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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.

Beinn Fhada - January 31 2013

Beinn Fhada - January 31 2013


Postby scottishkennyg » Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:45 pm

Route description: Beinn Fhada (or Ben Attow)

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Fhada

Date walked: 31/01/2013

Time taken: 5.5 hours

Ascent: 1032m

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The bonus of finding an extra day off work was the main motivation for getting back in the car and heading back down the 82 miles to Kintail with the aim of climbing Beinn Fhada (1032m). The forecast was good but the drive down the glens suggested otherwise. I was able to get the car parked in Dorusdain in the same spot as last week when I managed to climb A Ghlas Bheinn.
I set off at 0910 with full winter gear excluding the crampons (in preference to the yaktrax pro walkers on their second outing), gaitors (left in house) and ice axe left in car.
I headed along the path and through the style before turning right and crossing the bridge then up toward the head of the glen. Path was easy going although I would not contemplate using a mountain bike. No sign of any ice but plenty of water. Shame about the gaitors, note to self to check kit before departure..!!
Ben Fhada Jan 2013 009 (1024x768).jpg

First glance of the Bealach an Sgairne confirmed snow. As I had climbed A Ghlas Bheinn last week via the glomach falls route I had no need to climb right up to the bealach today.
Ben Fhada Jan 2013 011 (1024x766).jpg

As I crossed the burn I noticed some deer who seemed none too bothered at another eejit heading up into the snow as they were coming down from it.
Ben Fhada Jan 2013 017 (1024x768).jpg

The path turned along the west flank of Meall a’ Bhealach before rising into the grande coire an Sgaime adorned with snow and spindrift. Had a quick assessment to feel the effects of the increased snowfall and decided to continue onwards. The emerging views of the dramatic ice covered cliffs and snow packed ridges were too big an enticement.
Ben Fhada Jan 2013 022 (1024x767).jpg

Ben Fhada Jan 2013 024 (1024x768).jpg

Ben Fhada Jan 2013 028 (1024x768).jpg

Time to put the yaktrax ice grips on, not a substitute for crampons but they have earned a transient place in the kit bag. The path was covered in hard packed ice but it was still easy to follow as it zig zagged up to catch the main ridge.
Ben Fhada Jan 2013 059 (1024x746).jpg

On the ridge the wind chill level increased and the spindrift snow brought tears to the preverbial glass eyes.
Ben Fhada Jan 2013 042 (1024x703).jpg

Still there were fleeting glimpses of blue sky which I optimistically hoped would bring panoramic views along the summit ridge.
Ben Fhada Jan 2013 034 (1024x767).jpg

Ben Fhada Jan 2013 031 (1024x749).jpg

Ben Fhada Jan 2013 038 (1024x768).jpg

Ben Fhada Jan 2013 069 (1024x768).jpg

Alas not to be. The summit cairn was found next the trig point at about 1210.
Ben Fhada Jan 2013 051 (1024x738).jpg

The wind increased, spreading more blinding snow. After a sandwich and another crunchie it was time to get down.
Another piece of kit on trial was a thicker ply plastic bag for glissading.
Ben Fhada Jan 2013 053 (890x1024).jpg

Unlike last week I managed to get this one going, would not say it was a graceful movement, however it did work. I used the walking pole for steering and my butt as the shock absorbers and off we went. Unfortunately the shock absorbers were pants and came to a shuddering halt on the first main corrugated section of ice. Might need some padding to the prototype or I might just invest in the real deal next time.

I continued down the ridge to locate the entry point down into the corrie. There was a couple of sections that required a wee bit extra care to navigate or there could have been more than glissading bruises to worry about. The ice grippers on the sole of the boots held up well too.
Ben Fhada Jan 2013 052 (1024x768).jpg

Ben Fhada Jan 2013 064 (1024x767).jpg


As I neared the end of the glen two golden eagles soared over my head and headed toward Beinn Bhuidhe. I saw them again lower down but they were just too far for my camera to capture. I tried to zoom in one one but the quality is not great.
Ben Fhada Jan 2013 073 (1024x710).jpg


Safely back in the car at 1430 it was time for a quick change then a short drive to Eileen Donan castle for a hot coffee high calorie cake.
Ben Fhada Jan 2013 077 (1024x564).jpg

Tea room shut for winter…well best laid plans, so it was onto the Tarvie carry out shop en route home. Back home in front of radiator at 1700 safe and sound and feeling very lucky to be in a position to be able to enjoy a day on the hills.
Last edited by scottishkennyg on Wed May 28, 2014 6:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Beinn Fhada - January 31 2013

Postby Lenore » Fri Feb 01, 2013 7:33 am

Good one! Have been in Kintail and wasn't sure that big lumpy mass of a hill wouldn't be boring to go up, but your pictures of those rocky bits make it look a lot more attractive!

