Colin's Munros


Ben Cruachan, Map 377W, 14th May 2006 & 3rd October 2010

Route: 9.4 miles; 1735m = 5700' ascent, or 1905m = 6250' ascent with the Corbett; 7-9½ hrs.

Cruachan Reservoir from E ridge of Drochaid Ghlas. Sron An Isean from Stob Diamh. Stob Garbh from Sron An Isean. Stob Diamh & Drochaid Ghlas from Sron An Isean.
Kilchurn Castle at the east end of Loch Awe.

Route: This is a longish route which includes all the Munro tops and the Corbett in the Cruachan massif. The trip out to Stob Dearg (Taynuilt Peak) is particularly enjoyable as is the ridge from it over to Ben Cruachan. The Corbett, Beinn a'Bhuiridh, is entirely optional. It requires only another 170m of ascent but saves a lot of climbing later if you ever decide to work your way through the Corbetts as well as the Munros. The route is mostly easy to find. However, note:

  1. The usual path from the A85 up to the reservoir goes up the east side of the Allt Cruachan, not the west side where a path is marked on the 1:50000 OS map.
  2. The usual route up Meall Cuanail is to go N to the end of the reservoir, then W up the path to the bealach with Ben Cruachan and finally S up the ridge to Meall Cuanail. I prefer ascending the pathless south ridge of Meall Cuanail because there is a view southwards as well, and it avoids the path of loose gravel up Coire Dearg.
  3. Don't attempt the short-cut from Bealach an Lochain (the col with Meall Cuanail) to the Taynuilt Peak of Stob Dearg without good visibility and some scrambling experience. Instead, ascend almost to the top of Ben Cruachan first, if necessary, and especially if you don't have the confidence to traverse what you see ahead.
  4. There is an unclear detour below one pinnacle just E of the col half way between Ben Cruachan and Drochaid Ghlas.
  5. Note, particularly, that the top of Drochaid Ghlas is off the ridge. Don't continue northwards from there, but instead return south again to a cairn which is back on the main ridge before continuing.
  6. The path around Lairig Torran is unclear especially in the mist. It is best to continue down the ridge to within a few hundred yards of the bealach with Beinn a'Bhuiridh whether continuing up that Corbett or not.
Terrain: Decent paths throughout, except for: i) no path found from reservoir directly up to Meall Cuanail; ii) peat bogs along path on the east side of the reservoir; iii) very minor scrambling on the west and east ridges of Ben Cruachan.
Weather 14/05/06: Light cloud, initially at 1100m, light but bitter breeze, initially 9°C at car rising from 14:00 to 14°C at end.
Weather 3/10/10: Very wet ground in am after heavy overnight rain, 10°C at car, overcast all day, cloud base at 600m early, rising to 860m mid-afternoon; heavy showers in morning.

14/05/06 3/10/10 14/10/13 Route Point Ht.Asc.DistanceGrid Ref. Signal
0905 0840 1540 Park on A85 at Falls of Cruachan station.   40   00.0 milesNN08022673 No Orange
0930 0905 1520 Ascend path N via low bridge under railway
& up E side of Allt Cruachan to stile
2502100.4 milesNN08142730 
  0920 1510 Path N to track at bridge 3202800.7 milesNN08122774 
0950 0930 1500 Track/steps N to top of Dam 4003601.1 milesNN07872822 
0955 0935 1455 Track 400m N along W shore of Cruachan Reservoir
to first tunnel exit.
400 1.3 milesNN07832849 
   —   EITHER (14/05/06): (shorter and better)
Ascend grassy slopes W to SE ridge of Meall Cuanail.
6756351.7 milesNN07192884 
1045  — 1420 N/NW to T Meall Cuanail. 9188802.3 milesNN06942956 
 — 0950  — OR (3/10/10): (longer & less pleasant)
Track to path end almost at next tunnel
420380 –NN08252943 
 — 1045
 — Path WNW to Bealach an Lochain 825785 –NN06952982 
 — 1105
 — S to T Meall Cuanail. 918875 –NN06942956 
1055 1120 1410 THEN Path N to Bealach an Lochain. 8258752.45 milesNN06952982 
1120  — 1345 EITHER (14/05/06): (tricky, but less effort)
Traverse NW over Coire a'Bhachaill
directly to col W of Ben Cruachan.
(This traverse is unwise except in good visibility;
Head first for lower end of obvious ravine, then
directly for col, thereby avoiding the worst slabs.)
100510553.0 milesNN06463055 
 — 1205
 — OR (3/10/10): (more ascent, but easier)
Ridge N to M Ben Cruachan (trig pt)
11261175 –NN06973047Orange
 — 1230  — W to col with Stob Dearg 1005  –NN06463055 
THEN: NW to T Stob Dearg. 110411553.2 milesNN06253075Orange
1145 1255 1320 SE back to col. 1005 3.4 milesNN06463055 
Technically scrambling E up ridge to
M Ben Cruachan, trig pt.    
(The trig post is broken; only the base remains.)
112612803.7 milesNN06973047Orange
      Minor scrambling NE to plateau end 1075 3.8 milesNN07123054 
1230     E to col 935 4.2 milesNN07703037 
  1400 1210 Minor top 95013054.3 milesNN07883042 
      Cairn on ridge, marking detour N off ridge to Top 1002 4.68 milesNN08333073 
NE to T Drochaid Ghlas
(Note that this top is off the main ridge.)
100913804.7 milesNN0833130770Orange
      Return 25m S to cairn marking onward descent path. 1002 4.73 milesNN08333073 
      SE to ridge bend 900 4.9 milesNN08543061 
      ENE to minor bump 90513905.0 milesNN08703065 
1315 1450 1125 ENE to col (on map fold). 860 5.15 milesNN08963072 
1330 1510
ENE to M Stob Diamh. 99815305.5 milesNN09483085Orange
  1525 1055 ENE off main ridge to col. 910 5.65 milesNN09713098 
1345 1530
1050 ENE to T Sron An Isean. 96615855.82 milesNN09933114Orange
  1540 1045 Return WSW to col 910 6.0 milesNN09713098 
1550 1040 WSW back to M Stob Diamh on main ridge 99816706.15 milesNN09483085Orange
    1030 S to col 930 6.4 milesNN09513044 
1605 1025 S to T Stob Garbh 98017206.55 milesNN09563024Orange
  1615   SSE over minor col to ridge end (cairn) 94717356.8 milesNN09742991 
  1630 1015 SSW to ridge bump after v minor col 87217357.1 milesNN09502948 
1450    — EITHER: Path S to level with Lairig Torran. 728 7.5 milesNN09382895 
  1715  — W down burn to Cruachan reservoir 400  –NN08482859 
1525 1730  — SSW along shore to top of Dam 400  –NN08162810 
     — Track S to fork 330  –NN08192762 
 —  — 0945 OR: Path S to Lairig Torran. 728 7.5 milesNN09562888 
 —  — 0910 Continue S to C Beinn a'Bhuiridh 89719057.87 milesNN09412835 
 —  — 0810 Ridge SW to fork in track 330 8.75 milesNN08192762 
1540 1750 0800 THEN: Path S to stile at forest edge. 250 9.0 milesNN08142730 
1600 1810 0735 Path back to A85 at Falls of Cruachan station.   401905 9.4 milesNN08022673 No Orange

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