A Round of Stuc a’ Chroin & Beinn Each

5 04 2012

Wed 21 March 2012

Having already done Ben Vorlich which is normally twinned with Stuc a’ Chroin, in snow, in December and been too exhausted to do the Stuc the same weekend let alone the same day, I decided to combine doing the Stuc from Braeleny Farm above Callander with also bagging the Corbett of Beinn Each. While nothing exciting happened on this walk, and the pictures aren’t spectacular, I thought there would be some who would find this more unusual route interesting. It was certainly a pleasant round…

With this being a round from the South, I had hoped for superb sunny weather but, while it was fine, it was quite cloudy until late in the day when the sun finally made an appearance – I was nearly back by then though!

I drove up to Callander the night before and hunted briefly for a Bed & Breakfast place. I was lucky in that almost the first place I saw, Glengarry House, had a ‘vacancies’ sign outside and was an absolutely superb place to stay. It wasn’t badly priced at £35 per person per night either. I’ll put details on my ‘Recommendations’ page…

I was soon installed with a large, bright and comfy double room to myself and, after unpacking, set out for a lovely walk in the woods above Callander for an hour or so to get my blood going again after sitting in the car. There’s a good set of paths in the woods above the town and also a walk to Bracklinn Falls which are worth a look.


A Really Bad Photo of the Falls Taken at Last Light on my December Visit

The next day I breakfasted early (for me) at 0830 and then was straight off up the Bracklinn Falls road to Braeleny Farm – about a 3 mile drive up above town and a convenient height gain of around 800 feet! 🙂 A parking area has been made at the junction of the two farm drives – the only habitation up the whole glen nowadays – room for probably about 8 or 10 cars.


Braeleny Farm Approach (taken in December)

I had my packs and boots on in a couple of minutes and was off past Braeleny Farm on the landrover track which heads, in just over a mile, to the abandoned farmstead of Arivurichardich – would make a lovely bothy!


The Keltie Water – followed on the approach


The Approach Track… Stuc a’ Chroin is just out of sight on the far ridge


Arivurichardich

Just before you reach Arivurichardich, you meet… the river! There was once a bridge but, many years ago, it washed away in a flood and no-one has seen fit to replace it. The river isn’t really crossable, even at fairly low water, by any other method than wading from what I could see so I just picked a shallow section – there were some quite deep ones. The flow was very calm though and the water not that cold.

After a quick look at the old building, still in good repair and obviously being used by the farmer, I took the path which passes below the front of the building and heads left for the pass before Stuc a’ Chroin’s long SE ridge. It’s just over another mile up to the pass on a raking path at a steady gradient – the path is now just a narrow trod and was fairly muddy and wet…


Glen a’ Chroin (the walk is a round of this glen)


Reservoir from Ascent to Pass

Shortly after crossing a burn in a nice little gill the path steepened up to the col. From here you turn sharp left, still on a faint path, steeply up the end of the ridge.


Looking Back from the Gill


Beinn Each Behind Meall na Caora

After that short, steep section onto the ridge-end, there is then a couple of miles of almost flat, great ridge-walking which should have had great views across the corrie to Ben Vorlich but unfortunately only the lower slopes were showing. Shame as I’d been looking forward to that view. Right at the end of the long ridge, there was a final steepening up the summit cone with various paths going up it.

As I arrived on the summit (3198 feet) I met a group of guys coming the other way who’d come up the traditional, scrambly route up the buttress from Ben Vorlich. We had a quick chat about our respective routes and a study of an interesting-looking snowy gully which looked like a straightforward route down the back into the corrie between the hills. I sheltered as much as I could from the cold wind hitting the summit and had a quick coffee but it was too cold to hang around so I was soon visiting the other summit (not sure which is the true one) on the way to start my descent.

I got my compass out and checked the map – I just had to keep heading west until I dropped out of the cloud and onto the, quite low at around 2230 feet, Bealach nan Cabar (the pass of the antler I believe). The descent was on a great path and, after winding about briefly, suddenly descended a steep and loose gully and then continued to descend steeply (although not scarily) for about half a mile. Where the ground flattened out towards the bealach, I was pleased to see a dry, rocky ridge extended nearly all the way across the bogs to the other side. It was nice, sheltered and dry for sitting here so I had another quick break for a coffee and the biscuits I’d taken from my room at the B&B.


