Storm Caroline had passed the UK leaving a fresh dumping of snow across much of the country and as the storm subsided it left some fine, settled cold weather. Stephen, Kevin and I were trying to decide where to go in our WhatsApp group chat, when I seen a video clip from the summit of Beinn a’Chrulaiste on Facebook. I tagged them both to the video and our plans were sorted.
I’d been up Beinn a’Chrulaiste twice before and I had promised myself a summit camp for the third time. However, the fine settled weather landed on Sunday and I had work in the morning. I suggested we opt for a later start so we could at least watch the sunset.
We met up at the Green Wellie in Tyndrum for breakfast, then set off for the Kingshouse Hotel. The hotel is in a bit of a sorry state at the moment as they’re currently renovating. I hope the new venture turns out alright, as there has been some controversy over the size of the new proposed building.
The car temperature gauge was reading -7°c and it never really got any warmer, but with the lack of wind it felt as though we’d get away with shorts and t-shirt as we ascended up Beinn a’Chrulaiste’s eastern shoulder.
Poor Beinn a’Chrulaiste is often ignored for its bigger neighbours and whatever direct you travel on the A82 road, Buachaille Etive Mor will always demands your attention. But at 857 metres this little Corbett offers one of the finest views in Scotland for very little effort required to those who are willing to walk up to the summit.
Typical of this time of year the snow was deep and unconsolidated, it glistened in the winter sun like broken shards of glass. It was a little tough in places, but within two hours we found ourselves perched on the summit enjoying the fine vista. It was still -7°c, and with the gentle breeze the wind-chill was around -15°c. As we had two hours to kill we layered up and began exploring around the top looking for photo opportunities.
The Peak Finder App confirmed the sun would disappear behind Buachaille Etive Mor at 15:16. The app was accurate to within 5 minutes.
We waited patiently for two hours and it was worth it. As soon as the sun disappeared we were treated to an array of ever changing light.
Whilst we remained firmly focused on the sunset we almost missed out on the stunning light and shadows on the snowy mountains to the north; Ben Nevis, the Grey Corries and the Mamores lit up with a stunning pinky red colour.
A young chap arrived with a huge amount of gear, he was up for his first winter camp. He had picked a fine night for it, albeit rather cold. We said our goodbyes and descended off in the same direction we arrived from. Just as we left the summit, Kevin retreated back as he’d left his camera. He returned empty handed so we all went back for a look, still no luck.
It didn’t take long to get back to the Kingshouse. I had only got my head torch out when I fell in knee deep bog so close to car. Sods law, talk about locking the stable after the horse has bolted! I think I was preoccupied watching head torches tinkle high up on the Buachaille. I hoped they planned or were equipped to be so high up, so late on in the day as it was now 5 o’clock and almost pitch black.
By the time we got back to the car the mercury had dropped to -11°c. Stephen dropped us off in Tyndrum and Kev and I got something to eat at the Real Food Café before the drive home. Kevin later discovered he had buried his camera in his bag, a great end to the day! 🙂
Without further ado, here’s the video: