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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 Chabhair - a snowy winter solitude solstice walk

Beinn Chabhair - a snowy winter solitude solstice walk


Postby Mountainlove » Mon Dec 22, 2014 4:27 pm

Route description: Beinn Chabhair, from Inverarnan

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Chabhair

Date walked: 20/12/2014

Time taken: 6.1 hours

Distance: 10.8 km

Ascent: 931m

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With 6.5h hours of daylight to play with, walking at any time around Winter Solstice can be a challenge. I always loved Winter Solstice, not because I am particular keen on short days, but because it marks the time, when days will get longer again and months and months of summer walking lays ahead :D

I arrived at the Beinglas Farm in Inverarnen and parked my car on the empty car park. Leaving my waterproof jacket in my backpack was a mistake, as as soon as I set my boot on vertical ground it started raining :? With my full gear on, I was sweating in no time on the steep walk up. The waterfall looked pretty amazing and while snapping away with my camera, a few sheep looked at me suspiciously.

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The way up

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Looking suspiciously

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Grey mares tail fall

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Another one further up

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Looking back

The path, which was more river than path, did not got any better when I reached the top. Looking around, the countryside flattened out a bit and continuing alongside Ben Glas Burn, the path (a dream of mud, bog and puddles) did its best to make the walk as hard going as possible.
Ahead snowy Beinn Chabhair could be seen in the distance and by the time it stopped raining the sunlight drenched the countryside in lovely reddish colours.

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Snowy Beinn Chabhair ahead

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What a change after the sun poked out of the clouds! Looking back towards Inverarnan.

The higher I walked the colder and windier it got and I was soon glad for all the layers I was wearing. Looking around not a single soul could be seen and even though solitude bog walking probably won't make it to the top 10 activities in the UK, I felt that I owned the mountain. A good 2h after setting off, I finally set eyes on Lochan Beinn Chabhair and stepped through the first snow patches.

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The Lochan

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On the way up, looking back towards the loch

Looking around I was unaware of any path up hill and looking around for an alternative way, I decided to follow a unnamed burn to my left. Which each step the snow got thicker and even though it was steep, it was a pleasant route. Soon I could only see snow covered hills around me and the sun tried its best to break through the clouds ahead of me.

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First part of my way up

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Looking back with the wee burn to my right

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Clouds are breaking

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One last snow/hail shower

I climbed higher, still following the burn as a guidance until it disappeared under a thick cover of snow. The walk through the deep snow was hard going and I took frequent breaks, when suddenly the clouds parted and left a beautiful panorama of blue skies, dramatic clouds in the horizon and even sunshine...the times when you can't beat walking in the snow. :D

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Looking back down the way I came up

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Its clearing up

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Me

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I was glad when higher up the snow had frozen over and the walk got easier. There were still enough soft snow to walk on, but I could not pass the opportunity and put my crampons on :thumbup: Close to the top the wind reached gale force and gripping my walking poles, I fought my way to the top. Barely able to stand up, I looked around and took some photos, but the wind was too strong to enjoy the top. Turning around with my hood pulled deep into my face, I returned the same way, until I reached a sheltered rock face. Time for lunch.

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The top

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View from the top

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View from the top

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The walk back down - frozen path is on the right

Sitting in the snow with beautiful views ahead I enjoyed my food and hot flask of coffee, but the temperatures did not let me linger too long. The sun created a dramatic panorama of Loch Lomond and Ben Lomond in the distance and while tracing my steps back, I came across a group of 3 other walkers on their way up , the only ones for the rest of the day. I also managed to find the actual path, but after following it for a while I decided to go back down the path I came up, as it actually looked easier.

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Me

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Towards Loch Lomond

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Ben Lomond

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View on my way back (zoomed in)

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Back down looking back

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The boggy path again

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The waterfall at twilight

Back at my car shortly after sunset I looked back up at the waterfall, smiling as very soon the days would get longer and a new year full of hill walks was laying ahead.

Merry Christmas everyone


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Re: Beinn Chabhair - a snowy winter solitude solstice walk

Postby dogplodder » Mon Dec 22, 2014 4:59 pm

Great way to spend the shortest day and the views are gorgeous. 8) It's good to see you back - missed you on here! :D
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Re: Beinn Chabhair - a snowy winter solitude solstice walk

Postby Collaciotach » Mon Dec 22, 2014 8:39 pm

Not been out in the snow yet :( ...... good to see some though :clap: :clap:

Are the sheep right to be nervous ? :wink:
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Re: Beinn Chabhair - a snowy winter solitude solstice walk

Postby 2manyYorkies » Mon Dec 22, 2014 9:42 pm

Your photos and description capture the mid-winter atmosphere beautifully.
I got blown off there in March, and have less than pleasant memories of the bog alongside the burn, made Shenavall look like the Atacama desert.
Has anyone done anything about the dodgy deer fence near the farm yet?! :wink:
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Re: Beinn Chabhair - a snowy winter solitude solstice walk

Postby Frogwell » Mon Dec 22, 2014 9:58 pm

Yup, up to your usual high standard. Liking that :clap:
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Re: Beinn Chabhair - a snowy winter solitude solstice walk

Postby chickadee » Tue Dec 23, 2014 3:08 pm

Haven't been brave enough ever to do a solo winter walk, well done you (though clearly you're braver than me anyway :lol: ). I did once hill walk in the snow with a friend and the absolute stillness was lovely. I am quite fond of the short days for other reasons but I too am looking forward to more walking next year!

