The first winter camp of the season had been eagerly awaited with great anticipation therefore my working week couldn’t end quick enough which in turn was an added incentive to get through my workload.
The plan……. was to head to Dalrigh near Tyndrum and take the route over the Allt Gleann Auchreoch and through the beautiful Coille Coire Chuill Forest for the ridge of Beinn Dubchraig.
The morning started well up early and breakfasted on traditional porridge the weather was overcast but fortunately no wind.
I set off around 7.30 however an hour into my journey there was a strange knocking coming through the steering column of my trusty van on inspection I found a large blister in the side wall of the front tyre now I would have to change this tyre for fear of a blow out. Why oh why do garages tighten wheel nuts so much making it nigh on impossible to release them by hand. After about an hour trying various ways to release the wheel nuts I finally succeeded and was back on the road.
Finally arriving at the car park at Dalrigh I was eager to kit up and be on my way.
The weather was surprisingly still with a slight drizzle as I headed up the approach path at the side of the West Highland railway.
An hour later and I had reached my first point of crossing the Allt Gleann Auchreoch but to my dismay the footbridge was down so an alternative crossing would have to be found.
After walking upstream there wasn’t a suitable crossing point to be found as the river was running high and fast I had contemplated shimmying up to the top of a tree and swaying it across to the other side and depositing myself on the riverbank Bear Grylls style but I was getting some looks of disdain from some local sheep as if to say don’t be so bloody stupid. Now to compound things even more the rain had started to come down in stair rods.
It was time to take stock and revise a new plan finding a relatively sheltered spot the coffee flask came out along with my map.
As time was against me now for setting up camp in daylight I decided to make tracks for Fiarach at 652m which I estimated should take me about an hour and a half to reach one of the flatter contours just under the summit. This is certainly a great deal smaller than my intended target of Beinn Dubchraig but it would give me views over to Dubchraig and Ben Lui.
The rain had started to ease off 20 minutes into my ascent of Friarach however after the initial disappointment of turning away from my original route I was starting to enjoy this little hill.
My pitch was on a well manicured piece of grass at the edge of a contour below the summit. after clearing some of the local sheep s**t camp was set and my water supply was only 50m away just out of earshot for a quiet nights sleep.
It was time to settle down for dinner after collecting water as the night started to descend it became increasingly colder so I opted to get into my sleeping bag for dinner. Organised not a chance I’m in the sleeping bag and all my provisions and cooking kit are still in my pack it’s just as well I am on my own and there’s no one to witness this escapade. Now to say the vestibule area of the Akto is a disorganised mess is an understatement this would now require some serious tyding up in the morning.
I eventually got round to consuming dinner and upon clearing up picked up the stove you’ve guessed it it was still extremely hot I let out a roar that had all the local stags thinking it was rutting season.
The following morning I was up early and had a wee wander to the summit and exploration of how the land lay, it is quite an impressive hill although the weather was rather claggy and the wind had picked up bringing in some snow showers it was really enjoyable nonetheless. The views across to Beinn Dubchraig and Ben Lui were non existent.
After all the setbacks it was a fun little trip and I would have stayed another night if I had ample provisions.
Lessons learnt be prepared to adapt, and be more organised at meal times.