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Beinn Mholach and Creag a'Mhadaidh from Dalnaspidal

Beinn Mholach and Creag a'Mhadaidh from Dalnaspidal

Postby gld73 » Fri Sep 10, 2021 12:25 am

Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn Mholach

Grahams included on this walk: Creag a'Mhadaidh

Date walked: 02/09/2021

Time taken: 6.9 hours

Distance: 30 km

Ascent: 920m

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I thought I'd done most of the readily accessible hills from the A9 as breaks in my occasional journeys between Inverness and Edinburgh, but realised there was a third corbett accessible from Dalnaspidal that I hadn't done - Beinn Mholach, though unlike Sow of Atholl and Meall na Leitreach, it's not visible from the A9.

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I parked by the level crossing and set off at 1.30pm, no early start for me! It's quite a long walk in on a good track alongside Loch Garry, water levels even lower than normal just now. When the track ends I suspect the ground to be crossed would normally be pretty muddy, but the recent warm, dry weather made it no bother to walk across, reaching the hydro building and rejoining another vehicle track to cross the river and continue on. Popped into the bothy as a small detour (didn't stay, just changed the calendar on to September), then set off up the hill.
Starting the walk at the level crossing, corbett of Meall na Leitreach on the left

View down Loch Garry, Beinn Mholach not visible yet

I know the reservoirs often have the water down showing stones around the edge, but Loch Garry was looking at lower levels than normal, which matched Scottish Water's pleas for people not to waste water as levels were so low after the dry weather

This stretch when the good vehicle track ends is probably a quagmire in prolonged wet weather. Not today though! Beinn Mholach finally makes an appearance too

Choice of 2 bridges to cross the Allt Shallain to get to the base of the hill ...

...though once across, I took a detour to see the bothy before returning to start the hill part of the walk

Again, the dry weather made this hill easier than it might otherwise be. I wasn't on a path or track, I just aimed to the right of the obvious rocky nobble, where I then joined up with an ATV track for a bit. I'd seen there was a graham nearby too, and looking over to it from here made it look easy to tag on to the walk. I decided to make the definite decision on it when I was back at this point, so continued on up Beinn Mholach.
There was actually quite a clear start to the ATV track up, but I soon left it and just headed straight up to aim for the right of the rocky outcrop. Rejoined the ATV track for a short stretch at that point before heading straight again

Looking back to Loch Garry and Meall na Leitreach

Schiehallion always catches the eye! In front of that is the corbett Beinn a'Chuallaich, then the 2 hills in the foreground are the graham Creag a'Mhadaidh (L) and Gualann Sheileach (R), both with 612m summits. It was this view that started me thinking I might as well do Creag a'Mhadaidh while I was so close

The hill was frustratingly deceptive after that - the big cairn comes into sight for a bit, but there are false summits and more ups and downs than I expected; I was just glad a lot of the peat hags were fairly dry. There were traces of a path in parts, but I'd taken what I thought was a pretty direct line to the summit and it seemed to involve more effort than the route I took back from the summit then knowing the terrain! A good viewpoint though and it did feel like quite a remote spot.
It was almost a couple of kilometres from Creag nan Gabhar to Beinn Mholach's summit, and it felt like it on the line I took. Thank god a lot of the peat hags were okay to walk through on this occasion!

Lots of ups and downs and zigs and zags later, I made it to the big summit cairn

Cairn and trig at the 841m summit of Beinn Mholach

Zoomed to Schiehallion

I headed back, skirting to the left a lot more on the way back to avoid doing every up and down bump again. The section of walk on the top of Beinn Mholach had taken longer than I'd thought it would, but I was pretty sure I'd have time to add on Creag a'Mhadaidh. I hadn't read anything about it as I'd not been expecting to do it, but it looked straightforward enough. I dropped back down to the vehicle track and followed it up to roughly the high point on the pass, then took a direct line through the pathless heather and grass to the slopes of the hill. Again, the dry weather meant this was no bog fest. (I've since read that it can be done from Trinafour to the east or Annat to the south, but as I was nearby anyway, I tagged it on to this Dalnaspidal walk). Nice views to nearby Beinn a'Chuallaich which I did earlier this year.
Heading down the slopes from Creag nan Gabhar to the west, aiming for the track where it crosses the Allt na Duinish on a bridge

Creag a'Mhadaidh. No path up it as far as I'm aware (typical graham!)

Looking back over to Beinn Mholach from Creag a'Mhadaidh's summit cairn

...and SE to Beinn a'Chuallaich, (with Schiehallion inevitably photobombing)

Pretty much a straight line back to the track and followed it all the way back to the car again. A longer walk than I'd set out to do, I'd have started a bit earlier if I'd known I was going to add the second summit - but another nice break from the A9 drive :D
Lovely evening as I neared the end of the walk and looked back along Loch Garry. (Well, lovely in the bits with a breeze; the sheltered parts were midge central)

Almost back at the car (I like getting the train sometimes, but on a day like this, I like stopping for a walk more)
Posts: 666
Munros:157   Corbetts:64
Grahams:54   Donalds:10
Sub 2000:75   Hewitts:45
Wainwrights:68   Islands:13
Joined: Aug 11, 2015
Location: Inverness

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