Drive 2.85 miles along the A82 from Bridge of Orchy to the turn-off for Achallader Farm (NN31134368).
Previously one could park at the ruined castle by the farm, but this is no longer an option.
Despite the large "P" by Achallader Farm on my 1:25000 map,
parking was moved back in 2012 to NN312437, just 200m from the A82. Unfortunately,
this has increased the walk by ⅔ mile in each direction along a rather dull road/path.
Route: i) I've not used the new car park, so I'm not sure about the new paths indicated for walkers to use around Achallader Farm. I've assumed the vehicle track is still acceptable.
ii) Beinn a' Chreachain and Beinn Achaladair form a great ridge walk as well as having unrivalled views in all directions. So the optional inclusion of the detour to Beinn Mhanach cannot really improve the walk unless you are really fit and don't mind the longer distance and increased ascent. However, the detour saves the long walk in to Beinn Mhanach with several potentially difficult fords when it is done on its own. The cost here is an additional 4¼ miles and 535m ascent.
iii) Although the walk described below is in the opposite direction, I much prefer walking in an anti-clockwise direction. This has several advantages, not least of which is having the prevailing wind behind on the ridge. Another is much easier route finding on Beinn a Chreachain, a third is contouring round the SE end of Beinn Achaladair at the right height (if including Beinn Mhanach), and a fourth is leaving the ford of Allt Coire Achaladair with its risk of wet feet until the end of the day. The descent through the Crannach forest to find the railway bridge at NN34934546 presents the only slight challenge in this direction.
iv) In cloud with a clockwise direction, I found the descent off Beinn a Chreachain towards Meall Buidhe to be problematic. The initial 200yds north merges very quickly and imperceptibly into the NW ridge and there is no clear west ridge shape to follow. I'd like to blame magnetic rocks for affecting my compass, but I doubt that's true!
v) There are not many safe access or escape routes on the NW side of the range. On the other hand, the SE slopes are generally fairly friendly.
vi) The Allt Coire Achaladair is usually forded at Achallader Farm where it is often shallow enough to avoid wet feet. However, when in spate, there is the option of using the bridge a little upstream at NN32374406. Also, for those taking the track on the NW side of the Water of Tulla, there is a convenient bridge at NN35304682.
vii) Contouring SW from the bealach between Beinn Achaladair and Beinn Mhanach over to the bealach between Beinn Achaladair and Beinn an Dothaidh is straight-forward in terms of terrain and there are traces of paths, but getting the height right to avoid extra climbing is easier said than done.
viii) The Allt Coire Achaladair needs to be crossed (E to W) on the descent of Coire Achaladair. This needs to be done before the stream becomes too wide, but I recall slipping on the stones where the path crosses the burn. So be careful there!
ix) For the path up Allt Coire Achaladair, the path used to go from the former car park by the tower up to house, then left round to the back of the barn and through the gate marked "To Hill". This has probably now changed with the new car park. Taking the new path rather than the track should bring one directly and more speedily to the railway bridge at NN32304371.
Weather: Overcast with showers & a sunny interval; 14°C at car; cloud on all tops until 1500.
|—||Parking near A82 off Achallader Farm road||170||0||0.0 miles||NN31294378|
|0755||Track ENE to former P at Achallader Farm||180||15||0.7 miles||NN32214430|
|0805||NE to ford Allt Coire Achaladair and stile.||175||0.95 miles||NN32454461|
|0825||Track ENE to bridge over Water of Tulla, opp ruin||190||30||1.95 miles||NN33844525|
|0835||Path E on S side of Water of Tulla to stile
by river at fence round forested area
|0845||Path ENE along S bank to Allt na Crannaich||210||50||2.5 miles||NN34514566|
|0855||Path ESE to railway bridge in Crannach Wood||275||115||2.75 miles||NN34944545|
|0905||Path ENE by railway to forest edge||330||170||3.2 miles||NN35534583|
|0925||SE towards Lochan a' Chreachain to gate and
stile in deer fence at highest pt before forest
|0955||SE to stile in deer fence at highest pt of forest edge||575||415||3.9 miles||NN36644547|
|SSE below Meall Beag to Allt Coire an Lochain||650||490||4.15 miles||NN36864515|
|1045||SE to X Coire Dubh (or to ridge at col)||961||800||4.75 miles||NN37814492|
|SW to bend in ridge 175m before summit||1055||920||5.3 miles||NN37324426|
|S to M Beinn a Chreachain (No Orange)
(Much time lost here in cloud trying to find way.)
|WNW to first col||930||5.7 miles||NN36944420|
|220yds W beside bump (940m) to next col||924||5.85 miles||NN36754422|
|W to Meall Buidhe, NE top||972||993||6.0 miles||NN36484426|
|SW to Meall Buidhe, mid top||973||1000||6.2 miles||NN36224405|
|1245||SW to T Meall Buidhe, main top||977||1010||6.43 miles||NN35984384|
|1300||SW to bealach||813||6.9 miles||NN35334344|
|WSW to bend in ridge||975||1170||7.2 miles||NN34874325|
|1335||NW to Beinn Achaladair, E end ridge (Main cairn)||1036||1233||7.4 miles||NN34624336|
|SW to M Beinn Achaladair, mid ridge cairn.
(Unclear that this is really the top.)
|SW to ridge bend||1015||7.7 miles||NN34274300|
|SSW to col||955||8.05 miles||NN34184243|
|S to T Beinn Achaladair, S Top (No Orange)||1004||1285||8.3 miles||NN34234205|
Either continue ridge S to bealach
Or (3hrs) Detour E down ridge along boundary
|1440||ESE along boundary to Lon na Cailliche||638||9.1 miles||NN35454170|
|SE along fence to fence corner||710||1355||9.35 miles||NN35724145|
|E to right end of cliffs||820||1465||9.7 miles||NN36274135|
|WSW to T Beinn a'Chuirn (No Orange)||923||1570||10.05 miles||NN36004092|
|1540||ENE to bealach||849||10.5 miles||NN36584122|
|E to M Beinn Mhanach (No Orange)||953||1675||11.0miles||NN37374114|
|1610||W back down ridge to fence bend by bealach||849||11.45 miles||NN36584132|
|WNW to fence corner||710||12.0 miles||NN35724145|
|1630||NW by fence back to Lon na Cailliche||638||12.25 miles||NN35474175|
|If possible, find path to next bealach.
(Mostly fairly horizontal at about 750m, but not the
grid refs given here.) Contour SW below stones
|Contour SW into stones||725||1760||13.15 miles||NN34554070|
|Contour SW over stones||750||1785||13.33 miles||NN34254055|
|1715||THEN: Cairn on path at Bealach with Coire Daingean||755||1790||13.5 miles||NN34014056|
|1750||Path N on E bank of Allt Coire Achaladair
to crossing at 500m
|N to path end (by map) on W bank of river||408||14.87 miles||NN32884240|
|1840||V. wet peaty path N to Railway Bridge||235||15.8 miles||NN32294366|
|1845||Track N to former P at Achallader Farm||180||16.2 miles||NN32214430|
|—||Track WSW to parking near A82||170||1795||16.9 miles||NN31294378|