So after a long, long break thanks to Covid and life generally I finally had a week off and the chance to get back to the hills!
Hoping for a straightforward hill to get back in the swing of things I settled on Beinn Chabhair given it was the closest Munro that I hadn't summited and from the reports it didn't seem too challenging....(more on that later!)
It was a nice feeling again to be packing my bag the day before and great to get back up for the first time since early November, crazy it has been so long!
I picked up Dad about 7.00 and after some slow moving traffic on the road up we were setting off just about 9.00. We had decided to come in from the North to try and avoid the worst of the bogs that seemed to be the common feature of the WalkHiglands reports of this hill.
The hydro track here is part of the West Highland Way before turning South and heading up the glen, we did get asked by one of the workers if we were looking for the Way just after we turned off but reassured him we were going for the Munro! nice of him to ask though!
The going up the track was excellent and we gained height steadily, a few stiles and dog gates were negotiated before we reached the small dam that marks the end of the track. The weather at this point was reasonably good although the top of Chabhair still had its head in the clouds.
We stopped for a couple of minutes before following the faint path up the hillside. With the rain recently this was very boggy and the path quickly disappeared. We kept a good pace to begin with but as the gradient increased I was beginning to struggle. We made it about halfway up this section before stopping for a good break and carried on, but I could feel I was slowing all the time. We had been for a a warm up on the Pentlands earlier in the week but the combination of the gradient, bogginess and the lack of fitness was certainly taking its toll! I plodded on, with Dad slowing to my pace, Cooper was happy enough, finding and larger bogs and pools to dip into!
Finally, despite seeming to be stopped more than walking, we managed to reach the Bealach between Chabhair and Tarmachan. We stopped for a good break and met a couple of guys who had come up from Inverarnan, boggy that way as well they reported! I was feeling much better with some food in me and the ground from this point was much better for walking. The cloud was still about but it was breaking up so we got some excellent views as we traversed the ridge.
The ridge has plenty of false summits but the walking is good and interesting enough so you don't lose hope! After about 30 minutes or so the true summit appeared to us. It was very satisfying to reach this given the struggles earlier on! We stopped for lunch, and with the weather improving we got some more excellent views, not many photos though as my phone was playing up!
Following lunch we packed up and made off down the ridge, bumping into a few fellow walkers but in general the hill was very quiet. Great views North to Ben Lui and the Tyndrum Munros. Another quick break at the Bealach before descending the bog, far easier going down!!! We had a final stop at the dam before the easy walk out along the track.
All in all it was great being back out on the hill with Dad and Cooper, good to get the first one in the legs so hopefully I won't be struggling as much next time!
Thanks for reading
Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.