Beinn Ghobhlach - my faith restored!
by BlackPanther » Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:19 pm
Route description: Beinn Ghobhlach
Grahams included on this walk: Beinn Ghobhlach
Date walked: 14/07/2012
Time taken: 5 hours
Distance: 12 km
Ascent: 728m5 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).
Sometimes if a hill gets on my mind as "worth a try", I'll go up there at the first possible occasion, but there are also places that have been on my "to-do" list for ages and I simply never got around to visiting them. Beinn Ghobhlach was one of such places, an isolated Graham on a narrow peninsula, squeezed between Loch Broom and Little Loch Broom. Its location between the weird world of Assynt and the wilderness of Fisherfield suggests it must be a good viewpoint.
When I started my mountain adventures, in 2008 (sounds so long ago now...), Kevin used to choose easy hills with short access routes, just to introduce me to the magic of Scottish mountains. Beinn Ghobhlach seemed a good hill for a complete novice and a perfect one to sit on the summit for ages and admire the views... So in June 2008, on a bright sunny day, we set off to climb the Loch Broom Graham, but somehow, I don't know how the hell it happened, we found ourselves on the summit of the neighbouring Corbett, Sail Mhor Still, Beinn Ghobhlach looked interesting as a target for another day.
Beinn Ghobhlach from Sail Mhor:
There were a few other times, usually when visiting Assynt, when we kept this hill as an option if our original target was in clouds, but somehow we were always lucky with weather.
An then along came the infamous jet-stream summer 2012...
On Saturday, a showery day with cloud level forecast at 900m, Kevin suggested tackling something low enough to stay below the fog. Beinn Ghobhlach jumped out of my mind immediately - now the Graham time has come
I've been depressed lately with weather so dark and unfriendly, needed some sunshine on the hills to restore my faith! Whether we were going to experience any sunshine was another matter and there was no other way than to pack our rucksacks and get going.
Driving up to Badrallach is an adventure in itself, great views down to Little Loch Broom and across the bay to An Teallach. The narrow road ends with a small parking area, there's enough space to leave let's say 5-6 cars and it wasn't full that day
We started up the path leading to Scoraig, with the dark, bulky shape of Sail Mhor dominating the view over the sea loch:
Looking back along the bay, a few glimpses of blue sky and some hope for good weather...
...but the mighty Forge was still cloudy:
The path is good to start with:
...but a bit more rough and twisting further along:
Views are spectacular even on the low ground and it looks like a low walk to Scoraig and back would be a lovely trip in itself
An Teallach and Sail Mhor:
It's a remote area where wildlife is at plenty... We spent some time chasing butterflies with the camera, they are illusive little creatures One was tame enough to pose for us - a dark green fritillary (Mesoacidalia aglaia):
Looking along the coast:
Kevin was a bit worried about the low-level dark cloud coming in:
We knew we had to leave the main track and climb the heathery slopes at some point. We found a suitable place to start our ascent by a little burn - I could see some sort of a path going along. So we tackled the slopes - suddenly heavens opened and the mountain greeted us with a heavy shower. We continued climbing, hoping that it wouldn't last long but the rain was quite persistent, with big, heavy droplets of water. Luckily, not much wind. The shower lasted all the way up the first, steep section. I stopped half way up to put on my Goretex top, but by the time we reached the more easy ground, my trousers were soaked up to my knees And Kevin wasn't happy, either
I kept my faith though, that pouring rain had to end at some point!
Suddenly, as quickly as it arrived, the shower was gone, moving further inland. Soaked but smiling again, we took a short break to shake the water off and regroup before the final push.
Our target hills were now well in sight, and I must admit I was intrigued!
View west to Scoraig:
The very shower we encountered visible here to the left:
A cookie monster??? No, just a panther eating oaties
No wonder frogs are happy - so much water around! I was surprised we didn't see any ducks!
I kept glancing at the twin tops of Beinn Ghobhlach, trying to find a suitable word to describe them and then it occurred to me they looked like... (here I'm asking the Moderator to be understanding ) ...Valkiria's tits!
Thank heavens, our hill was cloud free, unlike An Teallach:
...and the final climb seemed a good, quick workout:
Weather improved and we were now basking in sunshine... Aaaah the very moment I was waiting for!
Even my wet trousers were drying fast!
We spotted the coastguard copter flying along Little Loch Broom:
The slope up Coire Dearg, though steep-ish, presented no problem whatsoever. Soon we were on the main ridge and only a short distance away from the summit:
Only now I could appreciate the true beauty of this mountain. From the ridge, one can look down to both Brooms... As if we hadn't experienced enough water encounters that day
Ben More Coigach across Loch Broom:
Oh bless you all, mighty mountains!
The ridge itself consists of a few lumps and bumps but it's wide and easy to walk on:
We took a short detour to the lower top (576m), which has two cairns:
Views here are dominated by the blue element...
