Just back after a two day pass out to do some walking and catch up with some old friends. So how many peaks did I ‘bag’? Well….none.
We were based, for the fourth year running, at the Ben More Lodge. After a few sunny days last week, Saturday morning was bright and clear and full of promise. By the time we had taken a hefty ballast of fried pork for breakfast however, the cloud had moved in, obscuring both the blue sky and the tops of the surrounding mountains. We drove a little further north and parked in Strath Fillan. As we crossed the river Fillan at White Bridge, a dipper skimmed low across the water.
A track took us to the Allt Gleann Auchreoch, where a decrepit bridge, not marked on my map, led us across the river…
…for a confab with the map…
Rather unusually, we were in an area of native woodland, with lots of Scots Pines, which made for very pleasant walking, although it was very soggy underfoot.
We climbed past the skeletal remnants of a dead tree, still towering over the birches surrounding it…
And were soon out of the woods and climbing beside the waterfalls of the Allt Coire Dubhchraig…
When we crested the rise at the top of the falls we were in the clouds. The boggy path we were following struck westward towards the broad northern shoulder of Beinn Dubhcraig. I was finding the going a little tough, and having left the stream and the woods and entered the clouds, found the prospect of slogging the rest of the way up a featureless hillside pretty unappetising. So I didn’t. I rationalised the decision by making the excuse that I’ve climbed these hills before. Uncle Fester is usually on the look out for company for a tactical withdrawal and has a dicky knee at the moment, so leaving the rest to carry-on we turned tail and after a short descent picked up a forest track dropping down into Gleann Auchreoch.
Naturally, Sod’s law was in full effect and by the time we stopped on a rocky knoll for a breezy lunch, it was clear that the cloud was beginning to lift. Soon after all the tops were clear, including Beinn Dubhcraig and Ben Oss where our friends would now be enjoying panoramic views. We found a sheltered, sunny spot on a bridge in the forestry and a photo stop…
Cloud clearing from Beinn Dorain and Beinn Odhar
…became a sit down, then a lie down, then a nap. (Uncle Fester reports that he was only resting his eyes, but I was definitely snoring – I kept waking myself up)
In fact we had a very pleasant afternoon exploring the woodland around the rivers Fillan and Cononish, spotting frogs in path side pools and ditches and taking advantage of the sunshine to take lots of photos.
Ben More, Stob Binnein and Cruach Ardrain
White Bridge and the River Fillan
One of the sculptures in the Tyndrum Community Forest
Backlit birch bark
Coltsfoot by the Car Park