For the club’s second outing this month Mike chose to take us to Dalmally and the hills that lie between Glen Strae and Glen Kinglas. We parked at the end of the road to Castles Farm and quickly gained height as we ascended the old hydro track used in the construction of the tunnels associated with the Cruachan pumped storage scheme. The ridges of the Dalmally horseshoe at the southern end of Ben Cruachan were still topped with early morning cloud but our first objective, Beinn a’Chochuill, was visible ahead – some steep but straightforward climbing would be required before we topped out on new member Beth’s first Munro.
The wind was gusting strongly which made walking difficult at times but we managed to avoid being blown away – and held on to anything we took out of our bags, lest it be blown off to Loch Etive. It was quite hazy so although we could see down to Loch Etive and to the hills beyond Glen Kinglas, there were no distant views. Across Glen Lochy Ben Lui and Ben Bhuidhe were just faint outlines on the horizon, but closer to hand mighty Ben Cruachan was pretty impressive.
We retraced our steps along the ridge and then dropped down to the Lairig Lanachan. From here it was a steep and windy climb up Beinn Eunaich
I was glad to find some wildflowers hiding among the rocks which provided photo opportunities and time to catch my breath, but it didn’t take long to reach the summit of our second Munro.
After a straightforward walk along the ridge towards Stob Maol, with views down to Kilchurn Castle and the head of Loch Awe, a peaty path, much eroded by the passage of many feet, provided the final challenge as we dropped back towards the hydro track and the short walk back to road.
After stopping in Tyndrum for refreshments we were taken aback to see signs indicating that both the A82 and A85 were closed. Rather than returning to Dalmally and going via Inveraray and Arrochar, I elected to follow the narrow ‘single track road with passing places’ via Auchlyne to Killin. Initially it was straightforward, but when the line of cars we were following started to meet traffic coming the other way the passing places were barely sufficient to allow everyone to pass. Sometimes the road seemed perilously close to the River Dochart rushing beside us. It was a relief to reach Killin and the straightforward drive to Kenmore and Aberfeldy. Thence we went to Crieff and Braco and back onto the A9. The other drivers chose to return to Crianlarich and made slow progress down the Loch Lomond road, but we all made it safely back to Bathgate by around 8pm. Its not just on the hills you need to navigate!
Despite the depressing forecasts of earlier in the week not a drop of rain fell – though the winds did blow! It was a superb day out, and we all came home with wind and sun-burned faces. Thanks to Mike for a great choice of hills and to everyone for being such good company. Here’s to our next outing: I hope you can join us.