Hill: Creag Tharsuinn
Date: Sunday 20th September 2015
Company: Just myself
Distance: 13.8km, Ascent: 660m
Time: 4Hrs 10Mins

After a good day out yesterday ascending Ben Cruachan, I wanted a shorter day today. The cloud was well below the summits in Arrochar this morning, so I was not optimistic about getting great views today. From my base in Arrochar, I drove to Garvie on the A886 for an ascent of Creag Tharsuinn.

It is also possible to ascend Creag Tharsuinn from Glenbranter and from Glen Massan. Starting from Garvie would allow me to walk a section of the Cowal Way.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

I parked at Garvie where parking is fairly limited. I then set off walking along the Cowal Way.

The Cowal Way sign:

A short distance beyond Garvie, I passed several cattle. I didn't bother taking a detour, I just kept a close eye on them as I walked past.

Looking towards Strondavon:

After passing through a gate, I entered a lovely Birch wood. As well as Birch trees there were Oak, Hawthorn, Ash and Hazel. Walking through this kind of wood is delightful in comparison to walking through Sitka Spruce.

Birch Wood:

During the walk through the wood, I took photos of fungus.

Bracket fungus on a dead Birch:

Fungus, (Boletus?):

The excellent Cowal Way track made for fast progress.

Track alongside the Garvie Burn:

Garvie Burn Hydro Scheme:

Cowal Way track:

The Ordnance Survey online map doesn't show a break in the trees. There is however a wide gap providing access to the hill. I climbed over a wooden gate to gain access to the hillside; the ground beyond was mostly deep tussocks.

Access to the hill:

I followed a faint depression in the tussocks where a vehicle has at some point in the past went up/down the hill.

Looking back to the Cowal Way track:

There is a low fence to climb over about half-way up the hill.

Meall Dubh with Cruach Mhor windfarm in distance:

Creag Tharsuinn is very much a hill of two halves. The western side is fairly gentle grass slopes, whereas the eastern side is steep cliffs.

Looking across to Beinn Mhor:

On reaching the summit ridge, I followed the ridge to the summit.

Looking down to Garrachra Glen:

Looking towards the summit of Creag Tharsuinn:

Old fence post near the summit:

The summit of Creag Tharsuinn is marked by a single stone.

Single stone marking the summit of Creag Tharsuinn:

The summit stone is literally on the edge of a very steep drop.

Steep drop beyond the summit:

From the summit, I made my way back down towards the Cowal Way track. During the descent, I stepped on a flattened area of tussocks and disappeared down into a muddy hole. On reaching the Cowal Way track, I had to stop at a burn to clean-off some of the mud.

As I approached Garvie, the number of cattle had increased and they were now on the track. Again, I didn't fancy a detour so I just walked through them watching them intently as I did so. I didn't realise until I was circa five feet away from it that one of the cattle was in fact a bull. At this point I was only 10m from the gate and was now prepared to run.

I was relieved to reach the safe ground beyond the gate. If doing the Cowal Way beware of the cattle and the bull.

Cattle on the Cowal Way track at Garvie:

I enjoyed walking a short section of the Cowal Way today. However, if doing Creag Tharsuinn again an approach from Glen Massan would be more interesting.