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Denfinella vs. Chabhair: cloud sandwich and a horny goat

Denfinella vs. Chabhair: cloud sandwich and a horny goat


Postby denfinella » Tue Oct 06, 2015 5:53 pm

Route description: Beinn Chabhair, from Inverarnan

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Chabhair

Date walked: 28/09/2015

Time taken: 6 hours

Distance: 14 km

Ascent: 1010m

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Poor Beinn Chabhair. He (well I assume it's a he, he's called Be(in)n anyway...) seems to get a lot of hate on walkhighlands. Reading down the list of user walk reports: Beinn Chabhair - Bog Fest!... Beinn Chabhair - Slog of a day... Beinn Chabhair, the hill of squelch... Beinn Chabhair-take your waders!... and the warning of Very boggy walk even in Summer! - all these over the past few years. Then in August, teaandpies posted an excellent, angry report which topped them all, simply titled Beinn Chabhair is the worst! Now perhaps there's something wrong with me, but climbing the Worst Hill seemed like a walk worth experiencing for myself one Monday. OK, so bog seemed to be a key theme running through these reports. Well, it had been a dry week beforehand, and my boyfriend had nice, shiny new walking boots just waiting to be tried out. Teaandpies didn't seem to have been too impressed with the views, which were zilch along the summit ridge. Well, MWIS promised (promised, I tell you!) an "almost certain" chance of cloud-free Munros, with just a small chance of a little valley fog at dawn, and extensive sunshine above. So, Chabhair, we really gave you the best chance possible to show us your good side...


beinn-chabhair.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



Glasgow was already mostly free of morning mist when we left at half eight, just a ribbon of cloud following the Clyde and passing underneath the Erskine Bridge. Fog came and went as we headed up the A82 Loch Lomond rat run, but gaps in the cloud showed the summits to be mostly clear. We weren't concerned as we pulled into the car park at Inverarnan - even a few hungry midges couldn't put us off. From the path around Bein Glas campsite, we could see the top of the low cloud layer.

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OK Beinn, pal, we'll go easy on the photos for now as it'll definitely be sunny on the way back down, right?

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The path up the hillside was steep, and briefly boggy around Bein Glas falls, but a steep gradient would quickly take us out of the clouds and into glorious sunshine. The waterfalls were still well and truly in the clag layer - blue sky must be lurking just above. All dark and spooky for now... spiders had been busy overnight, each web glistening with dew:

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And then, just as we were thinking we'd have to deliver a few sharp words to Mr. Chabhair, we popped out of the cloud layer and got some decent views at last - blue skies in the mix, but a strange cloud sandwich going on above, restricting the views in some directions.

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On the plus side, no more fog for now. On the down side, miles of boggy ground stretched ahead. Nowhere was the going terrible (most of the bogs weren't deep, and those that were could be jumped over or circumnavigated), but it was consistently squelchy going, even after a mostly dry month. After the initial climb, this section is much flatter as the glen opens out again. It's not exactly scenic either - little rocky drama, and a line of electricity pylons marching across the landscape just to the south (why here?!). And also no summit in view - Chabhair stubbornly with its head on the clouds somewhere up there.

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The path forks (and rejoins later) - we took the left hand fork which moves away from the burn, cutting a corner and rejoining it as the glen starts to steepen slightly and head just north of east. Looking back, the cloudscapes were tantalisingly close to being excellent, but not quite there.

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Eventually a side path veered away towards the ridge (if you stay by the burn, the path appears to fizzle out in another bog), with Lochan Beinn Chabhair (the person who named that was really on top form) becoming visible.

13.jpg


Thankfully, the boggiest part was now over... until we returned anyway! Come on Chabhair, you've tested our boots quite enough now, can you reward us getting this far with summit views? It looked promising as we headed up the ridge, blue sky starting to appear:

14.jpg


The summit was still covered as we reached the ridge:

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Looking left (before heading right) along the ridge:

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The ridge to the summit went on for longer than expected, with lots of false summits. This is a good thing - it's the best part of the walk, no doubt with great views :crazy:

An extra cloud layer now started creeping in below us, just to complicate things. This bit looked like a plane:

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All of a sudden, the summit appeared ahead, cloud-free!

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Rushing to the summit, we were initially elated at the lack of cloud... before swiftly realising that we were somehow in a little hole, with a cloud sheet on all sides, both slightly higher and slightly lower than us. So despite blue skies above, there were no views except of the hump immediately opposite. Beinn Chabhair had made our wish for a cloud-free summit come true, but in the cruelest of ways.

