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Beinn a' Bheithir

Beinn a' Bheithir

Postby highland rambler » Fri Nov 11, 2011 11:58 pm

Route description: Beinn a' Bheithir via Schoolhouse Ridge

Munros included on this walk: Sgòrr Dhearg (Beinn a' Bheithir), Sgòrr Dhònuill (Beinn a' Bheithir)

Date walked: 21/04/2011

Time taken: 6 hours

Distance: 12 km

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In April 2011 we were based in Ballachulish and therefore thought it natural to tackle the 'Ballachulish Horsehoe' which offers a fantastic curved ridge. We made our way on a very sunny morning out of the village past the quaint little school and onto the open land at the foot of Beinn Bhan. This offers the approach route to Sgorr Bhan and later, Beinn a' Bheithir, there is no path for the ascent of Beinn Bhan from Ballachulish and therefore it is a direct route to the summit across grass and heather to the ridge leading to the top. This is a steep and relentless route but thankfully it was dry and firm underfoot, I imagine that the ascent in the wet bog of autumn / winter must be tough!

Beinn Bhan (right) and Sgorr Bhan (left) from Ballachulish

The ascent gives lovely views across Lochs Leven and Linnhe and over the pretty village of Ballachulish to the mouth of the pass and Sgorr na Ciche (Pap of Glencoe)

Ballachulish village & Sgorr na Ciche around Loch Leven

Loch Leven & Eilean Munde

Lochs Leven & Linnhe separated by the Ballachulish bridge

Upon reaching the ridge of Beinn Bhan we picked up the well trodden path to Sgorr Bhan where further up, the hillside changes from soft heather and grass to the more familiar rock and scree.

Sgorr Bhan

Sgorr Dhearg under a little snow

Looking back to Beinn Bhan from Sgorr Bhan

The weather was fantastic so we completed the whole walk in t-shirts and despite the application of suncream got a little sunburnt in the process - unbelievable for Spring. We eventually reached the summit of Sgorr Bhan, from where we enjoyed the great view of the curving ridge towards the first Munro of the day, Sgorr Dhearg. Sgorr Dhonuill is hidden from view at this point behind the elegant Sgorr Dhearg.

Sgorr Bhan summit with Sgorr Dhearg behind

Sgorr Bhan summit with Sgorr Dhearg behind

Curving ridge approach to Sgorr Dhearg

Sgorr Bhan from Sgorr Dearg (bealach)

Sgorr Bhan from Sgorr Dearg (bealach)

Looking back along the ridge towards Sgorr Bhan

Upon reaching the summit of Sgorr Dhearg we caught our first glimpse of Sgorr Dhonuill - stunning!

Sgorr Dhonuill from Sgorr Dhearg

Sgorr Dhonuill

Sgorr Dhearg from Beinn a' Bheithir bealach

Sgorr Dhonuill requires a short but fun scramble over very sturdy rock to reach the summit

Scrambling summit approach to Sgorr Dhonuill

Sgorr Dhonuill summit with Sgorr Dhearg behind

Sgorr Dhearg from Sgorr Dhonuill

Summit - Sgorr Dhonuill towards Sgorr Dhearg

Having spent a while on the summit enjoying the views, spring sunshine and some refreshments we made our way back towards the bealach for the descent route. This brought a choice, descend north into the conifers and pick a route through the ample forest at the foot of the mountain, or descend south and pick a route into and through Gleann an Fhiodh, back to Ballachulish. We opted for the latter and made our way slowly but surely through the long grass, which we found tough on the soles of our feet as there is a need to dig your feet into the mountainside to keep a steady foothold and prevent yourself slipping down the slopes.

Grassy descent from the Beinn a' Bheithir bealach

High in the glen and at the foot of Beinn a' Bheithir the route leads you across the river Laroch, from which we thankfully refilled our drinks cannisters, it was that warm that we had finished our supplies long ago! Further down the route took us across croft land, back into Ballachulish, and the short walk to the cottage.

Return to Ballachulish above Loch Leven

A great day and lovely ridge walk, tainted only by the hazy sunshine, which obscured the fantastic views slightly - this walk is well recommended!
highland rambler
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Re: Beinn a' Bheithir

Postby pigeon » Sat Nov 12, 2011 10:00 am

Great report rambler and handy as well,we're heading up there tomorrow,can't see us getting sun burn though :lol:
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Re: Beinn a' Bheithir

Postby highland rambler » Sat Nov 19, 2011 11:32 pm

I'm glad you found the report useful. I hope you had a good, safe day up there. I think the ridge to Sgorr Dhearg from Sgorr Bhan is the most elegant we have viewed in our somewhat limited experience - we found it a very enjoyable walk! :D
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