Mostly, this is random stories from my various trips as I collect them, but I've a wee backlog to get through too and those will pop up occasionally.

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Tuesday 17 April 2012

Stuc a' Chroin

Mim is back from Nepal and the plan is to keep the fitness going throughout the rest of the year, so at the first weekend available we decided to head off to knock off a Munro - the first "new" one Mim will have done for 4-5 years. I've climbed Stuc a'Chroin twice already - once by each of the publicised routes. While the "normal" route from Ben Vorlich has a lovely little scramble for added interest, I'd a feeling that Mim would prefer the more leisurely approach from the South. 

Having found our way to the little car parking spot at the end of the public road, we were both a bit surprised by just how chilly it was, despite the intermittent sunshine. So, it was an with all the layers and up the good track, past the farmhouse of Braeleny and we could already see most of the days route out ahead of us. At the river crossing at Arivurichardich we briefly considered running across the pipeline, before sensibly opting for the double river crossing, the water being low enough for a bit of boulder-hopping. Even the two geese honking loudly at us didn't put us off :-)

The path then climbs, steeply at times, to the col on the long SE ridge and then up that same ridge all the way to the summit. Mostly, it's a straightforward walk, but there are a couple of really steep sections that would require some care in more slippy conditions. Perhaps the best thing about this rote is the splendid isolation one feels. The scenery ahead and to each side is more reminiscent of Affric or Kintail than Stirlingshire, especially with the light covering of occasional snow patches, still lingering from the last few weeks. The view behind gives the game away though. Being on the edge of the Highland Boundary Fault, the views to the South cover all of the central belt as far as the distant Pentlands. 

Two and a half hours after setting off, we found ourselves at the summit - just as three other walkers were heading back towards Ben Vorlich. They were the only folk we saw on the whole trip and Mim remarked how peaceful and quiet it all was compared to the Everest base Camp route. We were also being buzzed by three ptarmigan, colours now swinging back towards summer plumage. I'm sure there would have been a nest nearby, so I made sure we moved to a spot where they were happy to leave us alone.

Mim at the summit

A wee spot of shelter just off the summit made a pleasant enough stop and the sun came out again to warm us a little and make it a bit less unpleasant to be hanging around. I was rather enjoying the experience, but Mim was already getting cold hands, so it was a quick pack-and-go and we were off down the hill again. 

All in all , another great day out and another Munro in Mims collection (I need to fire up the old spreadsheet and see how many that is now. For somewhere so close to home, it's really given me an incentive to be heading north soon.