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Beinn Bhan the long way

Beinn Bhan the long way


Postby AnnieMacD » Mon Jul 22, 2013 12:29 am

Route description: Beinn Bhan, near Kishorn

Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn Bhan

Date walked: 20/07/2013

Time taken: 11 hours

Distance: 16.5 km

Ascent: 896m

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This is my first walk report so hope I don't goof up!

I was inspired by the description of the Beinn Bhan walk taken by Nick Williams and written about in his great little Pocket Mountains book "Northern Highlands". Many years ago I went up Beinn Bhan but from the Bealach na Ba road which is a bit of a cheat as you start at 300m and I wanted to do the round trip from sea level.

So I got up bright and early (well not very bright at it was only 6:30am) and set off over the Bealach to the Tornapress parking spot. It was a beautiful morning so stopped for a few pictures on the way.

Beinn Bhan 2013.07.20.jpg
View looking down Corrie na Ba

Beinn Bhan 2013.07.20-2.jpg
Tornapress car park

I followed the path for 2km and then branched off NW towards Coire na Poite heading for the lower loch. Soon the whole line of Beinn Bhan corries came into view with all the buttresses and gullies looking rather intimidating. I had a breakfast / water stop (it was getting hot) but found the walk across the heather and moorland not too difficult as I found lots of deer paths which make the going pretty easy.

There are three Lochan Coire na Poite the lower of which is quite beautiful with a lovely sandy beach at the north end which looked very inviting, but onward and upward....

Beinn Bhan 2013.07.20-3.jpg
Lower Loch Coire na Poite with A' Phoit straight ahead and Coir' an Fhamhair (where I was heading)

Beinn Bhan 2013.07.20-4.jpg
A' Chioch across the lochan

Beinn Bhan 2013.07.20-5.jpg
The lovely beach looking towards A' Choich

At this point I decided to take a detour and go up into the corrie to see if the remaining two lochans were accessible. It was quite a steep climb and when I got to what I thought was the top I realized there were two levels and the lochans were on the upper level. I was surprised to see a small stone shelter - it was like an oven inside but would have been most welcome if the weather was bad.

Beinn Bhan 2013.07.20-6.jpg
Looking up to top level of Coire na Pointe with stone shelter. A' Chioch on the left.

Rather than go up to the next level I decided to get back on track as it was getting pretty hot and I still had a long way to go. So I struck across the base of A' Phoit and up into Coir' an Fhamhair to the steep grassy bank straight ahead. This is a 200m climb and is pretty steep. One pretty white cloud looked a good omen.

Beinn Bhan 2013.07.20-7.jpg
Heading up Coir' an Fhamhair

One thing to note - there is a small burn (Allt Coir' an Fhamhair) which bubbles up out of the ground here and the water is ice cold - the most wonderful thirst quencher on a hot day. I drank as much as I could and replenished my water bottle and wished I could have it piped into my house :crazy:

It took me a while to get up to the top as I had quite a few short rest stops on the way up. But now the view started to open up.

Beinn Bhan 2013.07.20-8.jpg
At the top of Coir' an Fhamhair - whew. A' Phoit on the right no longer intimidating and lower locan with beach just beyond.

I then made a big mistake. I was only about 300m from Loch na Beinne Baine and I could easily have nipped over and filled up my water supplies but didn't do this and regretted it later.

Beinn Bhan 2013.07.20-9.jpg
Moving along the east edge of the corrie you can see where I came up just to the left of the scree and boulders. The lochan that I ignored is above the scree - I was really close!

Moving along the edge (I'm not at the summit yet!)

Beinn Bhan 2013.07.20-10.jpg
Looking down Coire na Phoite with A' Phoit to the left and the three lochans. A' Choich is on the right

Beinn Bhan 2013.07.20-11.jpg
A few puffy clouds - very welcome

A bit further on I came to the summit but the contrast with all the character on the east side is offset by the bleak and uninteresting rock-strewn plateau that is the top! Here's a photo just to prove I was there. It was taken at 180 degrees to the previous picture. The views, though, are pretty spectacular but it was pretty hazy so the islands were quite indistinct.

Beinn Bhan 2013.07.20-12.jpg
Beinn Bhan summit

I stopped for lunch here and drank a lot of water as it was very hot and the sun was relentless. I was starting to realize I would run out before the next burn was due to turn up. It was here that I deviated (I had planned this ahead of time) from Nick's route. He took off west and headed toward Coire nan Arr and descended that way. I had been in that direction recently and I really wanted to do the whole ridge so I continued south.

I now walked along the ridge which has quite a lot of descent and ascent before reaching the shoulder. There is a good path along most of the ridge and there is only one slightly scary part where there is a steep drop on both sides.

Beinn Bhan 2013.07.20-14.jpg
The path along the ridge

Beinn Bhan 2013.07.20-19.jpg
Looking back (north) to A' Choich. You can see the up and down ridge on the left. The Torridon hills are in the distance

By the time I reached the last of the mini summits above Coire Each (763m) I was getting short of water :( so decided that instead of going down the more gently sloping shoulder I would go down to the east straight toward Tornapress as I appeared to be closer to some burns (from the map) and I could see my car way below. In retrospect I don't think this was such a good idea as there was no path, not even a deer path and the ground was very hard-going with tussocks and it was very steep - hard on the knees and the feet!

But I did eventually come to the burn and it was the second most delicious water ever (after the previously mentioned Allt Coir' an Fhamhair) - reminds me of the Van Morrison song, "...cool clear water for to quench my thirst..." :)

Beinn Bhan 2013.07.20-17.jpg
Half way down the east slope of Beinn Bhan looking over Loch Kishorn. My car is at lower left just up from the bridge over the River Kishorn.

The going did not get easy until I reached the red rocks about three-quarters of the way down. Snaking down the left side is the little Allt where I got my water supplies - I even took some home :lol:

This was the view going up Coire na Ba on the way home. You can see the road continuing up on the right.

Beinn Bhan 2013.07.20-18.jpg
Almost home and the sun was still shining!

What a perfect day with a few lessons learned.
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AnnieMacD
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Re: Beinn Bhan the long way

Postby The Rodmiester » Mon Jul 22, 2013 9:42 am

Hi there Annie MacD, reading that I can feel the heat, looks a real interesting walk, probably on the long side for the temperature, but lots to look at along the way with a wide selection of terrain. Really good photographs under hazy conditions, thanks for posting :D
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The Rodmiester
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Re: Beinn Bhan the long way

Postby malky_c » Mon Jul 22, 2013 10:12 am

Stunning - great views on Coire a' Phoit :) . Was over at Applecross yesterday to go to the beach at Sand. Was hoping to get in a quick walk up Beinn a Chlachain but my wife wouldn't let me :lol: . Lovely day on the beach and great food in the Applecross Inn as always anyway 8)
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Re: Beinn Bhan the long way

Postby AnnieMacD » Mon Jul 22, 2013 11:53 am

malky_c wrote:Stunning - great views on Coire a' Phoit :) . Was over at Applecross yesterday to go to the beach at Sand. Was hoping to get in a quick walk up Beinn a Chlachain but my wife wouldn't let me :lol: . Lovely day on the beach and great food in the Applecross Inn as always anyway 8)


Oh too bad you didn't go up Beinn a Chlachain. I was up there a couple of weeks ago so may write it up - now that I know what I'm doing!

Thanks to you and The Rodmeister for your comments.

BTW I figured out how to get the total elevation off my GPS - it was 998m - not sure if I can fix it or not.
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AnnieMacD
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