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Chabhair - It's A Walk of Four Halves

Chabhair - It's A Walk of Four Halves


Postby roscoT » Sun Sep 20, 2015 3:06 pm

Route description: Beinn Chabhair, from Inverarnan

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Chabhair

Date walked: 19/09/2015

Time taken: 4.75 hours

Distance: 13.8 km

Ascent: 1075m

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Beinn Chabhair.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



A great Saturday morning forecast enthused me into a 6am rise and a choice between Beinn Chabhair and the long-awaited Ben Lui. The met office suggested the latter was more likely to be foggy at the summit at times, so I would save this for another day and plump for Chabhair (a meteorological balls up as it would turn out - more on that later).

The drive past Loch Lomond as usual was stunning - crisp and clear with only the odd whisp of cloud. I honestly don't think I will ever get bored of the view from Firkin Point on a fine morning. Arrived at the Drover's Inn at 8am and although there looked to be a fair bit of cloud above Beinglas Falls, I was confident this would burn away as I ascended. After an amusing incident walking along the road which involved an emergency stop by a car, being called an expletive rhyming with banker, and subsequently being mistaken for a friend of the driver, I was over the bridge and (as recommended by WH) skirting round the campsite to begin the steep ascent to the falls.

Imagecampsite bridge by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Imageinitial climb by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

ImageP1010396 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Imagebeinglas falls by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Imagetowards vorlich and loch lomond by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

I was caught out initially with how cold it was. Fleece was applied but quickly packed away again once a sweat was built up. The amount of cobwebs I walked through told me I was the first one up. There are good views towards Loch Lomond and Ben Vorlich, but for me these were still obscured by the lingering cloud. I had a quick stop for water and a breakfast bar at the falls before climbing the last deer fence and on to the moorland plateau above the falls.

As previous reports have mentioned, the usual ascent of Beinn Chabhair can be split into 3 parts - the initial climb to the falls, the boggy trudge over moorland to the lochan, then the more mountainous climb past Meall nan Tarmachan and the summit ridge. And so it proved.

I stuck to the north side of the burn, although as cloud thickened it became increasingly difficult to see where I was going and where the path was (went off-piste and lost my bearings several times, including an uncomfortable detour through bog - see gpx above). The vegetation is pretty thick, and the eerie calm was somewhat unsettling. So much for the met office forecast, think I will stick to MWIS in future! The highlight of this section was spotting an otter further up in the burn, which unfortunately quickly scarpered on my approach.

Imageben glas burn by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Imageinto the gloom by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

I was still hopeful the cloud would all burn away, and maybe I would even have my first experience of inversion at the summit. Maybe.

As others have mentioned, the path to the left before Lochan Beinn Chabhair is reached is hard enough to spot in fair weather, never mind in the clag. I'll admit to having to use GPS here, and finally the ridge of Meall nan Tarmachan appeared (only when was pretty much underneath it). Aside from the lack of a view in any direction, this is pleasant enough, and as I reached the bottom of the final ridge, a first sight of the big ball in the sky spurred me on (apologies for the fleck of dust in my camera lens).

ImageP1010413 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Imagesun poking through by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Summit was reached quicker than I had imagined, about 2 and a bit hours after I'd set off. I stayed for about 25 minutes and had lunch, willing the cloud to lift, but eventually gave up and headed back down.

Imagesummit by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

You can probably guess what happened about 15 minutes later.

Imageclag lifting by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Briefly considered going back up to the summit but decided against it. Started to meet a few other walkers coming up, and remarked jealously on their better timing. With the cloud lifting, I spotted the inviting Lochan a Chasteil by Ben Glas, although the terrain between me and it did look difficult. Consulted my GPS and decided I would try and follow the 600m contour line across to the Lochan, avoiding the boggy section, adding a fourth section to the walk and hopefully making the best of what had hitherto been a disappointing morning.

Imagelochan a chasteil by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Imageloch long by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Imageglen falloch by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Imagelochan beinn chabhair by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

More views opened up towards Troisgeach on the other side of the glen, although cloud was still persistent. Navigation to the lochan was difficult as expected, with a couple of unavoidable steep pull-ups, but (maybe because of the change in weather) preferable to the bog below. I held off looking back for a while, but when I inevitably did, could see the cloud-free summit of Beinn Chabhair. Sometimes you just have to accept bad luck.

Imagetroisgeach and meall nan caora by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Imagepathless terrain to lochan by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Imageback to an annonyingly clear summit by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

The lochan is well worth the detour, and in retropect I wish I had tried to negotiate Ben Glas alongside it for a better view.

Imagelochan a chasteil and ben glas by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

ImageP1010440 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Stayed here for a short while before beginning the southwest descent towards the access road above the falls, making good time. The descent is quite rough through heather and ferns, but eventually I found a stream and stuck with it.

Imagethe way down by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Imagecompany by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Imageback on the path and troisgeach by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Before reaching the final descent, I passed a few walkers clearly confused by the multiple feint paths even in clear weather. As I said, not the easiest one for navigation at the best of times.

Back down past the falls and into the glen I went, which seemed somehow steeper than on the way up, and the knees and toes were feeling it. Rebelliously walked through the campsite this time, and was back to the car in 4hrs 47mins, decidedly tired if not a tad frustrated. A morning well worth the exercise despite the weather, and certainly the detour to Lochan a Chasteil in clear weather is recommended.

