Hillwalking


The hills around Tyndrum offer fantastic hillwalking, and are a rich resource for the budding collector of Munros or Corbetts.

We have grouped the mountains into Munros, and Corbetts and smaller hills:

Munros:

1. Ben Lui and Beinn a’Chleibh

2. Ben Oss and Beinn Dubhchraig

3. Ben Challum

4. Beinn Dorain and Beinn an Dothaidh

5. Ben More and Stob Binnein

6. Cruach Ardrain and Beinn Tulaichean

7. An Caisteal and Beinn a’Chroin

Corbetts and smaller hills:

8. Beinn Chuirn

9. Beinn Odhar, Beinn Chaorach, Cam Chreag, Beinn nam Fuaran and Beinn a’Chaisteil

1. Ben Lui and Beinn a’Chleibh

Ben Lui (or Beinn Laoigh) is a fantastic mountain and surely one of the best in this part of the country. It offers amazing views west towards Loch Awe and Ben Cruachan, north towards Glen Coe and Ben Nevis, east down Glen Cononish towards the Glen Lyon Hills, and south towards Loch Lomond and the Arrochar Alps. This is really one to savour – but be particularly careful climbing here in the winter, when conditions can be demanding, especially when climbing from the eastern side, at Coire Gaothaich.

Ben Lui is often climbed with Beinn a’Chleibh, and the unmistakably best approach to these mountains is from Tyndrum or Dalrigh, heading west up Glen Cononish. Follow the track up the glen, past the Cononish mining project, and on along the track which starts to climb into the Coire Caothaich. Again, be particularly careful here in winter, as a number of climbers have succumbed to avalanches in this corrie. The track climbs up onto the northern ridge of the corrie, before curving round to the magnificent summit of Ben Lui, at 1130 metres.

A quick descent down the south-western ridge of Ben Lui brings you to a bealach, from which you can continue south-west up to the much lower summit of Beinn a’Chleibh which, at 916 metres, is a Munro in its own right. You can either return by the same route, or more likely you will head back up the south-western ridge of Ben Lui, before looking for a path which cuts down its south-eastern ridge to the bealach with Ben Oss. From this bealach you can drop down into the V-shaped valley, which can be followed north to regain the track in Glen Cononish, which is then followed back to either Tyndrum or Dalrigh.

On a long summer’s day, if you are up to it, you can also incorporate Ben Oss and Beinn Dubhchraig in a single, but long, climb.

An alternative route of ascent comes from Glen Lochy to the north west of the mountains. There is a car park near the bottom of the Eas Diamh, and the climb from here is shorter and undoubtedly less spectacular. Be careful crossing the River Lochy as, when in spate, it can be difficult or dangerous to cross.

2. Ben Oss and Beinn Dubhchraig

Ben Oss and Beinn Dubhchraig lie to the south-west of Tyndrum. Your ascent will normally start at Dalrigh. The route goes through the forest and heads up into the Coire Dubhchraig, beside the Allt Coire Dubhchraig, before emerging close to the summit of Beinn Dubhchraig itself.

This climb can seem somewhat long and a bit of a drag, but you’ll soon forget that as you head off down the north-west ridge, heading down to a lochan on the ridge itself, and then on a steeper descent to the col between Beinn Dubhchraig and Ben Oss. The ridge to Ben Oss is steep at first.

To descend, either retrace your steps back up to the point where you first arrived on the main ridge of Beinn Dubhchraig, and follow your route of ascent back down to Dalrigh; or head down the south-west ridge of Ben Oss to the bealach between Ben Oss and Ben Lui, and then head north, down into the V-shaped valley, which eventually brings you to the track at the top of Glen Cononish. This track can then be followed all the way down the glen to your starting point back at Dalrigh.

Either way, you should not try to descend from the col between Beinn Oss and Beinn Dubhchraig, as this route is rocky, steep, and not particularly safe.

3. Ben Challum

Ben Challum is typically climbed from Strath Fillan, beside Kirkton Farm. It is a solitary top, and this ascent will probably be more interesting in winter conditions than in the summer. It can also be a busy climb.