Love the photos, looks very peaceful and like a nice hill to do. Great when you have the place to yourself!
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Re: Beinn Chabhair - a snowy winter solitude solstice walk

Postby MountainTrail » Tue Dec 23, 2014 4:19 pm

Excellent report Mountainlove, I have pencilled this one in for this coming Saturday , cheers
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Re: Beinn Chabhair - a snowy winter solitude solstice walk

Postby Mountainlove » Tue Dec 23, 2014 4:33 pm

dogplodder wrote:Great way to spend the shortest day and the views are gorgeous. 8) It's good to see you back - missed you on here! :D

Awww thank you :D and it is good to be back on the hills :angel:

Collaciotach wrote:Not been out in the snow yet :( ...... good to see some though :clap: :clap:
Are the sheep right to be nervous ? :wink:

They are my favorite...never :wink: Get yourself out in the snow by the way :)

2manyYorkies wrote:Your photos and description capture the mid-winter atmosphere beautifully.
I got blown off there in March, and have less than pleasant memories of the bog alongside the burn, made Shenavall look like the Atacama desert.
Has anyone done anything about the dodgy deer fence near the farm yet?! :wink:

So far nothing was done. The step over the fence is pretty dodgy and looking at it I actually considered climbing underneath the fence...thats until I looked at the mud :roll: Fingers crossed it gets fixed soon!

Frogwell wrote:Yup, up to your usual high standard. Liking that :clap:

Thank you!! :D

chickadee wrote:Haven't been brave enough ever to do a solo winter walk, well done you (though clearly you're braver than me anyway :lol: ). I did once hill walk in the snow with a friend and the absolute stillness was lovely. I am quite fond of the short days for other reasons but I too am looking forward to more walking next year!
Love the photos, looks very peaceful and like a nice hill to do. Great when you have the place to yourself!

Oh it is not that bad! Try a mountain you climbed before. Chonzie is a great one in winter and not that scary if you wait for a sunny day!

MountainTrail wrote:Excellent report Mountainlove, I have pencilled this one in for this coming Saturday , cheers


Fingers crossed that you will get a good day for it!!
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Re: Beinn Chabhair - a snowy winter solitude solstice walk

Postby chickadee » Tue Dec 23, 2014 6:16 pm

chickadee wrote:Haven't been brave enough ever to do a solo winter walk, well done you (though clearly you're braver than me anyway :lol: ). I did once hill walk in the snow with a friend and the absolute stillness was lovely. I am quite fond of the short days for other reasons but I too am looking forward to more walking next year!
Love the photos, looks very peaceful and like a nice hill to do. Great when you have the place to yourself!

Oh it is not that bad! Try a mountain you climbed before. Chonzie is a great one in winter and not that scary if you wait for a sunny day!

Yeah, I'd like to attempt that some day. Unfortunately I'm still not 'supposed' to do any Munros yet so maybe one for next winter. Thing is I know it's probably not scary but I'm still working on my confidence levels... haha!
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Re: Beinn Chabhair - a snowy winter solitude solstice walk

Postby hopper68 » Wed Dec 24, 2014 7:21 pm

Crackin pictures with stunning views, i'll need to do this over the winter...
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Re: Beinn Chabhair - a snowy winter solitude solstice walk

Postby kevsbald » Wed Dec 24, 2014 7:42 pm

The hills are beautiful in Winter and the light is magical - your photos sum that up beautifully.
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Re: Beinn Chabhair - a snowy winter solitude solstice walk

Postby spiderwebb » Wed Dec 24, 2014 8:05 pm

Haha shes back !! Great photos ML :D
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Re: Beinn Chabhair - a snowy winter solitude solstice walk

Postby scottishkennyg » Wed Dec 24, 2014 11:00 pm

Good day there ML..some nice winter shots to help us couch walkers appreciate the conditions.. :)
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Re: Beinn Chabhair - a snowy winter solitude solstice walk

Postby Alteknacker » Fri Dec 26, 2014 11:45 am

A fine characterful hill. Very different at this time of year, and you've really captured that winter mood well in your pix.

I descended the hill by the same route in summer, and like you, found it only suitable for those with a telmatalogical ( :lol: ) interest.

Looking up at the ridge from the bog, I wished I'd taken the ridge route down - it looked alluringly rugged! Weren't you similarly tempted, having sploshed up through the marsh???
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Re: Beinn Chabhair - a snowy winter solitude solstice walk

Postby litljortindan » Fri Dec 26, 2014 10:54 pm

Looks a rewarding but demanding sounding day.
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