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Over the Corran Ferry

Over the Corran Ferry

Postby weaselmaster » Sun Feb 11, 2024 11:38 pm

Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn Resipol, Creach Bheinn (Morvern), Fuar Bheinn

Fionas included on this walk: Beinn Mheadhoin (Morvern), Beinn na Cille

Date walked: 11/02/2024

Distance: 42 km

Ascent: 3150m

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Threats of snow near the Border had me looking north this weekend. I had got into the Donald Mindset recently and would have ventured south once more but for the somewhat unpromising forecast. Plus it was my birthday weekend and I decided I wanted some proper hills. We set off into yet another gale on Thursday night, with vague plans to include Beinn Resipol and a clutch of Grahams from Glen Gour. First thing was to decide where to camp, and we made the sadly rather ill-advised decision to camp along Loch Leven on our way to the ferry. We hoped that the hills at Kinlochleven would shelter us somewhat from the easterly blast, but it was not to be - the tent was battered remorselessly all night with exactly zero sleep attained.

We dragged ourselves up on Friday morning and made our way to queue for the ferry which was busy with work folk. Including a high-sided double trailer of bales of hay. I expected some issues with the crossing but it was smooth as if no gale was blowing. The big backpacking loop was ruled off due to the winds today, so we headed for Strontian with the intention of heading up Resipol. Walking in along the old mining track would mean that we'd have the wind behind us for much of the way - we could worry about how strong ir would be at the summit when we got there...

resole1way.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

I had hoped to park at the end of the public road, but decided that would be inconsiderate and drove back down to the large open area across from the hotel instead. Will we need winter gear? We put the light crampons in just in case - it was very very cold with the wind chill, so it could just be problematically icy up there. Turned off the good track beside some farm gear - a herd of cattle huddling together to minimise the cold. Followed this sketchy track for the best part of 2k then found our way between Meall an t-Slugain and Beinn a'Chaorainn. I remember this being boggy from the first time we were here, but the icy weather must have helped solidify the ground a bit. Then a lengthy but graduated climb up the shoulder of Resipol. Rùm was clear out to sea, no snow out there. The wind force strengthened as we walked along the series of bumps before the summit proper, and at the top it was too strong to stand. I had to crawl on hands and knees to touch the highest point on the cairn, Allison dispensed with such follies saying "we're at the cairn; we're at the top"

ImageIMG_0875 by Al, on Flickr

ImageIMG_0878 by Al, on Flickr

ImageIMG_0879 by Al, on Flickr

ImageIMG_0880 by Al, on Flickr

ImageIMG_0882 by Al, on Flickr

We followed our own snowy footprints back down without any great difficulty , the wind seemed curtailed after having experienced its full strength at the summit. We chatted about the plans for the rest of the weekend - as the wind was to continue very strong until Saturday night it didn't seem sensible to pursue the original goal. I needed Beinn na Cille and Beinn Mheadhoin down in Morven, so they would provide a more suitable alternative for this weekend. Now we just needed to find somewhere to camp, preferably with a bit more shelter than last night! Darkness was falling, so I decided against driving down to Glen Galmadale, we pitched in the car parking area below Garbh Bheinn which was acceptable in terms of shelter, just the occasional bits of traffic going by.

ImageIMG_0883 by Al, on Flickr

Up later than ideal on Saturday, didn't get down to Glen Galmadale til after 10. I've been trying out intermittent fasting this week, where you go for 16 hours without eating, then eat during an 8 hour window. Off the hills this sin't very hard, just shift breakfast to 10am as I usually have my dinner eaten by 6pm anyway...I'm interested to see if it helps me stop my evening snacking, which is considerable :lol: But on the hills it's a bit more problematic as in general one wants to get off before 10 and may not be back by 6...going to need some fine tuning I think. We're both going to do it for a month, so we'll see how it goes. Had breakfast in the car before setting off...although I only needed the Graham of Beinn na Cille, Allison needed the two Corbetts, so it seemed prudent to just do the circuit. We did the WH route in reverse.

