Monday, June 27, 2016

The Cruachan Hills: Ben Cruachan (31) and Stob Diamh (143)

Walk date: 21/06/16
My Munro #'s: 280 and 281

Pronunciations - translations - heights:

Kroo-achan - stacky hill - 1126m
Stop dyv - peak of the stag - 998m

Duration - 09:25 to 15:55 
Distance -  15.6 km
Total ascent -  1549m
Weather - low cloud at start, some wind and wet weather on tops, but not too bad. Cloud lifting a lot in afternoon.
Team - Paul P
Other hikers: only two at end of day (possibly campers!)

Andrew and Paul P hiking week 2016
DAY4 - Tuesday

The biggest challenge of this walk could be the parking!   We ended up parking on a patch of dirt next to the sign for the train station.  There is an official 'P' 1km west that's the only real alternative as the Hydro visitor's centre car park shuts at 16:45 (and wasn't open at 09:00).

Once you're walking, you can access the hills either via the train station (tunnel under track) or via a short hydro road just to the west.  Either route works well but they are both windy steep paths with overhanging foliage which gets you very wet if there's been any rain at all.

Once out to the dam area, you can use their roads to get to the water either side.  For the west, if you don't fancy the longer road route, you can use the dam ladder to get up onto the top which makes an interesting diversion!

We decided to decline the option of ascending early up onto Meall Cuanail, instead making good progress along the hydro track on the west side and then using the great path marked on the maps to the bealach.

After the bealach things are steeper and rockier but the boulder-field offers good progress to the summit.  The route on is a little scrambly in places but OK if there's no snow or high wind.

In low visibility, not taking the north ridge onto Drochaid Ghlas could be tricky!  In fact, there is no need to go up onto this top - the cairn below it marks the route onward to Stob Daimh.

Stob Daimh is a totally easy affair after Cruachan, and we actually got treated to some views which made a nice change.  Easy walking follows to Stob Garbh leads to a good path back to the reservoir (although we lost it a little up high).  Generally, a great round, and one Munro to go!

A helpful sign to actually get up onto the hill!

Views down to Loch Awe

Getting up to the dam:

Up on the reservoir:

Mini-cairn marking the ascent route:

Ascent route views:

Coming off Cruachan:

That north ridge of Drochaid Ghlas:

Coming off Drochaid Ghlas to go for Stob Daimh:

Stob Daimh peeking through!

Descent views:

Odd speed signs round here!

Seaplane making a pass:

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