On 21st and 22nd July 2017 the Club returned to Inverardran Cottage, Crianlarich – owned by the Ochils Mountaineering Club. This hut vies with Morvich for the right to claim most Munros within a half hour drive. Some further improvements had been made since our last visit to what was already one of the best fitted out club huts in the country. Unfortunately, the Club’s bad run of luck with the weather looked set to continue and once again everyone had to ensure that all the wet weather gear was packed.
Jim Aire, Raymond Evenden, George Henderson, Susan Henderson, Jim Hughes, Paul McGrandles, Neil Morrison, Ian Pollock, Norrie Shand.
Raymond set off on the Friday morning with his regular hillwalking companion, Flora his young Jack Russell. Despite the ever so slight difference in the length of their stride, the pair marched together up the steep slopes of Ben More from Glen Dochart. As forecast, the conditions were fairly dire and the great views from this hill were well hidden in the clag. Undeterred though, they continued onto the neighbouring peak of Stob Binnein before scampering back down to Crianlarich. Flora’s wee legs had covered a lot of ground and she would sleep soundly in Raymond’s car that night.
In the meantime, George and Susan had teamed up with Norrie at Bridge of Orchy and headed a few miles further north to Achallader with the intention of climbing the Munro pair of Beinn a Chreachain and Beinn Achaladair. BBC forecaster Kawser Quamer had given a fairly miserable forecast that morning but Bawser Henderson was much more optimistic. Norrie was in glass half empty mode, but the prospect of completing his 200th repeat Munro acted as a bit of an incentive.
They headed west on a good track before crossing the Water of Tulla by a fairly unconventional bridge and headed up to the lochan cradled in the corrie below the summit of Beinn a Chreachain. From there they ascended up onto the main ridge, followed by the inevitable detour to tick off a deleted top before the pull up rocky terrain to the Munro summit. The route to the second Munro was far from obvious in the nasty conditions, involving as it did, some retracing of steps before breaking west to Beinn Achaladair. After a bit of head scratching, they were soon on their way, firstly over grassy moorland before a bit of a scramble up to the summit plateau and a visit to a couple of cairns, the westernmost apparently marking the true summit. Despite Norrie reaching his 200th Munro repeat there was no long celebration – conditions had deteriorated further (Kawser 1 – Bawser 0) and a retreat was made firstly south, then finally back to the car via Coire Achaladair.
The only other member to stretch their legs on Friday was Neil who broke his journey to climb the 621m Graham top of Ben Halton above Glen Artney near Comrie.
A pleasant evening was spent in the hut kitchen/dining area. As usual thirsts were generously quenched and a few songs were sung courtesy of Norrie and southpaw, Dave who, this time around, remembered to bring a wrong-way-round guitar. Jim had organised some new club t-shirts – this time in a very natty navy blue. Unfortunately, there were no hunky male models available for the photo shoot and it was left to the grey and grizzled duo of Norrie and Jim to do their best Freemans catalogue pose.
Saturday morning dawned and once again the forecasters were proved correct as a constant drizzle swept down from the grey skies.
Not everyone was deterred though. Jim Aire got his act in gear early in the morning and headed off down to Glen Falloch to climb Beinn Dubhchraig and Ben Oss from the Southeast. This is a less popular route up these two hills but offers a fine alternative with a pleasing circuit round Coire Garbh which holds Loch Oss in its basin.
Keener than a hot mustard sauce, Jim, Ian and Dave also geared up that morning, aiming for the nearby Munro of Ben More. Jim and Ian hadn’t been out on the hills for some time and for Dave, this was to be his first ever Munro – a baptism of fire (or flood) awaited. Despite the soggy socks and the dripping duds they cheerfully plodded up the water-logged slopes before eventually topping out at the summit trig point. With Dave’s Munro virginity suitably pinged, they wisely decided that a continuation to the neighbouring Munro of Stob Binnein was out of the question and they slithered and slipped their way back down to base for a welcome shower and change of clothes.
George and Susan, having been on the receiving end of a pasting on the high tops the previous day weren’t as keen as usual to reprise the experience. George’s pint in the pub though would have to be earned so they agreed to tackle the nearby Corbett of Beinn Chuirn which they had last climbed on a snowy December day back in 1992. They ascended close to the superb waterfall and winter climb of Eas Anie (or Easy Annie) previously scaled many years back by Paul in the days when he went out in the hills. Unfortunately, they didn’t discover any gold by the nearby mine, so George’s round in Tyndrum would have to paid by cash.
Raymond and Norrie had also taken a bit of a beating the previous day and were less than enthused about an immediate repeat performance. Legs would need to be stretched though and Flora was as keen as ever for a walk so they decided along with erstwhile hillwalker Paul to tramp northwards along the 6 mile stretch of the West Highland Way to Tyndrum. The carrot of course was a bar lunch and a beer in the Tyndrum Inn. The conditions actually improved as they progressed along the well-travelled route and they were pretty dry by the time they reached the Inn. Some internal dampening quickly followed though along with an excellent lunch. They were soon joined by George who had been dropped off by Susan as she headed back to the hut after their walk for a welcome shower and he too ensured that rehydration was fully complete before they headed back to the hut.
The final member of the group, Neil had to return back to Perth that evening but not discouraged too much by the conditions he firstly headed down Loch Lomond side in pursuit of some of the Munros comprising the Arrochar Alps. Ben Vane, Ben Ime and Ben Narnain were all in his sights but conditions eventually dictated that all three would not be climbed together that day. Nevertheless, a successful ascent of Ben Vane was followed by a climb up Ben Ime. Having decided to leave Ben Narnain for another time, inevitably the mist cleared once his descent was complete.
The group settled back at the hut for another enjoyable evening. A few of them headed next door to the Ben More Lodge pub next door for a little while. Raymond grabbed a guitar from the wall and entertained the visitors with a few songs from his repertoire. He didn’t say how much he made in tips but he is expected to be sporting a shiny new pair of boots at the next meet. Later in the evening, back in the hut, a few more old favourites were belted out by Norrie and there were also a few new favourites from Dave.
Most of the group headed back home on the Sunday morning having suffered enough! George and Susan had other ideas though and broke off their journey home by nicking off the not-quite-sure-of itself Corbett of Beinn Stacath or Stob Fear-tomhais near Balquidder. It turned out to be not too bad a day, with only Ben More and Stob Binnein stubbornly hanging on to the clag.
Raymond, and of course the tireless Flora were also keen to round off the weekend with another foray onto the high tops and Beinn Tulaichean and Cruach Ardrain were locked into his rifle scope as they shot off to bag another pair of Munros before returning home. As with George and Susan, some views were enjoyed over to the surrounding tops – excepting of course Ben once-More-in the-clag and Smog Binnein. It was an enjoyable finale to the weekend though and man and dog were soon headed home for a well deserved rest.