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Goldrush on Beinn Chuirn

Goldrush on Beinn Chuirn

Postby Mountainlove » Tue Nov 23, 2021 9:43 pm

Route description: Beinn Chuirn, Dalrigh

Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn Chuirn

Date walked: 21/11/2021

Time taken: 5.5 hours

Distance: 16.2 km

Ascent: 794m

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I start to believe that the hardest part of any walk is either finding the car park, or the start of the route. :lol: Drop me off anywhere and I will find my way home, but finding a path as soon as I leave my car is another matter. :roll:
However missing the path this time was the best thing which could have happened and brought a lot more excitement, to an otherwise probably boring walk in. :thumbup:

Sunrise over the Crianlarich hills

It all started pretty normal...I arrived at the rather large car park at Dalrigh, found a spot, got ready and set off. I had memorized the instructions…leave car park, first one left, and the next two right. That would get me going until at some point I would pass under a railway bridge.

It all worked out great and with a few other walkers behind me, I was in no doubt that I was on the right track. I walked for quite some time and saw the railway line and eventually crossed it over a bridge.

I was now confused…wasn’t there supposed to be a tunnel? :eh: I stopped and read the walk description again. It sounded right, but then something was odd. Switching my GPS on, I realized that even though I was walking in the right direction, I was on the wrong path on the wrong side of a rather large river . :roll:

Refusing to walk back, I studying my GPS. I realized that I was close to a bridge which would get me over one of the rivers. :thumbup: I would still be on the other side of River Cononish, but surely a simple river crossing would be a doddle :roll: (wishful thinking)
With the new alternative route mapped out, I left the main path and took a new path (not yet on the map) which lead towards the bridge on the map.

The new path towards the bridge

Noticing steps behind me I turned around and did a double turn. I had expected some other hill walkers, but instead two men with spades, buckets and big backpacks walked behind me. Tree planting came to my mind, but why would they need buckets?

The two men I met on their way panning for gold

I started a conversation during which I asked where they were heading. I was told that they were on the way to pan for gold. I was gobsmacked! I knew there was a gold mine further up…but here? ‘Look at path’ one of the men told me. My eyes darted to the stony path. ‘Can you see the quartz?’ I nodded. Some scientific explanation later I was told that I was literally walking on gold. :shock: :wtf: With some new found respect for the path I was walking on, I asked them if they have ever found gold and was told 'Yes..many times'. :shock:
Once the two of them were on their way towards the river bank I continued over the rather lovely bridge and into an old part of Caledonian forest.

The lovely bridge over Allt Gleann Auchreoch

My mind kept on thinking about gold and walking over soft swampy ground had never felt so intriguing. Needless to say I was now determined to find at least a nugget :lol: A faint path continued alongside the river. It felt remote, stunning and I used every opportunity to search for gold.

The alternative path

Searching for gold nuggets

The plan to cross the river was long forgotten, this was so much better. Stories and films about the Klondike went through my head and I had a marvelous time (even though no gold nuggets were found) :(

How I felt (minus the horse and male appearance) lol

The track continued for a good 3 miles until I got to a bridge I found on my map and managed to cross without having to undergo a river crossing. It had taken me a bit longer than the road on the other side would have, but I had loved the alternative path.

Beinn Chuirn in the distance on the left

The bridge over the river which is located close to the farm

Back on the main path and close to the actual gold mine I could hear the work going on inside. Exiting to know that they are digging for gold just now. I passed numerous warning signs and gates until the climb up Beinn Chuirn could start.


The way up

It was a steep climb, mainly pathless, but the route finding was easy. The initial climb was rewarded with a flattish area. I found a broken bit of an antler, a bloody tip was evidence to a previous fight. The bit was smelling dreadful, so I left it on the grass and continued up the hill.


The higher I climbed the colder it got and when I finally reached the summit area, I only did a circle around the summit before heading down again…not even 4 layers of clothing convinced me it was a good time for lunch...it was freezing!

The summit

Summit cairn


Fantastic views down Coire na Saobhaidhe

Further down the slope, away from the cold wind, I finally had some rest and had a quick bit to bite and drink.. The walk back to the car I continued along the main path, which seemed rather boring, after the far more beautiful and exciting way out. It was however a good 25 min quicker.

Home made double chocolate muffin with a view towards Ben Lui

Low sun reflections


With the sun coloring the clouds pink and orange I drove home. I did not had found gold, but it had been one of the best walks in a while.

Low sun over the Crianlarich hills back at the car park

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