Stories and pics from
August Day Trip to the Bridge of Orchy area
Are we surprised that Abellio once again totally disregards the fact that their business is to run trains for paying passengers, not for the convenience of staff ...?
After a number of delays and postponements, it looked as if our walk around Loch Ossian was finally going to happen. A planned rail strike over the weekend had been called off and even the weather forecast was not looking too bad. A few cracks appeared in the plan on Friday evening when Steven reported that the Corrour Station House Restaurant was expecting a large group at the same time as we were planning to sample their food and baking.
On Saturday morning, undeterred, I met Steven, Hilary, Heidi, Jean and Tom at the Bridge of Orchy Hotel where they were having coffee. I made my way up to the station to meet Andy and Gwen just as a bus was dropping off a group of 50 or 60 walkers, who all headed for the station! Was this the group that was going to spoil our afternoon of fine dining? Andy and Gwen were waiting in the station car park and while we waited for the rest of our group, an endless stream of people made their way to the platform. One of their number was a former club member (Kefah), who stopped to say hello. The train journey might involve being squashed onto the train like they do on the Tokyo underground…
We got talking to the couple who seem to own the station (or part of it). They informed us that our train had, in fact, been cancelled. Not due to strike action, but due to the lack of a driver! The gods were clearly not happy about our walk around Loch Ossian. The large group was having none of it (they had paid in advance, after all), but we quickly put plan B into action: a walk to Gorton bothy and back (about 8.5km each way).
We quickly drove a few miles north and parked the cars in the car park at Achallader Farm. We made our way past the farm and managed to cross the Allt Coire Achaladair and then one of its tributaries with only minor incident. We crossed the Water of Tulla (which feeds Loch Tulla next to the A82) via the bridge near the ruin of Barravourich and walked along the north side of the river to Gorton bothy. We had lovely views of Crannach Wood, Beinn Achaladair and Beinn a’Chreachain along the route. The bothy looks neat and well used .. there are several recent entries in the bothy book .. although the larger of the two rooms doesn’t have a fire place. The track continues past the bothy, over the river and up to the railway track. Hilary’s research suggests that there used to be a halt and passing loop at that point. However, we made our way back after a good break at the bothy, just as some light rain started. It stayed dry-ish for a while, but the last hour of the walk was pretty wet.
Back at the cars we managed to get a bit drier and then met at the Bridge of Orchy Hotel where we ordered drinks and meals. The food was very good, with one exception. I’m sure that the Corrour Station House restaurant would have served less “interesting” Chicken Kiev. Unfortunately, we cannot recommend the Bridge of Orchy version.
The walk to the bothy turned out to be a very good backup walk .. but take care with the river crossings! Loch Ossian will be a candidate for next year’s outing program. Maybe the recent connection of the hostel to the estate electricity supply will entice a few more members to spend a weekend there?
No we're not .. please read their response and let me know what you think...!
August Weekend to Strontian
Originally planned as a trip to Mull, this weekend was re-arranged when it became clear that accommodation on Mull now has to be booked around 2 years in advance. We decided to return to the Ariundle Centre near Strontian which was last visited by the Club in March 2012.
Having enjoyed a reasonable period of weather beforehand, hopes were high but a change in the weather at the end of the week saw seven members (Steven and Hilary, Gordon and Andrew, James and Susan, and Willie) set off for a very wet drive north on the Friday.
Only Gordon and Andrew managed a hill ascent on the Friday, climbing the Graham Beinn Mheadhoin at Kingairloch before joining the others at the Strontian Hotel for dinner.
We awoke to steady rain on Saturday morning and, while Willie and Steven made an ascent of Beinn Resipol from the bunkhouse (see below), Andrew and Gordon set out early for a double Graham day on Sgurr a’ Chaorainn and Sgurr nan Cnamh.
I decided to climb the Corbett Sgorr Dhomhnuill from the bunkhouse and was surprised to find Gordon struggling with a damp GPS unit on the way up the glen. We walked together as far as the disused mines where both our routes should have crossed the burn .. but this was in spate. After searching for a crossing upstream, Gordon and Andrew found a section which they were willing to leap, while I decided to alter my route and continue up the glen to the bealach and reach the summit from there.
After a quick visit to the summit (in the rain and clag, no views) I returned by my upward route. Meanwhile after struggling with the GPS unit in the cloud, Gordon and Andrew had abandoned their trip and returned to the bunkhouse.
The weekend coincided with the Strontian annual show, and Susan and Hilary spent the morning at the various entertainments in the village, the highlight of which appears to have been “terrier racing”, and did some local sight-seeing in the afternoon.
The Strontian Hotel was busy on the Saturday night but we managed to resist the invitation to the dance billed by the locals as “the best night of the year.” However we were woken in the early hours of the morning by the return of many of the local revellers who were also staying at the bunkhouse.
Sunday’s weather did not look much more promising so most members decided to head for home taking in some sight-seeing on the way. Gordon and Andrew did manage one more ascent, the Graham, Stob Mhic Bheathain with the assistance of their bikes.
A wetter weekend than expected but a few hill objectives were achieved and the terrier racing was apparently very funny.
On Saturday, Steven and I set off to climb Beinn Resipol from the Ariundle Centre. The summit of Beinn Resipol is regarded by some as one of the best viewpoints in Scotland and the approach from the east has excellent views on the ascent and descent .. but not on this day. Starting on the road to Polloch and then turning sharp left onto the track above Scotstown, we picked up the the old lead miners path over the north east shoulder of Beinn a'Chaorainn. The path was OK in parts but some sections were just as squelchy as the surrounding moorland. Leaving the path near the high point about 400m, there was a boggy traverse of the bealach followed by a steep ascent to gain the east ridge of the hill near the Leac Chlann Domhnuill MhicDhughaill .. the ledge of the children of Donald MacDougall. By this time we were in the clag with gusty winds and frequent showers, so extensive use of the compass and GPS was required to get us to the summit ridge, where we found a faint path which speeded up our progress.
There are 3 or 4 rocky outcrops along the summit ridge and in clear weather it would be obvious that the summit was the last one but in the poor visibility we kept hoping that the next outcrop that was just visible through the clag was our goal. We did eventually get to the summit and after a few photos made a quick retreat and found some shelter half way down the ridge to eat our pieces. The wind was now behind us and the descent back down to the miners path was relatively quick, although the descent of the path itself was a trudge. So, after 7 hours, 10 miles and 900m of ascent and descent, we arrived back at the Ariundle Centre .. drookit.
2016 stories | Past Outings Archive | Home