Friday, 8 October 2010

Cruach Ardrain

Although not the highest mountain in Crianlarich, Cruach Ardrain looks the most imposing and interesting.
As I had already travelled to Loch Tay and Lomond to climb Ben Lawers and Vorlich on two of the three previous days, I wanted to do something more local.... well how about a mountain that I could see from the car park of the Bed and Breakfast ( Ewich House) where I was staying. Notice the Alpacas hut in the foreground.
After stopping in Crianlarich to buy the regular lunch time sandwich, I made the short journey of less than 5 minutes down the A82 Loch Lomond road and parked in a lay-by. The ascent route from this viewpoint ( below) did not look spectacular but the idea was to follow a track across the field and then under the Glasgow - Crianlarich - Oban / Fort william railway (running alongside the middle of the picture in trees). The track continued up the valley to the right of the hillside before a path to the left branched off up the hill behind the fir forest (centre of picture).....

The undulating ridge was reached (Grey Height) where it was time to stop and observe the metropolis that is Crianlarich ! The dominant feature from both the ground and from the hill top is the railway, the station, viaduct and the Fort william railway section curving round and gaining height to the left of the picture....

This was the best day of the week for weather but I still wasn't tempted to use the swimming pool !!

Time to press on as some other walkers that I met on the way up decided to stop for lunch, too early for me after the plate of breakfast that I was fortunate to have. The ascent of Grey Height in the initial and end stages were a constant hunt for partial sheep tracks and from the above pictures, you will notice that the ridge route was more interesting to Meall Dhamh. There was a lot of height loss before setting off on the final push to the summit which was thankfully not as steep as Ben Vorlich.

On reaching the summit, the first duty I had was to frighten a Hare away that was hiding near the summit cairn probably on food watch from a walkers sandwich.... who would have thought it at 3400 feet....

Time to relax

...while slightly to the left, amazingly I could still keep an eye on the safety of my car in the lay-by albeit with a zoom lens !!

All too soon it was time to return and I decided to use a different route to join the valley I was talking about earlier, a lot quicker. The route was taken from the Ordnance survey guide book to the area, but unfortunately this route was pathless and consisted of negotiating wet, rough grass and crossing merging streams and tributaries that proved to be a little wider as the valley was reached...

Once on the valley floor, I thought it would be an easy walk back, but the rough countryside continued with many small streams to jump...

It took a while before I caught up with the track I had left earlier and combined with the Ben Vorlich walk the previous day, I felt I had done a walk ....and a half. It seemed forever to get to the car as I didn't meet one person on the whole of the descent route, so it was nice to get back to the civilisation of the town.....

It would seem unlikely that I will do this mountain again for some time as there are a few others in the area that I would like to do first, so I'll live with the memory of this view (below) everytime I pass through the railway station on my charter trips to Oban....

Railway station with a view......& a good cafe !
The other lasting memory I have about this trip apart from the B and B (just above the dogs head in the photo below) is...... it's not always about the enjoying the view, it's about the art of hunting, finding or waiting for food.

I want what's in that bag !!!


  1. Oh my goodness, what a spectacular view from your perch! I can see I need to get in shape big time if I am going to do any serious walking in Scotland. The land is so rugged. Good thing you've got those great hiking shoes! :-) (that's a fun pic). What beautiful country.

    I'm embarrassed to say that what first drew me to want to go to Scotland was first, Balmoral, and secondly, 'Monarch of the Glen.' And don't groan! :-)

  2. I too had an enjoyable day there this last May and parked in the same place. But after Cruach Ardrain I pulled in the four other Munros just to the south, Beinn Tulaichean, Beinn a'Chroin, Beinn Chabhair and An Caisteal in that order; there was a lot of trackless land and height lost and gained, but it was a good day!

  3. Thanks for this I really will have to go back. It is a beautiful area.

  4. Wow! What a fantastic mountain scene!!
    Hope I can have a great trip like this!

  5. This post is an exciting mix of beauty: the grandeur of the great mountain, the colors of the forest of fir trees and the pool, the adorable rabbit on the run, the birds on electric wires and the valley to your feet as if you were the king the world sharing his time with a great friend! A poem in pictures!
    Happy week end!

  6. Wow, you got wonderful views !! I think one of the best things there up is the luck to breathe clean air. Your lungs must be happy.



    [Barcelona Daily Photo]

  7. Mama mia Jay!
    What to is saturday afternoon, and again I am with you on the top of the world!
    Those boots are mine, isn't it! ha ha
    Wonderful way of living!
    I live in Bucharest, capital of Romania!
    No mountains, no fresh air!
    My luck is my camera and my friend's blogs ( like yours) because is forcing me to run away from here from time to time!
    Best regards!

  8. Great scenery you captured but my favorite has got to be the last one: it involves human and animal interaction which I find very endearing.

  9. All... Thank you all for your wonderful and varied comments.

    Cranberry Morning... As with England, the west side (where I was) is more rugged than the east although many regard Crianlarich/ Loch Tay & Lomond area as one for tourists. The further north you go, the more remote and rugged it is. This area is accessible for most people. You may be surprised that I have never been on the Balmoral road or watched a full episode of Monarch of the Glen.

    Colin Griffiths... Congratulations on your exhausting walk, I'm essentially a 214 wainwrighter who has progressed onto Munros. The plan was to cover Beinn Tulaichean but the time was getting on, The Ben Vorlich ascent from the previous day was hard work through the bracken & I had a room full of gear to pack that night. With hindsight, I could have squeezed it in. The An Caisteal range looks good for another time.

    Adrian... well worth the trip. I was looking forward to this area as there was variety on the hill and as a tourist... however, you need loads of loot for petrol.

    Rafael Lam... Pleased you enjoyed it, we swap tourist stories that we can only dream about.

    Sciarada... I never ever thought that the rabbit or the bird picture would end up in this post, but as I was editing the photos, I found that I could not leave them out as it fitted in with what I wanted to say. It was a great viewpoint.Thanks for your great words so eloquently said.

    Irredento Urbanita... Thanks for your visit... My lungs have recovered from the ascent !!!

    Wind... Pleased I can show something a little different to what you are used to and you are enjoying the journey on top of the world with me. I like the narrow lanes from your country that you show from time to time, you seem to create something magical out of it even if you think otherwise.

    Nomadic Pinoy... Thanks for your visit. When I first started doing this blog, I tried to give away a nice feeling through the pictures. I developed it at the Skipton post when I started using animals a bit more and letting some of my character out.


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