- This route is mostly pathless, good navigation skills are essential.
- This route involves crossing a medium sized river, be prepared to wade or go further up stream if in spate.
So last year I ticked off Beinn Dòrain and Beinn an Dòthaidh, got a bit carried away and took in Beinn Achaladair as well. Unfortunately I hadn't really thought it through and realised afterwards the munro baggers worst nightmare; I could have done another.
Ever since it’s been bugging me that I’d have to repeat the same walk in again, practically doing the same Munro again sacrificing efficiency.Then It dawned on, Munros are not one sided and I also had Beinn Mhanach to tick off. So after looking at the OS map it didn't take me long to figure out a route.
After forgetting just how long Glen Lyon is, I eventually parked on the verge between the farm access and dam access, then at about 08:30 started towards the farm building where there is a gate on the left with big 'dogs on leads’ signage.
From here it’s about 6km easy walk in along a good landrover track to the far side of the loch. The sluice gates were open at the dam which was an unusual spectacle. From the lack of parking, and lack of cars I was pretty sure I was the only one out here.
At about 5.5km, as you pass a gate with a sheep pen on the left, I turned down towards the river at this point.. More or less making a bee line for Beinn Mhanach. Though this was only because the water looked really low, I had planned on crossing the Ford further up stream. Sure enough I got across the river without too much peril, crossed the track once more and started the main pathless ascent.
Having seen a couple of promising forecasts, the cloud was disappointingly low (and surprisingly muggy) and with a few glimpses of a view it was a very grey day herein. The view back along Loch Lyon to the dam was stunning though.
This was a bit of a trudge up a seemingly endless grassy slope, easy walking, just boring with the greyness though a glimpse of what was to follow spurred me on.
After about 2.5 hours I reached the summit of Beinn Mhanach, where I met another walker who had climbed up the traditional route from Bridge of Orchy. From his description it sounded like both routes are very similar in nature, good walk-in, pathless ascent.
Descending the west side of the hill is straight forward enough though with the dense cloud and the discovery of a path, I accidentally ascended the hill Beinn a' Chuirn (not sure if this is a significant hill or not). I should have turned right at a wireless fence to descend the more easy going grassy slopes. The route straight down from the top was pretty steep and slippy so I ended up backtracking more than I liked.
The traverse and climb up to Beinn a' Chreachain seemed to take an eternity and the lack of visibility definitely wasn't helping. I opted for a pretty direct and steep route up to the summit. Just after 4.5 hours I summited Beinn a' Chreachain where I took a decent break. With the knowledge that Rannoch Moor was in line of site (thanks to the sound of motorbikes) I sat and hoped a sudden gust of wind would take the clouds away. Obviously this did not happen.... until I was several hundred metres down!
The route off from here is initially on a good path, following the WH route for this summit down the northern ridge until it peels off to the left. As soon as I was past the cliffs and could see a manageable route down the grassy slopes past Coire Mhuiltean, with the landcover track visible at the foot of the hill.
The descent down was uneventful and having reached the landcover track I crossed the river, switched from my boots to shoes and scarpered out reaching the car roughly 9 hours after I started.
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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.