The route begins from St. Fillan’s Priory, near Kirkton Farm, where a track heads uphill and crosses the West Highland Railway Line either by a footbridge or an uncontrolled level crossing (be very careful here). There is not really a path to speak of heading uphill, but eventually the south-west ridge will become discernible and this can be followed up to the south top, and then north to the main summit of Ben Challum, at 1025 metres.

Retrace your route of ascent to return to Kirkton Farm, down in Strath Fillan. Be careful of the electric fence on the hillside.

4. Beinn Dorain and Beinn an Dothaidh

Beinn Dorain and Beinn an Dothaidh are a great pair of hills. Beinn Dorain hoves right into view as you drive north on the A82 out of Tyndrum, it is a spectacular mountain – and it offers similarly spectacular views from its summit. So too does Beinn an Dothaidh, its twin to the north, looking out over the Black Mount and the vast expanse of the lonely Rannoch Moor.

The route of ascent begins from railway station at Bridge of Orchy, so this is perfectly convenient for those hillwalkers who are travelling by public transport. A path heads right up Coire an Dothaidh and is followed up to the col between Beinn Dorain and Beinn an Dothaidh. To gain Beinn Dorain, turn south and follow the ridge up to the summit, but be aware that a false top must first be passed, take care particularly in poor visibility. The summit sits at a proud 1076m, and is the perfect place for a spot of lunch.

Then head north, back down to the col, and then continue north up grassy slopes, heading for the middle of three summits, which is the main summit of Beinn an Dothaidh, standing at 1004 metres. The views from this peak are especially great, with a real sense of the vastness and emptiness of the Rannoch Moor which the mountain drops right down onto, and the Black Mount across from you, with Loch Tulla down below.

To return to the train station at Bridge of Orchy, retrace your steps back down to the col, and once again carefully descend Coire an Dothaidh back down to the station.


Ben Lui

5. Ben More and Stob Binnein

Another great pair of Munros in this area is Ben More and Stob Binnein, lying to the south-east of Crianlarich.

The mountains are typically climbed from Benmore Farm close to Loch Iubhair, off the A85 road, in Glen Dochart. A track heads up the north-west flank of Ben More, gradually steepening, and this is followed right up to the summit of Ben More itself, standing at 1174 metres. There is a hanging corrie on the west side of the mountain and this should be avoided for safety reasons.

To continue to Stob Binnein, a path is followed down the southern ridge of Ben More to the Bealach-eader-dha Beinn, before heading in a southerly direction up the northern ridge of Stob Binnein, followed right up to the summit at 1165 metres. There is a great view from here south into the Balquhidder Hills and the Trossachs, and also of the excellent ridge leading south – another potential route of ascent, if coming from the Trossachs side, from Inverlochlarig, just above where the River Larig flows into Loch Doine, west of Balquhidder.

To descend from Stob Binnein back to Benmore Farm, head back down to the Bealach-eader-dha Beinn, from where you can descend west down to the Benmore Burn, beside which is a track running back down to the farm and your starting point in Glen Dochart.


6. Cruach Ardrain and Beinn Tulaichean

Cruach Ardrain is often seen by motorists on their way down the A82 from Tyndrum. It sits just above Crianlarich, and can be conveniently climbed from the village itself (making it particularly accessible for those coming to Crianlarich by bus or train) or from just a little down the A82.

Taking the latter as the starting point, a path leads up beside the River Falloch to a bridge which heads across the river. A path then heads up to Grey Height, and then heads on up the north-west ridge, over Meall Dhamh, to the summit of Cruach Ardrain at 1046 metres.

A path then runs along the south-eastern ridge of Cruach Ardrain towards Beinn Tulaichean, whose summit is at 946 metres. To return from Beinn Tulaichean to your starting point, retrace your steps.

