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The Munros
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Ben Cruachan


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This is a high, east-west running ridge with seven peaks; the summit of Cruachan itself is a finely pointed peak at the apex of four ridges. On the north side of the ridge steep crags provide winter climbing, while nestling in the main coire on the south flank is Cruachan Reservoir, the feeder for the vast underground power station.

The A85 road leads west from Dalmally along Loch Awe. Just before the Power Station find one of several small lay-bys - parking at the Power Station Visitor Centre for mere walkers is definitely not encouraged. Cross under the rail line by a small tunnel, go left a bit and find the path running up on the east side of the Falls of Cruachan Burn. This burn runs down a steep-sided gorge and is best not fallen into.

Further up the path, a badly sited stile allows a highly exposed crossing of the deer fence; otherwise, those with a sense of survival may wish to find a safer way over away from the beckoning gorge! The path eventually gains the slope under the dam, with a ladder allowing an ascent to the dam itself. Walk left along the dam, go right a short distance above the west bank of the reservoir then head up the slopes of Meall Cuanail to gain its south ridge.

The grassy ridge leads to the top at 918m. Now descend steeper ground to the north for 70m to reach a bealach. Ahead lies the south ridge of Ben Cruachan, with the path striking through a boulder field to gain the summit at 1126m.

We now head east, following the ridge at the head of Coire Cruachan, with hopefully the reservoir visible below. There are a few scrambling spots but no real difficulty as you descend the east ridge. The ridge leads over the next top of Drochaid Ghlas at 1009m. This top is a little way north of the main ridge, on a spur.

Continuing the traverse, we gain the next summit, and the second Munro of the day with Stob Diamh (998m). From here, we turn south and take the ridge leading to Stob Garbh (980m), unnamed on the 1:50000 map. Some 1400m further on is a bealach, from which we turn west to descend to the south-east corner of the reservoir. From here the descent route is picked up, though the curious may be tempted to carefully explore one of the tunnels supplying water to the reservoir.

 

Maps: OS Sheet 50 'Glen Orchy & Loch Etive'
Distance: 12 km
Ascent: 1400 m
Time: 5 hours
Food & Drink: There are hotels at Dalmally, a classic starting point for many early expeditions in this area.

 

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