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Falls of Cruachan, Cruachan Reservoir, Ben Cruachan, Stob Diamh, Scotland.
[15.6 km] Thu 30 Jul 2015

OS Grid Ref: NN 08064 26700
Lat/Long: 56.393462, -05.111237

Iíd had a good nightís sleep in the lay bye by the Cruachan Falls Railway Station. Because I was already on-site for the start of the walk I was on my way at 06:10am. The climb up through the trees starts off by passing under the railway but I had a quick look at the picturesque railway platform before continuing up. The undergrowth was very dense and over my head for a lot of the way. I was last here in 2010 when the weather was wet and raining.

Falls of Cruachan Rail Platform

It was clear at first but clouds rolled in later but thankfully didnít bring any rain with them. I reached a tall deer fence and climbed over the tall and very rickety ladder stile. I reached the base of the Cruachan Reservoir Dam and followed a line of steps up to an almost vertical ladder that I climbed on to the top of the dam.

steps up the dam

Cruachan dam

The access track along the west side of the reservoir was easy to follow and very pleasant walking. Almost too pleasant as I missed the stone cairn marking the point where the path heads up to Coire Dearg. I soon realised my mistake and returned to start the climb. It was steady going and only became steep on the final push to the saddle where a small tarn, or is it lochane, appeared blue in a short period of sunshine.

Cruachan dam

small tarn

Near the summit of Ben Cruachan

I turned right and followed the rocky path up the south slope of Ben Cruachan. It now felt quite cold and on the last push to the summit the temperature dropped from 4degC to 3degC. I was great reaching the summit and having a good view. Iíd taken a photo on my phone on the way up and posted it to Facebook. There was a slow data signal so it took over 10 minutes to upload the one photo. There was the stump of a broken Ordnance Survey post which was one of the cylindrical concrete type.

View to Loch Etive

I continued my walk along the ridge which started with a scrambley descent down through the rocks. The temperature dropped even further to just above freezing at 1.5degC. I came to the large slab along the ridge and started to climb it. It was quite exposed and not being able to see what was ahead decided to take the safer route by descending for a while and following a narrow path below the rocks. The climb back to the ridge was easy so Iíd made the right decision.

Ben Cruachan summit and trig post

The rest of the horseshoe ridge was up and down but fairly easy. Some cloud had blown in for a while to obscure Ben Cruachan but it soon cleared. The rest of the cloud stayed high enough not to obscure my views. I started my final descent to the reservoir by following a path shown on an on-line map. I hadnít gone far when I realised there was no path of any kind on the ground so I had to traverse the mountainside to find a less steep route. There was no defined path to follow until I reached the wet path just above the reservoir.

cairn view back to Cruachan

It reached an access track where one of the tunnels discharges water into the reservoir. This one collects water from intakes on the other side of the mountain. I reached the dam and continued my descent down the access road for a while. Then I picked up my ascent route and descended back over the rickety ladder stile and down through the woods to my car in the lay-bye. It was the only the car there when I left but now it was full.

Cruachan dam