Across the Little Broom, cloud began to slowly lift off the Forge...
Ben More Coigach was clear as well but heavy cloud covered the more distant Assynt hills:
I took some time to make another movie... My dad will like this, not too close to any sharp edges
We continued to the main summit:
Another dark cloud has arrived, and with it gusts of wind, but I didn't dare complaining, the day felt good enough as it was...
The ridge of Beinn Ghobhlach, Ben More Coigach and Loch Broom in the background:
The summit shelter in a rare rectangular shape:
An Teallach clouded up again...
A few summit panos:
It's a fan-tas-tic viewpoint and I wasn't disappointed to have picked up this hill, it may only be a Graham but a cracker of a walk at the same time. If only the wind wasn't so cold... Good Lord, it felt more like October than July!
We sat inside the shelter, protected from cold gusts, and had our "picnic" admiring the breathtaking panorama - just as we had planned
Eventually we packed up and started descending - straight down the eastern slope. It was steep, all right, but manageable:
Don't look at me like that! So what that I'm wearing my winter hat in July! I know it's not funny... Blame the jet stream!
The return route goes between two little lochans - Loch na Coireig and Loch na h-Uidhe:
An Teallach has eventually cleared:
Past the lochans, the final 200m of descent were steep again (the Scoraig path can be seen at the bottom of the slope):
We reached the main path and continued back to the car park. The cloud was coming back but the day felt warm again...
The last glimpse of some blueness...
Even considering the heavy shower we walked through, we were lucky with weather again. Look at the dark cloud hanging over Beinn Dearg, seen here from the path on the return route:
One lovely little hill, worth saving for a clear day as the views are superb. Doesn't require too much effort, though the terrain on the lower slopes is rough in places and pathless. Not a mountain for those who like marching on beaten-up tracks, but a must-visit one for all nature lovers. I was distracted many times, chasing frogs, lizards, bugs and butterflies... A perfect place for a cat on the loose. Meow!
And above all, my faith in Scottish summer was restored
by malky_c » Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:27 pm
BlackPanther wrote:So in June 2008, on a bright sunny day, we set off to climb the Loch Broom Graham, but somehow, I don't know how the hell it happened, we found ourselves on the summit of the neighbouring Corbett, Sail Mhor
That's quite an achievement! Upside down map?
by BlackPanther » Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:38 pm
malky_c wrote:That's quite an achievement! Upside down map?
Yet one more mountain mystery to investigate!
We had a quick change of hearts, I wanted to see the "ugly side" of An Teallach...
by Johnny Corbett » Tue Jul 17, 2012 2:23 pm
by ChrisW » Tue Jul 17, 2012 3:59 pm
by gammy leg walker » Tue Jul 17, 2012 6:22 pm
by Bod » Tue Jul 17, 2012 6:53 pm
When in Skye recently we chose Marsco (another cracking Graham) on one of days with good weather, and no regrets there either
by hills » Tue Jul 17, 2012 7:10 pm
by clivegrif » Tue Jul 17, 2012 8:31 pm
I had looked across the sea at this hill many times before I finally got to climb it on an absolutely scorching day in late May this year. Apart from the views to look forward to, if nature is your thing then the hill worth visiting on a warm day because it was absolutely alive with lizards.
I hope folk are inspired by your report, this hill is well worth it.
day 3 4 by cliveg004, on Flickr
Across to An Teallach
day 3 3 by cliveg004, on Flickr
day 3 1 by cliveg004, on Flickr
Across to Ben Mor Coigach.
by BlackPanther » Thu Jul 19, 2012 10:33 am
Bod wrote:When in Skye recently we chose Marsco (another cracking Graham) on one of days with good weather, and no regrets there either
I agree Bod, we did Marsco in 2010, it's a superb viewpoint! I'd go and climb it again with pleasure. Just shows that lower hills also have a lot to offer
clivegrif wrote:I had looked across the sea at this hill many times before I finally got to climb it on an absolutely scorching day in late May this year. Apart from the views to look forward to, if nature is your thing then the hill worth visiting on a warm day because it was absolutely alive with lizards.
I counted about 10 lizards, mostly young ones - that's a record number during one walk! And the day wasn't that great so I can imagine how many must have been sunbathing on the rocks during "scorchio"!
Your photos make me jealous a bit ... Why can't we have conditions like that all summer?
I guess I should be happy that I got any views at all
by Fcfraser » Sun Aug 10, 2014 1:57 pm
Planning on doing that hill tomorrow! Fingers x'd I get a view!
by litljortindan » Wed Aug 13, 2014 9:44 pm
Was on this hill in winter 2001 I think in stinging wind but with clear views. Certainly a fine set of cliffs and great view over the peninsula. I met a couple from Scoraig too once -crofters who actually invited me to visit them at their home. Didn't take them up on that but clearly a different outlook on life compared to most.