Report on Vorlich and a'Chroin
3 October 2010
Ben Vorlich and Stuc a'Chroin
Today?s Craggy?s ? Michael N, Gail and Irene
We decided on Ben Vorlich and Stuc a?Chroin as this would bring my Munro tally to 50 before the winter sets in and our hillwalking days are cut short. The weather forecast was awful but looked like an improvement was due later in the day.
We arrived at Ardvorlich House on the banks of Loch Earn to start our walk at 10:30am. It was heavy rain and pretty miserable. Anyway off we went through the house gates and keeping to the track which is well signposted. There were a couple of large groups in front of us so Ben Vorlich, our first hill, seemed a popular walk. It is an easy track to follow and as we headed up Coire Buidhe the rain eased but clouds seemed to be chasing us up the valley. We soon were in the clag which hung over the summits so all the views were then lost. The last pull up to the summit was strenuous but thankfully the trig could be seen through the mist. The summit was busy so we dropped down slightly on the grass to have lunch. Once we got our breaths back, the cold set in quickly. This is where Michael announced that he was giving up cigarettes again and had set a quit date sp this was going to be his last fag on the hill. All I can say it was the first of many last fags that day!!!
Stuc a?Chroin was our main target today which I had yet to bag. On leaving Ben Vorlich we were on our own as all the crowd must have returned back down the path they had come up. We descended down to the bealach between these 2 hills. It was rather wet and muddy and we were still in the clag with nothing to see. We realised we had a choice of scrambling up the prow of the hill or carrying round to climb up the steep grassy slope. We stood and pondered looking up at the boulder field trying to find a route. Michael was sent ahead and quickly found trace of a route which we followed. The rocks were slippery as they were wet so we carefully picked our way through it. We gained height quickly then came to a rather daunting bit where Michael just couldn?t get up because his boots couldn?t get a grip on the slippery rock. He carefully bypassed the rock to find another way up with Gail taking care to follow. I decided to try to get up where Michael failed and found myself only half up and in a rather precarious position unable to go any further but also unable to get back down! After giving myself a good talking to and with only one hand hold, found some inner strength to lever myself up to safety. My legs were like jelly as I stood for a moment to regain my composure looking down at Gail finding her way up. Onwards and upwards the scramble continued which became even more exhilarating. As we reached the cairn at the end of the scramble, the rain came on heavy again. We had a few hundred yards still to go before we were on the summit of Stuc a?Chroin. There were a couple of cairns so we visited them both to make sure we had reached the highest point.
Still in cloud we left the summit and headed back to the route which bypasses Ben Vorlich to meet up with the path again. Soon the sky cleared of cloud and the sun came out, just as the forecast predicted. The bypass route was very muddy and wet so wasn?t the easiest ground to walk on. We soon met the path and enjoyed good views looking down towards Loch Earn again. We got back to the car at around 6pm and headed for home.
So here are 2 very different munros which are often climbed together. Ben Vorlich is so easy on a well maintained path to the summit but Stuc a?Chroin was much more technically challenging with an exciting scramble which I personally wouldn?t want to do in winter conditions. Ben Vorlich was very busy yet we didn?t meet a soul once we left the summit to head to Stuc a?Chroin or for the rest of the day. We all enjoyed our walk and we would recommend these hills to others who want a varied experience of what hillwalking can offer.