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Beinn Chabhair the hard way

Beinn Chabhair the hard way

Postby adam_mclean24 » Sun Jan 06, 2013 8:13 pm

Route description: Beinn Chabhair, from Inverarnan

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Chabhair

Date walked: 05/01/2013

Time taken: 6 hours

Distance: 15 km

Ascent: 933m

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Beinn Chabhair had defeated me once before on a foggy, snow-up-to-your-knees day in November, so it was back to that same mountain on a similarly foggy day, without the snow this time, on my first walk of the new year.

I set off, like last time, from Beinglas Campsite and quickly rose above Glen Falloch alongside the majestic Ben Glas Burn waterfalls. I had checked the weather forecast – no snow to hold me back and possibly even a few spells when the cloud might clear! It looked promising as Ben Vorlich to the south seemed to be trying to peak out above the cloud.

I reached the flat moor that surrounds the Ben Glas Burn. So far I hadn’t even looked at the map, either before or during the walk, since I remembered I needed to reach the Lochan Beinn Chabhair before heading NE to get to the ridge that would take me to the top. From there I planned to carry on towards Beinn a’Chroin and An Caisteal. But all in good time.

I followed the boggy path – for bog is all it can be described as. I crossed some small streams and one larger one, all the time following the obvious path through the bog. I should be getting close to the lochan about now but where is it? My walk last time had been so foggy I hadn’t seen the lochan even when I stood alongside it so I was still unsure as to what it looked like when it wasn’t drawn on a map. This time the fog was less dense and I could see the landscape around me. Maybe that’s it on the right – it looks a bit more like a weedy bog but that’s to be expected up here. I’ll go a little further and then pick my way through those rocks on to the ridge and into the cloud.

I saw two hinds on the hill at the far end of the lochan. They watched me for a while and then ran off over the hill. I found an old fence line running up the hill and decided to follow it. Maybe it was time to look at the map. There is no fence line on the map heading up to the ridge of Beinn Chabhair but oh well I’ll follow it anyway, it’s heading in the right direction. I got onto the ridge and climbed until I reached a plateau. The fog cleared and I saw two deer below me to the left and then a line of six running away to my right.

I followed the ridge further; the fog had hung a hood over my eyes again. I wasn’t expecting the ridge to go down the hill quite this far. It should soon start to go up again though. Yet more deer, this time barely 15 metres away. Perhaps they’re the same ones as before but are a little disorientated in this weather. Lots of people would be even with a map and compass! One stopped and stared at me long after its friends had run away. I took it’s picture and looked up to see it was gone.

The cloud cleared again to reveal a few interesting sights. First: thirty or so heads turning and looking up at me. The fear amongst the herd noticeably grew before all the deer ran together as one unit over the hill. Second: a large body of water over to the east. Third: a wide and long u-shaped valley that seemed to lead to another large body of water in the far distance.

Alarm bells rang at once. The map confirmed I was indeed in completely the wrong place. Not, as I thought, on Beinn Chabhair ridge but actually to the south, having just climbed Parlan Hill. I saw that the fence was on the map and learned that the map is generally right!

I headed down into the long valley. I stopped briefly to chisel some teeth out of an old deer skull for my mum’s science lessons, then continued down the valley to see the same large herd as before grazing on the opposite slopes. They saw my familiar shape in the distance and moved on out of sight. I turned north up the Coire a’Chuilinn stream before finally making my ascent up Beinn Chabhair – steeper from this side, I’m sure, than the usual route of ascent!

I reached the top fairly quickly and decided that my navigational skills had had enough for one day. Beinn a’Chroin and An Caisteal can wait until another day. Despite foggy, the path down along the ridge was easy to follow and, after catching a glimpse of a mountain hare, I soon saw those reclusive waters of Lochan Beinn Chabhair. From here I followed the correct burn this time over the boggy moorland, past my wrong turning and safely back to the car, telling myself I would be more carful in future!
The clear and easy path back!
A brief view of Loch Katrine
A close encounter
Ben Glas Burn Waterfall looking south
Ben Glas Burn Waterfall

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Re: Beinn Chabhair the hard way

Postby ChrisA » Sun Jan 06, 2013 11:05 pm

Need to get round to doing these ones been put off by the bog around these hills, done An Caisteal & Beinn a'Chroin and wasn't keen going back after being knee deep in some of the bog.
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Re: Beinn Chabhair the hard way

Postby skuk007 » Mon Jan 07, 2013 2:33 pm

Looks like a real pea-souper Adam.
Good job it cleared enough for you to get your bearings before going too far off track.
Good to get that tick finally.
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