Hills: Ben Halton, Mor Bheinn, Beinn Dearg and Creag na h-Eararuidh [Stuc na Cabaig]
Date: Friday 3rd June 2016
Company: Just myself
Distance: 17.3km, Ascent: 1185m
Time: 6Hrs 50Mins
With less than thirty Grahams remaining at the start of 2016, with five months now lapsed, I had made very little progress in reducing this number. I therefore decided to ascend some Grahams today, and hopefully also tomorrow, before my main objective of the weekend, a trip to Ailsa Craig on Sunday.
I set off from home at 05:15 this morning en-route to Comrie and then Glen Artney for an ascent of Mor Bheinn and Creag na h-Eararuidh [Stuc na Cabaig].
Until 17 December 2014, Beinn Dearg was thought to be the Graham summit. However, on measuring Beinn Dearg and Creag na h-Eararuidh, the latter was found to be 1.6m higher. I would however be ascending both anyway.
From the church car park, I set off walking along the road towards Dalchruin. On reaching the track leading down to Dalchruin, I followed the track past the farm and beyond to the bridge over the Water of Ruchill.
Track to Dalchruin:
Looking towards Beinn Dearg and Ben Halton:
The Water of Ruchill is pretty.
Water of Ruchill:
Beyond the bridge, I followed the track for a short while before heading up grassy slopes. On spotting a number of cattle ahead, I changed the line I was taking up the hill to avoid them.
Looking back towards the starting point:
The ground today was completely dry underfoot.
Ascending towards Dun Dubh:
Having read a couple of internet reports in advance of undertaking this walk, I knew I would soon reach a track leading to a disused quarry.
Looking across to Creag na h-Eararuidh [Stuc na Cabaig] and Beinn Dearg:
It is definitely worth taking advantage of the quarry track to skirt round Ben Halton.
Approaching the disused quarry on Ben Halton:
Ben Halton from disused quarry:
From the quarry, I spotted a stile over the nearby deer fence. I therefore took a line up the hill towards the stile. Instead of using the stile, I just went through the gate next to it.
Stile and gate at deer fence:
Beyond the stile, I made my way directly up Ben Halton. To get to Ben Halton, I had to climb over another six-foot deer fence
beyond the one in the photo above.
Looking towards the summit of Ben Halton:
A short distance from the summit, I spotted a small antler lying on the ground; another one added to my collection!
Small antler on ground:
While standing at the summit of Ben Halton, I wondered if it was a Hundred Metre Prominence hill (HuMP). The drop is apparently 99.8m, so it just misses out on being a HuMP by 0.2m! It is a good hill nonetheless and definitely worth ascending en-route to Mor Bheinn.
At the summit of Ben Halton:
Mor Bheinn from Ben Halton:
From the summit of Ben Halton, I next made my way across to Mor Bheinn. During the descent, I was again confronted with another six-foot deer fence. This time I followed the fence to its end beyond which there is an easier three-foot fence to climb over.
The ascent of Mor Bheinn was nice and easy. I followed a faint path along
the ridge to the summit. On the Ordnance Survey map, Mor Bheinn looks
incredibly rocky. In reality it is nowhere near as bad as it looks on the
Ascending Mor Bheinn:
View from the summit of Mor Bheinn:
Looking down to St. Fillans and Loch Earn:
View from Mor Bheinn:
After taking a few photos, I started my descent towards the col between Mor Bheinn and Beinn Dearg.
Looking across to Beinn Dearg during descent of Mor Bheinn:
I made up my own route down the hill which in hindsight was not the best idea. During the descent, I ended up reaching the start of a new, wide bulldozed track that is not marked on the map.
I walked about 50m along the track until realising it was not taking me where I wanted to go. I then unsuccessfully tried to make my way through the forest. In the end I had to skirt along the top of the forest until reaching yet another deer fence. However, instead of climbing over the deer fence, I just followed it down to the col.
Start of a new bulldozed track not marked on map:
Descent alongside the deer fence:
On reaching the end of the deer fence, I had yet another six-foot deer fence to climb over. This was thankfully the last fence of the day to climb over.
Looking back to Mor Bheinn and Ben Halton from the wide col:
I had a good break at the col, as I was really feeling the heat. I was
already very dehydrated and had a pounding headache.
Ascending Beinn Dearg:
I took my time during the ascent of Beinn Dearg, stopping numerous times for brief 20-30 second breaks.
Onto the NE ridge of Beinn Dearg:
Looking back to Mor Bheinn and Ben Halton:
I really hope the new bulldozed track is not an effort by the landowner to encourage the construction of a new windfarm here
- convenient access.
Looking down to the new bulldozed track:
Ascending Beinn Dearg:
Looking back along the NE ridge of Beinn Dearg:
On reaching the summit of Beinn Dearg, the previous Graham summit, I had a quick drink before continuing on towards Creag na h-Eararuidh [Stuc na Cabaig].
Looking towards Creag na h-Eararuidh [Stuc na Cabaig] and beyond to Ben Vorlich from summit of Beinn Dearg:
Creag na h-Eararuidh [Stuc na Cabaig] is a good distance away from Beinn Dearg with several ups and downs in between.
Creag na h-Eararuidh [Stuc na Cabaig]:
Looking towards Ben Vorlich from the summit of Creag na h-Eararuidh [Stuc na Cabaig]:
From the summit of Creag na h-Eararuidh [Stuc na Cabaig], I continued along the ridge towards Sron na Maoile.
Heading for Sron na Maoile:
I initially followed a path skirting round the side of Sron na Maoile but then decided to ascent to what I thought was the summit (the summit dot on the map). The dot on the map is apparently not the summit according to DoBH.
During the descent from Sron na Maoile, I skirted the majority of peat hags by
keeping to the left.
Descent from Sron na Maoile:
I opted to return directly to the car going through the Water of Ruchill rather than adding on a couple of kilometres by again using the bridge. The Water was easy to cross as there were lots of stepping stones.
These are good hills as far as Grahams go (apart from all the deer fences).