Our July outing was to take us to Beinn Mhanach between Tyndrum and Bridge of Orchy, the last munro in the area which hadn’t been attempted on previous club outings I’m told.
Leading up to the outing the weather forecast had not been encouraging and days of heavy rain preceding the outing suggested it would be a wet one.
Eight hardy souls set off from various directions for the trip and because of the numbers there was a slight change in the start point. With the number of vehicles expected to exceed the capacity of the verge parking space at Auch we headed for a larger space closer to Tyndrum which would involve a longer walk in along part of the West Highland Way.
The weather forecast was accurate, when we arrived it was chucking it down, however it is Scotland and we do not belong to a fair weather mountaineering club!
Our path would take us towards the Allt Kinglas ( not sure if this is a burn or a river so let’s call it a water hazard ) which would give us an indication of how fast the water was running. Further up the glen we would be required to ford this water hazard a number of times and our first impressions on the day were that it would be unlikely. We could see Allt Kinglas was running high and fast as we turned along the path towards the tributary Allt Coralan which would be our first water crossing of the day. This proved to be a major stumbling block as it too was running high and fast. With the prospect of having to ford Allt Kinglas and Allt a’ Chuirn further up the glen a few times we admitted defeat and called a halt.
Fortunately Mike had a Plan ‘B’ which was to return to the crossing with the West Highland Way and follow the Way to Bridge of Orchy and that is what we did. The views weren’t that spectacular so not many photos of the scenery in this blog.
We elected to pop into the Bridge of Orchy hotel for a cuppa and a short respite to hang up the jackets to let some of the rain drip off them.
We had decided to lunch on the platform at Bridge of Orchy station where some of the station buildings have been converted to accommodation know as “The West Highland Way Sleeper”. In the absence of scenic photos I’ve added on some text form the Internet to explain the names on the doors of the “West Highland Way Sleeper”.
As we sat having a bite to eat on the platform the custodian/curator/keeper/conservator/guardian/overseer/superintentendent came out to ask us if we were waiting on a train and if so we would have a long wait as “they are on strike”. Aw naw, we’ll have to walk back to the cars !!
The very wet five miles back to the cars were largely uneventful and my camera didn’t leave the dry inside pocket. We encountered a few hikers heading along the West Highland Way some of whom looked as decidedly unimpressed by the scenery as we were or was it the Scottish weather in July? I’ll leave the reader to draw his or her own conclusion.
Sir Robert McAlpine, 1st Baronet, was a builder whose innovations gained him the nickname of "Concrete Bob" and who established the construction company Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd.
Between 1884 and 1904, Robert McAlpine and Sons built nearly 150 miles of railway in Scotland and Ireland, pioneering the mass use of concrete in railway construction, most famously on the 40 mile Mallaig extension of the West Highland Railway, including the Glenfinnan Viaduct, and the Borrodale Viaduct - the longest concrete bridge span built.
When the West Highland Line was built across Rannoch Moor, its builders had to float the tracks on a mattress of tree roots, brushwood and thousands of tons of earth and ashes.
At the north end of the platform at Rannoch station is a sculptured head, carved in stone by the navvies (workmen) who built the line. It commemorates James Renton, a director of the West Highland Railway, who gave part of his personal fortune to save the line from bankruptcy during construction when the brushwood raft was continually sinking into Rannoch Moor.
( NB Nothing to do with the film Trainspotting’s Renton )
Many thanks to Mike for coordinating this one.