By lunchtime the gusts were becoming less noticeable, the sunny intervals were still good and long, and we needed to go for some sort of a walk, so I suggested that we go and try a route up Cruach Tairbeirt, which sits immediately next to the campsite.
Everyone who has described their route on hill-bagging.co.uk seems to have approached this hill from the south, and there’s a repeated theme in the reports of the impediment of blow-downs on the route through the forest. As we didn’t happen to be sitting on that side of the hill, and as the route that side didn’t sound like a stroll in the park anyway, I decided to see if there was a route that would go up west side, from Glen Loin. The map shows the conifer plantation giving way to natural woodland, a distance up the glen, and it’s often possible to walk relatively unimpeded through such woodland, so it seemed worth a look. With little optimism of success, we set out early in the afternoon.
Well! Not only was it feasible to approach from Glen Loin, but it turned out to be unexpectedly easy. Steep, certainly, but through well-spaced trees, on grassy terrain. There was an unmapped band of conifers at the top (beyond the edge of the woodland shown on the map), but first fears that we were going to be faced with a bash through nasty dense pines proved wrong – there were thin spots where we were able to push easily through.
This was one of the most sparse areas of the natural woodland, but none of it was difficult (taken on the way down).
It was then just another steep pull up some mildly tussocky stuff to the excellent viewpoint of the summit. Loch Long, Loch Lomond, the Arrochar Alps and Ben Lomond were all strong features of that view; well worth the ascent.
Mick loitered at the trig point, whilst I visited the other two lumps on the summit, which looked equally high
In a couple of places on the way up we’d stood a stick in the ground to give a visual marker of our route for the return leg. There was one other place we should have done the same, but didn’t. The gaps through the band of conifers, through which we had so easily found a way on the upwards leg, weren’t so obvious when descending, but after a bit of back-and-forth thrashing around and a few questions of ‘do you recognise any of these trees?’, the way was found.
A surprisingly agreeable little afternoon jaunt, it came in at almost exactly 4 miles, with around 430m of ascent.
Very sadly, my Garmin Gadget has stopped talking to my laptop, so I can’t download my recorded routes. I did, however, use my phone to record various waypoints on our ascent, which I’ve copied across into the above representation of our route. We possibly didn’t take lines between those points quite as straight as shown above! After following the waymarked ‘Cowal Way’ along the track up Glen Loin, we struck off uphill at the gate at approx. NN307065.