Beinn A'Chrulaiste (857m)

Sunday 25th February 2018

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

Walk Leader - Alan

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When you arrive at the start point for a days walking, and are greeted by clear blue skies, snow capped mountains and wild deer standing literally a few metres away, then surely this is destined to be a memorable day; as indeed this one was, a fantastic winters day on Beinn A'Chrulaiste. The photos opposite tell the story in their own right; Buachaille Etive Mor, majestic as usual as we arrived at Kings House, the deer who just wandered by and watched as we donned our boots and got ready for the off, and the snow covered mountains we climbed and traversed during the day.

Heading directly north from Kings House, we followed the line of the Allt a'Bhalaich until reaching the 500m height, where we swung away from the stream and, crossing the snow line, started the steep ascent of the east ridge of Beinn A'Chrulaiste. The snow was hard-packed, crisp and icy, resulting in crampons being the chosen option for maximum traction. The views were just amazing, it was a glorious day to be on the hills.

The broad summit plateau did draw the wind somewhat with a resultant drop in temperature despite the sunny skies above, and remained with us as we made a leisurely descent towards the head of Coire Bhalach before swinging around to complete the horseshoe and ascend the minor tops of Meall Bhalach. It was while taking a short break on the 705m top that we had the spectacular sight of four eagles circling high above us in the clear blue skies; the icing on the cake on a day of superlatives.

On a previous trip in November 2015 I distinctly remember the descent from the 705m top of Meall Bhalach down to the estate track west of the Black Corries Lodge as being a very rough trudge over tussock grass and broken areas of peat. No such problems today, as the deep covering of snow, topped in a crisp, hard crust made this descent a joy, one foot in front of the other and just stroll down a beautiful snow slope towards the track and plantation ahead.

Arriving at the track and plantation we had one more wildlife surprise awaiting us as a herd of wild goats ambled along the track, where they found themselves some slabs of salt-lick, most probably left by the estate for the benefit of the sheep, but which the goats were not going to pass by without having their fill.

A memorable day - Thanks Alan.

Thanks also the Ben Dolphin, the President of Ramblers Scotland, who joined us on the walk, and kindly let me use a couple of his photos to add to my gallery for this walk - Ben must take credit for what is a brilliant photo of Bobby on the higher slopes of Beinn a'Chrulaiste with Stob Dearg beyond (the sixth photo of the group). Thanks for your company Ben, glad you enjoyed the day. If you want to follow Bens blog, and the many photos and videos he has of his days in the hills, then go to: https://twitter.com/CountrysideBen

 

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