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A Fyne day out on the Yellow Hill

A Fyne day out on the Yellow Hill


Postby bobble_hat_kenny » Sun Aug 30, 2015 9:56 pm

Route description: Beinn Bhuidhe, via Glen Fyne

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Bhuidhe

Date walked: 25/07/2015

Time taken: 6.75 hours

Distance: 19.5 km

Ascent: 1120m

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This was the one time this summer that I was lucky with the weather :D . After a couple of mildly epic trips (by my standards :lol: ) earlier in July - first the South Shiel Ridge in the p***ing rain; then a round of the Monadhliadh Munros on a blustery day - I was more in the mood for something closer to home this time. Beinn Bhuidhe was the only Munro in Area 1 of the SMC Munros book that I hadn't done yet, so I reckoned today was the day.
I got an early start and parked in the fine big walkers' car park just off the start of the Glen Fyne road. The sun was shining, and there was a good view up the glen as I re-crossed the bridge over the River Fyne.
WR1 - view up River Fyne from bridge.jpg

It's a fairly long walk in and many people cycle the first bit, but I'd decided to walk - a lucky decision I was glad of in retrospect, since walking rather than cycling makes it possible to use a handy new Hydro track on descent. This is something I could have learned from other recent WRs if I'd done my homework properly :oops: ... Fortuitously however, a friendly local chap chatted to me out of his car window a wee bit up the road, told me about the new track, and suggested that I used it on descent. This turned out to be excellent advice :) .
Although it's a long walk, Glen Fyne is very scenic and I made quicker progress than I'd expected. That's the new Hydro track that's visible off to the left in this photo:
WR2 - north up Glen Fyne track.jpg

A bit further up the road I met this wee chappy:
WR3 - hielan' calf.jpg

...And shortly thereafter his Mummy Coo, who was a bit more intimidating! I stayed well clear of the pointy end :shock: .
WR4 - Heilan' Coos.jpg

A bit up the road again and I crossed the bridge over the River Fyne. On the west side, the new Hydro Track joins the road on the left. There is a sign here with some info about it: apparently it's a charity-funded community initiative; presumably they sell the electricity it produces. Sounds like a good idea :clap: .
WR5 - where descent hydro track joins main track after first bridge.jpg

After passing the settlement at Glenfyne Lodge (chickens in the road!), the tarmacked road re-crosses the River Fyne at a second bridge to head to a much larger hydroelectric scheme, but the route to Beinn Bhuidhe carries straight on along an untarmacked but still very good track.
WR6 - track continuation after second bridge.jpg

A bit further again and I came to the gate with the sign asking cyclists to leave their bikes here.
WR7 - No Bikes sign.jpg

It wasn't much further to the old cottage at Inverchorachan, where the proper hillwalking begins.
WR8 - old cottage at Inverchorachan.jpg

This ascent path up this first steep section is a wee beauty, consistently very scenic with some entertainingly scrambly sections, but nothing too drastic. There are a couple of wee waterfalls at the bottom and then one big one at the very top. Here are the falls at the bottom:
WR9 - wee waterfall at lower end of Inverchorachan path.jpg

And one of the mildly scrambly sections of path:
WR10 - Inverchorachan path showing mild scrambliness.jpg

Near the top end, there is what Ralph Storer, in his 'Ultimate Munros Guide', infamously describes as 'a Granny-Stopper of a rock outcrop'. Actually, it isn't nearly as hard as it initially looks: I very much doubt that it would have stopped my granny :? ...
WR11 - the Granny-Stopper.jpg

In fact, the trickiest bit is probably 20 metres or so AFTER the 'Granny-Stopper', where the path drops down over a big smooth slippery boulder with considerable exposure above the stream gully to the right. However, I bum-slid down this without incident, to find myself in a tiny but very scenic 'Lost Valley', a brief levelling covered in wildflowers that was vaguely reminiscent of the famous one in Glencoe (although much, much smaller):
WR12 - flowers in Hidden Valley.jpg

Shortly after this came the bigger waterfall. It wasn't so impressive today - the downside of the unseasonally fine weather I suppose (anyone would think it was summer or something :lol: ).
WR13 - ascent up to waterfall.jpg

