faint signs of the sun appeared through the mist above. At around 500m, all around the mist finally burnt off revealing some fantastic views both into the glen below, but also north towards the Bridge of Orchy Hills.

The persistence on the slopes finally paid off and revealed a path along Twistin Hill, which looked as if it progressed all the way down Sron Gharbh, and made me think that that would have been a fine alternative route up compared to the more ad hoc approach I had taken! Anyway, continuing the ascent the path allowed quick progress. A scary looking outcrop of rock ahead is actually quite easy, as an easy path works around it. On the path the summit is soon reached, but the cloud was in again by this time so I cannot report on the views!

Descending to the south along the obvious path, height was quickly lost over quite rocky ground. Hands are needed at a few points, but there is nothing too technical to be concerned about here, unless you're wanting to try it in snow or ice; there were a number of rocks along this route with crampon scratch marks clearly apparent!

The rise to Beinn a' Chroin starts at soon as the bealach is reached. This ascent includes the most tricky parts of the day, as might be expected when the translation is 'Hill of Danger', but again in fine weather it is nothing that a couple of moments of hand work won't sort out. Before too long, the flat top is accessed and a fine path takes you along to the official summit of 942m at the western end (388186). Again, the cloud was in here, so I imagine the views are nice!

I had plotted a return route over Stob Glass, however, the route onto it from the bealach I had plotted didn't seem to exist, and instead would have been some very unconfortable traversing along steep slopes. I instead thought I might access the ridge from the summit of An Caisteal, but then concluded that if I was returning to this hill that I may as well retrace my outward route exactly as at least then I knew what I was getting; the day had already been a bit more technical than I had imagined and was taking longer than expected, I therefore opted for the least possible amount of extra adventure!

A very quick descent of the Coire Andoran was my reward for the earlier work up it, and left me very warm. As a result I took off my coat for the quick stomp back over the grassy slopes to the farm track. Of course this was the cue for the rain to come down, but I refused to stop again and was very soggy once back at the car, ready for a change of top before the prolonged wet drive back.

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6 Comments:

Blogger Lisa Rullsenberg said...

Poor soggy George!

BTW JJ and Reidski send their regards back to you!

22 October 2006 at 15:40  
Blogger SimonHolyHoses said...

I love the photo looking down onto the mist.

25 October 2006 at 12:20  
Blogger George Walks said...

Nice new ident photo Simon!

Let it be known that any kind of cloud inversion/broken cloud/walking in and out of cloud never fails to get me excited. See fine examples on this hike!

PS - dried out now cheers Lisa!

25 October 2006 at 17:54  
Blogger Reidski said...

I wish I didn't suffer from extreme vertigo, then I could enjoy those beautiful sights. Your amazing pics are consolation - but they are just that, consolation!

27 October 2006 at 19:39  
Blogger George Walks said...

In that case, you certainly won't like this picture from this hike and the story therein!

29 October 2006 at 17:17  
Blogger George Walks said...

Bad link there. This hike then.

29 October 2006 at 17:19  

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