Pages about ScotlandPreviousNext Beinn Tulaichean and Cruach Ardrain Say Hi !Help
The MunrosThe Munros
Cruach Ardrain in winter
Looking up to Cruach Ardrain in winter from Grey Height. Meall Dhamh is the knoll on the right.
Country: Scotland
Location: Glen Falloch
Accommodation: Hotel, B&B and Youth Hostel at Crianlarich.
Transport: There is a railway station at Crianlarich.
Maps: Landranger Map 0050: Glen Orchy & Loch Etive and Landranger Map 0056: Loch Lomond & Inveraray
Trip Date: 4 June 1993
Introduction

The fine sharp summit of Cruach Ardrain (stack of the high part, 1046m) looms above the village of Crianlarich with the Coire Ardrain pointing down at the village. Beinn Tulaichean (hill of the hillocks, 946m) is a lesser peak (really just the south end of a ridge from Cruach Ardrain) but has steep, sometimes craggy sides to the east, west and south. The two Munros together with the rocky Top of Stob Garbh (959m) form a Y-shaped elevation with the summit of Cruach Ardrain at the junction of the three ridges, Beinn Tulaichean to the south and Stob Garbh to the north-west.

The bulk of Cruach Ardrain hides Beinn Tulaichean from any viewpoints in Glen Falloch. It is best seen from Loch Voil to the east or even better from the neighbouring Munros (An Caisteal, Beinn a'Chroin, Ben More or Stob Binnein).

Route

The usual route to bag Beinn Tulaichean starts to the east of the Munro at the end of the road along Loch Voil from Balquhidder. This also gives a straightforward ascent of Cruach Ardrain. However the route I describe is from the comforts of Crianlarich.

Walk down the A82 road from Crianlarich for 750 metres to a bridge over the West Highland Railway line. This gives access to the forest that cloaks most of the northern slopes of Cruach Ardrain. Head right from the railway along a path and then back left through a wide clearing. A broken fence is reached after about 200 metres. Turn right where a line of fence posts climbs up a narrow break in the forest. The ground in the gap is very boggy and you will probably find better going just inside the first line of trees (watch out for the branches which seem to delight in sticking you in the most delicate places).

Beinn Tulaichean from the col before Cruach Ardrain
Beinn Tulaichean from the col before Cruach Ardrain (4 June 1993).

A kilometre of this boring forest walking brings the upper edge of the forest with a large boulder above the patch of trees ahead. This forest walking can be swapped for a long ascent up grassy slopes by walking further down the A82 road, into the Coire Earb for a kilometre and then struggling up the slopes along the upper extent of the forest. Contour around the patch of trees and then circle back up to the boulder. Cross over a fence and head SE up the ridge to the knob of Grey Height (685m) for some great views of Cruach Ardrain, the route ahead and back to Crianlarich.

The climb of 130 metres up to Meall Dhamh (814m) is along a broad, grassy and featureless ridge with no real path. The rocky knoll is a good place for a morning break and contemplating the work to be done. From here a well-defined path leads down over rocky ground to a col and then to the base of the steep shoulder up to Cruach Ardrain. You can climb this to bag Cruach Ardrain first but a bit of effort can be saved by heading off to Beinn Tulaichean first. Contour along the untracked, steep southern slopes - keeping above the crags and aiming towards a tiny knoll on the slopes above the outlying top of Stob Glas. Climb up about 50 metres after the knoll to avoid more crags and then traverse the slopes to reach the south-east ridge. A good path then leads down to the col between the Munros and then up 120m to the pointed summit.

Return back to the col and then climb the easy slopes NNW to join the usual ascent route of Cruach Ardrain at a small cairn. Go NE to the flat top with 2 small cairns which is to the south-west of the summit. This is marked on the map as 1045 metres high. The true summit of 1046m lies 70 metres to the NE with a single large cairn.

An interesting traverse can be made over Stob Garbh. Head steeply down NE from the summit cairn over rocky ground. This terrain needs care in icy conditions. Cross the wide col at the foot of the slope and go up the wide ridge to Stob Garbh. This ridge is routine in clear conditions but is confusing in mist since it is ill-defined and contains many knolls. From the top, go NW and then N down the broad grassy ridge for 500 metres to the next col (this is on OS Sheet 51 - Loch Tay). Descend NW into Corrie Ardrain heading for the trees on the west side of the corrie where a firebreak leads back to the ascent route.

I arrived at the summit in a strong, cold wind and thick clouds and did not like the idea of the confusing ridge to Stob Garbh. Thus I retraced my steps to the west, descended the steep shoulder to Meall Dhamh and returned via Grey Height and the forest.


Pages about ScotlandPreviousNext The MunrosThe Munros Say Hi ! Help