Beinn Mhanach & Beinn a' Chuirn - aka land of the clegs
by GillC » Fri Jul 12, 2013 8:14 pm
Route description: Beinn Mhanach
Munros included on this walk: Beinn Mhanach
Date walked: 11/07/2013
Time taken: 7.5 hours
Distance: 25 km
Ascent: 945m3 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).
With my slight over tendency to burn like a crisp and not handling heat very well, I wasn't sure whether to go for a climb or maybe just a low level walk instead. I opted for The Brack, having been beaten on there before by low cloud/mist and poor navigation. So, was all kitted up on Wednesday night and ready to go. Then, fate intervened and some pages fell from my map shelf. A sign, I thought, a previously printed out WH route of Beinn Mhanach. Obviously I couldn't ignore a sign from the great God, Munro...so, plans changed, Mhanach it is. Read up and checked some other reports,, seems straightforward enough.
I left home and thought I would be caught up in M8 traffic through to the Erskine Bridge but poss due to school holidays etc. was a fairly clear run through, The hills were appearing from beneath the clouds by the minute, Ben Lomond almost completely revealed by the time I passed. I arrived at Auch Estate at 10am with Dorain just shedding the last of the cloud. Parking here is VERY limited on the grass verge, which falls away in places so be careful. 2 cars parked already, I edged in at the south end of the verge, only to have to move onto a precarious rock when a transit style van pulls up and asks me to move forward, wasnt happy, I was all packed and ready to walk, had to de-rucksack. find car keys, dump bag and poles, move car, re-rucksack etc, and had the feeling my car would disappear down the verge before I got back. (think the driver saw my grumpy face )
So, about 10:15am, I headed off again, down the path signposted Auch Estate. The route takes you past a small cottage which looks like a prefab job. Passing holiday cottages, some farm buildings, lots of cows on the left, under the watchful eye of a majestic looking Ben Dorain. (I checked, 2 of these highland cows and Dorain were on my calendar for June! )
There's nothing to worry about on the walk in, stick to the path, stay left at the viaduct fork, ford the river at various points, I'd brought a wee tee towel to dry my feet as I envisaged having to take my boots off for some of these but recent hot dry weather seems to have ensured low levels in all the waterways.
Some new trees have been planted on both sides passed the viaduct, birch and beech. A few more years and this will be quite a wee woodland.
Now,,the subject of wee beasties. or LARGE clegs. Normally bugs don't go for me, but my blood must have been flavour of the month today. These things are nasty. Lots of bites, drew blood on several occasions. Thankfully, I don't take a reaction so no big lumps,,only a hanky getting redder by the mo! Not the best day to be wearing shorts. My map came in very handy, swiping them away,,while waving my hanky with the other hand,,quite the wee Morris Dancer lol
Some 6 miles up the track, its time to head off up the hill, I reapplied my factor 30, topping it off with a non- effective insect spray, well at least the sunscreen seemed to work.
I'd read varying reports about climbing with the Allt a'Chuirn burn on your left or your right. I opted to keep the burn to my left, as this was the side the top of Beinn Mhanach was on. Leaving the track, it's a straightforward 'up'. No path, no right or wrong way,, just 'up'.
Good ground with the odd boggy bit, which would be much worse had we not had such a hot dry spell, nothing to worry about today and the splashes helped cool my legs down. Van-man, a party of 2 with 2 spaniels passed at this point, he thanked me for moving the car, (maybe he didn't see my grumpy chops afterall lol )
I crossed over the fence and carried on up the shoulder, in todays heat and full sun, now 12noon, this was a tough slog, lots of stops for breathers and liquid intake. The van couple passed me on their way back down, I was just short of the shoulder. Had a nice chat, they are a couple from Newcastle who come up here every year to do some climbing. The assured me it was only a wee slog and then a nice flat shoulder.
Sure enough, I reached the broad shoulder in no time. I can see how this would be a real problem in poor visibility or whiteout conditions, very broad, flat, no sign of the cairn until you are well up the plateau.
No problems today, straight over, cairn at 953 mtrs, Munro 33 , bagged. Had a wander round here, looking further East with views down to Glen Lyon.
I didn't really feel like lunch yet, so at 2pm, headed off , back to the Bealach and on up to the top of Beinn a'Chuirn. The climb from Bealach to a'Chuirn is only about 75mtrs and the terrain is flat and broad. Reaching a very small cairn I had great views across to Dorain, Dothaidh, Achaladair and a'Chreachain to the North, beyond gave tantalising hazy views of the highland hills.
Everyone else I'd seen on the hill today seemed to only do Mhanach then back down the same route. I'd decided to return to the Bealach, then head North, following the fence line, turning North West and down to Lon na Cailliche. There are no paths here but covering some boggy ground and down along the line of the burn, after a couple of hundred mtrs, the track starts suddenly. (The boggy ground around the burn was tricky, considering the dry conditions, be a lot worse after a spell of rain )The burn grows in strength but is crossed easily to the track side. Oh how my wee hot feet could have done with a dook in there!
A very rough track takes you down hill and fords the burn at a small dam, passing right in front, I would thankfully have had the flood gates open,,hot, sweaty and knackered!
Carrying on down, you have a clear view of the main track down to the viaduct and the A82 beyond. It looked like a long time since any vehicles have been up here,, long grass in the middle of the track,,probably only used for occasional visits to the wee dam and a very dead and VERY smelly sheep in the middle of the road too.
I reached the main track at 15:50, not bad, but still a 5mile walk down to the car. Phew.!
Lovely afternoon, 1 vehicle passed on the way up to the hydro complex up at Loch Lyon. I found a 'lucky penny' (its in the charity piggy bank now) Usually at this point on a solo walk, I'm doing a lot of talking to myself, actually,,thats MOST of the time on a solo walk Todays topic for discussion was, "why do you never see Julia Bradbury walking like her feet have minds of their own, covered in cleg bites with mad hair and dodgy shorts?" This question will remain unanswered , suffice to say, makeup crew, film crew and the odd cheeky lift I'm sure, Only kidding Julia, I know you read my scribblings lol
Anyway,, I could see my wee car from a distance, it had stayed on its little rocky outcrop and had a huge bottle of banana milk in store for me, great energy boost.
Mhanach is a hill that you really have to go out of your way to bag. It's a good one for a lovely day like this or even a clear day in frost or snow. I seriously wouldn't like this one in rain, I think that walk in and out in wet condtions would make you want to give up and go to the pub!
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by dtr42 » Fri Jul 12, 2013 8:31 pm
- Posts: 109
- Joined: Jun 8, 2013
by GillC » Fri Jul 12, 2013 8:34 pm
by dtr42 » Fri Jul 12, 2013 8:41 pm
- Posts: 109
- Joined: Jun 8, 2013
by Graeme D » Mon Jul 15, 2013 2:51 pm
by GillC » Mon Jul 15, 2013 3:18 pm
by Graeme D » Mon Jul 15, 2013 3:32 pm
by GillC » Mon Jul 15, 2013 3:36 pm