I thought I’d give you all a break from the Hebrides posts and put up a few photos from last weekend’s hillwalk up Fiarach…
Earlier this year Ol’ Steve and I had shuffled our way up Beinn a Chuallaich in driving hail, our first and only joint venture to date.
I reckoned there was the remote possibility that by now The Fatdog may just about have forgiven him for that soaking. At times It had been a proper wet fur day; the eyeballs assaulted by prolonged scouring from wind whipped ice. Hopefully our second joint exercise, the Graham Fiarach (652m) just to the south of Tyndrum, would be less…atmospheric.
The weather turned out to be a lot better than anticipated from our tentative, will we – won’t we, conversation on Friday. There was a bit of cloud about but not at our level. As we passed Lix Toll we noticed the Tarmachan Ridge was blanketed and up Glen Dochart the Munro tops were flirting with the underside of a well broken layer…but down at Graham level the air was clear.
The plan was simple…from the car park follow the old road across the Bridge over the River Fillan and head along the track towards the Beinn Dubhchraig swamp. On no account leave this track after crossing the railway (unless you have a liking for primordial ooze). Follow the estate track on the east side of Allt Gleann Auchreoch until the locked gate, then cut left and follow the fenceline all the way to the summit…navigation heaven.
You are no doubt wondering how I knew the gate was locked. I thought you might. It was locked the…ahem…last time I was there, less than a year ago. Conditions were a wee bit different from those of today – it was December 30th 2009 and the temperature at the car park was -11C! Then it got colder. We didn’t make it…
Today it was an easy jaunt. One hour from the car park to the gate and then another hour to the summit. It’s hard to go wrong as the final few hundred metres are marked by two fencelines creating a V shape with the summit more or less at the point.
We didn’t stay immediately adjacent to the westerly fence (the fence leading from the gate) but tried to balance easy gradient with keeping out of bog. If you are not racing against the clock in a flush of hill bagging fever I would recommend (this is my preference) crossing left at the north end of the Lochan Fiarach to the rocky outcrop near the easterly fence as I reckon this keeps the feet out of the majority of the soggy stuff. We came back on that route sticking to the rock outcrops where possible and it proved to be a much drier walking experience. All these outcrops are clearly marked on the OS 1/25000 series.
It was a short and uneventful trip…the only negative feature being a northerly with a bit of bite. The good news was the sheltered side of the summit outcrop was to the south and thus facing into the sun. Our half hour break for tea and buns was a most pleasant experience…other than the usual battle over meagre rations with the big, black, hairy plunderer of lunch boxes.
I have to commend the views from the summit. It’s only a wee hill but on a good day it provides a decent, all round, viewpoint. On the subject of views; If you take my advice and follow the rocky outcrops back down the hill, then you will have a much improved view than if you stick to the westerly fence which sits slightly lower. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!