An Caisteal and Beinn a’Chroin (Crianlaraich)

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.

An Caisteal map

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.

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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.

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Looking back down

Looking back down

On Twistin Hill looking towards Sron Garbh

On Twistin Hill looking towards Sron Garbh

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.

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Rocky profile of Beinn Chabhair beyond

Rocky profile of Beinn Chabhair beyond

Across to Beinn a'Chroin

Across to Beinn a’Chroin

We could see the rocky profile of An Caisteal ahead – the castle.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Across to Beinn Chabhair

Across to Beinn Chabhair

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.

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We made our descent down the northern shoulder.  The way back was long and tiring, albeit on good path for the steep part down.

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Looking back up the descent route

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.

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It was a relief to finally reach the hydro track after the bogfest and amble easily back to the van.

15 thoughts on “An Caisteal and Beinn a’Chroin (Crianlaraich)

  1. Stunning views as always. Forgive my asking, but what sort of camera/lens are you using?

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    • Thanks. I just use the camera on my iphone6 to take pictures. Its a good camera but has its limitations. I could probably do with a proper camera – but at least means one less thing I carry! I am considering it though.

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      • I’m wondering how much you need a ‘proper’ camera if this is what you can achieve with a phone. I’ve got fed up with lugging my Canon EOS 450D around with me and have acquired a film Voigtlander rangefinder camera with a nice wide lens which should do well for landscape stuff if only I can work it properly. There are probably any number of digital compact cameras that will do well – I like the look of the Panasonic Lumix GM1 which is pleasingly tiny and has exchangeable lenses so you can fit a wider one if required. Got a birthday coming up? 😉

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        • I do as it happens! 🙂 I was actually looking at the Panasonic Lumix GM1. The world of cameras scares me a bit as it all gets a bit technical – I guess I’ll be looking for something simple to use, small and light, and probably bombproof too. I do have an old digital camera but my phone camera surpassed the quality a few years back.

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          • The GM1 looks to be genuinely tiny but has a great sensor. I would think it would be something you could start off just using the auto settings, then gradually learn how to get more from with the manual settings, maybe switching to a wider angle lens if you get on with the camera. Seems to have good reviews.

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  2. We’re always mindful about where we take our dogs, as well as an individual dog’s capability. After all, we don’t want to injure them or lose them over an edge! It is surprising what they can do though and these days we always have ours in harnesses with handles on the back, meaning it’s very easy to just give them a little bit of a lift when necessary. Funnily enough, stiles can sometimes be the worst thing – especially high ladder stiles! 😀

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    • I would be so worried, especially on ridges and in the cloud when you can’t see anything. There seems to be so many dogs that go missing in the hills at the moment.
      I sometimes take my neighbour’s dog for a walk. The other day I crossed a cattle grid without thinking. He just stopped and looked at me like I was mental. Then calmly walked round the side – that cracked me up! 😀

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  3. Wouldn’t fancy lifting an Akita up those scrambles on Beinn a’ Chroin – Richard struggled to get up one big step (the one I think you mean).

    That route is a total bogfest. There is a path which goes up the end of Sron Garbh for Twistin’ Hill but it was exceedingly wet and no fun at all – we wished we’d taken a similar route to the one you ended up taking.

    Unfortunately, when we did those, we saw precisely nothing at all. I’d quite like to do An Caisteal again, going up one ridge and back down its other. I certainly wouldn’t want to tack Chabhair onto those two though…
    Carol.

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