- Saturday 12th – Sunday 13th March 2022
- Argyll & Bute
In a tranquil setting nestled on the banks of Loch Awe in its own sheltered bay, sits Taychreggan Hotel and this is where we would spend our last two nights, a gift we received well over a year ago but which kept getting cancelled due to covid.
Taychreggan Hotel is a 300+ year old former Drovers Inn and what a beauty it is but I’ll come back to that later as we had somewhere else to be.
Before getting settled in we were off to climb Beinn à Chochuill & Beinn Eunaich.
Beinn a’Chochuill is slighly hidden away behind the more recognised Ben Cruachan range where we hiked on Wednesday.
As we parked up the van the rain had already started but we had committed to this hike. So the waterproofs were on before we even stepped outside the van.
Today’s forecast predicted weather improving as the day progressed with a 70% chance of cloud free Munro’s in the afternoon, so this sounded good.
Beginning our walk the weather improved straight away, the rain stopped, the waterproofs came off and we started our gradual upwards hike in pretty OK conditions.
The walk began on a good wide vehicle track for the first 2km or so which took us gradually and easily up into the glen, passing amongst some beautiful Highland Coos, flanked by steep mountainsides.
After about an hour, we reached the end of the track and we were now onto very boggy steep open grass slopes. I can tell you I’m not a fan of this terrain and lately it feels like I have been on it far more than I would like to be. And if things couldnt have gotten any worse the heavens opened up….so the boggy got a whole lot boggier. We quickly stopped, put on the waterproofs and continued upwards.
The further up we went the wilder the wind became and the colder it got. The rain turned to snow, then hailstones then back to snow, then rain and all this happened in around 30/40mph winds. We continued upwards.
There was a thick cloud all around us as we manoeuvred our way up the hill and we were now onto real snowy slippery ground. Finally we reached the ridge and what should have been an easier undulating walk between us and the summit turned into a battle against the elements. The wind had now picked up to at least 40/50mph, which made it very difficult to get across the ridge without being blown over and it was unbelievably cold.
Now of course, the vistas did not open up and we did not see the endless sea of mountains and moorland, or the great glens and rivers and lochs which lay somewhere out there, in fact we could not see a blinkin’ thing. My confidence on things clearing up in the afternoon and of 70% cloud free munros was at an all time low, sometimes I really resent those weather forecasters.
We touched the cairn of Beinn a’ Chochuil before continuing straight on towards Beinn Eunaich.
The showers continued, the bitterly cold powerful wind kept battering us, it was seriously cold up here and all I could think about was that bath back at the hotel!
The descent from Beinn a’ Chochuil was challenging due to the wind continuing to blow us off our feet whilst walking across boulders of snow and ice.
On reaching the col we didnt stop for a quick drink or bite to eat but I did have to stop to quickly layer up some more as I was freezing before commencing the ascent of Beinn Eunaich. This ascent was pretty steep and felt steeper as the wind pushed us backwards but I was actually glad to be going upwards as it meant I needed to work harder which would hopefully produce heat.
It felt great to reach the summit of Beinn Eunaich as it meant we were now homeward bound.
Just as we reached the summit we got our first views of the day. The clouds broke up and we were able to see what we had been missing all day long, it was beautiful.
We didn’t hang around at the summit though as the wind was fierce and chilling so we headed on down the snowy grassy ridge, which gave us some views of Loch Awe.
We were then on to our final very steep grassy and rocky desent which would take us back to the wide vehicle track we had began this walk on. The zig zag path due to its steepness got us down that mountain relatively quickly, tough on the legs but quick all the same and then it was a power walk, possibly even a run back to the van, as we knew where we wanted to be.
The drive back to the hotel took us around 35 minutes, then it was a well deserved soak in a roasting hot bath followed by a 3 course meal and I must say the food in this place is of an exceptionally high standard which was then followed by a lie down…now that’s what I’d call a result!