With both of us having three full days off from Saturday to Monday of this weekend, we'd planned a bit of a round Scotland trip, taking in interesting hills in various parts of the country.
First off, a three and a bit hour drive up to Kintail to climb Beinn Fhada and A'Ghlas Beinn. We parked up at the small car park in Morvich, just before the entrance to the caravan park, then walked past umpteen parked cars further up the road as we made our way to the start of the well made path that goes both to our Munros and splits off to the Falls of Glomach. We soon got our first view of what would be our second target of the day, A'Ghlas Beinn.
The going was good and we made good time on the National Trust path through the valley. After an easy river crossing, the path steepens and zig zags, making its way up to the bealach between A'Ghlas Beinn and Meall a'Bhealaich. We followed the path that branched obviously to the right and traversed round to the upper corrie of Beinn Fhada. At some point near here I took this photo of the magnificent cliffs on Sgurr a Choire Ghairbh.
From the corrie, the paths zig zags nicely up the steep edge to emerge at the end of the plateau of the corrie. From here, the path follows the edge of the corrie, presumably heading off to the western top. We left the path and headed easily across mildly wet open grass to the final climb to the summit of Beinn Fhada, and after a quick lunch in the big summit shelter cairn, headed back the same way down to the path once more.
At this point, a choice is to be made: return via the path into the corrie and down to where we first split from the main path, or head over Meall a'Bhealaich, dropping down to the right (east) to avoid its north face cliffs. As it was a nice clag-free day, we made the decision to go the more difficult way, keeping more height.
The climb down was very steep and dodging various crags from above, it was difficult to pick out a descent after going to the vey top of Meall a'Bhealaich. However, we did slowly find a route and while pondering our next move from above a crag, and with the bealach in sight, we heard a whistle and spotted two walkers just above the other side of the bealach. They had a much better view of what we were above and could see a very simple route off that we couldn't see from our position. Thanks to that man for shouting to us and pointing out the easy route. (we weren't stuck at all, just carefully taking a look around when he shouted). With hindsight, I probably would have preferred to have taken the path, and I suspect it would not have taken any longer to have done so.
From the bealach, it was a fairly quick jaunt up to the summit of A'Ghlas Beinn, although there were a couple of false summits I think. Having read a few reports on WH before we went, I remembered the route off through the forest had been eventful at least once (was it monty?) with reports of walking backwards through the trees and having to deal with very steep slopes to get there.
Here's the way we went down :
So, after returning by route of ascent to the bealach, we found we were making a very fast pace down the main path. We arrived back at the point where our initial path to Beinn Fhada split off, and it didn't seem very far away from the bealach. I think we probably would have saved time had we used the path to avoid Meall a'Bhealaich between our two Munros. Still, we continued easily on down the path and returned to the car.
With the next day of our walking weekend now in sight, we headed up the Loch Carron road (beautiful in the evening sunshine!) and made our way to Dingwall and our accommodation for the night. Part 2 to come!
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