Stay at home
Scotland is under national lockdown. People are asked to stay at home except for essential purposes.
Click for details
Beinn Fhada and a 'Ghlas Bheinn: Another cow story
by Emmanuelle » Thu Oct 09, 2014 12:41 am
Munros included on this walk: A' Ghlas-bheinn, Beinn Fhada
Date walked: 14/09/2014
Time taken: 9 hours
Distance: 18.6 km
Ascent: 1900m2 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).
Unscathed but underslept, I set off the next morning at 8.10am, just behind a striding man who entered the second enclosure with great determination. And guess what I came upon? the bull, the real, big, adult bull, Mr Bull, chief of the cows and calves. Mr Bull stood on the path and decided to stare me down. There was no way I could get past him and his flock. Shouting in a farmerly way was out of the question. Patience was not repaid so I had to climb up the slope through the low canopy in a large arc to avoid all these brown animals. They were everybloodywhere!!! There were dozens of them! At last I was clear of them. I strode up this very good path, giving lovely views further up glen Choinneachean where the burn sinks into a gorge with nice waterfalls and pools. I met a couple coming back from Loch Gaorsaich where they'd spent the night. They'd had nothing but clag and clammy weather the day before (a recurrent theme among all the walkers I met) but today looked really promising - a breeze clearing the clouds off the summit and some blue sky. I knew there was a small cairn where the path to Bealach an Sgairne meets the stalker's path that leads to the ridge. The walk up the stalker's path is easy enough and I soon got onto the ridge. I turned south there and encountered a fork in the path. I took a compass bearing, as although the left fork seemed intuitively to be going in the right direction, I've learnt to be wary of intuition on the hills, especially as the cloud cover towards the summit was quite thick. I think I got a glimpse of the summit but it didn't seem far enough for the roughly 2km left to cover. the compass said right and I soon found myself on Plaide Mhor. I adjusted my bearing and followed that. Oddly, that took me past the summit and I wondered why. I had assumed I hadn't covered enough distance as I was well ahead of my time estimation so I walked on. There was also a good track underfoot. So although I was constantly interrogating myself, I was also comforted by the path. A few yards on I found myself in clag. A rise in the distance gave me hope that I was going to start climbing but instead I was actually going down. I also lost boot marks. Time to rethink . Rather than rely on the scan of the map I had used until then, I took out the full OS map and ascertained that I was heading south towards Gleann Lichd. Cue to turn back. So I returned by taking a new bearing and within 10 minutes I was on the summit, precisely the rise I had seen 20 minutes before! Whilst on the Plaide Mhor I had got hazy views of the Five Sisters, but on the summit of Fhada, there was nothing to be seen although I could tell the cloud was thinning and the summit could clear any minute. However, I decided to press on and that was a good decision as I soon as I lost height, the views returned. I also returned to the bealach by the path I should've taken and was there very quickly. I then had to make a decision about how to get to a'Ghlas Bheinn. Option 1: going over Meall a'Bhealaich and negotiate its steep slopes to Bealach na Sgairne. On the other hand this would be quicker than Option 2: go back down the stalker's path and catch the path that links Gleann Choinneachean and Gleann Gaorsaic. I went for Option 1. Everyone I met described Option 2, so I thought I'd be different.
The Bennet route description suggested staying east. There was some kind of trail which seemed to be going east, so I thought I'd follow that and advise. I didn't go east enough and ended up, unwittingly, right above the bealach. But of course I didn't yet know that. So I decided to be even more different than everybody else and headed down a steep grassy slope with soon sank into an even steeper gully - not for the faint-hearted. I needed to keep my wits about me for the last 50 metres, but after 30 minutes of hard graft I was by the pile of stones which marks the top point of the bealach! From there the walk up to a'Ghlas Bheinn was like a walk in the park - clear path, steep but levelling out to reveal cute wee lochans. By then the weather had cleared completely and the views down Gleann Sgaorsaic and over Sgurr nan Ceathramnhan were wonderful. The wind whipped up and it was quite cold. It took me about an hour to walk up to the summit from the bealach and I got 360 degree views there (although no view of the Cuillin today). I had lunch and took photos, taking in the views and enjoying the solitude. After 30 minutes, I started descending on a compass bearing towards the eastern edge of the Dorusduain forrest. I didn't see much of a path until the last slope overlooking the forest and the bridge that leads to the Falls of Glomach. I soon reached the large forest track and sauntered down. I got to the ruined house and then had leisure to look at the nice quiet spot I could have chosen to pitch my tent, which I reached barely 90 minutes after I came off the summit of a'Ghlas Bheinn. Good pace! I unpitched my tent, watched over by the cows sitting in the sun, and repacked by rucksack. Just then a couple who had been behind me and had come from the direction of the Falls stopped to chat. The woman asked: did you camp by yourself? Yes. Were you not scared? In principle no. But the cows... At which point the guy said to me: we saw your tent earlier today and I said 'who puts their tent up in a field full of cows?'. I replied: Me! We had a good laugh about it. I set off back to my car in the warm afternoon sunshine, stopping to pick juicy brambles. My close encounter with wildlife wasn't over however - over the course of the next 36 hours I removed 12 ticks from my person!
by AnnieMacD » Thu Oct 09, 2014 9:18 pm
by Emmanuelle » Fri Oct 10, 2014 10:23 pm
by spiderwebb » Wed Oct 15, 2014 7:48 am
Was told by a great uncle bulls are fine if they have their ladies with them....not sure about that one
by jonny616 » Thu Oct 16, 2014 10:32 pm