walkhighlands

Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
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.

A'Ghlas-bheinn - Kintail revisited

A'Ghlas-bheinn - Kintail revisited


Postby Clach Liath » Fri Apr 06, 2012 5:20 pm

Munros included on this walk: A' Ghlas-bheinn

Date walked: 03/04/2012

Time taken: 7 hours

6 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

A late start at 10.30am followed a latish arrival the previous evening at the Kintail Lodge Hotel in the footsteps of the WH meet. I parked up outside the Kintail Outdoor Centre. The previous evening had seen a turn in the weather and a dump of snow that had turned the mountains from Spring green back to Winter white to quite low levels. :-D :-D

The wind was brisk and chill and snow flurries blew by as I started off. Yet the weather omens were promising. Although the cloud was still sitting on top of the higher hills, there were patches of blue sky – including around the target for today.

IMG_4243.JPG
A'Ghlas-bheinn above Strath Croe


From the turning area at the end of the public road beyond the Centre a bridge is crossed and a sign soon directs you through the settlement of Inchnacroe on a clear path that leads in half a kilometre to the banks of the Abhainn Chonaig. You are on the path to the Falls of Glomach. There then followed a pleasant walk through woodland and on to open hillside beyond. The views also began to open out behind me.

IMG_4244.JPG
Upper Loch Duich


In a couple of kilometres the path splits. Once upon a time, before it was sold by Forest Enterprise into private ownership, it was possible to drive into the Dorusduain forest to a car park. This saved about four kilometres walk when tackling either A’Ghlas-bheinn or Beinn Fhada. The “P” is still shown on some maps but access is now denied.

IMG_4288.JPG
Right, not left


To the left is the path to the Falls. To the right the path goes on to Gleann Choinneachain and then to the Bealach an Sgairne, the Gates of Affric. This, of course, is a common route up Beinn Fhada and separately a couple and a chap were heading that way. Shortly beyond that sign there is a gate in a fence and you now feel as though you are starting to climb.

Despite the snowfall the path was still clear as it wriggled up through the white coated heather.

IMG_4245.JPG
Up Gleann Choinneachean


The path is well constructed and at a pleasing gradient making for swift progress. At about the 200m mark there was a further fence with a gate across the path. At this point the transformation in the path was remarkable. It was as if someone had carefully swept away the snow to that point but had then given up. The path was obliterated. Its line could be followed where it appeared from under the drifts.

IMG_4247.JPG
Towards The Gates of Affric


Even though the sun made its appearance from time to time, the air in the glen was chilly. Plumes of spindrift rose, driven up and around by the stiff north easterly wind causing the snowdrifts on the route I was taking.

IMG_4248.JPG
Retrospective


The way alternated between knee deep drifts, teetering on the firmer edge of the path and the softer heather. Occasionally holes hidden under the carpet of snow sent me flying forward with curses. :wtf: In time I reached the crossing of the Allt Coire an Sgairne. It is interesting to compare the next photo with the third photo in Monty’s report of his walk a couple of days earlier which was taken nearby.

IMG_4249.JPG
The Allt Coire an Sgairne


http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=19978

I stopped for some food and drink and the single chap passed me. He soon left the route of the path to take a direct line up the corrie. Meanwhile I continued towards the pass. I lost the path completely for a while. Its route re-appeared occasionally once the glen narrowed in its final approach to the Gates. Meanwhile the lone walker became subsumed into the vastness of the landscape surrounding him.

IMG_4253.JPG
Lost in the vastness of the corrie


The Glen narrowed significantly. From there, what should have been a 10 minute walk to the top of the pass became a 40 minute battle through thigh deep snow with occasional respite on rocky outcrops. Of course, I had miscalculated. That north easterly wind was carrying the Affric snow through the defile and depositing soft powder on the more sheltered slopes. I am not shamed to admit that it was sometimes faster to crawl on all fours – not a technique that I have often been known to use. :lol: :lol:

IMG_4255.JPG
Bealach an Sgairne


IMG_4254.JPG
A wallow in the hollow


But eventually I did make it to the Gates and received a face full of flying snow and a slightly gloomy outlook. 500m altitude and 2 hours 40 minutes after I had set out. I reckoned that St Duthac probably never had these problems. Kilduich, located at the northern end of the causeway at the head of Loch Duich is associated with him. And Loch Duich is Loch Dubhthaic in Gaelic (Duthac’s Loch). He probably passed this way on his journeys between Tain and Ireland. The Catholic church in nearby Dornie is St Duthac’s.

IMG_4256.JPG
The Gates of Affric


Here a path leads onwards and upwards towards the rough southern ridge of A’Ghlas-bheinn. Again the path came and went. Now, however, the battle was with the wind. :thumbdown: At times I just had to stop and brace myself until it relented. Any difficulties with the cliffs ahead were circumvented by turning them to the right (east). The terrain became easier. As I got higher the wind eased. :thumbup:

IMG_4257.JPG
A'Ghlas-bheinn from the south


And the views opened out to Beinn Fhada.