The path ascends to the left hand side of the waterfall, where it tops out at the end of the first steep section, shortly below the new Hydro track.
WR14 - topping out at new hydro track.jpg

I crossed the track, initially missing the continuation of the hill path - it was just a bit further down the track to the right. Fortunately I spotted it again soon enough.
WR15 - continuation of path above hydro track.jpg

The path continues across an odd level 'shelf', to finally reach the intimidatingly steep south side of Beinn Bhuidhe proper. This mountain is basically a long craggy ridge running SW to NE. Its actual summit is notoriously elusive, and difficult to get a good view of until you're almost at it.
From a distance it's difficult to believe that there's going to be any straightforward way up, but actually the path continues to make a cunning and only mildly scrambly way up a gully, and it turned out to be a lot less tricky than I had expected.
WR16 - ascent gully onto Beinn Bhuidhe E ridge.jpg

At the top of the gully, the path tops out at a cairn, to join a better established path that runs westwards towards the summit.
WR17 - cairn at top of ascent gully.jpg

Although it's a good well-built path, this final section was no stroll in the park: there were some wee scrambly sections, and considerable exposure above big crags on the left. It was a fine scenic stoat on a good summer's day like today, but it wouldn't have been so much fun in wind or snow :shock: !
WR18 - steep drop beside path.jpg

It wasn't far to the summit cairn though, which incorporates the very dilapidated stump of a Trig point, now lying on its side. The views were very Fyne indeed! East to the rest of the Arrochar Alps:
WR19 - Alps from summit cairn.jpg

Back south to Loch Fyne:
WR20 - down Loch Fyne from summit.jpg

...And north to the Cruachan range:
WR21 - Cruachan range from summit.jpg

I stopped for a quick bite to eat, then headed back along the ridge path. There were some more wee exposed sections on the way back along! However, the new Hydro track was clearly visible below, and it was indeed looking very promising as an easy descent route.
WR22 - more exposure & the new hydro track in the distance.jpg

I passed the cairn where the gully path tops out, but this time I continued eastwards a bit further along the ridgetop path - that gully would be a tad steep on descent, I reckon :? . From here, I finally got a good look back the way to see what Beinn Bhuidhe's summit actually looks like: a shapely wee cone from this angle, actually.
WR23 - what the summit actually looks like....jpg

Towards the end of the east ridge, just before it starts to rise again towards a minor east top, it is possible to make a mainly pathless but straightforward descent down steep grassy slopes to gain the new Hydro track. As promised, this gave a very easy and continuously scenic descent down to the Glen Fyne road:
WR24 - return down new hydro track.jpg

As others have commented, this track is fairly hardcore: I definitely wouldn't fancy attempting it in any four-wheeled vehicle :shock: . It was a straightforward walk, and it would doubtless give a grand free-wheely down on a bike - although I for one certainly couldn't have cycled UP this!
The Hydro track definitely saves some time on descent compared to using the Inverchorachan route , and to my surprise I was back at the car inside of seven hours. A very Fyne day out indeed!
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bobble_hat_kenny
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Re: A Fyne day out on the Yellow Hill

Postby ancancha » Sun Aug 30, 2015 10:17 pm

Nice one bobble_hat_kenny :clap:
I'm going back sometime for the views I missed out on :(
I could tell when I was walking along the path to the summit in the wind and clag that there was big drop and was careful :!:
When I go back I'm taking the bike up the hydro, but will be pushing up that first steep bit unless I can cadge a rope pull from a hydro 4x4 :lol:
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Re: A Fyne day out on the Yellow Hill

Postby bobble_hat_kenny » Sun Aug 30, 2015 10:41 pm

ancancha wrote:When I go back I'm taking the bike up the hydro, but will be pushing up that first steep bit unless I can cadge a rope pull from a hydro 4x4 :lol:

Aye, that sounds like the ideal way of doing it, right enough :lol: !
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Re: A Fyne day out on the Yellow Hill

