A blog of our mountain adventures in Scotland, hiking, biking, rock-scrambling and more !

Ben Cruachan

23 January 2016
A return to mild temperatures and some windy conditions ! Martin McDermott was leading this day up the Cruachan Horseshoe, here's his tale....

Mountain hare I met Alasdair and Kaye at 0830 at Cruachan railway halt. We were joined by my friend from the rescue team, Malcolm, who is hoping to do his ML one day. It was overcast as we walked through the forest but not raining. Having looked at the forecast the night before the winds where due to come in from the south west and so I suggested doing the route clockwise so we would have the wind in our backs.

We reached the dam in good time for a short break and then headed to the end of the loch and up the slope. This increased in steepness and we were in thick cloud by this time and some careful navigation and route choice was required to get us onto the Ben Cruachan ridge and summit slopes. The freezing level was above the tops all day and the thawing snow was very soft which made progress slow at times. The wind at the summit of Ben Cruachan had picked up so we decided to keep moving towards our next munro Stob Diamh.

On A'Bhuidheanach Bheag The path between the two Munros switches left and right with no clear path in the snow and poor visibility due to the low cloud. There are some points on this ride where some scrambling is required and when we came to the 'bad step', the slabs were covered in snow which allowed us to move across them fairly easily. But because there was poor visibility, the top of the bad step couldn't be seen and a leap of faith was needed !

We did come across a solo walker half way along the ridge who asked for help navigating - and then told us we were going the wrong way !!! We double checked our headings and were happy we were correct. The solo walker followed us anyway until he saw our direction taking was correct and then headed off on his own into the mist. Hopefully he made it back ok.

White out We stopped at the last Munro for a bite to eat as the wind had eased off by this time and then more navving saw us along the southern ridge of Stob Diamh and a slow traversing descent back to the reservoir. When we were back in the forest it was beginning to get dark and so the head torches were required for the last 20 minutes.

Kaye and Alasdair were great clients with a passion for the hills. Working hard for the NHS in Newcastle they enjoyed the challenge of the day and managed to complete a classic ridge in difficult winter conditions. Pushing themselves beyond their normal comfort zone and relishing the day.

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