IMG_4261.JPG
Beinn Fhada


Sgurr Gaorsaic and Loch a’Bhealaich.

IMG_4262.JPG
Sgurr Gaorsaic and Loch a’Bhealaich


This hill is one of many false summits, but eventually I reached the top at 2.15pm – almost 4 hours after setting off. But it was worth it. The cloud was lifting further, and breaking. I managed to find a sheltered spot a few feet beneath the summit cairn for a rather late lunch. Mini tornados sprung up around me and from time to time I was showered by fine flakes of snow – it was quite refreshing. What a perch I had – views all around. :-D :-D

Breaking trail had been hard but well, see for yourself….

IMG_4269.JPG
Beinn Fhada (again)


IMG_4278.JPG
Beinn Sgritheall


IMG_4273.JPG
Skye and Sgurr an Airgid


IMG_4274.JPG
Applecross


IMG_4275.JPG
Torridon


IMG_4276.JPG
Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan


I revelled in it. I had this spot all to myself. :wink: There was no-one there to share the experience. Sometimes that is a shame but today I was greedy. I wanted this experience to myself. I felt that I had earned it. No-one was nearby. For all I knew the nearest people to me were on Fhada.

After almost an hour on the top, I knew that I had to tear myself away. I also knew that I was not going to return the way I had come up. So I headed northwest. I was going to aim for the point where the path to the Falls of Glomach exited the forest. Until the final kilometre down to the path the slopes were gentle and most deep snow was avoidable. The final drop to the path was steep and what snow there was tended to slough off from the grass underneath, which was awkward. But it was a good way down I felt. In the glen I shed a couple of layers. The wind had died down and it was a bit of a suntrap. The northwest end of Beinn Fhada and the western flanks of A’Ghlas-bheinn now towered above.

IMG_4282.JPG
The track home


IMG_4283.JPG
A'Ghlas-bheinn above Dorusduain forest


And it was good to have the firmer track beneath my soles. A left branch in the track was taken before it went into the forest followed shortly after by a path through a gate into fields passed sorry Dorusduain.

IMG_4286.JPG
Dorusduain


The footbridge across the river is hidden from view but access is via an obvious gate above a couple of hundred metres beyond Dorusduain.

IMG_4287.JPG


As short rise took me back to the sign shown in the third photo above and from there the path led back to the day’s starting point.
User avatar
Clach Liath
Mountaineer
 
Posts: 509
Munros:44   Corbetts:71
Grahams:23   Donalds:34
Sub 2000:88   Hewitts:158
Wainwrights:117   
Joined: Sep 2, 2011
Location: Yorkshire
Walk wish-list

Re: A'Ghlas-bheinn - Kintail revisited

Postby tamw51 » Fri Apr 06, 2012 5:42 pm

What a difference a day makes, cracking to see the snow, sweet pictures! :D need to get this one bagged, as its my grannys only munro and she's quik to rub it in! :lol: :lol:
User avatar
tamw51
Rambler
 
Posts: 249
Munros:150   Corbetts:7
Grahams:5   Donalds:3
Sub 2000:10   Hewitts:2
Wainwrights:2   
Joined: May 21, 2009
Location: Edinburgh

Re: A'Ghlas-bheinn - Kintail revisited

Postby yokehead » Fri Apr 06, 2012 8:41 pm

Marvellous, a real inspiration. And a big well done for persevering. 8) :thumbup:

4 hours to the summit - who cares! :lol: Surely time doesn't matter - the experience does. Yes it certainly was worth it, in fact a battle can make it all the more worthwhile I feel. Marvellous conditions for a proper day out! :D
Clach Liath wrote: I revelled in it. I had this spot all to myself. :wink: There was no-one there to share the experience. Sometimes that is a shame but today I was greedy. I wanted this experience to myself. I felt that I had earned it. No-one was nearby.

Yeah, sometimes it's a magic thing - just your footprints, just your thoughts, not the slightest distraction. Other times when on my own, I wish I'd had someone with me to experience what I had. Then I'd have been saying "look, look, just look". And probably ruining their own quiet reflections! :lol:
User avatar
yokehead
 
Posts: 699
Munros:68   Corbetts:9
Grahams:1   
Hewitts:87
Wainwrights:23   
Joined: Nov 13, 2008

Re: A'Ghlas-bheinn - Kintail revisited

Postby ChrisW » Fri Apr 06, 2012 9:31 pm

Fantastic report CL, when I read this "what should have been a 10 minute walk to the top of the pass became a 40 minute battle through thigh deep snow" I knew exactly how you felt, kudos to you for sticking with it :D You get your reward on the summit, what a wonderful outlook and all to yourself makes it even better :wink: :-D
User avatar
ChrisW
Rambler
 
