Whiteburn's Wanderings

One man's wanderings backpacking around Scotland plus the odd digression

Glen Orrin

The drive up the single track road up Strathconnon is quite a pleasant one but arriving late on Sunday afternoon I had to suffer the multitude of day-trippers on their way home, no use to get frustrated just pull into the passing place & give a wave. I finally parked up at the entrance to Inverchoran & quickly got set off after 5pm following the good trail up the Allt Gleann Chorainn

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I was less than a couple hour’s dawdle over to the Coye ruins at the head of Loch na Caoidhe, were I was to pitch up for the night. Like the majority of Glen Orrin it’s a pretty exposed spot but today there was hardly a breath of wind & the grass is dry & level.

Thanks to an early night I was awake around 6am….zero wind & everything dripping with dew.

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I was away shortly after 7am……. an easy wander up the glen for about 1.5km & a turning south up a stalker’s path……..first mistake of the day, day dreaming (or still asleep) I wandered well past the turning.

A quick hop across the Orrin & an ascending traverse up through the heather to pick up the path……or not…. I didn’t locate it until almost at the bealach & then it was only followed for 2 – 300m to where the slopes of Creag a’ Ghormlaich beckoned.

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At around 850m (NH 222441) a strange site, a GRP hut housing what looked like a TV aerial with a cable running down towards Strathfarrar….. a pity it’s not in a more useful location as an emergency shelter. It did come in handy for a few minutes rest out of the 40+mph wind.

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From here it was on a short hop to the summit of Sgurr na Fearstaig & the Munro-ist’s path across Sgurr Fhuar-thuill, Sgurr a’Choire Ghlais, Carn nan Gobhar & Sgurr na Ruaidhe

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From Sgurr na Ruaidhe the rolling ridge line continues onward but Beinn a’Bha’ach Ard, the next target, still looked a long way off.

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The ridge proved quite a pleasant walk now the morning’s high winds had disappeared.

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I had planned to pitch up ‘somewhere’ on or around Meallan Buidhe but this proved an inhospitable area (either bare gravel, peat hags or bog) so I plodded on east descending to the Allt Coire Chuil Shuas & following it upstream to its source from where its a short climb to Beinn a’Bha’ach Ard’s summit. 5pm & just enough to reflect on the long ridge that lay behind.

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I returned by the ascent route & then made the 150m climb back up Meallan Buidhe with the legs feeling a bit weary.  I’d crossed a 4WD track about 800m to the west which looked to be descending to the north towards the Orrin (shown on 25k but not on 50k map), that was the target…..down & a campsite. At around 600m the track looked to be heading off up over a ridge so I took to the grassy banks of the Allt Beithe, hoping to come across a pitch on its bank somewhere.  On & on…. nowhere even large enough for a Laser ‘coffin’…… I made it all the way down to the flood plain before I finally found a decent pitch & then there was acres of it……. meal on the go…… Duomid pitched…..eat….bed. After over 12hrs on the go (~29km & 1850m ascent) I can’t remember even what time I hit the sack.

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I didn’t awake until 8:30am…..no hurry….. first coffee in bed. A lazy start, a 3 cuppa breakfast, & off around 10:00 following the burn downstream to the Allt Coire Chairbe & onwards to the Orrin. I did note an unmarked footbridge across the Allt Coire Chairbe (~NH 307476).

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I crossed the Orrin by the excellent footbridge just upstream from Luipmaldrig, the only un-nerving bit is that the bridge’s natural frequency is about the same as normal walking pace making for a bouncy crossing unless short steps are employed.

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Time for a change of plan…..instead of heading directly from Luipmaldrig back over to Inverchoran I headed off following the Orrin upstream.

Just upstream of the second suspension footbridge the Lub a’ Ghlastail joins the Orrin, as well as the shieling just about falling in the burn I also noted another unmarked footbridge.

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The dawdle up the glen to Loch na Caoidhe proved pretty uneventful apart from watching the 100’s of deer scatter up the mountain sides.  Once up to Torran Ceann Liath on the route back over to Inverchoran Plan C came to mind…….a wander up Bac an Eich.

A good stalkers path (not shown on 50k maps & is only shown in its lower reaches on the 25k) though a bit difficult to follow in some places, a lot on intuition needed, it finally gave up the ghost around 700m but it proved an easy-ish climb to Bac an Eich’s summit & an amazing panorama view of yesterday’s ridge walk.

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The shortest route ‘home’ was back down the ascent route but I decided to explore a little more. I headed off to the south-west following a broad ridge down to Drochaid Coire Mhadaidh from where a good stalker’s path led back to the ascent point at the Torran Ceann Liath

Decending back to Inverchoran I did check out an alternative route to the stalkers house, staying to the left (west) of the Allt Gleann Chorainn to pick up a forestry track, a bit muddy in places but useful to know if the burn was in spate. 24km & 700m ascent.

Orrin Map (Large)

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7 comments on “Glen Orrin

  1. worldinsidemypocket
    May 11, 2016

    Such beautiful landscapes! ❤

  2. Kirsten
    May 11, 2016

    What a great trip, Paul, and fantastic weather! Your photos are showing me there’s not much snow to worry about

    • Paul Atkinson
      May 11, 2016

      Supposed to cool down a bit by theW/E. Have a good TGO crossing.

  3. AlanR
    May 12, 2016

    Terrific post. Never been to that Glen and mountains but it has wetted my appetite.
    Thanks and have a good crossing on the challenge.

    • Paul Atkinson
      May 12, 2016

      The ridge between Orrin & Strathfarrar had been on the list for a while, a long approach to collect a Corbett though, but the weather couldn’t have been better. AND NO MIDGE!

  4. Rob McWilliams
    May 25, 2016

    Had to get the maps out just to work out where the hell you were, although I once passed not far to the west. Daytrippers aside, looks well off the beaten track. Great, and thanks for sharing.

    • Paul Atkinson
      May 25, 2016

      One of the great benefits of back packing is being able to transverse the less frequented bits of the country; only saw a couple of Munroe baggers who’d come up from Strathfarrar.

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This entry was posted on May 11, 2016 by in Trip Reports and tagged , .
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