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Meall Bhuidhe & Luinne Bheinn - Attack of the keds!

Meall Bhuidhe & Luinne Bheinn - Attack of the keds!


Postby Old Bill » Mon Jan 05, 2015 5:47 pm

Route description: Luinne Bheinn and Meall Bhuidhe, Inverie, Knoydart

Munros included on this walk: Luinne Bheinn, Meall Buidhe (Knoydart)

Date walked: 21/09/2014

Time taken: 11 hours

Distance: 26.5 km

Ascent: 1460m

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Meall Bhuidhe & Luinne Bheinn - Attack of the keds!

16½ miles, 4792ft ascent.

After the previous night's Inverie village hall revelry (oh yes, Inverie knows how to party!) I wasn't up quite as early as I'd have liked to be and by the time I was booted up and away the sun was above the hills and pleasantly warming my face. "Ahhhh the sun always shines in Knoydart!" I was thinking as I set off.

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On the familiar stroll up the track towards Barrisdale a lady passed me on her bike. She was doing the same two peaks as I was but in the other direction. She was going to cycle up to Mam Barrisdale, ditch her bike and walk back while her husband at some point after a nice lie-in would walk up the track and collect the bike. Sounds like a good idea on paper, but this uneven rock-strewn track seems to me to be a nightmare to cycle on be she seemed not to struggle as she peddled off.

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She went on her way and turned off the NE Barrisdale track to head eastwards over the Inverie River and the Allt Gleann Meadail - and right in to the sun, which by now was getting worryingly warm. Just where this path crosses the Gleann Meadail there's a very pleasant looking wild-camping spot, which although can be no secret is definitely worth checking out at some point.
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But then things got much less pleasant - the assault on Druim Righeanaich. It was steep, pathless, uneven and very hard-going and reminded me a lot of the slog up Mám Suidheig when tackling near-neighbour Ladhar Bheinn earlier in the year. The difference being here that you're constantly wading through thick tenacious ferns all the way up, which although often made for useful anchors and handles to hoist myself up with I wished I packed my machete as they firmly wrapped themselves round my ankle. And with sun now getting very hot I really wished I packed my sun-hat. Oh what kind of fool would try to predict Highlands weather?!
You can tell you've not had a good spell when you look back at your photos and you've taken none of that particular episode!
And just to make this 800ft-or-so ascent even more testing was the constant attention of some strange little insects that I'd not encountered before. They would land on you but then just hunker down and do nothing. They had the appearance of an Apache helicopter but and as they didn't seem intent of inflicting any damage or taking any of my blood I wasn't that bothered, and would just brush them off. But boy, did they take some brushing off! I later found out that they were in fact deer keds - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lipoptena_cervi - and was soon to get very bored of them.

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I was mightily relieved to be up on the bottom of the ridge. The view back to Inverie is always lovely, but sadly it was behind me.
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In front of me was another 2000ft ascent up roughish moorland. Heading into the sun the deer keds were constantly coming to say hello. And I mean constantly. It was no exaggeration to say that as soon as I'd brushed one off another came along. And they took a lot of brushing off being seeming made of tough rubber. Normally not killing an insect is quite tricky, but although I wasn't going out of my way I don't remember killing any of them they were so tough. Very tedious. Eventually I became quite paranoid and would confuse a trickling bead of sweat with a ked and vice-versa.

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The view looking north over Loch an Dubh-Lochain was that of Aonach Sgoilte and Ladhar Bheinn and I got to see what I couldn't last time because of the mist. But as the sweat was running down my face and neck I could have really done with some mist today. The weather is always greener on the other side of the hill, as they say!
The view as we slowly made progress also included the long track back down from Mam Barrisdale to the pub, and was a constant reminder of the long slog back after we'd conquored the peaks. Best not to think about that!

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I can't be sure, but I think that's our first glimpse of Luinne Bheinn there in the distant. Doesn't look too far off actually... does it??

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I had earlier hoped for some really cracking views given the clear skies, but the air was heavy and eventually cloaked everything with a dirty haze.