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Not knowing whether to be pleased or disappointed by the half-views, we had lunch on the summit hoping that things might improve. After about ten minutes our little nest of blue was snuffed out by advancing fog, and we headed back down. Emerging from under the cloud layer once off the ridge again, things were even duller and murkier than they'd been on the way up - so much for the forecast!

It was a quick journey back through the bog zone, this time taking the path closest to the burn at the fork. This was drier in its upper section but wetter on the second bit before it rejoined the other route. Just before the falls, we had an unexpected encounter with a magnificently horny goat...

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He got bored of us taking pictures, and went back to eating the trees...

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Back down by the waterfall - at least the valley fog layer had moved on from here compared to this morning.

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The biggest fall actually appears to be below the path viewpoint, and can probably only be seen properly from further down, on the opposite bank. Anyway, we followed the sound of the A82 back to the car, trying to decide whether today had been a success or not.

Final scores:

Blue balloon 1 - 0 summit not reached
Summit views 1 - 1 summit clag
Beinn Chabair 1 - 0 boyfriend's boots

Let's call it an honorable draw...
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denfinella
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Re: Denfinella vs. Chabhair: cloud sandwich and a horny goat

Postby jamesb63 » Tue Oct 06, 2015 7:36 pm

I have read all the negative reports on Chabhair ,but in my opinion every Mountain
has its own character ,and I honestly enjoyed Beinn Chabhair
yes it was boggy ,yes it did go on a bit ,but the thing I had to suffer was WORSE
than anything the hill could throw at me,
A friend who done 22 yrs in the army decided he would come with me :crazy: :lol:
well it turned out to be a 9hr bloody slog ,and one thing I do not like is walking slow
so needless to say ive only had the dog as company since
Except the Clachlet traverse I done with a few Forum members
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Re: Denfinella vs. Chabhair: cloud sandwich and a horny goat

Postby teaandpies » Tue Oct 06, 2015 10:49 pm

The ridge to the summit went on for longer than expected, with lots of false summits. This is a good thing - it's the best part of the walk, no doubt with great views :crazy:


I really enjoyed the ridge walk, I could only see a few feet ahead of me but it was fun. That experience you had at the summit was cruel to say the least.

Each hill definitely has it's own characters for sure, I wanted something different from this hill than what I got. also think I walked it at the worst time during the summer, right after the extensive period of rain.

To be fair I did say that hill could be better for other directions and so it proved when 'ancancha' done his walk a few weeks later.
If I was going to walk this hill from this way again I'd do it when it's frosty.
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Re: Denfinella vs. Chabhair: cloud sandwich and a horny goat

Postby grumpy old bagger » Wed Oct 07, 2015 12:58 pm

Absolutely love the goat!

Such a shame about your lack of views. I also took an alternative approach, up the Allt a'Chuillin, and managed to miss the bogfest.

The goat's cracking 8)
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Re: Denfinella vs. Chabhair: cloud sandwich and a horny goat

Postby denfinella » Wed Oct 07, 2015 6:08 pm

jamesb63 wrote:I have read all the negative reports on Chabhair ,but in my opinion every Mountain
has its own character ,and I honestly enjoyed Beinn Chabhair
yes it was boggy ,yes it did go on a bit ,but the thing I had to suffer was WORSE
than anything the hill could throw at me,
A friend who done 22 yrs in the army decided he would come with me :crazy: :lol:
well it turned out to be a 9hr bloody slog ,and one thing I do not like is walking slow
so needless to say ive only had the dog as company since
Except the Clachlet traverse I done with a few Forum members


Haha James, sounds annoying! Dog sounds like a good solution :lol:

teaandpies wrote:
The ridge to the summit went on for longer than expected, with lots of false summits. This is a good thing - it's the best part of the walk, no doubt with great views :crazy:


I really enjoyed the ridge walk, I could only see a few feet ahead of me but it was fun. That experience you had at the summit was cruel to say the least.

Each hill definitely has it's own characters for sure, I wanted something different from this hill than what I got. also think I walked it at the worst time during the summer, right after the extensive period of rain.

To be fair I did say that hill could be better for other directions and so it proved when 'ancancha' done his walk a few weeks later.
If I was going to walk this hill from this way again I'd do it when it's frosty.