7. An Caisteal and Beinn a’Chroin

An Caisteal is usually climbed with Beinn a’Chroin. They are accessible from a parking area on the A82 in Glen Falloch, from where a track is followed under the West Highland Railway Line, over the River Falloch, and then left behind for the grassy slopes of Sron Garbh. From this top, the ridge lies ahead in roughly a southerly direction – the ridge is called Twistin Hill – and is followed right up to the summit of An Caisteal, at 995 metres.

To continue to Beinn a’Chroin, the short south ridge of An Caisteal is descended to a col, before the short north-west ridge of Beinn a’Chroin is climbed. This is very craggy and you should be careful here, further on there is a false top before the actual summit of Beinn a’Chroin is reached, at 942 metres.

The descent back to the starting point can be taken by heading down the north ridge of Beinn a’Chroin, heading for the streams in Coire Earb, which can be followed down until the track is picked up that leads back to your starting point.

As with Stob Binnein, Beinn a’Chroin can also be climbed from Inverlochlarig on the Balquhidder side.

8. Beinn Chuirn

Beinn Chuirn sits to the north-east of Ben Lui, and is best climbed from either Tyndrum Lower station or Dalrigh. The track up Glen Cononish is followed past the Cononish Gold Mine, before a route is truck up the hillside – be sure to stay well away, and on the south side of, the Eas Anie waterfall, at this point. Do not cross the burn until you are safely above the waterfall and it is safe to do so. A route can then be struck up the south-eastern ridge of Beinn Chuirn to its summit at 880 metres. To return, retrace your steps, again being careful of the waterfall.

An alternative, but less interesting, route leaves the A85 road to the northern side of the mountain, in Glen Lochy. An additional problem with this route is getting across the railway line and River Lochy.

9. Beinn Odhar, Beinn Chaorach, Cam Chreag, Beinn nam Fuaran and Beinn a’Chaisteil

This is a circuit of Corbetts accessible from the A82 road between Tyndrum and Bridge of Orchy.

Starting at the top of the track that leads down past Auch Farm, you head down in the direction of the Auch Gleann, and go under the West Highland Railway at its famous Horseshoe Curve. The track turns right and heads up Gleann Coralan. This should be followed until the ground on your left is less steep, at which point you can turn up and climb the south-east ridge of Beinn a’Chaisteal, which is right above the steep Creaggan Liatha cliffs. The summit is at 886 metres.

The north-eastern ridge of Beinn a’Chaisteil is then descended, and this leads onto the shorter south-western ridge of Beinn nam Fuaran, with its summit at 806 metres. From here, a descent is made in a southerly direction to the Abhainn Ghlas, from where the long north-western ridge of Cam Chreag is picked up and followed right on up to its highest point, the summit of Cam Chreag, at 884 metres.

The western ridge of Cam Chreag is then taken, curving down to the col from which the north ridge of Beinn Chaorach rises. Its summit is at 818 metres. A westerly route is then traced to the col between Beinn Chaorach and Beinn Odhar, before the south-eastern ridge of Beinn Odhar can be picked up, and followed to the summit at 901 metres.

To return to your starting point at Auch, descend by the south-western ridge of Beinn Odhar, which is left at the point where a route can safely be struck down to a cattle creep under the West Highland Railway Line. Once through the other side, you can either go up to a parking place on the A82, if you are able to leave another car here at the beginning, or alternatively walk north along the West Highland Way until it joins the original track near Auch Farm.

These mountains might not have the height of Alpine peaks, but you should not underestimate them or the very changeable weather they are subjected to.  It is not unheard of to have warm sunshine, rain, snow and fog all on the same day – even in the Summer!

You must be prepared for the terrain and for these weather changes.  You should only climb in sturdy hiking or climbing boots, and you must take waterproofs and emergency supplies.  Also take plenty of food and water – it is generally safe to drink from mountain streams, which are usually very clean, but you do so at your own risk.  A map, compass, and proficiency in their use, is a necessity.

Always check the mountain weather forecast before you head into the hills, and if it is winter or there has  been any snow falling or forecast, you should also check the avalanche forecast.  The area is served by an excellent mountain rescue team, but it is your responsibility to ensure you minimise the chances of an emergency which endangers their lives too.

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