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As I remember, although I knew it must be close, the cairn at the summit of Meall Bhuide appeared quite suddenly after one last upwards push and I was very pleased to see it. Worn out with the considerable heat I was looking forward to a good 10mins of pure sitting on my backside doing nothing up here.

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There wasn't a whisper of a breeeze in the air here, how often can you do this with a map on top of a Munro? I'm sure it would've quite happily would have stayed in situ for the entire 10 minutes of my intended sit-down. But that wasn't too happen, because something very unpleasant happened instead.
As mentioned the keds had been constant all the way up and although tedious and irritating they weren't a real problem and I'd almost got used to them. But on the top here there was nothing less than a swarm of them. Suddenly I had dozens and dozens of them all over me, a plague of Bibical proportsions! Sort of. On my arms, chest, face, in my hair in, in my ears, in my mouth... I'd never seen so many things on me all at one time. I wouldn't have been surprised if there were hundreds of them. And they were coming back as quickly as I was frantically brushing them off. No place for a rest then and after stopping for less than a minute I was forced to carry on. I felt like a cartoon character being chased by bees running off to the nearest pond! By now I was not a fan of these little blighters.

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Thankfully though after the steep drop down from Meall Bhuide the keds seemed to thin out a bit, although they were never completely absent for a good while yet.

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The section between Meall Bhuide and Luinne Bhein was uppy & downy and very rocky. And also very warm. The thin cloud cover was little use for shade and sun was relentless.
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Around here I bumped into the cyclist lady from earlier coming the other way and looked in much better shape than I was. I told her about the climb up to Druim Righeanaich and the impossible deer keds but she told me she had encountered none! Maybe like the midges they just liked me much more than everyone else! Typical.

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Looking down to a little lochan with strange weed growth...
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... and looking up to more rocky upwards bits - in fact that might be Meall Coire na Gaoithe 'n Ear - I can't quite recall now. But that's the last major ascent and descent before the Loony Bin itself.

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When Luinne Bheinn loomed into view it was clear how much more we had go up - about another 1000ft to the top. Could my poor legs make it!?

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On the way up my attention was caught by a couple of interesting things, one an ancient rock carving depiciting a lady surfing on a giant wave...
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...and the other an old derelict fence going effortlessly scaling any peak it its way. How on Earth did they build such things back in day? They were made from sterner stuff than me - which at this point wouldn't have been difficult!

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The haze wasn't shifting as we made our up. But it was nice to see the "volcano lochan"
I'd heard about before http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=32883, although I still can't pin-point it on a map.

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The top! We had arrived in the Loony Bin - and my Munro count was into double figures!!
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But wait - what is that in the distance...? Another cairn!? Apart from the weather this IS just like Ladhar Bheinn! And assuming the further one is the real one I plodded on.

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Now we were at the top. Despite the haze the views were grand. And there was even a slight breeze in the air which was keeping my friend the keds away, so a well-earned breather was taken.

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But sadly my slow progress up to here - I had been averaging 1.5mph for some while - had put me behind schedule. I was due to be meeting a friend in the pub at 8pm and to be honest I was feeling the chill a bit up here as the breeze took the perspiration away. So, downwards and onwards.

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The way down LB was rocky and at times a tad precarious. The above rock formation caught my eye - how did that happen?
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And I thought I better take a snap of a deer ked, as at the time I had no idea what they were.

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After straying a little off route through a boggy area underneath LB I was finally back on the Barisdale track, and was muchly envious of the folks setting up their camp for the night in very nice spot - nice if it wasn't a windy night anyways!
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It was 6pm now I had 2 hours to get to the pub which was still come 6miles away - would I make it?!
I got there at 8.10pm and was very glad, despite the surly landlord. Beer and fodder and comfy sit-down were most welcome. I bumped into the cyclist lady again, who reassuringly agreed with me about (for her) the drop down Druim Righeanaich - and she even got plagued by deer keds pretty much all the way after Meall Bhuide! So it wasn't just me. I prroudly mentioned that I was now into Munro double fibures... she told me that MB was her 282nd Munro - so well done her! As I was sat at the bar I felt something in my hair – it was the last ked of the day!
After a plenty more Belhavens, a couple of malts and some eaves-dropping on a heated discussion between two stalkers about 'changes' on the estate (they reckoned I must have been from the Oban Times!) sleeping wasn't a problem. The heat and keds had made this a long day.

