An Cais­teal & Beinn a’ Chroin

Cas­tle with Dan­ger: Ron­ald Turn­bull in­vites you to sally forth on a Mun­roslay­ing ad­ven­ture that’s mildly Me­dieval. And it’s all in the name...


Gaelic names can be plain and peaty, with an end­less suc­ces­sion of Grey Humps (Meall Glas) or Red­dish Stonepiles (Carn Dearg). But some­times the an­cient High­landers let their ro­man­ti­cism run away with them and give a cou­ple of hills the names they de­serve. The Cas­tle: if it makes you think of heroes in clanky ar­mour, and croak­ing ravens, and a dam­sel (or knight) hav­ing a wee bit of trou­ble on the scram­bly bit, well you’ve pretty much got the pic­ture. The ridge­line is pleas­antly nar­row and sharp on top. It’s got rocky bits, and a path weav­ing be­tween, and a slashed gap that maybe’s been made by a sword. Then again, the idea that the hill’s been un­der­mined a bit by the Ice Age and then sliced by land­slips is al­most as ex­cit­ing…

Hav­ing boldly to the dark cas­tle come, what do you look for but a bit of Gaelic a’ Chroin, or dan­ger? The sum­mer path round on the right is ex­cit­ing enough: a ledge line be­tween steep cliffs, with an eroded scram­bly mo­ment. But in win­ter, the bold di­rect as­sault gives a steep­ish snow­field that’ll clear the blood­stains off your spear or the rust off your spiky cram­pons. And the flat place on top has rocky knobs that could al­most be like bat­tle­ments. Or else just like a crack­ing Cri­an­larich cou­ple of rugged and ro­man­tic Munro sum­mits.

De­scend­ing An Cais­teal’s south ridge with Ben Lomond on the sky­line.

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