We had planned this trip a number of years ago but never got around to doing it for one reason or another. An early start from the Shire was required to get most of the walk done on the first day, as the forecast was good for Saturday but wet and windy for Sunday. We also needed 2 cars as it’s not a circular route. I met Jabba and Eva (the dug) at the Green Wellie at about 8:30 for breakfast, then quickly dropped one of the cars off at the car park in Glen Lochy before returning to Dalrigh.
We were ready to hit the hills at about 9:30. It’s an easy walk for about 2km along the track, before leaving it 500m after the railway bridge to cross the Allt Gleann Auchreoch by the new footbridge. This brings you onto a path that follows the Allt Coire Dubhchraig as it leads through some beautiful ancient Caledonian pine forest. This part is a bit of a bogfest in places and Jabba done a comedy fall over a tree root and managed to come down heavily on his knee. There are some amazing looking rock formations along here where the river has carved its way down the hillside over millennia. The path leads nearly all the way up to the tiny lochan that lies north west of the Beinn Dubhchraig summit. We dumped our heavy rucksacks here before a quick scamper to the summit and back.
It was starting to get a bit blowy by now and it was taking us a lot longer than we had expected (a combination of Jabba’s sore knee, his wee short legs, a later than planned start and my insistence the we needed to carry 2 beers each). We collected out packs and headed over the Bealach Buidhe to find the small cairn that marks the start of the path up the north ridge of Ben Oss to reach the summit at about 4pm. We had hoped to be at the other side of Ben Lui by this time so it was time for Plan B. Find a campsite on the south west side of Ben Oss and settle down for the night. We found a partially sheltered site at about 850m height, made some dinner and reduced our pack weight by 1kg each (2 beers) then spent half an hour watching the lights at the top of Loch Lomond while finishing a flask of Talisker, before settling down for the night to listen to the tents blowing about.
We awoke early on Sunday to find the forecast was correct, raining and blowing a hoolie! Time for Plan C… We waited a couple of hours then we decided to head back to Dalrigh by using the old stalkers path that’s NOT marked on the OS 1:25k map but is on the free maps I downloaded onto my gps. This heads across the south east flank of Ben Oss along Coire Garbh to bring us back to the Bealach Buidhe. We were packed up and on our way for 10:00. The wind and rain had really picked up by this time and we both got knocked over a couple of time by the wind. At the Bealach Buidhe it was decision time again. Back up to the lochan near the top of Beinn Dubhchraig in the howling wind or try and find some shelter by going down into Coire Buidhe. The steep climb down into Coire Buidhe sounded like the best plan. We picked our way down to about 650m then followed the contour around the north ridge of Beinn Dubhchraig. Then across the other side to pick up the path along the Allt Coire Dubhchraig and the caledonian pine forest, where Jabba done his second comedy fall over the same tree root and finally back to the car. Soaked to the skin but a great weekend!