Sunday, 15 May 2016

Ben Vuirich

Summit of Ben Vuirich
Saturday, 14 May 2014

Ascent:      861 metres

Distance:   16 kilometres
Time:         4 hours 35 minutes

c    Ben Vuirich    903m      2hrs 46mins

This was my last remaining corbett east of the A9. I had decided not to follow the recommended route from Loch Moraig near Blair Atholl, I had climbed Beinn a' Ghlo from here on half a dozen occasions and should probably have added Ben Vuirich, which would have added a couple of hours. Instead I decided to approach it from the south, from somewhere on the A824 road between Pitlochry and Kirkmichael. I had intended to take the bike and cycle up Glen Fearnach but it would require 4 or 5 kilometres climbing rough ground after leaving the bike. I decided to walk, it would be 8 kilometres in each direction over mainly rough ground. The start was at Dalnavaid by a bridge over the Brerachan Water. There is parking for two or three cars and then a climb through a field of sheep and lambs to the the derelict cottage at Stronhavie.

I followed an old track that circled the foot of Stronhavie Craig and then when the path petered out headed north over heather and boggy ground that had firmed up in the dry weather of the past week. I was feeling unusually tired after a couple of long runs and gardening in the past couple of days so took my time climbing up rising ground leading to Crungie Clach. I passed it to the east dropped down a bealach and then climbed up the southern slopes of Creag Chiacharnach. A herd of deer were watching me from the crags but had dispersed by the time I reached the ridge. There were a series of deer paths heading north and I followed these towards Creag nan Gobhar. There was a more distinct path from here, it is on the recommended route from Loch Moraig. The day was getting brighter but there was still a strong cool northerly wind and I needed to put on a jacket for the final couple of kilometres to the summit.

The views across to Beinn a' Ghlo were very impressive, as had been the view to Ben Vrackie earlier in the walk. At the summit a large sprawling circular cairn concealed a trig point. Views were good to the snow capped summits of the Cairngorms and I recognised the corbetts that I had climb a few days ago. I ate some lunch with the distinct impression that this was not a well visited hill. I decided to take a different route down and descended to Carn Dubh to the south east and then followed the subsidiary ridge to Druim Mor and Carn Liath. There were vehicle tracks here and a number of shooting butts. I also came across several wooden boxes of what looked like a feedstuff and wondered if it could be poison for raptors. There had been quite a few hares scooting down the hill and I had figured that this must be good hunting ground for eagles.

I crossed the Clunskea burn below Crungie Clach and followed the path down, meeting a middle aged couple who were walking up and wanted to know whether they could do a circuit and descend by the next glen to the west. The answer was yes, they made it clear that they had no intention of climbing Ben Vuirich. I cut across a couple of fields and through a small plantation, where I disturbed a fox, to get back to the car. It was still not 3pm so I considered climbing the graham, (hill between 2000 and 2500 feet with a drop of at least 500 feet to any adjacent hill) Blath Bhaig opposite. It would have added a couple of hours to the day but I decided instead to head home for a beer in the garden.

Stronhavie Crag

Beinn Vrackie to the west

Ben Vuirich and Carn Dubh

Beinn a' Ghlo

Cairngorms from the summit

Descending to Dalnavaid

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