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Another evening out: Luss Hills from Glen Fruin
by malky_c » Tue Aug 05, 2014 9:45 pm
Grahams included on this walk: Beinn a'Mhanaich, Beinn Chaorach, Beinn Eich, Cruach an t-Sidhein, Doune Hill
Date walked: 01/08/2014
Time taken: 5.5 hours
Distance: 18 km
Ascent: 1860m6 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).
Time taken: 5 hours, 30 minutes.
Weather: Hot and sunny.
Part 2 of my Commonwealth walk-fest was supposed to last a week, but was curtailed due to work requirements. In the end I got a long weekend, and made a good start on Thursday evening, nipping up Beinn nan Imirean on the way down from Inverness. A nice leisurely morning on Friday, followed by an interesting U-turn in Argyle Street, and an accidental entry into a restricted area before I managed to drop Gill off for her shift at the SECC at 3:30pm.
Finally heading for the hills, I was caught in early rush hour traffic, and didn't reach Loch Lomond until almost an hour later. I was headed for the Luss Hills, which are the Graham equivalent of the South Glen Shiel ridge in terms of the number of summits available. I had a feeling all 8 Grahams would be doable in a long, hard day, with the 6 south of Glen Douglas making a more reasonable loop. However, I was starting too late for that, so decided to head for the Faslane haul road up Glen Fruin, where I could head up Beinn a' Mhanich and make things up as I went along after that.
I finally started walking up to the reservoir at 4:50 pm and it was hot hot hot! Up to the dam then over it and ascending steeply up the grassy side of The Strone.
Auchengaich Reservoir and Beinn a’ Mhanaich:
Beinn Chaorach from the dam:
I took in the views south from The Strone before carrying on up the ridge to the summit of Beinn a' Mhanaich. More great views from here, including those west across Faslane to hills I'd mostly only looked at on the map before. It was hard to pick things out of the mass, but the ridge north from Beinn Bheula across Beinn Lochain, Stob na Boine Druim-fhinn and Cruach nam Mullt looked as interesting as I hoped it would. The Arrochar Alps dominated over all of that.
Faslane, Loch Long and Gare Loch:
Cruach nan Miseag, Beinn Bheula, the Lochgoilhead Grahams and Cnoc Coinnich:
The ridge to Beinn a’ Mhanaich:
Cruach an t-Sidhean and the Arrochar Alps:
The Alps – Ben Lui and Beinn Narnain with the Cobbler in front:
Same trio zoomed:
The way down was steeper than it looked on the map - turned out I could probably have dropped down a little further west for an easier time, but I managed to get right down the face without too much bother.
Steep descent to the col:
The water was too manky to drink down here, but I managed to find clearer stuff on the steep ascent of Cruach an t-Sidhean. There were some long steep ascents in these hills, but the going was nearly always easy across firm grass - probably down to the number of sheep out here.
Looking back at the N face of Beinn a’ Mhanaich:
Nice to get some different perspectives on the surrounding hills - the Alps and Crianlarich Munros were now closer and I could see the islands of Loch Lomond.
Beinn Eich, the Finlas hills and Beinn Chaorach:
Beinn Chaorach and Beinn a’ Mhanaich:
Another nosey at Faslane:
The next couple of hills were a little less steep. The northern two of the group (Tullich Hill and Beinn Breac) looked like they would have a great outlook on the Arrochar Alps - probably best to get on them in the morning for the light though.
Beinn Eich and Loch Lomond:
Inverclyde and Greenock:
Crianlarich hills - Beinn a’ Chabhair to Stob Binnein:
Arrochar Alps and Glen Douglas:
Summit of Doune Hill:
Back to Cruach an t-Sidhean:
Beinn a’ Mhanaich and Cruach an t-Sidhean with Beinn Bheula behind:
I did a small amount of contouring to get to Beinn Eich - a shapely ridge, although the best light was now going so it was hard to photograph.
Loch Lomond from Beinn Eich:
Creag an Leinibh:
Second steepest descent of the day was straight down to the Luss Water. Again the ground conditions made the going reasonable until almost the bottom of the glen where it got a bit tussocky. I had handily come down at a bridge just east of the ruin of Gleann na Caorainn. It was a bit sloppy on the flood plain on the other side, then a few tussocks and a bit of bracken made the initial going a little more awkward than the rest of the walk. Then it was a steady ascent onto Beinn Chaorach - not as fast as the other big ascents, but not a bad pace.
The combination of sea lochs, the Firth of Clyde and the lights of Glasgow, Greenock, Dunoon and Faslane made the dusk view from the summit quite special. Sometimes the lack of light pollution you get further north can be a bonus, but the lights can be a spectacle in themselves.
I took in the last of the light on the summit before hitting the quickest route back to Auchengaich Reservoir. There were more inviting grassy ridges over Beinn Tharsuinn, but I didn't have a torch with me. A speedy half hour from the summit saw me back at the car, surprising a couple out for an evening walk on the reservoir track.
Sunset on the Luss Water:
Beinn Bheula to Cruach nam Mullt:
Dusk over Gare Loch:
The full Lochgoilhead Grahams ridge again:
I always thought I'd like these hills, but they were even better than expected. You can rack up a ridiculous amount of ascent with ease (where else can you do 5 Grahams and almost 2000m of ascent in 5.5 hours?), the views are good, there are endless combinations and route choices, and you can be here from Glasgow in 40 minutes. What's not to like?
by mountain thyme » Tue Aug 05, 2014 10:04 pm
by weaselmaster » Tue Aug 05, 2014 10:08 pm
by rockhopper » Wed Aug 06, 2014 11:54 pm
by Collaciotach » Thu Aug 07, 2014 7:20 am
I have seen these before and admit they do look enticing your pices prove that is just what they are
by d6unx » Thu May 28, 2015 7:11 pm
by jamesb63 » Thu May 28, 2015 9:17 pm
by malky_c » Thu May 28, 2015 11:36 pm
d6unx wrote:great post..going to do these on saturday with a troup.. is it best to go up from Auchengaigh reservoir and go round left to right, Our plan is to drop into luss for lunch then back round to Helensburgh..cheers
Hard to say - it worked for me but I've never been up these hills any other way. One thing to watch out for is the firing range above Garelochead. The boundary of this is the S ridge of Beinn a Mhanaich. You might not want to be on it if there is live firing going on. Afraid I don't know how you find out more - I just turned up and was lucky.
jamesb63 wrote:Some stunning pictures there ,What camera do you use ?
Thanks - it's just a fairly cheap compact one - a Canon Ixus. I think the weather helped quite a lot with these photos!