13 March 2004
It had to happen. After several trips where the weather had been superb we woke to a cloudy, damp morning. But the forecast had promised that it would brighten up in the afternoon.
So four of us (myself, Alison, Kathryn and Chris) set off for Lochearnhead. Keith and Nita had set off earlier in the expectation that we would catch up with them later in the day.
The first problem arrived in the form of a road closed sign at the Falls of Edinample bridge on the South Loch Earn road about two miles from our planned start point of Ardvorlich (Lesson 1 - always check for possible road closures). We discussed whether to walk in from there but initially decided to drive around the north side of the loch. We then met Keith and Nita who had parked in Lochearnhead and were planning to walk all the way to Ardvorlich. We therefore changed our mind and joined them.
After we had negotiated the first scramble of the day across the half demolished bridge we plodded along the road eventually reaching Ardvorlich at 11am, some one and a half hours later than anticipated. However, we made good progress up the well trodden path up Ben Vorlich. So much for the weather brightening up - the showers turned to snow. The final couple of hundred metres were a bit tricky and led us to question the decision taken by four of us to leave our crampons in the car! At least Keith and Nita had more sense! (Lesson 2 - always take your crampons - Alison says she's never taking them out of her rucksack again!)
It was clear by now that we were not going to have enough time to complete our planned second Munro of the day, Stuc a' Chroin. Nevertheless we decided to continue down to the Bealach an Dubh Chroirean as this would allow us to descend to Glen Ample and then back to the car avoiding the trek along the road. Despite correctly taking a compass bearing we were persuaded to follow footprints in the anticipation that they would take us to the bealach. It became quickly apparent that the footprints were going in the wrong direction and after some discussion we returned to the summit. Back to the original bearings and we quickly picked up the route (Lesson 3 - always believe your compass).
As we dropped towards the Allt a' Choire
Fhuadaraich the weather did, as promised, brighten up so we decided to
have lunch, somewhat later than we might have liked. The walk out down
Glen Ample made a pleasant end to an interesting day.
Photos: Steve Morley
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