Beinn Each from Bealach nan Cabar


Looking Back up to Descent from Stuc a’ Chroin

The path then headed SW up a short, steepish rise to a craggy area where it then turned left and wound around the craggy bits heading towards Beinn Each (2667 feet) The peak, which was nearly a mile away, had finally shaken its head free from the mist and looked a very steep ascent indeed. I soon reached the foot of the peak and saw that the path headed confidently up to tackle the small craggy bands. It was very steep and I was soon huffing and puffing and feeling tired. This was my first Scottish walk this year and I hadn’t yet regained full fitness. I decided that, although the path took a great route round the crag bands, I wouldn’t fancy this section in snow or ice!

Luckily, although steep, it’s a fairly short climb to the summit from this side and I was soon having another little coffee break at the top. Nice views into Glen Ample and further afield to the Trossachs hills had now opened up – looking behind me though, the Stuc still had his head mostly in the cloud… I had a quick look at the equally steep (but long and unremitting) climb up from Loch Lubnaig and then left to head SE again along the ridge to take me back to Braeleny.


Stuc a’ Chroin


Beinn Each

This ridge goes initially over Meall na Caora (2492 feet) – an easy enough plod from here up around 200 feet at a very easy angle. Just after the descent from this peak, the ridge splits into two branches and my route headed along the more northerly of the branches, now heading east. Another small peak is soon reached and walked over – until I reached this one I thought it was the peak at the end of the ridge and I was soon to descend. Not so however… when I reached this peak I could see I had about another half-mile to get to the final peak on the ridge. The whole ridge from Beinn Each is around 2 miles long.

I have to say that I found this ridge considerably more tiring, with it’s ups and downs, than the one up to the Stuc – but maybe I was just starting to tire anyway. It was pleasant walking though and nice scenery either side. Looking round I saw the the Stuc had finally got his head clear of cloud and the weather started to brighten up.


Views from the Ridge to Stuc a’ Chroin

I took a few more photos and then started down the very steep, grassy descent SE off the end of the ridge into Gleann Breac-nic (hopefully not ‘Glen Break-neck’!) Towards the bottom, the descent became uncomfortably steep and I curled round to the right in towards the burn, upsetting a few sheep in the process who thought they were safely hidden away.

I soon reached the burn running through the glen and followed it hoping for a crossing place. After following it due east until I could see I was nearing the junction with the river I crossed earlier, I decided another wade was the order of the day. At least I’d then return with nice, fresh feet! This river was much narrower and I was very soon across it and with only a very short section of paddling. There was then some pathless, tussocky ground to cross for a few hundred yards back to the wooden hut I’d passed on the landrover track at the start of the day.

As always, the mile or so back along the outward track seemed longer but I was happy with my day, it being my first Munro of this year, so I just plodded along in the sunshine.

Stats:13 miles, 3564 feet of ascent, 6 and a quarter hours. 1 Munro and 1 Corbett.

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15 responses

7 05 2012
Stovieneil

Nice day out – I have done it a couple of times as Our Club has had the cottage at Arivurichardich for the last 15 years.

Beinn Each and Meall na Caora see very little traffic but are really nice wee hills with great views on a good day.

A couple of notes about the river: There are NO bridges on either the Breac-nic or the Allt a’ Chroin upstream of the old bridge site where the streams come together. In lowish water a boulder hop is easy and i would recommend trying just above the confluence where it can be often done dryshod. In higher levels of spate the best wade is just below the old bridge site in an area of smoother water. This is best done in a group huddle as going swimming would be a very bad idea.

If the water is very high there is the option of heading down the East bank of the Keltie to the intact bridge at the ‘Scout Pool’ about a mile below Braeleny.

This is a horrible, wet and trackless plochter through the moor but it’s better than not getting across safely.

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17 05 2012
mountaincoward

Hi Stovieneil,
Sorry to not approve your comment earlier but I’ve just been doing a bit more Munroing for 2 weeks on Skye and Kintail!

That’s some great info on the bridges and river crossing situations up there and there are quite a few who read my blog who will find all that useful so thanks for that 🙂

I’m glad to see that Arivurichardich is being used for something useful,
Carol.

