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Fionn Bheinn - NOT a pointless hill!!!

Fionn Bheinn - NOT a pointless hill!!!


Postby BlackPanther » Tue May 01, 2012 11:32 am

Route description: Fionn Bheinn, Achnasheen

Munros included on this walk: Fionn Bheinn

Date walked: 29/04/2012

Time taken: 5 hours

Distance: 11.3 km

Ascent: 808m

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Saturday's walk in Monadhliath was a cracker, but Sunday looked even better with crystal blue sky and very little wind. We simply couldn't bare the thought of staying home and watching TV (though Rocket Ronnie was scheduled to play :clap: ) so we grabbed the map and found a "quickie in the neighbourhood"...
Actually, Kevin told me he wanted something not too tackling. A hill with good views, where you can sit on the summit, have a spring picnic and warm yourself in the sun (I'd rather miss the last point). Fionn Bheinn seemed a perfect route for it ticked all the boxes, plus it's only a short drive from Beauly so we saved a few quid on petrol. It's a straightforward walk and one of the easiest Munros to bag.
The Achnasheen Munro generally suffers from a lot of bad press, not only on our forum :wink: Several people told me they found this hill pointless, uninspiring, a waste of time and only worth climbing because it improves your statistics. I understand that everybody is entitled to their own opinion and I swear I never had any intention to offend fellow walkers, but sincerely, I think they couldn't be more wrong!!! I can imagine if one approaches Fionn Bheinn in misty, cloudy weather then I agree, there's no technical challenge, not much excitement to it and one can feel they did a pointless walk. The biggest advantage of this Munro is its location, in the heart of the northern Highlands, and it's a fan-tas-tic viewpoint. Therefore, one cannot appreciate the magic of Fionn Bheinn without seeing the vistas.
OK, I felt this Munro needed some support and a bit of advertising, now back to the walk itself. We wanted to make a proper traverse so here is how we walked it:

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After parking in Achnasheen next to the railway station, we crossed the road and headed straight uphill. It looked steep-ish...
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...but as we gained height very quickly, views came just as well, first was the one down to the village and the bulk of Strathconnon Corbetts to the left:
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The path follows a fence and a rocky ravine, it's a bit wet but generally - a piece of cake:
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At some point the path vanished and the ground became more boggy, soon we emerged on the col between Creagan na Laogh and Meall a'Chaorainn. I guess we should have headed slightly further east, to avoid the wettest area. We found ourselves at the edge of another ocean of peat hags (as if the bog feast the day before wasn't enough!!!). Luckily, this time we didn't have to cross most of them, just a few steps through boggy, squelchy ground, and we left them behind :D :D .
Looking back at the peat hag kingdom:
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Meall a'Chaorainn, the hill behind the peat hag area, is indeed a Graham and hypothetically, it could be added to the Munro traverse, but we gave it a miss. Another time, perhaps. I didn't fancy another squelchy trod.
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Anyway, who cares about a few stupid hags, when some familiar shapes begin to show up? Slioch was the first one to enter the stage:
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...Then Beinn Eighe joined the party:
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And eventually, Liathach announced its mighty presence:
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Not to mention the Strathfarrar four:
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Ben Wyvis also had something to add:
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The summit was now well visible and it looked only a short stroll away:
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One more stream to cross:
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A wet world, but well worth swimming through :lol: :lol: :lol:
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We didn't really push ourselves too hard, the day was great and we enjoyed climbing:
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The most interesting feature of the mountain is the northern corie, hidden from view unless you climb the hill :lol: :lol: Here, at last we encountered some snow - and were stunned by the views...
Looking east along the ridge:
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Toll Mor corrie and the summit of Fionn Bheinn:
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The Fannichs still in white dresses:
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An Teallach from an unusual angle:
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Close-up:
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Now we were only a few minutes away from the top, so we could waste some time on taking countless photos and striking silly poses:
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The northern vista: An Teallach in the middle, Sgurr Breac and A'Chailleach to the right:
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The final push to the summit:
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We arrived by the trig point in about 2 hours and that counting in all the breaks for photos. I guess a fit person can go up and down this mountain (if returning the same way) in about 3 hours, but that's not what we had in mind. We planned a picnic on the top! Luckily conditions were perfect for a longer break, very little wind and lovely sunshine... And the views... Second to none.
By the trig point:
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Slioch:
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Fisherfield mountains:
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Zoomed out panorama to the north-western side:
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I absolutely loved the view towards Beinn Eighe and Liathach. My favourite mountain reminded me of a big, white starfish from this angle:
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Liathach doesn't really show its best profile from this direction, just a big, bulky monster :lol: :lol:
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I was surprised to see the distant ridge of Conival - Ben More Assynt duo:
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Fionn Loch:
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Fuar Tholl (left) and Achnashellach Munros:
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Picnic time! Tea, sandwiches, cookies, home-made almond muffins, what else? And he doesn't put on weight! Not fair... I gain inches only from looking at food :lol: :lol:
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It wouldn't be a proper trip without one photo to "Me on the rock" collection, this time it's "Me on the rock with superb view behind":
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We spent about 45 minutes on the top. Some other walkers started to arrive and soon the summit was quite busy, so we packed our stuff and set off to finish the traverse. We walked along the ridge, still glimpsing back to the magnificent northern corrie:
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Ben Wyvis rocks :lol: :lol: :lol:
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And who said Fionn Bheinn was a pointless mountain???
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The return route follows an old wall:
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The wall and Sgurr Mor group behind:
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Some more easy walking, with Sgurr a' Mhuilinn and Meallan nan Uan group dominating the view:
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We left the wall when we noticed a boggy path/track heading down towards the forest:
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The track offered us a comfortable descent, through the woods and down along a small stream. Eventually we reached the A832 about 1km east from Achnasheen. A quick jaunt along the road - and we were back in the car. Another 40 minutes saw us arriving at home, where we cooked yummy cauliflower cheese and watched Ronnie O'Sullivan turn Mark Williams into a mashed potato :lol: :lol:
Maybe some of you will be surprised that we opted for an easy hill on such a superb day instead of going for something more challenging. Well, the mountains will always be there, waiting for us, other good days will certainly come (it can't rain forever!) and we did the justice to Fionn Bheinn. I'm in my element again. Meow!
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BlackPanther
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Re: Fionn Bheinn - NOT a pointless hill!!!