Plot of the day's walk:
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The next morning when the ranger came round to collect the camping fees I got the full story about deer keds. Apparently they were early this year - lucky me. And have you noticed what "deer ked" sounds like if you say it quickly? Sums up what I think of them.

With a couple of hours to kill before the ferry across the water I went for a short stroll.
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This is what a phone box looks like in Knoydart.

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The old graveyards in the Kilchoan Estate. I wish I known about the cross then. http://the-hazel-tree.com/2013/02/27/the-mystery-of-the-kilchoan-cross/

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The ferry whisked us away just as the weather set in. So farewell Knoydart until the next time!


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Last edited by Old Bill on Mon Jan 05, 2015 7:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Meall Bhuidhe & Luinne Bheinn - Attack of the keds!

Postby The Rodmiester » Mon Jan 05, 2015 6:12 pm

Nice One Old Bill! sounds a long hot slog of a day not helped by the Keds :( . Bet those beers went down well after that. Pity about the heat haze for the photogtaphs, but you cannot have everything. Knoydart, a wonderful place, must go back again next year, and maybe get the boat to Inverie for the first time :D
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Re: Meall Bhuidhe & Luinne Bheinn - Attack of the keds!

Postby Old Bill » Mon Jan 05, 2015 6:40 pm

Cheers Rod - I'd never encountered the keds before. Hopefully never again! The beers made it all better tho! hehe.

I would certainly recommend Inverie - a lovely little place, and so well placed. But I'm surprised you've not been as you must have been close!

I've walked in twice, once from Glenfinnan and once from Invergarry, both very pleasant strolls (3 days and 4 days). I can send you links to the TRs if you're interested.
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Re: Meall Bhuidhe & Luinne Bheinn - Attack of the keds!

Postby The Rodmiester » Mon Jan 05, 2015 7:49 pm

Old Bill wrote:Cheers Rod - I'd never encountered the keds before. Hopefully never again! The beers made it all better tho! hehe.

I would certainly recommend Inverie - a lovely little place, and so well placed. But I'm surprised you've not been as you must have been close!

I've walked in twice, once from Glenfinnan and once from Invergarry, both very pleasant strolls (3 days and 4 days). I can send you links to the TRs if you're interested.


I first encountered Keds this year as well on a Couple of Corbetts and a Graham near Strontian on the 13/9/2014. I believe Keds you will find only in a two or three week period in September so now you know. I have not approached Knoydart by Glenfinnan either but joined up with your path starting from the end of Loch Arkaig past Sourlies and camped at the ruins North of Camusrory. The three other times entered from Loch Hourn and camped at Barrisdale Bay. I will checkout your TRs. Can you tell me what the terrain is like between the two Munros you did as I have not done these two as one off walk as yet. Must admit I love Knoydart but am really enjoying the Ardgour area as well very rough and rocky, similar to Knoydart. Enjoy your future walks in Knoydart, I might just bump into you one of these days. :lol:
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Re: Meall Bhuidhe & Luinne Bheinn - Attack of the keds!

Postby Old Bill » Tue Jan 06, 2015 1:46 pm

Were the keds as tenacious and numerous for you too? I didn't even see a single deer the whole time I was in Knoydart so I pity the first beast they do spy - they'll suck it dry! The ranger told me they usually come out in October - I guess they came out early this year. I didn't see them last time I was there in September - thank God, they might have put me off for good!