Postby kevsbald » Mon Aug 31, 2015 9:18 am

A good few years since I did this one - how a hill can change in such a short space of time. I'm all for community initiatives but the road seems quite a scar.
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Re: A Fyne day out on the Yellow Hill

Postby teaandpies » Mon Aug 31, 2015 2:52 pm

bobble_hat_kenny wrote:p***ing rain


I can't believe they censored the pouring! :lol:
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Re: A Fyne day out on the Yellow Hill

Postby bobble_hat_kenny » Tue Sep 08, 2015 9:42 pm

kevsbald wrote:A good few years since I did this one - how a hill can change in such a short space of time. I'm all for community initiatives but the road seems quite a scar.

Well, admittedly the track isn't particularly pretty, but then looking at some of the WRs from Beinn Bhuidhe last year when it was still a very fresh scar, it already seems to be becoming much less of an eyesore... I suspect it will improve further with time. And given that it's there now anyway, it does make sense to use it on descent. In fact, using the lovely Inverchorrachan path on ascent, followed by the new Hydro Track for an easy and surprisingly scenic descent, makes for a pleasantly varied circular route ... although admittedly it has made Bhuidhe a more accessible hill and less of an Awkward Customer, which is a shame in a way :( . Pros & Cons, I suppose :? .
Last edited by bobble_hat_kenny on Tue Sep 08, 2015 9:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A Fyne day out on the Yellow Hill

Postby bobble_hat_kenny » Tue Sep 08, 2015 9:44 pm

teaandpies wrote:
bobble_hat_kenny wrote:p***ing rain


I can't believe they censored the pouring! :lol:

Actually, it was 'pelting rain' :crazy: !
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Re: A Fyne day out on the Yellow Hill

Postby basscadet » Wed Sep 09, 2015 1:12 pm

bobble_hat_kenny wrote:
kevsbald wrote:A good few years since I did this one - how a hill can change in such a short space of time. I'm all for community initiatives but the road seems quite a scar.

Well, admittedly the track isn't particularly pretty, but then looking at some of the WRs from Beinn Bhuidhe last year when it was still a very fresh scar, it already seems to be becoming much less of an eyesore... I suspect it will improve further with time. And given that it's there now anyway, it does make sense to use it on descent. In fact, using the lovely Inverchorrachan path on ascent, followed by the new Hydro Track for an easy and surprisingly scenic descent, makes for a pleasantly varied circular route ... although admittedly it has made Bhuidhe a more accessible hill and less of an Awkward Customer, which is a shame in a way :( . Pros & Cons, I suppose :? .


But the track was always there.. we used it before it was improved.. So making the track more obvious has increased its useage, which is quite interesting.. :roll:
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Re: A Fyne day out on the Yellow Hill

Postby jmarkb » Wed Sep 09, 2015 2:41 pm

basscadet wrote:But the track was always there.. we used it before it was improved.. So making the track more obvious has increased its useage, which is quite interesting.


There's a lot more track than there used to be! The old track ended at about 320m up the side of the Merk Burn. This has been extended to the header pond at the col between Newton Hill and Beinn Chas, but there is also a new track connecting the turbine house at NN212149 with the header pond, which more-or-less follows the SW ridge of Newton Hill. Above the header pond there is new track which drops slightly then rises up round the shoulder above Inverchorachan, crosses the head waters of the Allt na Faing (and the path) at about the 600m mark and finishes near NN218189. There's another short branch off the top of the old track heading west.

If you are using these in descent is is probably better to take the right fork onto the old track - the new track is slightly longer, and quite steep and skitey near the bottom (I fell on my *rse and took a chunk out my arm last weekend :( ), although it does have a nice view down Loch Fyne.
Last edited by jmarkb on Wed Sep 09, 2015 2:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A Fyne day out on the Yellow Hill

Postby SecretSquirrel » Wed Sep 09, 2015 2:47 pm

I did Beinn Bhuidhe last June, and while walking along the glen, I do remember seeing the track winding its way up. However, there definitely was not any track following the route up Allt na Faing. I was horrified to see Ancancha's photograph after leaving the top of the waterfall ...

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