Imagelast steep descent by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Imageimage by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
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roscoT
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Re: Chabhair - It's A Walk of Four Halves

Postby Gordie12 » Sun Sep 20, 2015 3:39 pm

Thanks for clearing those pesky cobwebs out the way - I didn't have any :lol: :lol: :lol:

I thought about heading round by the lochan myself, seeing your photos I wish I had as it looked like it was worth the short detour.

As you say, the drop down to the campsite was hard on the toes, I know I was glad to get down to the bottom and be rebel no 2 of the day by walking through the campsite.
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Re: Chabhair - It's A Walk of Four Halves

Postby roscoT » Sun Sep 20, 2015 3:49 pm

Gordie12 wrote:Thanks for clearing those pesky cobwebs out the way - I didn't have any :lol: :lol: :lol:

I thought about heading round by the lochan myself, seeing your photos I wish I had as it looked like it was worth the short detour.

As you say, the drop down to the campsite was hard on the toes, I know I was glad to get down to the bottom and be rebel no 2 of the day by walking through the campsite.


Saw your report earlier Gordie, spot on :clap: I'm available for cobweb clearing duties any time :lol:

I saw you just after the low cloud had cleared. Thought you would get a cloudless summit, but guess from your pictures I was wrong!

Perhaps naively convinced myself this walk wasn't as much of a slog as previous reports suggested. The detour to the lochan is actually tougher than it looks, but as I say definitely worth it. Think if I ever climb Chabhair again it will be via An Caisteal (which I nearly did when I climbed the latter in May).

Anyway, we shouldn't moan too much, least it didn't rain :lol:
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Re: Chabhair - It's A Walk of Four Halves

Postby dogplodder » Sun Sep 20, 2015 4:23 pm

The lochan looks well worth the detour. We didn't find the boggy part too bad and liked the high bit but the final steep descent while beating off hungry clegs was not nice at all. :(
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Re: Chabhair - It's A Walk of Four Halves

Postby Silverhill » Sun Sep 20, 2015 7:38 pm

I’ve still got to go back to this area for Lochan a’ Chaisteil, which I missed when I did Beinn Chabhair (combined it with An Caisteal). It looks lovely! :D
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Re: Chabhair - It's A Walk of Four Halves

Postby teaandpies » Mon Sep 21, 2015 12:57 am

No joy for here then, not surprised. I made my feelings clear about this hill :lol: I read Gordie12's report as well.

Samantha and I spontaneously found ourselves up Schiehallion on Saturday, it was glorious weather and lots of girls in tight trousers...
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Re: Chabhair - It's A Walk of Four Halves

Postby roscoT » Mon Sep 21, 2015 10:28 pm

dogplodder wrote:The lochan looks well worth the detour. We didn't find the boggy part too bad and liked the high bit but the final steep descent while beating off hungry clegs was not nice at all. :(


Can imagine the high bit would actually be pretty good with decent visibility. Maybe another time!

Luckily no clegs for me on the day, although that does sound nasty!
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Re: Chabhair - It's A Walk of Four Halves

Postby roscoT » Mon Sep 21, 2015 10:29 pm

Silverhill wrote:I’ve still got to go back to this area for Lochan a’ Chaisteil, which I missed when I did Beinn Chabhair (combined it with An Caisteal). It looks lovely! :D


Yeah it's great for a bit of variation if nothing else. In retrospect I would approach it from the north if possible and traverse over Ben Glas :)
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Re: Chabhair - It's A Walk of Four Halves

Postby roscoT » Mon Sep 21, 2015 10:31 pm

teaandpies wrote:No joy for here then, not surprised. I made my feelings clear about this hill :lol: I read Gordie12's report as well.

Samantha and I spontaneously found ourselves up Schiehallion on Saturday, it was glorious weather and lots of girls in tight trousers...


Haven't seen many glowing reports of this mountain to be fair, yours included!

Schiehallion to be recommended? Like the sound of the dress code :lol:
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Re: Chabhair - It's A Walk of Four Halves

Postby teaandpies » Mon Sep 21, 2015 11:04 pm

roscoT wrote:
teaandpies wrote:No joy for here then, not surprised. I made my feelings clear about this hill :lol: I read Gordie12's report as well.

Samantha and I spontaneously found ourselves up Schiehallion on Saturday, it was glorious weather and lots of girls in tight trousers...


Haven't seen many glowing reports of this mountain to be fair, yours included!

Schiehallion to be recommended? Like the sound of the dress code :lol:


Schiehallion is a doddle. It's definitely a hill for a nice day, but I'd advise avoiding it on weekends...busy busy busy!

The path up is well made, it's never steep. The rock hopping to the summit is fun but not so much on the way down but it's not awful. Great views.

It's a long drive for a short walk so we sat about on the summit, had breakfast on the way up, took pictures but still managed to be back at the car in under 4.5 hours without killing ourselves.

The car park was utterly rammed and folk were parked up the road and all sorts. There's space 20 cars officially but there were easily 80 vehicles parked up.

Flushing toilets were an unexpected bonus.

Yeah, I'd recommend it :thumbup:
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