1976 Day 18 – North to South Walk Bridge of Orchy to Crainlarich Ben Dorain Beinn a Dothaidh and the Ben Lui Four!


Day 18.  May 26  Bridge Of Orchy Railway station  Benn Dorain and Beinn an Dothaidh to Succouth Lodge. i It was a night of broken sleep a long at the Station, few trains pass through so no one was about when we arrived or left. I was a very basic bivouac in the station and we were off early, I find it hard to believe that we coped with such nights. Today’s hills were straight above the Station Beinn Dorian so well-known as it sweeps up from Bridge of Orchy and with its conical shape makes it one of the better known mountains in Scotland.  The weather was fine and again great views all day.  From the station you cross under the railway line by an underpass and then up to the beleach. We climbed Beinn Dorain first and then back to the beleach and onto Beinn an Dothiadh and its North East Corrie with its classic ice climbs Taxus and others. We had been in here that winter helping Glencoe Mountain Rescue Team in some climbers stuck in a gully. It was an interesting call –out at the time, getting a rope down to them over the large cornice in wild weather. I have climbed the four Munros here on many occasions since and in winter they are a hard day with a walk out from the last two. Beinn Achaladair and in summer we would add Beinn Mhanach to make it even longer. I have great memories of these hills and  few call –outs  and climbs in its big Corries. A wild Place. This is a big day

Beinn Mhanach (953m, Munro 210) Beinn a’Chreachain (1081m, Munro 61)Beinn Achaladair (1038m, Munro 94) Beinn Dorain (1076m, Munro 64) Beinn an Dothaidh (1004m, Munro 129)

 We headed back down the beleach and back to pick up our gear we had hidden near the underpass it was great to travel light over these two good Munros. From here it was along the A82  and then down the lovely quiet road following the river Orchy to a real bothy at Succoth Lodge just below Beinn A’ Chleibh and a big day on the Ben Lui hills. The keeper had given us the use of a bothy and it was great to get sorted after yesterday’s night in the station, we were in bed early and slept the sleep of the just. Maybe we would see our final hill Ben Lomond tomorrow?  It was only 3 days away all being well!

Distance 19 miles and ascent 3886 feet of ascent.

Day 19. May  27 – Succoth Lodge  Beinn a’Chleibh (916m, Munro 280) Ben Lui (1130m, Munro 27)

Ben Oss (1029m, Munro 101) Beinn Dubhchraig (978m, Munro 175)

Succouth Lodge is set in among the trees and a fantastic location and a different way to approach these Four Munros. My father had climbed these Munros in 1938 and loved them and when I first climbed them in 1972 I was not disappointed, it was winter day and long way for a young lad.  This was another special day and a high walk in summer weather with Ben Lui with its huge Corrie and the famous Central Gully a splendid expedition in winter.

Ben Lui a favourie painting by Terry Moore pride of place in my living room.

Ben Lui a favourite painting by Terry Moore pride of place in my living room.

This mountain is a classic on its own and always gives a great day. In winter it is exceptional, the shape of the corrie make it a classic and many easy routes abound for a winter climber to learn their craft and I was to climb here on many occasions in the future. At times a huge Cornice can be tricky and even on the summit in a winter day care should be taken. This corrie also has the remains Lockheed Hudson Mk.III T9432 / ZS-B of No.233 Sqn RAF, crashed on Ben Lui near Tyndrum in Central Scotland during the evening of the 15th April 1941.

Hudson crash wreckage a steep place where all the crew lost their lives.

Hudson crash wreckage a steep place where all the crew lost their lives.

The aircraft struck close to the summit of the snow-covered mountain in poor weather and fell onto the south-eastern flank of the mountain, ending up close to the 3000ft line. It was wreckage I used often with RAF Team Members to search for, it is in on steep ground and a care should be taken if looking for it. It is best to pick some good dry weather if you visit.  Today it was a lovely ridge walk and from Ben Lui we saw Ben Lomond in the distance and what a great sight, we were nearly there and had a spring in our steps as we charged across to Beinn Oss and Beinn Dubchraig. The weather was great and we really enjoyed the day, we were moving well, the weather was fine and we were very fit. As we descended we were each in our own thoughts. I was to be involved in many call – outs on these hills on 27 November 1979  a Jaguar aircraft crashed in this area it took 3 days to find and a huge searchers involving many teams. I was flown in from North Wales where I was part of the RAF Valley MRT and we assisted the RAF Teams and the local Killin, Lomond and SARDA on this huge search.

My Dad on Beinn A Chleibh in 1938

My Dad on Beinn A Chleibh in 1938

We passed Conish Farm and the old Gold Mine and the Corbett Beinn Chuirn with its classic ice climb Eas Annie. This is another classic in the area and it forms right by the entrance to the Gold mine a wild setting.

Topping out on the ice climb above the Gold mine!

Topping out on the ice climb above the Gold mine!

The end of the walk was near and an easy walk into Crainlarich and a night in the Ochil’s Climbing Club Bothy was a great end to the day. We stopped at the shop for some bacon and rolls for breakfast this was luxury after a superb hill day and 4 more Munros !  The hut was empty and we were on our own in the hut and enjoyed the space and the comfort and I fell asleep after tea reading all the climbing magazines in the hut a great day again, only two more days to go. We met no one on the hills again on these past two days! I wonder how many you would meet now! I took the opportunity to use the phone box  when passing through in Crainlarich and called home to Mum and Dad, they were glad we were still alive and had been praying for us every day! We were being watched from above! It was great to talk to Dad about his day in 1938 on these great hills and how he always enjoyed them.

The Ochils Hut magic!

The Ochils Hut magic!

Distance 19 miles  Height 5850 feet of ascent.

About heavywhalley.MBE

Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 37 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 3 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer when body slows, loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Aircraft incidents, Bothies, Corbetts, Enviroment, Family, Friends, Hill running and huge days!, Mountain rescue, mountain safety, Mountaineering, Munros, Scottish winter climbing., Views Mountaineering, Weather. Bookmark the permalink.

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