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Report on Cruach Ardrain
9 May 2010   (3332 views)

Today?s muscle weary walkers were Irene, Gail, Michael, James, Denise and Belle the mutt.

We met at 9am at Irene?s and headed off in two cars with Michael in the back of mine being licked in the face by Belle! We followed Gail who drives just as fast as Irene! Turned right at Crianlarich and headed for the second lay-by/car park on the right. Arrived sharp at 10.30am, got kitted up and set off.

We followed a good footpath up through forest. Reached a fork in the road and Irene (who had done the first half of this walk before) tells us to go right. We wandered along chatting in lovely sunshine until another fork where Irene announced she can?t remember which way now but thinks it?s right again. Can I just state for the record that it should have been left! Anyway headed right with Irene muttering that nothing seems familiar until we found a way up through a field of felled trees. Irene could see a deer fence at the other end of the field and stated that she can remember now that there is a style over said fence. Very tricky walk, through field with lots of boggy areas, with tree stumps and branches lying everywhere. Belle looked up at me decidedly worried. She was right to be worried as we reach deer fence and no style was in sight. Before we could debate our next move, Michael threw rucksack over and climbed safely to the other side. I threw my bag over and picked up Belle but there was no way I could climb and carry the mutt. James was half way over and stood at the top of fence so I stood on a rock and passed Belle up to him (she was now quivering with either fear or excitement). Michael was at the other side shouting ?drop her and I will catch her?. What a catch, wonder if Michael plays cricket or rugby, he should. Irene and Gail scrambled over.

Once we were all safely over fence we headed on up another field which is easier underfoot as not so boggy with no trees lying about. Nearly stood on a little vole which scurried away! We followed the fence up and nearing the top saw the route we should have come up with style over deer fence. Note to self next time go right then left through forest trail!

Nearly at the top of Grey Height then Meall Dhamh we could see Cruach Ardrain in the background with Ben More to the left and An Caisteal and Beinn a?Chroin to the right. Very warm now and we stripped off all our layers. Michael was sweating profusely (not been out in a while) and was searching bag for a bandana! Only thing that kept me going is knowing he was struggling more! Did a few squats and jacks to make out it was a walk in the park for me though my legs were feeling the burn. Stopped for a chocolate boost and then started the ascent of Cruach Ardrain.

Half way up James looked rather green and stated his stomach was killing him (did think he was rather quiet). Blamed the chocolate we had earlier (chocolate has never made me ill and I consume loads of it). Irene and I fell back to keep him company and jolly him along. Finally we all made it to the summit with spectacular views and surprisingly warm. Usually it is snowing when I reach the top of a munro! We sat and had lunch before going down a little to head back up Beinn Tulaichean. James feeling a bit better now and had a corned beef sarnie. Told him I would wait with him if he didn?t want to do the next peak (wish I had brought the Sunday papers) but like a trooper he decided to go on, though every time I turn round to check him he resembled Gary Barlow when he trudged up Kilimanjaro for charity.

We reached the summit and all had another chocolate break; did no-one bring fruit? Michael called his Mrs to tell her he made it and she asked how to make spaghetti bolognaise (she was keeping him some, though at this rate it may be for breakfast). Ask if there is enough for 5 and a hungry hound? It is now 4pm and getting cooler so start putting the layers back on as we descended. James told a few poor jokes so obviously feeling better. Descended in no time and headed for the style (we should have come over on the way up) then back down through an easier, less boggy trail than the one this morning.

Picked the footpath up again through the forest and arrive back at the cars at 6.30pm, eight hours after we set off. Stopped at the Drovers for some liquid refreshment on the way home.

Denise Smith

that deer fence
Beinn a' Chroin
having a rest
James and Belle the mutt
Cruach Ardrain
Gail, James and Denise
how romantic!
James on Cruach Ardrain
Summit of Cruach Ardrain with Ben More and Stuc a Chroin in background
Gail heading to Beinn Tulaichean
Summit of Beinn Tulaichean
back to Cruach Ardrain
on the descent

Photos: Irene Cahill

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