The western weather high was still forecast for a few days. This was so fortunate! How often this summer has the west (and indeed the east) of Scotland been raining? We were this way for a few days in the van and decided on the pair of Munros near Crianlarich, An Caisteal and Beinn a’Chroin. In fact it was going to be three with the inclusion of Beinn Chabhair, but after looking at the descent and reascent we would have to do, we suddenly felt lazy.
After a fine breakfast at the Green Welly Stop in Tyndrum, we parked up on a large layby on the A82 down Glen Falloch beside some large hydro works and followed the track that leads to the River Falloch. Here a mess of hydro activity greeted us, although there were signs directing walkers alongside.
Not the bonniest of starts and all we could be thankful for was the ease of progress on the track up the glen. When the track ended, amongst murk, bog and much hydro work going on, we began to make our way along the slopes and up towards the bealach that would take us on to Twistin Hill.
It was fairly boggy and a tough pathless slog up to the bealach. The hydro works down below didn’t enliven the view back either, only the steep slopes of Meall Garbh opposite, so it was a relief to finally reach the wide ridge of Twistin Hill.
Here we met some others coming up from via Sron Garbh so I presume that is the standard way many people take. The views finally began to open up and we started to really enjoy the walk – up until now it had been a bit of a viewless tramp but the best was now ahead of us.
We could see the rocky profile of An Caisteal ahead – the castle.
The path wound its way around the crags and there were a couple of fun steps to consider and use our hands on, although nothing too scrambly. We soon reached the summit of An Caisteal. As is typical in this part of the country, there were crowded peaks as far as the eye could see. These are very characterful, rocky hills.
We spoke to two guys who had reached the summit and said we were thinking about including the other neighbouring Munro, Beinn Chabhair in our walk. They advised against it – one of them had done it before and said it was long and difficult. I think we were reluctant not to include it but he wasn’t selling it to us!
The path continued down the ridge and we seemed to lose an awful lot of height in a short space of time.
The path wound round the rocks and again there were some slabs to negotiate. When we got to the bealach and looked across to Beinn Chabhair, it certainly didn’t look too inviting, with a big loss of height and re-ascent, plus an awful lot of craggy looking steep flanks. We decided it could wait till another day and carried on towards Beinn a’Chroin.
The path wound tightly round the SW flank of Beinn a’Chroin and there was much rocky steps and fun clambering on this part. I have no idea how people can bring dogs up this, especially as one bit had me hauling myself up, kicking my right foot out to find a step and dragging the rest of me over the rock. It wasn’t pretty! We did meet a guy with a huge dog and he said he just lifted him – although he said in the same sentence that his dog was an Akita – a Japanese mountain dog that he got especially to go into the hills with him.
We reached the summit and enjoyed the views over to the southern peaks, although it was very cold at this point and we didn’t hang about.
We made our descent down the northern shoulder. The way back was long and tiring, albeit on good path for the steep part down.
The walk back out down the glen was pathless and as boggy as I can remember any walk. I quite liked the giant boulders with gardens and mini forests on top – although I imagine these have been photographed many times before.
It was a relief to finally reach the hydro track after the bogfest and amble easily back to the van.