The route in from Glenfinnan is a very pleasant 3 or even 2 day walk, via Sourlies and past the Camusrory ruins - described here. https://anicewalk.wordpress.com/2012/09/24/knoydart-sept-2012/
And from Invergarry goes via Loch Hourn (with a horrible loch-side section!) is here: https://anicewalk.wordpress.com/2014/05/10/inver-to-inver/

I do love Knoydart too - who doesn't?! But it's keeping me away from other parts of the Highlands. Decisions decisions!!
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Re: Meall Bhuidhe & Luinne Bheinn - Attack of the keds!

Postby The Rodmiester » Tue Jan 06, 2015 7:09 pm

Hi Old Bill, just read your report from Glenfinnan 'A Knoydart pub Crawl' brilliant stuff with lots of useful landmarks and detail :D Yep there's no chance of the bridge at Carnoch falling down any time soon :lol: :lol: I decided to wild camp at the ruins rather than entertain the mice at Sourlies :lol: When I walked in I dropped of tent etc then climbed Meall Buidhe then headed back to the tent and unfortunately picked up a huge blister so decided to walk out the next day rather than go on to Inverie, pity I missed the Old Forge that was one of the main reasons for going. I think I'm right in saying that Keds don't bite but are desperate to find hair to lay their eggs, horrible wee things, and very difficult to remove when there are so many. I'm now going to read your other report re the Loch Hourn approach, lots of ascent and drops, but nice none the less but with big heavy packs a tad hard going :lol: There is a wee cafe en route Claire and Toms down on the Lochside, made us some lovely fresh scones with cream and fresh Coffee :wink: :D

I don't believe it I stayed at Invergarry hostel with the Climbing Club in December last year at our Christmas Club Meet and walked down Mandally Road and like you spoke to the guy who lives in the house next to where the bridge used to be, We climbed a wee Hump to the North East of the Corbett Ben Tee, passing the waterfalls and gained accesss to the track you walked :crazy: I'm now going to read your report fully.
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Re: Meall Bhuidhe & Luinne Bheinn - Attack of the keds!

Postby Old Bill » Thu Jan 08, 2015 12:14 am

Sorry Rod - I meant to mention that the bit the between the two peaks is nothing too special. Little bit rocky, could be a bit boggy after some wet weather - and two very steep bits at either end!
Some nice views potentially but I wouldn't go there just to do that one little stretch.
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Re: Meall Bhuidhe & Luinne Bheinn - Attack of the keds!

Postby Old Bill » Thu Jan 08, 2015 12:34 am

Hi Rod - glad you enjoyed the read!

Sounds like we've been in each other's footsteps quite a bit up there then.

For a short-ish LDW the "pub crawl" was certainly an eventful trip! But I learned my lesson with bothies at Sourlies. The only time I've been in once since was at Barisdale - to try and dry my clothes and have my tea because it was p*ssing it down!!

Funnily enough my plan on that walk was to tackle Meall Buidhe heading over into Inverie but it was all I could do to make it up to the bealach there - the name escapes me, so the peaks had to wait. I don't know if I mentioned it but that was my first long walk carrying full pack so I think I over-estimated my level of fitness somewhat! haha. Not that I learned that lesson when I attempted the South Glen Shiel ridge tho!

I saw Claire & Tom's tea-shop by Loch Hourn and it looked tempting, but it also looked so far away! I still had a lot of that horrible loch-side path to go then.
Apart from that bit the Inver-Inver walk is great. Apart from the missing bridges of course... ;-)
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Re: Meall Bhuidhe & Luinne Bheinn - Attack of the keds!

Postby Old Bill » Thu Jan 08, 2015 12:39 am

PS. Oh - I'm not so convinced about the Carnoch bridge though! ;-) hehe
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Re: Meall Bhuidhe & Luinne Bheinn - Attack of the keds!

Postby ere1 » Sun Jan 11, 2015 3:04 pm

Good stuff. Your pics really brought back some wonderful memories.
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Re: Meall Bhuidhe & Luinne Bheinn - Attack of the keds!

Postby Old Bill » Wed Aug 03, 2016 5:37 pm

It's a wonderful place isn't it Ere1?
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