Pages about Scotland Beinn Achaladair and Beinn a'Chreachain
The Munros
The summit of Beinn Achaladair
The summit of Beinn Achaladair looking east to Beinn a'Chreachain
Country: Scotland
Location: Bridge of Orchy.
Accommodation: The Bridge of Orchy Hotel has a bunkhouse. Camping is allowed just across the bridge (ask at reception).
Transport: Railway station at the Bridge of Orchy. The A82 runs from Tyndrum past Bridge of Orchy on its way to Fort William.
Maps: Landranger Map 0050: Glen Orchy & Loch Etive
Trip Date: 11 June 1993
Introduction

Part of the southern edge of Rannoch Moor is sharply defined by the two fine peaks of Beinn Achaladair (field of hard water from the name of the settlement, 1039m) and Beinn a'Chreachain (hill of the rock or hill of the clamshell, 1081m). Running along their northern feet is the Water of Tulla as it makes its way into Loch Tulla. The southern slopes of these mountains fall in shallow grassy corries into Gleann Cailliche. Together they provide an interesting 6 kilometre ridge walk with marvellous views to the north over crags to Black Mount and the loch-sprinkled Rannoch Moor. The views to the south over Loch Lyon to the Ben Lawers hills are also good.

The best start to the traverse of the mountains is from Achallader farm where there is some car parking available. However I was based at Bridge of Orchy and so this route starts from there.

Route

Cross the A82 from the Bridge of Orchy Hotel and head up to the railway station. Just before the station, an underpass takes you off the tarmac and onto the Old Military Road. Leave this immediately to turn left onto the lower moorland slopes of Beinn Dorain. A distinct path leads 100 metres on the left (NE) over wet ground to the south bank of the Allt Coire an Dòthaidh. It then climbs up eastwards beside the stream on drier ground. Higher up the coire the path crosses a small stream and then tends to a NE course to avoid some crags. The col at the top of the coire is gained via a climbing traverse south below a line of crags and then a straight pull to the col. There is a large cairn here.

A narrow rocky path leads NNE over a small stream and then climbs up to the top of a line of crags where it becomes indistinct. Walk eastwards along the top of the crags - a diversion to bag Beinn an Dòthaidh is possible by climbing directly north to the West Top, traversing the summit ridge to the east top and then dropping down to the crags. As you reach the ridge rising to Beinn an Dòthaidh's east top, the path becomes rougher (more used by sheep than people). A couple of small crags are then threaded through to reach the easy grass slopes falling to the col at the head of Coire Daingean.

Coire Daingean and then Coire Achaladair can take you down to Achallader farm where the usual ascent route starts. Beyond the col, continue east for a couple of hundred metres and then head north up easy rising slopes to the South Top (1002m) of Beinn Achaladair. As you climb keep an eye to the west on the opening views of the crags falling from Beinn an Dòthaidh. The summit of Beinn Achaladair is an easy kilometre away first north over a very shallow dip and then NE up gentle slopes. It is marked by a small cairn situated virtually on the edge of the steep NW face dropping down to the Water of Tulla.

This is a good place to break for lunch. If you are lucky and the skies are clear enough then the bulk of Ben Nevis can be glimpsed over the peaks of Black Mount.

Beinn a'Chreachain
Beinn a'Chreachain from the slopes of Meall Buidhe

Descend to the east over gentle slopes at first and then steeper rocky slopes at the edge of north-facing crags to the 820m col below Meall Buidhe. Climb north-east for 500 metres up the slopes to the level summit ridge of Meall Buidhe (977m) - the summit is marked by a cairn at the start of the ridge. At the end of the level walking, the crags above Lochan a`Chreachain are reached and the path tends SE to drop to the col above Coire an Lochain.

The col is a good place to look down to the lochan and over it into Rannoch Moor. The gully dropping down into the corrie seems to hold snow for a long while - there was plenty there when I passed by in June.

Lochan a'Chreachain
Snow in the gully down to Lochan a'Chreachain

Climb south-east up the stoney slopes from the col up onto the summit dome of Beinn a'Chreachain. The summit is yet another good spot for a stop.

Head north from the summit for 200 metres and then NE along a narrowing ridge with a nice sharp section. Just short of the next knoll (point 959m) on the ridge turn west to drop down grassy slopes aiming for the outlet of Lochan a`Chreachain. Where the slopes level out before the outlet, there are a few easily-avoided boggy patches. Cross Allt Coire an Lochain and take a course NW to pass the east side of a set of crags further down the slopes.

You are now above Crannach Wood - a remnant of the Old Caledonian forest. The trees on the upper slopes below you are birches while lower in the valley the forest consists of pine trees. A path drops westwards through the trees for a kilometre until it becomes a well-established track paralleling the railway. Follow the track to a footbridge across the railway and continue downhill to the edge of the forest on the side of the Water of Tulla.

The path wanders down beside the Water of Tulla to where a bridge crosses the river. Continue along the farm track (which is the old right of way to Loch Rannach) across the fields to meet Allt Coire Achaladair (this stream may be difficult to cross in spate). A little further on, the farm is reached.

The remainder of the route is a fairly plain 5-6 kilometre back to Bridge of Orchy. Walk down the farm access road to the A82. The road leads back south to Bridge of Orchy with nice views across Loch Tulla to start with. It is sometimes a busy road but the verges are nice and wide. The last couple of kilometres allow good views across the fields to the River Orchy.


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