Hill: Cnap Cruinn
Date: Saturday 2nd January 2016
Company: Just myself
Distance: 18.5km, Ascent: 880m
Time: 5Hrs 40Mins

After an excellent day's walking on New Year's Day with snow down to <100m, walking on the 2nd was somewhat different. After a night of high temperatures and persistent rain the snowline had risen to >500m and the ground was sodden.

Instead of driving to just beyond the Glen Spean Lodge Hotel, I decided to extend the walk by starting and finishing the walk from/to the Grey Corries Bunkhouse in Roybridge.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

The walk along the A86 was hard on the feet given I was wearing stiff B3-rated Sportiva boots. These were completely overkill for this walk but was good practice for getting used to the extra weight for forthcoming winter walks.

Setting off from Grey Corrie Lodge:

After a few kilometres I reached the Glen Spean Lodge Hotel. It looks a nice hotel and is certainly a stunning building. Five-star luxury compared with the filthy dump that is the Grey Corries Lodge Bunkhouse.

Glen Spean Lodge Hotel:

A short distance beyond the Glen Spean Hotel, I reached the entrance to the Àite Cruinnichidh bunkhouse and then walked a further 150m along the A86 to gain access to the track leading down to the footbridge over the River Spean at the Monessie Gorge.

I had been looking forward to seeing Monessie Gorge for the first time. There was a considerable volume of water flowing through the gorge as the river level was high. However, I have to admit I found the bridge more enjoyable than the gorge. The bridge is most definitely a shaky bridge which can hold only two people at any one time. It was really swaying about as I walked across; good fun crossing it.

Monessie Gorge:

Looking back at footbridge over the Monessie Gorge:

Beyond the footbridge, I continued along the track towards Monessie Farm. Wellies may have been better than winter boots for passing through the mix of mud, water and cowshit at the farm.

Looking towards Beinn Chlianaig:

Beyond the farm, I walked a short distance along a track before making my way up the hillside. There is no track to follow up the hillside so it is just a case of choose whatever line you wish up the grassy slopes.

View along the River Spean towards Roybridge:

During the ascent I passed level ground where there had at one point in time been a tramway. A short distance above the old tramway line, I also crossed a parallel road. I was unaware that the Glen Roy parallel roads were also to be found outwith Glen Roy on the other side of the A86. The post ice age glacial loch which made the parallel roads must have been extensive.

Ascent towards Beinn Chlianaig:

On reaching the Beinn Chlianaig ridge line, I decided to stay below the ridge as the wind speed was quite high. In hindsight, it would have been better to head up Beinn Chlianaig en-route to Cnap Cruinn, as the terrain below the ridge line was not great - wet with numerous peat hags.

Into the clag skirting below Beinn Chlianaig:

Unpleasant terrain:

Instead of wandering about in the clag, I got out my phone and used Viewranger to find my way to the summit of Cnap Cruinn.

At the summit of Cnap Cruinn:

After bagging the summit, I went behind some rocks to get a bit of shelter to have some food and a drink before returning back down the hill. During the return, I decided to ascend Beinn Chlianaig, a Graham-Top of Cnap Cruinn to avoid having to walk back through the peat hags.

At the first top of Beinn Chlianaig:

At the second top of Beinn Chlianaig:

From Beinn Chlianaig, I continued on a few hundred metres before heading down to re-join my in-bound route.

Descent back towards Monessie:

As I approached Monessie farm, I could see a number of cattle. I managed to by-pass them without getting too close.

Cows at Monessie farm:

I again enjoyed crossing the footbridge across the River Spean and was soon back up onto the A86.

View across the River Spean towards the Àite Cruinnichidh bunkhouse:

The walk back along the road to the bunkhouse was again hard on the feet. I was now regretting not parking in the Cille Choirill car park directly opposite the track leading down to the footbridge across the River Spean.