Colin's Munros


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

Route: 9.6 miles; 1690m = 5545' ascent, or 1880m = 6170' ascent with the Corbett; 7 hrs & 9½ hrs resp.

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 is particularly enjoyable as is the ridge from it over to Ben Cruachan. The Corbett, Beinn a'Bhuiridh, is entirely optional, but saves a lot of climbing 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 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.
  2. 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.
  3. There is an unclear detour below one pinnacle just E of the col half way between Ben Cruachan and Drochaid Ghlas.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 path throughout, except for: i) no path found from reservoir directly up to Meall Cuanail; ii) peat bogs along path on E side of 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 Route Point HeightAscentDistance  
0905 0840 Park on A85 at Falls of Cruachan station.   40   00.0 miles No Orange
    Ascend path N via low bridge under railway
& up E side of Allt Cruachan.
0930 0905 Cross stile at abt 250m 250210  
  0920 Cross bridge on track 320280  
0950 0930 Track/steps N to top of Dam 4003601.05 miles 
0955 0935 Track 400m N along W shore of Cruachan Reservoir
to first tunnel exit.
   – EITHER (14/05/06)
Ascend grassy slopes W to SE ridge of Meall Cuanail.
1045  – N to T Meall Cuanail. 9188802.25 miles 
 – 0950 OR (3/10/10)
Track to path end almost at next tunnel
 – 1045
Path WNW to Bealach an Lochain 825785  
 – 1105
S to T Meall Cuanail. 9188802.25 miles 
1055 1120 THEN
Path N to Bealach an Lochain.
1120  – EITHER (14/05/06)
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.)
 – 1205
OR (3/10/10)
Ridge N to M Ben Cruachan (trig pt)
11261180 Orange
 – 1230 W to col with Stob Dearg 10051060  
NW to T Stob Dearg.
110411603.25 milesOrange
1145 1255 SE back to col. 1005   
Technically scrambling E up ridge to
M Ben Cruachan, trig pt.    
(The trig post is broken; only the base remains.)
112612803.8 milesOrange
    Minor scrambling NE to plateau end 1075   
1230   E to col 935   
  1400 Minor top 950   
    Cairn on ridge, marking detour N off ridge to Top 1002   
NE to T Drochaid Ghlas
(Note that this top is off the main ridge.)
100913554.8 milesOrange
    Return 25m S to cairn marking onward descent path. 1002   
    SE to ridge bend 900   
    ENE to minor bump 905   
1315 1450 ENE to col (on map fold). 860   
1330 1510
ENE to M Stob Diamh. 99814955.55 milesOrange
  1525 ENE off main ridge to col. 910   
1345 1530
ENE to T Sron An Isean. 96615505.85 milesOrange
  1540 Return WSW to col 910   
1550 WSW back to M Stob Diamh on main ridge 99816406.15 milesOrange
    S to col 930   
1605 S to T Stob Garbh 9801690 Orange
  1615 SSE over minor col to ridge end (cairn) 9471700  
  1630 SSW to ridge bump after v minor col 8721710  
1450   S to path level with Lairig Torran 728   
  1715 Either W down burn to Cruachan reservoir
Or Continue S to C Beinn a'Bhuiridh and
then W or WSW back to dam or track to dam.
1525 1730 SSW along shore to top of Dam 400 8.6 miles 
1540 1750 Road S to fork, then path S to stile at forest edge. 250   
1600 1810 Path back to A85 at Falls of Cruachan station.   40 9.6 miles No Orange

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