Crianlarich Munros

You are Here: Scotland; Rannoch; Crianlarich

We were forecast some very summery weather, and I had the weekend from hell with a 16 hour shift and no staff only part of the problems at work. Fortunately, the weather held and so on the Monday I was able to escape, and tackle my first Munros for about 18 months.

I headed down to Crianlarich and parked up in the forestry car park, ignoring the guide books advice on where to park for the simple reason that the forestry car park was already connected Back to Home, while the recommended layby was not. It meant I had to walk an extra žmile or so, but I also avoided needing to use a path that seemed to have been completely blocked by tree felling. Anyway, soon I had forced my way across a clearing, through some dense forestry where the path was essentially a muddy stream and out on to the open hill above. The two Murnos I was tackling were Cruach Ardrain and Beinn Tulaichean, part of the same ridge that runs parallel to An Caisteal, one of the last Munros I had climbed.

The ridge consists of a series of bumps on it's way up to the first summit, and I just about managed to keep going to the top of the first bump. Once there, I turned to get the view back down into Strathfillan, and what a view! Unfortunately the day was very hazy, and so the Photos didn't all come out particularly well, but here's one of the better ones:

Onwards and upwards, but not for a bit as there was a long flat section before the next climb. As I forced myself on, the gap of 18 months since I last tackled a Munro was beginning to tell, and my legs were aching, and my lungs struggling to keep up. It is very true that cycling and walking use different muscles - I have kept up exploring on my bike in the gap, but have done very little walking on anything other than fairly level gradients - old railway lines for instance! Eventually I struggled up to the 814m height of Meall Daimh, and could see the first summit ahead.

Another short break, and I pushed on again. The direct ascent was steep, but the path led around the back and then up some still-steep zig-zags to the small summit ridge, from where it was a fairly easy stroll across to the cairn itself. It was, as you can probably imagine, an exhilerating experience and I had forgotten just how enjoyable it was to stand atop a Munro. However, having got this far, and climbed over 900m to the 1046m summit, I still had another Munro to go. Whilst it can technically be climbed separately from the south, it seemed like a waste of a day to have to come back.

The descent to the bealach was easy, but the long gentle slopes up to Beinn Tulaichean were very tough, and I was relieved to finally reach the top. I had, however, spotted a rough path that seemed to cut around Cruach Ardrain, and so remove the need to re-climb it. Whilst this path was not the clearest, it was pretty easy to circumnavigate the summit and find the downward path once more.

I am writing this a week later, in April not March, and watching snow flurries swirl around outside my window, with the certain knowledge that climbing these two Munros today would require winter climbing skills that I simply don't have.