Postby Scotjamie » Tue May 01, 2012 12:25 pm

Agree wholeheartedly with the excellent sentiments BP
A great trip report and superb pics

(and here's peeking through to your hill one day earlier from the ridge on Mr Alligin)
P1000460.JPG
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Re: Fionn Bheinn - NOT a pointless hill!!!

Postby Graeme D » Tue May 01, 2012 12:50 pm

Scotjamie wrote:Agree wholeheartedly with the excellent sentiments BP
A great trip report and superb pics


I hereby second all of the above! :D
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Re: Fionn Bheinn - NOT a pointless hill!!!

Postby Banditman » Tue May 01, 2012 1:07 pm

Graeme D wrote:
Scotjamie wrote:Agree wholeheartedly with the excellent sentiments BP
A great trip report and superb pics


I hereby second all of the above! :D


And me, Great report. :clap: I've not climbed anything in this area yet and your report shows me what I'm missing. Well done.
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Re: Fionn Bheinn - NOT a pointless hill!!!

Postby Alan S » Tue May 01, 2012 2:21 pm

Great report BP your pics certainly make this look more interesting 8)
Love the pics especially Liathach and an teallach :D
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Re: Fionn Bheinn - NOT a pointless hill!!!

Postby malky_c » Tue May 01, 2012 2:24 pm

Looks like a good move carrying on east - never done that :)

As someone who has defended this hill before, I fully endorse this report :thumbup: :D
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Re: Fionn Bheinn - NOT a pointless hill!!!

Postby BlackPanther » Wed May 02, 2012 8:03 pm

Thanks, everyone, for moral support for Fionn Bheinn :lol: :lol: I'm glad I'm not the only person who likes this hill :D :D
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Re: Fionn Bheinn - NOT a pointless hill!!!

Postby kenny3760 » Thu May 10, 2012 10:52 am

I can heartily recommend your return route as a bog free way to tackle the hill, it's the way I went up and down it.
Unfortunately I had one of those days that meant the views were not there and it became a ticking off exercise. Having seen your pictures I'll return on agood day to get those views. Well done for encouraging people to go this hill.
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Re: Fionn Bheinn - NOT a pointless hill!!!

Postby clivegrif » Fri May 11, 2012 5:01 pm

So that's what it looks like! I climbed this in thick clag when it was blowing a Hooley, it turned into one of those memorable fights for survival :D

With views like that, I might have to add it to the list of those I really should do again, but on a nice day....
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Re: Fionn Bheinn - NOT a pointless hill!!!

Postby KeithS » Fri May 11, 2012 5:27 pm

I climbed this hill a number of years ago after a really low point at work when I was feeling very p****d off. The weather was awful and I went into cloud at 300ft and stayed in it, along with continual rain until I had summitted and got back to the car totally wet to the core having had no views all day and an 'I'm doing this whatever' frame of mind. What was the point of that?

The point was that when I got down I felt a hundred times better than when I had set off.

This is not a pointless hill :D

Thanks for the photos, I wondered what the view was like.
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Re: Fionn Bheinn - NOT a pointless hill!!!

Postby madasa mongoose » Fri May 11, 2012 5:46 pm

Great report and stunning photos! :clap:

I was not fortunate enough to have such beautiful views when I climbed this hill, but no hill is pointless in my book :D
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Re: Fionn Bheinn - NOT a pointless hill!!!

Postby rockhopper » Fri May 11, 2012 6:07 pm

aha - so that's what I missed - couldn't see a thing when I was up here in the clag, rain and wind - pity though as it looks great - cheers :D
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Re: Fionn Bheinn - NOT a pointless hill!!!

Postby Greigers » Tue Jun 26, 2012 11:40 pm

Brilliant report panther and the photo`s that you have prove there is alot more to fionn bheinn that meets the eye and i suspect the weather gods smile upon you each time you leave the house to bag a munro! :lol:
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Re: Fionn Bheinn - NOT a pointless hill!!!

Postby Yorjick » Tue Mar 15, 2016 9:48 pm

I have now done this hill twice (27 years between ascents) and really enjoyed it both times. The track up to plantation is ugly (my route of ascent) as is the track up the east side of the Allt Achadhe na Sine. This is like slashing a piece of fine art.

Being on the hill is about more than the views, which are splendid from both Fionn Bheinn and Meall a'Chaorainn. It is not just about the technicalities and narrow ridges or steep sided corries. It is also about the varying textures beneath our feet, the small things of interest such as mountain springs and the wildlife. It is that flower that we cannot identify, the lichens on the rocks and that rare Brocken spectre. Those that describe Fionn Bheinn as boring simply fail to appreciate its finer points. It is like describing classical music as boring!

Great photos - much better than mine. Thanks for sharing.
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