Route: Cruach nam Mult (Graham) and Cruach nan Capull
Distance: 9.8km (6 miles)
Time: 4 -5½ hours (quicker when drier)
Terrain: Forestry tracks and rough, boggy and sometimes very steep pathless ground to both summits.
Map/s: OS Landranger 56 (1:50 000) and OS Explorer 37 (1:25000)
Start/Finish/Parking: Tuck in off road where forestry tracks leave B839
Grid reference: NN168073
Public Transport: NA
Hills on the Edge
This pair of hills sit snuggly on the south side of Hell’s Glen on the western fringes of the Arrochar Alps. If you have ever driven along the glen’s winding road then you may well have looked up at the small, yet impressive, rugged ridge on its southern side. Cruach nam Mult is the highest point on this, just high enough to be a Graham at 611m (a hill between 2000' and 2499' with a drop of 150m on all sides - making it a Marilyn too) and a Tump to boot (a hill with at least a 30m prominence). It's name – meaning the Conical Hill of the Wedders/Wethers - suggests its slopes have long been used as pasture for male (castrated) sheep and, indeed, sheep still graze its flanks today.
To the west Cruach nan Capull sits back from the road but affords excellent views over Loch Fyne from its Trig Point and a rather solitary rock, making it a worthy addition to the walk. It too has animal connections, its name meaning Conical Hill of the Horses. Although smaller (it is a Tump but not a Marilyn) it boasts steep flanks from the col that joins them. The views from both towards Lochgoilhead and the rest of the Arrochar Alps – particularly Beinn an Lochain, Stob an Eas and Ben Donich – are grand, with an interesting perspective of The Cobbler.
1. From the B839 head through the gate and southwest along the forestry track for the first 1.5km. It is easy walking although muddy at first. Many of the trees marked on the OS map have now been felled and the forestry track also goes well beyond the dead end shown, if you start to head back into the older unfelled trees you have gone too far.
2. To keep an eye out for where to turn up the hill look for the end of the new fencing on your left and a crossing over the ditch just before a stream. (Currently there are unfelled trees just ahead, but this may change). You want to turn left over the ditch to follow a small felling track straight up the hill, keeping the stream on your right.
3. The rough track will ascend steeply for the next 300m before veering left. Although you can turn right onto a smaller felling track at this point it takes you towards the col. You are better bearing sharp left on the continuation of the track you are on until you reach the fence.
4. Do not cross the fence but now take a bearing up the hill in a southerly direction for the next 250-300m. It is quite steep going and you may find yourself zigzagging but it gets you up quite quickly.
5. Start to bear ESE and soon the ground relents, opening out and allowing for a relatively easy course just below the ridge to your left. As you gain height aim for the crest which will take you SE over a slight rise and onto the summit. It is worth visiting both tops (the westernmost is noted as the true summit) and then dropping slightly off to the SE to contour south round the hill’s edges, which give excellent views down to Hell’s Glen, and towards Lochgoilhead. Below, the Tump Stob Liath, beckons but I have not included it on this walk.
6. From the summit’s steep edges initially head NW keeping the crest of the ridge to your right as you drop towards the col over 1km away. You will start veering west after this and need to keep just above the heads of the streams that drop off the hill’s southern flanks.
7. Approaching the col you cross a rickety fence. Some meandering is now required to avoid the boggier bits. If it's green, it’s probably mean; poles are handy to test with! This flattish area leads to the steeper slopes of Cruach nan Capull ahead.
8. Aim straight for the eastern flanks where a break in the crags will allow for a few convenient zigzags. It is very steep but with care it saves a long steep contour round to the north or south to reach easier slopes.
9. Reaching the first false summit it is best to nip over its north end then head SW along its edge to avoid quite a large bog. This can then be crossed to reach the summit Trig less than 100m away. Lying just SW is a lonely rock which affords great views down Loch Fyne, a fine perch!
10. To descend follow the long north ridge NNE, skirting high above Coire No. After a kilometre you will be running parallel to a stream on your left. Keep in line with this until you reach a fence.
11. Cross the fence and follow the stream down for 250m to a felling track. Turn right and follow this as it undulates back south into Coire No. After 300m it briefly climbs steeply as it veers towards the new forestry track.
12. Join the main track and follow this round the head of the Coire where it will join your original route back to the start.
And if you fancy refreshments at the end of your walk or somewhere to stay whilst in this area you have plenty of choice. Heading north you might fancy a local beer at Loch Fyne Ales, a warming cuppa at The Tree Shop Cafe, some seafood at the Loch Fyne Oyster Bar or a well deserved meal at The George in Inveraray. And if you wish to visit Loch Goil there is The Boatshed Cafe whereas just down the road at Strachur you will find The Creggans Inn. There are plenty of places to stay too, including The George, The Creggans Inn, numerous B&Bs and with Argyll Holidays.
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Safety in the Outdoors
The described route and accompanying information are there to be used as a guide and do not replace the use of map and compass and the skills required to use them. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the route is accurate please be aware that track and path closures can happen at any time. All walks are undertaken at your own risk. Please continue to adhere to current guidelines as set out by the government, exercise responsibly and use appropriate clothing and equipment for your chosen outdoor activity. Inform a contact about your route/whereabouts and don’t forget your phone, snacks, drink, any medication/first aid supplies you may need and to check weather conditions. Most walks are dog friendly but please keep your dog under close control, especially around livestock and wildlife. Please follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.