Hills: Stob Garbh, Stob Daimh, Drochaid Ghlas and Sron an Isean
Date: Thursday 6th June 2019
Company: Just myself
Distance: 14.7km, Ascent: 1415m
Time: 7Hrs

It was originally my intention this morning to ascend Ben Vane from Inveruglas. However, on arriving at the Inveruglas National Park car park at 5am, the ticket machine advised "No overnight parking" and would not sell me a ticket until 8am. I am not sure for whose benefit the board and management of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park are running the park. Their ridiculous rules are not in the spirit of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code and they are discouraging not only campers but also walkers. In summer, you cannot start early to see a hill sunrise or set off late to see a hill sunset, as you are not permitted to park outwith 8am to 8pm unless you are able to purchase an overnight permit. This is a nonsense as arriving at 5am to undertake a walk is NOT staying overnight. I personally think it is about time our National Parks were run for the benefit of the environment and for those who enjoy being outdoors with full elected membership and no party-political agendas.

As there was no way I was going to sit and wait for three hours until the ticket machine would allow me to purchase a ticket, it was two fingers up to the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, I went elsewhere instead. From Inveruglas, I made my way towards Dalmally for an ascent of Stob Daimh.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

It was raining from the outset so I set off with waterproofs on and these remained on throughout the walk. As well as rain, the cloud was also low. From the B8077, I went through the gate and then followed the track leading towards the disused quarry.

Heading along the track towards the disused quarry:

Beyond the quarry, I opted to undertake a clockwise circuit ascending Stob Daimh via Stob Garbh and descending via Sron an Isean. I last ascended Stob Daimh in 2005 when I undertook the same circuit. All going well, today I would however also be ascending Drochaid Ghlas, a Munro Top of Ben Cruachan.

Onto the WNW ridge of Stob Garbh:

Looking back during initial ascent:

I found the ascent fairly steep and relentless. I am definitely getting old!

Ascending ridge leading to Stob Garbh:

The ascent was mostly in cloud apart from the occasional fleeting view looking back towards Dalmally.

A fleeting view while ascending in cloud:

Ascent towards Stob Garbh:

It was great to eventually reach the summit of Stob Garbh with a fairly level section of walk ahead. I only stopped long enough to take a photo with my iPhone before continuing on. In my rucksack I was carrying my DSLR with my new 400mm lens. It stayed in the rucksack throughout the walk; an unnecessary 2.5kg in the bag.

At the summit of Stob Garbh:

On the ridge between Stob Garbh and Stob Daimh:

It didn't take long to reach the summit of Stob Daimh. The summit is apparently the rock six metres beyond the cairn. At the summit, I stopped for my first drink of the day but didn't bother with food. It wasn't the best of days to be hanging around.

At the Stob Daimh summit cairn:

I next made my way out towards Drochaid Ghlas which is normally ascended as part of the Cruachan Horseshoe. Having not done the Cruachan Horseshoe previously, I wasn't sure what to expect. I seemed to recall there was some easy scrambling involved. Care is however needed even with easy scrambling when the rock is soaking wet.

Cruachan reservoir and Drochaid Ghlas:

Drochaid Ghlas was capped in cloud during the ascent. I could however see that it is a very rocky hill.

About to ascend Drochaid Ghlas:

Looking back to Stob Daimh:

The several short sections of scrambling were all straight-forward. There would appear to be several possible lines of ascent.

Some easy scrambling during the ascent of Drochaid Ghlas:

On reaching the summit, I again only stopped long enough to take a photograph before returning back to Stob Daimh. I was sorry that I didn't have a car at the base of Ben Cruachan. If I had, I would definitely have continued on to ascend Ben Cruachan instead of doubling-back.

At the summit of Drochaid Ghlas:

During the return to Stob Daimh, the cloud lifted temporarily and the rain stopped. Drochaid Ghlas is a fantastic Munro Top.

Looking back to Drochaid Ghlas:

By the time I got back to the summit of Stob Daimh, my legs were feeling tired due to the steep ascent; I had already ascended more than the height of Ben Nevis. The initial descent from Stob Daimh towards Sron an Isean was steep but without difficulty. It didn't take long to reach my third Munro Top of the day, Sron an Isean.

At the summit of Sron an Isean:

From Sron an Isean, I followed the nice, gentle grassy ridge back towards the start. The final section of ridge is however steep with a rock band to negotiate which was "fun" in the wet.

As I hadn't bothered to read the route before setting off, I didn't know there was a bridge over the Allt Coire Chreachainn. I didn't spot a bridge so I crossed the burn which was in spate.

Looking back at steep descent from Sron an Isean:

It was great to get back onto the good track for the final walkout to the van. During the walkout, the rain became even heavier. Roll-on summer .