On the whole I think the reversed, anti-clockwise option is preferable as you have a more gradual ascent up to Meall nan Each. You do have the short sharp shock of 200m steep ascent up Beinn na Cille at the end of your day, which is the only drawback. Anyhow, the wind was still blowing fiercely from the east, still wind-chilling us, but less strong than the day before. Up to the slopes of Meall Odhar, edged by serious coires to the east and north, various bits of the crashed F101 Voodoo visible in the snow. Then down and up to the summit of Creach Bheinn, with views down to Jura and Arran over the water. 300m down, 200m up to the summit of Fuar Bheinn. Time was getting on - it was 3.45 and we still had a steep Graham to climb, plus get off the mountain before dark came down. Another 300m down, 200m up for Beinn na Cille. That was a bit of a struggle. I got to the top before Allison, having zigzagged my way up in bursts of 10 double strides, one set to the left, one set to the right. She arrived fairly soon after though, having been pressing herself to make good time given the hour which was getting late.

ImageIMG_0884 by Al, on Flickr

ImageIMG_0885 by Al, on Flickr

Meall Odhar to Creach Bheinn
ImageIMG_0886 by Al, on Flickr

ImageIMG_0888 by Al, on Flickr

ImageIMG_0892 by Al, on Flickr

ImageIMG_0893 by Al, on Flickr

ImageIMG_0894 by Al, on Flickr

Fuar Bheinn from Creach
ImageIMG_0895 by Al, on Flickr

Cille from Fuar
ImageIMG_0896 by Al, on Flickr

No time for summit views, just get off the hill. When we'd come up here before we'd used different routes, so neither of us was sure what the WH route would be like. Was alright, deer paths helped, but not one I'd have fancied by head torch given the proximity of crags if you went off-piste. Fortunately we got off the hill while there was still enough light to navigate by and headed along the road to the car. We could have camped along the shore, but we chose to head into the woods near the car parking area which had lots of space between the trees and flat, leaf-litter strewn ground. The cattle clearly enjoy being in here...

ImageIMG_0898 by Al, on Flickr

ImageIMG_0899 by Al, on Flickr

We ate at the car, being a bit later than our schedule suggested, then dragged the tent into the trees for a peaceful night. The wind had dropped to nothing and we had owls plus some large creature, I thing deer rather than cattle, crashing through branches at one point.

mheadhoin-3.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

For Beinn Mheadhoin, it used to be possible to park down by the fish farm, but the new estate prohibits cars of "non-guests" from going down the road. We could have parked in the opening of the private road, but I decided a walk from the place we were already parked would do us good. Up and away by 8.30 today, a cup of black coffee our only sustenance til 10am, we walked briskly along the road then down into the estate. Clag was down on the mountain tops and drizzle was turning to something heavier as we approached the foot of our hill. We stomped through some trees and very boggy round to reach the northern aspect of the nose of Mheadhoin then took deer tracks up through the crags until we reached the front of the slope. We hit snow on the ground at about 550m. It felt like a long slog up, although the final 1km or so is quite gentle in ascent. Until the craggy part just shy of the summit is reached, that is... On previous occasions we've done the loop clockwise, coming past the mega-quarry and descending the scramble section. I vaguely remembered it. However it was much more of a proposition today in slippy wet snow, with the steep drop into course on each side emphasised by the bleak whiteness of the snow. Luckily I had kept our axes on my rucksack from yesterday, little thinking they'd be pressed into service today. Without them, it might have been an embarrassing turn around. As it was, the ascent was alright and we sat at the cairn having lunch. I asked Allison if she wanted to descend the way we'd come - which had been the plan - or to continue along the loop meaning we'd not have to descend the tricky part again. To complicate matters we'd left our poles down at the beginning of the narrow section. In the end we opted to return the way we had come, much of it on our derrières and were reunited with our poles for the straightforward remainder of the decent.

ImageIMG_0900 by Al, on Flickr

ImageIMG_0901 by Al, on Flickr

ImageIMG_0902 by Al, on Flickr

The wee tricky section
ImageIMG_0903 by Al, on Flickr

ImageIMG_0904 by Al, on Flickr

ImageIMG_0908 by Al, on Flickr

A couple more Grahams off the list - I have fallen way behind my hoped-for target of three a weekend - have only managed 10 so far this year :shock: Too much music!
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