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The easy way up Beinn Bheag (Cowal)

The easy way up Beinn Bheag (Cowal)

Postby TheTortoise » Mon Oct 05, 2020 6:28 pm

Grahams included on this walk: Beinn Bheag (Cowal)

Date walked: 01/10/2020

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We set off on a 'mystery tour' since we hoped to find an easy way up Beinn Bheag from Glenbranter, but didn't know if we would succeed. Beinn Bheag is almost completely ringed with forestry. We had looked at OS maps, OpenStreetMaps, johnthornmaps, google earth, and walkhighland reports. We had seen new felling near the end of GlenShellish so the firebreak from there mentioned by some walkhighlanders didn't look possible. It seemed likely that there were tracks leading to the col north of Beinn Bheag, but with forest felling and replanting, you can never be sure. And the mapping of the forest showed none of the details of our hoped for tracks. Many thanks to smiffysmc and his walkhighland report here which was very useful.
We walked up middle Glenshellish track for quite a way. It was initially misty in the valleys
A misty start to the day
but we were quickly above this. There were open views at first before becoming enclosed by trees.
View to Beinn Mhor
We took the 3rd track that angled back uphill then arrived at a junction of three wide gravel forest tracks, and here we were delighted to find the hoped for grassy atv track going straight uphill. We took this, and after a while it curved round to the left. The Hare, a little ahead of me, met a couple of stalkers with an atv who were going to retrieve a stag that they had just shot. We had hoped to find another track forking off to the col (and there is one, the Hare saw it later). However before we got there, we found a substantial break in the trees leading to apparently open ground on the slopes of Beinn Bheag.
View to Creag Tharsuinn, taken from just beyond our break in the trees
We set off through the open area and it transpired that the higher open ground was actually a grassed over felled area. There we came to an old atv track coming in from the right, which led us up beside the felled area.
Looking down the old ATV track as it leaves the forest
Once above the trees, the track ended at about NS125937. It was then straightforward to go up a shallow valley, following an old line of the fence post. We diverted onto knolls on the left side, which led to the final steep slope beneath the summit.
Looking back to Point 568, and Cruachan beyond
From the summit there were amazing views down Loch Eck and out down the Firth of Clyde.
Loch Eck and the Firth of Clyde
About a dozen ravens were flying to and from the crags on the next knoll down.
We ate lunch at the top, then the Hare returned over the trig point, perhaps not finding the best route through the crags, then angling down over gentler ground to a firebreak shown on OpenStreetMap near Tom na Clusaig. He also found some clear ground between the parallel forest tracks so was able to eliminate a lot of tedious zigzagging.
I retraced our route of ascent to get back to the gravel track, then, since I had the time, returned by the lower Glenshellish track, which was a longer route but mostly on a more pleasant grassier track.
Here is the approximate way up.

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