This was a hill I thought I could rush up and down in no time, and be back in time for lunch. However, it wasnt all plain sailing, and turned out to have a few sections that made me wish I hadnt had that last whiskey the night before (I was on holiday with the family!) So, for the record, I started at The Drovers Inn at Inverarnan, where there was plenty of parking space. A good footpath takes you along the A82 northbound for a couple of 100 m to the bridge that heads towards the campsite, over the Falloch river.
I took the advice of the SMC guidebook and decided not to walk through the campsite, up the road (you can drive up this if you want), but instead followed the sign for the West Higland Way, which took me around a field to my right and up to the campsite that way. A bridge took me over the Ben Glas Burn, which led to a small Y-Junction. Im not sure if this was the recommended way up to Beinn Chabhair, as I found the track coming down later on. But anyway, it gets you up !
This track climbed steeply and took you to the south of the Beinglas falls.For future reference, it would be nice to come up here later in the day, when the sun would make its way round and shine on the falls. However at 9am in the morning, they looked very dark (but still impressive).
The track I was following eventually disappeared, so evidently it wasnt the one that followed the Ben Glas Burn. after 1/2 hour of steep climbing the walk levels off at around 350m and I managed to get views of my target for the day.
This section was extremely boggy, and a lot of time was spent negotiating my way around marsh, and bog, attempting to keep my feet dry. there also appeared to be evidence of heavy machinery, as large tracks had disected the landscape.
After what appeared to be an eternity of bog squelshing, and staying to the south of the Ben Glas Burn, I finally reached Lochan Beinn Chabhair after 2.5 hrs, longer than expected!
After a quick drink and some refreshments, I was trying to determine the best method to get up Beinn Chabhair, as it wasnt obvious. I decided to go to the eastern end of the Lochan and a Gully was prominent, heading NE towards the top of Beinn Chabhair. So,I decided to take this, and go directly up for as much as I could (although it looked a bit steep near the top)
Note, this probably wasnt the best route up! The climb started off ok, but you quickly have to start dodging your way round crags, and steep slopes. There were the remains of the previous snow flurry,and the last signs of winter were clinging onto the tocks. I took pics of these icicles that were melting fast under the sun.
I stumbled upon what looked like an area for deer, that had trodden over the earth. Not sure what it was, but it was a large flat area half way up, trodden down.
As expected the further I climbed, the steeper it got. Perfectly manageable, but just harder than expected, and was pretty much out of breath near the end.
Eventually the route I took joined the main ridge, and I found a path that had led along the ridge! Arrh! So, I realised, I probably beasted my way up a gully for no reason apart from attempting to bring up my breakfast! Anyway, once I joined the path, the going got easier.
I finally reached the top 3.5 hrs after starting. I got some good views, of Loch Lomond and the surrounding hills. But I hit that cold northerly wind,and it wasnt a day to be hanging around up there!
I managed to get a reasonable panoramic of the other Crianlarich hills, which all appeared to have quite a bit of snow on them.
My route back involved not following the gully I had climbed up, but decided to follow the path back which followed the top of the ridge across Meall nan Tarmachan. The path appeared to disappear after 15 mins of walking down, so I went down off the ridge to see if there was a route back to the Lochan. This route I took down turned out to be a lot more pleasant, and not as calf burning as the climb up the gully! So, if youre looking for an easier way up this one, from the end of the Lochan look for the bit on the ridge with a U-shaped dip in it. This will then pick up the path (for future reference!)
Once back down the the Lochan I was out oif the cold wind, and the aream became a lovely suntrap, and the air was quite still. a perfect time for an overdue lunch break, and some suntanning!
From the Lochan I also found a track that led all the way back to the campsite,following the north side of teh burn, which although was boggy in places, also turned out to be a lot more pleasant than tramping through the marsh. Again, for future reference, this path is right behind the campsite behind the wooden huts, and takes you on the north side of the falls. I guess, this was the route I should have taken climbing up.
I eventually made it back 7hrs after starting. It could be done in 5 or 6 hrs if I hadnt brought my DSLR along taking photo stops of every waterfall I found on the burn coming down (there are quite a few!)
There you go, a day of missed paths, cold winds, sunshine, but lovely views. A pretty good day out all-in-all!
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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.