Hills: Beinn Achaladair South Top, Beinn Achaladair, Meall Buidhe and Beinn a' Chreachain
Date: Friday 16th April 2021
Company: Myself and Ann-Marie
Distance: 22.1km, Ascent: 1150m
Time: 8Hrs 25Mins

On Friday morning, Ann-Marie picked me up at 3.20am prior to driving to Achallader. It would have been more pleasant to drive to Achallader the night previous but owing to ongoing disproportionate coronavirus restrictions, now not permitting overnight stays outwith ones own local authority, a ridiculously early start was required to stay legal. On arrival at Achallader we set off walking with the intention of undertaking an anti-clockwise circuit taking in Beinn Achaladair, Beinn a' Chreachain and their two Munro Tops.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

A short distance beyond the walker's car park, we followed a sign directing us towards the hill and away from the farm. We soon lost the diversion path so just made our way alongside the railway line until reaching the bridge above Achallader farm.

Bridge over the railway line above Achallader:

Beyond the bridge we followed an excellent track leading towards Coire Achaladair and beyond to Coire Daingean. It was a beautiful but somewhat chilly morning.

Coire Achaladair:

The ascent of both coires was pleasant helped by the fact that the ground was mostly frozen and thus less boggy than it would otherwise have been.

Beinn an Dothaidh:

I last ascended these hills via a clockwise circuit in April 2005.

Heading for the col between Beinn Achaladair and Beinn an Dothaidh:

As we progressed towards the col the good track became a narrow footpath.

Looking back during ascent:

Coire Daingean:

On reaching the col we stopped only momentarily before continuing up the south ridge of Beinn Achaladair leading to Beinn Achaladair's South Top.

At the col between Beinn Achaladair and Beinn an Dothaidh:

Despite still needing 54 Munro Tops to complete the tops, these I had ascended previously. I am still not convinced I will complete the tops unless I decide to better concentrate efforts on achieving such a goal. The focus currently is most definitely completing a second round of Munros with 36 now remaining.

At Beinn Achaladair South Top:

From the South Top we progressed easily along to the Munro summit of Beinn Achaladair.

Despite carrying full winter gear, there was no need for any of it.

At the summit of Beinn Achaladair:

Beyond the summit lies another cairn. This is arguably a better viewpoint than the summit.

At Beinn Achaladair viewpoint cairn:

We then followed the rim of the cliffs before descending steeply to the col between Beinn Achaladair and Meall Buidhe.

View towards Meall Buidhe and Beinn a' Chreachain:

The descent was easier than had been anticipated thanks to lack of snow and ice; my previous ascent of these involved much more snow.

Looking back at steep descent from Beinn Achaladair:

Looking back to Beinn Achaladair:

As we next progressed towards Meall Buidhe, we could see the first other walker of the day undertaking a clockwise circuit. We could also see two other walkers travelling at speed in the same direction as ourselves.

Looking back to Beinn Achaladair:

At the summit of Meall Buidhe:

Looking back to Meall Buidhe during ascent of Beinn a' Chreachain:

The summit of Beinn a' Chreachain was attained with no difficulties encountered. While there was a rim of corniced snow at the edge of the coire, the path was devoid of snow.

Approaching the summit of Beinn a' Chreachain:

On reaching the summit, I took a few photos while Ann-Marie caught-up. Ann-Marie, you are so slow .

We were then soon joined by the two walkers we had seen travelling at speed. A nice couple who were travelling at speed as they were undertaking a circuit of five Munros - Beinn Dorain, Beinn an Dothaidh, Beinn Achaladair, Beinn a' Chreachain and Beinn Mhanach. Oh to be young again and have pain-free knees, feet, back, hips, ........ .

At the summit of Beinn a' Chreachain:

From the summit we made our way down towards Lochan a' Chreachain.

Looking back towards the summit of Beinn a' Chreachain during descent:

Looking down to Lochan a' Chreachain:

Beinn a' Chreachain:

The descent towards the lochan was nice underfoot. As we approached level with the lochan we could see another walker in the distance which provided a good indication of the location of the descent path.

Descent to Coire an Lochain:

Looking back during descent:

The descent was pleasant via a fairly good path. I really liked the lone Scots Pine located next to the path.

Nice tree passed in descent:

Looking back along Allt Coire an Lochain:

One advantage of following the path is that it leads directly to a small underpass underneath the railway line. Beyond this, we took a direct line towards a bridge over the Water of Tulla that was marked on my map. Turns out this was a bridge in the very loosest sense. There was no way we were crossing this bridge so instead we just boulder-hopped across the river.

"Bridge" marked on OS map:

Beyond the river we crossed a short section of trackless terrain to reach the excellent land rover track running back to Achallader.

Onto the landrover track back to Achallader:

Despite a number of ongoing injuries, and associated aches and pains, this was a good day out. Thanks to Ann-Marie for driving.