Beinn Odhar (901m)

Sunday 5th August 2018

Distance: 14kms - Duration: 5hrs 30mins - Group Size: 4 + 1

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The two previous occasions I had climbed Beinn Odhar were both in the winter of 2014/15, when the mountain was covered in deep snow, and on both of these occasions we had started from Tyndrum and ascended the south ridge, returning by the same route. Today was to be a considerably different affair, making a circular walk from Dalrigh and discovering a few interesting features that were hidden under a blanket of snow on the previous outings.

Leaving the car park at Dalrigh, we headed along the West Highland Way for a short distance, following the River Cononish as it passed under the A82 and a few metres beyond the bridge we decided to leave the main Auchtertyre track and head directly north over a section of rough pastureland to the footbridge over the West Highland Railway and onto the lower slopes of Creag Bhan Eigheach. This change of plan saved us looping around, beyond Auchtertyre and having to pass under the WHR viaduct before leaving the track and taking to the hillside, although it did involve climbing over a makeshift wire barrier on the footbridge, probable the farmers way of keeping his livestock on the correct side of the railway line.

A low mist was hanging over the hillside ahead of us, and so it was a faintly nondescript walk up the trackless hillside and over the grassy tussocks, heather and a few watery areas before we gained the minor 534m top. Behind us, the skies were showing some brightness, and we could see along the length of Strath Fillan, although the major tops were all heavily covered in cloud. And so it remained as we continued upwards on the broad, undulating ridge, skirting around one rather large section of peat hags, over a rather awkward fenceline and onto the mist covered, but very distinct 653m high summit of Meall Bhuide.

It was here that a text arrived informing us that a certain Mr McCall had ventured off on his own, and leaving Tyndrum earlier in the morning, was now atop the summit of Beinn Odhar, and wondering just where we were; still some way off really, but we set off from Meall Buidhe, crossing more peat hags at the 603m bealach before striking out to gain the southeast ridge of Beinn Odhar, and heading towards Lochan Choire Dhuibh, a fine lochan and a fine place to take a short break, except, that as we approached it's blue waters we spotted a lone figure waving from the skyline above; Mr McCall had spotted us, and so the break was delayed until we made the final climb to the summit and joined company with Ian for our well earned break on what was a rather misty summit, with only a rare glimpse of nearby tops through short breaks in the cloud cover.

Our descent would take us down the more familiar south ridge towards the WHW north of Tyndrum, however this was to hold two fresh aspects to the route. As stated earlier, both my previous ascent of Beinn Odhar had been in winter conditions with a heavy covering of snow, especially at the higher levels of the mountain; and, under those conditions I had never actually seen the fairly large, but un-named lochan which is located just above the 750m height as this was always frozen over and covered in snow, nor had I seen the scars and deep entrance channel leading into the entrance, or Adit, of the old lead mine workings just slightly lower down, at about the 675m height; so it was interesting to visit these two features on this fine mountain.

Back on the WHW, it was best foot forward for the final walk back to Dalrigh, and a meet-up at Beinglas for the mandatory coffee stop.

Thanks everyone for your company - A fine day on an interesting mountain.

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