Posts: 4940
Munros:18   Corbetts:5
Grahams:3   
Sub 2000:6   
Joined: Jan 25, 2011
Location: Cochrane- Alberta - Canada

Re: A'Ghlas-bheinn - Kintail revisited

Postby Bod » Sat Apr 07, 2012 12:36 am

A story of your day supremely told......great effort and well impressive after your late arrival the night before :D :D :D

Another fine inspiration for me to return to Kintail,

Cheers :D :D Ritchie would like this one :lol:
User avatar
Bod
Walker
 
Posts: 1527
Munros:282   Corbetts:51
Grahams:30   Donalds:20
Sub 2000:42   Hewitts:9
Wainwrights:7   Islands:24
Joined: Jul 30, 2010
Location: Cowdenbeath

Re: A'Ghlas-bheinn - Kintail revisited

Postby monty » Sun Apr 08, 2012 10:09 am

Smashing report Clach Liath. Geeze what a difference the weather makes. Done this three days before in good sunshine with no snow. :D
monty
 

Re: A'Ghlas-bheinn - Kintail revisited

Postby PeteR » Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:19 pm

A very nice report and pictures of (in my opinion) an underated hill :D I still have A Glhas-bheinn to do, but really enjoyed my day on Bheinn Fhada when I was there recently. Your report and pictures suggest it won't be too long until I return to finish the job off :D

And you had the summit to yourself. I often find these to be the best summits, giving a time of reflection and the chance to appreciate the achievement of making the summit - especially if there has been a bit of an effort to get myself there.
User avatar
PeteR
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 2056
Munros:282   Corbetts:158
Grahams:89   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:176   Hewitts:3
Islands:9
Joined: Jan 27, 2010
Location: North Ayrshire

Re: A'Ghlas-bheinn - Kintail revisited

Postby RicKamila » Sun Apr 08, 2012 1:28 pm

More stunning photos. I think we've not only got some great writers here on WH, but also some fantastic photographers!!
User avatar
RicKamila
Mountaineer
 
Posts: 2358
Munros:5   Corbetts:5
Grahams:3   
Sub 2000:16   
Joined: Jul 17, 2010
Location: Aberdeenshire

Re: A'Ghlas-bheinn - Kintail revisited

Postby Clach Liath » Sun Apr 08, 2012 4:58 pm

PeteR wrote:A very nice report and pictures of (in my opinion) an underated hill :D I still have A Glhas-bheinn to do, but really enjoyed my day on Bheinn Fhada when I was there recently. Your report and pictures suggest it won't be too long until I return to finish the job off :D


I agree, an underrated hill which suffers because of its proximity with Beinn Fhada and the other Kintail peaks.

PeteR wrote:And you had the summit to yourself. I often find these to be the best summits, giving a time of reflection and the chance to appreciate the achievement of making the summit - especially if there has been a bit of an effort to get myself there.


One of the reasons we play this game of course. :)
User avatar
Clach Liath
Mountaineer
 
Posts: 509
Munros:44   Corbetts:71
Grahams:23   Donalds:34
Sub 2000:88   Hewitts:158
Wainwrights:117   
Joined: Sep 2, 2011
Location: Yorkshire
Walk wish-list

Re: A'Ghlas-bheinn - Kintail revisited

Postby Clach Liath » Sun Apr 08, 2012 5:01 pm

monty wrote:Smashing report Clach Liath. Geeze what a difference the weather makes. Done this three days before in good sunshine with no snow. :D


Cheers, Monty. The joys of Scottish weather?? :lol:
User avatar
Clach Liath
Mountaineer
 
Posts: 509
Munros:44   Corbetts:71
Grahams:23   Donalds:34
Sub 2000:88   Hewitts:158
Wainwrights:117   
Joined: Sep 2, 2011
Location: Yorkshire
Walk wish-list

Re: A'Ghlas-bheinn - Kintail revisited

Postby Clach Liath » Sun Apr 08, 2012 5:03 pm

yokehead wrote: 4 hours to the summit - who cares! :lol: Surely time doesn't matter - the experience does. Yes it certainly was worth it, in fact a battle can make it all the more worthwhile I feel. Marvellous conditions for a proper day out! :D


Agree totally.
User avatar
Clach Liath
Mountaineer
 
Posts: 509
Munros:44   Corbetts:71
Grahams:23   Donalds:34
Sub 2000:88   Hewitts:158
Wainwrights:117   
Joined: Sep 2, 2011
Location: Yorkshire
Walk wish-list

6 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).



Walkhighlands community forum is advert free

We need help to keep the site online.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by setting up a monthly donation by direct debit?



Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: 187lenny, Coop, danka and peter, jimbell21 and 82 guests