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Beinn Bhuidhe - bagged at last...

Beinn Bhuidhe - bagged at last...

Postby David Thomson » Mon Jun 14, 2010 6:17 pm

Route description: Beinn Bhuidhe, via Glen Fyne

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Bhuidhe

Date walked: 07/06/2010

Time taken: 6 hours

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Having completed all the other ‘Arrochar alps’, the prospect of having to complete Beinn Bhuidhe has been a particular thorn in my side for a couple of years.

There are a few reasons for this.

First, it’s an outlier, insofar as it isn’t attached to any other peak, so it’s a long way to go for just one summit. Secondly, the start is so far from the car park that it is recommended that you cycle in. Thirdly, due to the shape of the mountain and the way that it catches the rain, it is renowned as a mud bath, particularly once you gain the corrie and make your way over to the ridge.

As I set off, the weather forecast was for thunder storms and torrential rain, so there would be plenty more mud then.
I arrived on Sunday night in Arrochar at the B+B and went for an evening walk. 8 minutes later, after meeting then outrunning the local midge squadron, I arrived back in need of bed and sleep. Sadly I hadn’t noticed that the owner had opened my window to air the room and the midge squadron had landed just before me.

In spite of the odd nibble, they were surprisingly quiet and I had a decent sleep and was up early to get breakfast.

I drove over to the top of Loch Fyne and parked up. The weather was ok; a bit over cast, no wind and quite warm.

Ideal for the midge population.

I hauled the bike out of the landy and got myself ready for the cycle in. I had decided to travel light no matter what the weather and with a glance at the map, set off for the 5 mile ride.

Pedalling a bike with rucksack on is a strange experience but eventually I arrived at the point where you leave your bike and walk the rest on foot. Securing the bike, I walked the next mile to the cottage that signifies the start of the route up to Beinn Bhuidhe.

There is a path of sorts and it meanders roughly up the course of the stream to a waterfall. There are a couple of hairy bits with really slippy rock and a 50ft drop into the river if you slip, but I was forewarned by the climbers forum and knew what to expect.

In the rain though…

On arriving at the waterfall, you can keep on the path, which takes you through the mudfest or, as I did, you can elect to cross the stream and make your way up some really steep slopes and sweep round behind the swamp.

As I clambered up some really steep and undulating ground, I patted myself on the back that at least I was avoiding the mud. The midges were in action, but I had taken the precaution in liberally covering myself in mozzie repellent. This anti insect layer came at the expense of not wearing sun cream as I wasn’t entirely sure what type of chemical reaction I would have caused by applying both.

Naturally, having made this decision, the sun came out to play and roasted me for the next 4 hours, whilst the midges kept their distance, flicking me the bird as they watched me fry.

I arrived at the right hand side of the corrie and had some good views of the mud I had avoided – except there was very little mud to speak of. Only slightly disheartened, I began to traverse back over, looking for a line to take me up the final steep slopes to the path I knew to be on the ridgeline.

A short slog later and I was on the ridge and on the path. Following this was easy enough and it took me right to the summit and into the biggest cloud of crane flies I have ever seen. There had been thousands of them on the way up but I didn’t realise they had colonised the summit cairn.

I decided against reversing my route and elected to follow the path back down to the waterfall, crossing the mythical mud bath. There actually was some boggy stuff, but this was easily avoided and having summited in 4 hrs from the car, it only took 2 hrs 20 to get back.

Hindsight eh?

The cycle back was entertaining as the path was invaded by a herd of highland cattle each equipped with VERY long horns.

Beinn Bhuidhe was in the bag at last. I’d had a great day weatherwise and, with zero wind and no other human in sight for the best part of seven hours, one of the most tranquil days in the hills I have ever had.

From the top I could see the thunderstorms that had been forecast and it was as if they were keeping away for the day as I basked in my little oasis of sunshine. 15 minutes later as I was driving back home, the heavens opened and things were returned to normal.

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David Thomson
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Re: Beinn Bhuidhe - bagged at last...

Postby monty » Mon Jun 14, 2010 9:49 pm

Well done David,
It is a very isolated munro. I done this one with my bike last year. I remember it being dangerous going up the valley on the small path. Slippy and wet. I came down the grass slopes on the other side which would have been a much safer ascent. :D

Re: Beinn Bhuidhe - bagged at last...

Postby rspat » Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:14 pm

Know the feeling, David - finally bagged it a couple of weeks back after a couple of aborted winter attempts. If you think the waterfall path is bad now, you should try it with solid verglas... Finally elected to go in via Glen Shira and up the long ridge from Tom a'Phiobaire. Not a hill I'll be rushing back to.
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Re: Beinn Bhuidhe - bagged at last...

Postby magicdin » Tue Jun 15, 2010 10:32 am

I have a kind of love hate relationship with this hill
A bit of a tedious hill to get to - but the ridge is fine once there
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