Beinn Dorain (1076m)

Sunday 22nd October 2017

Distance: 12kms - Duration: 6hrs - Group Size: 11

Walk Leader - Mike

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With this being the last Sunday before we revert back to GMT, and available daylight hours seem to shrink at an incredible rate as winter settles in, this may well be one of the last opportunities to venture much further than our local hills in order to ensure we complete our walks within daylight hours. Although, given the grey, murky conditions we were to encounter on Beinn Dorain today, it begs the question, why worry, as visibility was so poor at times today that it seemed that we were walking in darkness anyway.

Heavy rain greeted us on our arrival at Bridge of Orchy, abated a little as we set off up the well trodden path on the southern bank of the Allt Coire an Dothaidh towards a cloud base that was not much higher than 400 to 500 metres, and held enough moisture to ensure that we were suitably soaked without having any immediate sense of it actually raining.

There was plenty of water in the streams and on the hillside, but we managed the crossing of the Allt Coire an Dothaidh without any difficulty and continued onwards, the muddy path now giving way to one of loose rock and stone as it steepens for the final climb up to the 744m bealach which separates the west facing Coire and Dothaidh from it's eastern counterpart, Coire a'Ghabhalach. The open aspect of the bealach brought with it a cooling wind, which, combined with the rain to give quite a wintery feel to the day, and so, with only a short break for a quick drink and snack we were soon departing the bealach and heading up the section of rocky slabs leading to the small, un-named lochan which nestles in a flat, open area at around 850m height; this being the lochan from which flows the stream that we crossed at the point at which it merges with the Allt Coire an Dothaidh at around the 400m height in Coire an Dothaidh.

Beyond the lochan, a broad grassy ridge gradually narrows to a fine rocky ridge along the section known as Am Fiaclach and on which stands a cairn with the quirky name of Carn Sasunnaich, at 1050m this cairn could quite easily be mistaken for the summit in poor visibility, just as we had today, and no doubt has caught a few Sasanachs out, but not we wily highlanders,, we knew what followed was a short descent and a further 400m of ridge walking before an final, short ascent to the true summit cairn at the slightly higher height of 1076m.

No views for us today from this lofty perch, it was all we could do to see our way to a nice sheltered spot a few metres from the cairn in which to take our first real break of the day, and very welcome it was too. Break over, it was time to face the elements once again, and this being an out and back route, it was then a matter of retracing our steps, through the mist, along the ridge, down the rocky path, across the muddy lower hillside and back to Bridge of Orchy to complete yet another wet, but very fine day in the hills.

Thanks Mike for a great walk.

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