Seems like you had some dark moments weatherwise mixed in with some blue. Was the ice axe left in de car on purpose or by accident?

Too bad the tea room at Eilean Donan was closed as it's just excellent! Amazing cakes there :-D There's another tea room down the street in Dornie proper, very close to the Castle. Haven't been in but looked inviting. However, might also be closed in winter?
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Re: Beinn Fhada - January 31 2013

Postby scottishkennyg » Fri Feb 01, 2013 8:54 pm

Thanks Lenore. The hill was not as boring as it first appears from some areas in Kintail. It is fairly straight forward from the glen and in this occasion the snow just filled in the cracks nicely. Aye the ice axe! kind of thought it was not needed so gave it a rest. :crazy:
I noticed that you are from over the water and enjoy visiting us, hope you enjoy your next outing and as you will have experienced we are all open and friendly. Just like those tea rooms in the summer. :)
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Re: Beinn Fhada - January 31 2013

Postby Tomsie » Fri Feb 01, 2013 9:35 pm

Good report. :clap: Looked like you had a good day. :)

I had 2 of those red seats you sit on never really got to use before I lost them last week, but nothing better then sliding down the hill :lol:

Take the axe :roll: :wink:
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Re: Beinn Fhada - January 31 2013

Postby scottishkennyg » Fri Feb 01, 2013 10:38 pm

Tomsie wrote:Good report. :clap: Looked like you had a good day. :)

I had 2 of those red seats you sit on never really got to use before I lost them last week, but nothing better then sliding down the hill :lol:

Take the axe :roll: :wink:



Cheers Tomsie
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Re: Beinn Fhada - January 31 2013

Postby Graeme D » Fri Feb 01, 2013 11:21 pm

Some very haunting photos there! 8)
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Re: Beinn Fhada - January 31 2013

Postby Silverhill » Sun Feb 03, 2013 6:55 pm

scottishkennyg wrote:Another piece of kit on trial was a thicker ply plastic bag for glissading.

:lol: Glad you upgraded your kit!
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Re: Beinn Fhada - January 31 2013

Postby scottishkennyg » Mon Feb 04, 2013 10:10 pm

Silverhill wrote:
scottishkennyg wrote:Another piece of kit on trial was a thicker ply plastic bag for glissading.

:lol: Glad you upgraded your kit!

:lol:
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Re: Beinn Fhada - January 31 2013

Postby simon-b » Tue Feb 05, 2013 10:10 pm

You'd have earned that high calorie cake, Kenny, if the tea room had been open. Some really nice photos of a good route. I definitely agree it's not a boring hill. There's fine corrie scenery on the way up, and the Meall an Fhuarain Mhoir ridge looks interesting.
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Re: Beinn Fhada - January 31 2013

Postby scottishkennyg » Wed Feb 06, 2013 7:07 pm

simon-b wrote:You'd have earned that high calorie cake, Kenny, if the tea room had been open. Some really nice photos of a good route. I definitely agree it's not a boring hill. There's fine corrie scenery on the way up, and the Meall an Fhuarain Mhoir ridge looks interesting.


Cheers Simon. I see you also had a good day on these hills last year too. :clap:
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Re: Beinn Fhada - January 31 2013

Postby SAVAGEALICE » Wed Feb 06, 2013 7:56 pm

enjoyed your report :) sounds like a good day ..been leaving this hill for a good day to include the scramble ..shame about the tea room :( ! ! :(
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Re: Beinn Fhada - January 31 2013

Postby scottishkennyg » Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:58 pm

SAVAGEALICE wrote:enjoyed your report :) sounds like a good day ..been leaving this hill for a good day to include the scramble ..shame about the tea room :( ! ! :(

Cheers savagealice...I did fancy taking the scrambling descent route too but opted for the easy slide down this time. I notice that you are fortunate to live near enough too to pick this one off on a clearer day in the future. The wee tea room at Tarvie was just as good. :)
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