After a very cold night and hard frost we woke up early for a reasonable day out climbing Beinn a’ Creachain and Beinn Achaladair. These hills are connected by a ridge and are the expanse of hills that you see when driving across Rannoch Moor towards the Bridge of Orchy. In the morning everything was white, there was ice on the inside of the windows and the doors were frozen shut!
We headed off up the valley and made excellent time initially as we wanted to move quickly to warm up. Unfortunately this good progress came to a rapid halt when the footbridge we were relying on was not really there anymore, and the remains were certainly not something that I was willing to cross!
At this point we elected to carry on for another 4km up the estate track to the next bridge, which also meant climbing a path less ascent up to the ridge. Despite the extra time walking along the valley, it remained stubbornly in the shadow of the mountains which meant that we stayed fairly cold. While this did add a significant amount of time onto our day, it was a brilliant way of climbing the route, especially as the extensive bog was all frozen solid!
Thankfully there as a vague track from an estate ATV which took us up a significant portion of the ascent. On the ascent we had stunning views over Rannoch Moor towards Glen Coe, Ben Nevis, Ben Alder and over to the Cairngorms.
At the top of ascent to the ridge we traded shade but no wind, for sun and wind. We couldn’t decide which was warmer! Once we gained the ridge, and were back on the normal route the walking was very enjoyable. The views in every direction were just fantastic.
Due to the delay avoiding the missing bridge we were later than we were hoping to be when we got to Beinn a’ Creachain, so we didn’t hang about and took a few photos and then marched on towards Beinn Achaladair.
On the walk along the ridge to Beinn Achaladair we enjoyed yet more brilliant views in every direction, in perfect weather. It was just fantastic.
We made good time to the summit of Beinn Achaladair which meant that we still had a reasonable amount of daylight to descent with. On the initial descent we had beautiful evening sunlight, and even saw a Broken Spectre which was a great end to a brilliant ridge.
We got most of the way down without needing our head torches, but when they had to come out our progress significantly slowed down as the track was very vague and difficult to follow by head torch light. We were very thankful for the hard frost having frozen the boggy ground, as otherwise we would have had very wet feet!
When we got back to the van to find last nights ice still on the windows, and the thermometer reading -5 we decided to bail on the van headed for a night of luxury in a hotel!
Max elevation: 1126 m
Min elevation: 132 m
Total climbing: 1740 m
Total descent: -1791 m