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18 05 2012
Stovieneil

No problem hope you had a great trip in the rather mixed weather we have been having. One wee point Carol: Someone asked about crossing the dam. This would be possible at all water levels as there is a walkway BUT and its a BIG BUT, it only crosses the Allt a’ Chroin leaving you with the Breac-Nic to cross so in big water it disnae really help!
regards
Stovieneil

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18 05 2012
mountaincoward

My first week went well – didn’t get a thing done the second week as there was too much snow in Glen Affric for the stuff I wanted to get done – it snowed even more the day we left – right down the the road verges on the A9!

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19 05 2012
Stovieneil

Never mind, the hills will still be there next time.

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11 04 2012
Where the Fatdog Walks

Beinn Each was one of my favourite short hills. 😀 I did it from the Loch Lubnaig side heading up Glen Ample. I fancied doing SaC as well but didn’t have enough time. I have to say the BE route from Glen Ample is superb with only 2m of bog on the whole route…yep…2m. 😆

Never thought of doing those two, together, from that side. Must go and look at the map now. 😀

Good start to your Munro-bagging year Carol!

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11 04 2012
mountaincoward

The ‘2m’ standing for 2 miles? 😉

My Munroing has now ground to a halt – I was due to go up for a very intensive week next week but apparently it’s snowing more or less every day. I don’t want to try to do the schedule I had planned in snow – that would be too much. I think I’m going to have to look at breaking my rule of never going up in the midge/cleg season of July/August this year if I want to get finished!

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11 04 2012
Where the Fatdog Walks

A near bogless hill – incredible as it may seem. I’ve been watching SaC from the bottom of our estate the past few days – snow looks down to about about 700m. Looks like The Fatdog and I will be on lower hills next week until the white stuff shifts. Noticed snow still forecast on the hills this week. We can’t hack tough going these days 😆

Usually shifts fairly quickly at this time of year though…so shouldn’t be too long before you could get back on if you get a chance.

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11 04 2012
mountaincoward

I’m just going to have to watch the MWIS weather forecast every day (and Scottishhills) to see what’s what I think. But I’d been planning walking every day for a week and doing up to 10 Munros in the week with some 3 hill days – there’s no way I could do that in any kind of snow as it just slows you down so much! Next week was my rota’d week off but looks like it’s going to get wasted 😦

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6 04 2012
fedupofuserids

Looks an interesting round Carol, a world apart from the well worn path up Ben Vorlich! Another fine detailed report.

I might well follow your route when I get round to this, I certainly fancy picking off Beinn Each at the same time 🙂

Do you think the river would cause problems after rain ? My map shows a footbridge above the reservoir althougth that still leaves Allt Breac-nic to cross !

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8 04 2012
mountaincoward

The Allt Break-neck would be much easier to cross as it is less than half the width of the other and much shallower (although a bit faster running). I saw there was that bridge marked and peered down from the ridge on the way back to see if I could see it but didn’t see anything. That’s not to say it wasn’t there as my eyesight is pretty cr*p nowadays and I was fairly unlikely to see it from up there. I think that would have to be a forum question. If you’re not on any forums nowadays who might know, do you want me to put a question out on Scottish Hills?

It was a pretty great round though and I’d certainly do it again. I’d also like to do that route up Stuc a’ Chroin in snow (but not the Beinn Each bit).
Carol.

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9 04 2012
fedupofuserids

If my map reading skills (or lack of :D) are right the bridge should be on the far right of photo 9 ‘Looking back to reservoir from gill’ but it isn’t !

fedup left the forum that shall not be mentioned about a month or so after you where unfairly removed IMO. The Outside Scotland bit wasn’t the same.

As my Scottish walking trips are limited maybe a while before I get to these 😦

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9 04 2012
mountaincoward

I’m not sure you’d see the bridge on this resolution of photo – I scan them at low resolution anyway and then they are further compressed (and so degraded) for the blog. Why not put out a question on Scottishhills? Someone will know about the bridge… When I replied earlier, I’d somehow forgotten you were on there – despite replying to your Back O’ Skidda post sometime around then! LOL

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5 04 2012
Paul Shorrock

A good day out, Carol – I’ve done nothing at all in this part of Scotland.

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21 04 2016
mountaincoward

Hi Paul – yeah, it was a great start to my Munroing year! 🙂

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