Tongue firmly in cheek when I wrote most of this report teaandpies :wink: Mixed opinions about the route really - have definitely had worse walks. I agree, ancancha's route does like like a good, drier alternative (hadn't seen it before but have just searched it out) - although would have missed out on the waterfall that way... and the goat!!

grumpy old bagger wrote:Absolutely love the goat!

Such a shame about your lack of views. I also took an alternative approach, up the Allt a'Chuillin, and managed to miss the bogfest.

The goat's cracking 8)


Thanks - yes, a bit of a shame, but at least most of the time we weren't actually in the cloud. It just wasn't far away! Allt a' Chuilinn looks like another good option - that's the one where there's a new track some of the way up, isn't it?
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Re: Denfinella vs. Chabhair: cloud sandwich and a horny goat

Postby grumpy old bagger » Wed Oct 07, 2015 7:04 pm

There wasn't a track when I did it about a year ago - maybe it's new - although they've rebuilt the old track up Glen Falloch for the hydro works, is it that one you're thinking of?

I came in along the WHW past Derrydaroch then turned left up the glen between An Caisteal and Beinn Chabhair. Mostly dryish underfoot, no path, long grass and a bit soft/mossy in places but certainly walkable.

No waterfalls or goats though! :wink:
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Re: Denfinella vs. Chabhair: cloud sandwich and a horny goat

Postby denfinella » Wed Oct 07, 2015 7:42 pm

grumpy old bagger wrote:There wasn't a track when I did it about a year ago - maybe it's new - although they've rebuilt the old track up Glen Falloch for the hydro works, is it that one you're thinking of?

I came in along the WHW past Derrydaroch then turned left up the glen between An Caisteal and Beinn Chabhair. Mostly dryish underfoot, no path, long grass and a bit soft/mossy in places but certainly walkable.


Suspect it's a new track then - I think it was Allt a' Chuilinn. I did take a photo but I deleted it, unfortunately. On the plus side, it's probably easier now that way, but it didn't look very scenic as a result....
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Re: Denfinella vs. Chabhair: cloud sandwich and a horny goat

Postby grumpy old bagger » Wed Oct 07, 2015 8:09 pm

If you saw it on your walk then yes, it would have been - what a pity. Those tracks aren't the prettiest things....
I know there are a few hydro schemes under construction in the area, they must be putting one in there as well then. Hopefully they'll get a bit overgrown and lose the rawness quickly.... however, I predict it'll soon become another well-used route up. A track to avoid the bog? Wonderful!
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Re: Denfinella vs. Chabhair: cloud sandwich and a horny goat

Postby simon-b » Wed Oct 07, 2015 8:52 pm

It's a great mountain with a summit ridge of real character, and nice views from the top. Your photos show it's a hill worth climbing, Denfinella. And a hill I see every working day, all the way down near Leeds - on the wall at work, we have a picture of Ptarmigan Ridge on Ben Lomond, with Ben Chabhair in the background.
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Re: Denfinella vs. Chabhair: cloud sandwich and a horny goat

Postby denfinella » Wed Oct 07, 2015 9:39 pm

simon-b wrote:It's a great mountain with a summit ridge of real character, and nice views from the top. Your photos show it's a hill worth climbing, Denfinella. And a hill I see every working day, all the way down near Leeds - on the wall at work, we have a picture of Ptarmigan Ridge on Ben Lomond, with Ben Chabhair in the background.


Interesting to hear, Simon! And also nice to know there's a supporter :wink:

grumpy old bagger wrote:If you saw it on your walk then yes, it would have been - what a pity. Those tracks aren't the prettiest things....
I know there are a few hydro schemes under construction in the area, they must be putting one in there as well then. Hopefully they'll get a bit overgrown and lose the rawness quickly.... however, I predict it'll soon become another well-used route up. A track to avoid the bog? Wonderful!


Also could work as a longish circular route - up Allt a' Chuilinn on the track, back down on the soggy path, then back along the valley on the WHW...
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Re: Denfinella vs. Chabhair: cloud sandwich and a horny goat

Postby teaandpies » Fri Oct 09, 2015 10:31 pm

Tongue firmly in cheek when I wrote most of this report teaandpies :wink: Mixed opinions about the route really - have definitely had worse walks. I agree, ancancha's route does like like a good, drier alternative (hadn't seen it before but have just searched it out) - although would have missed out on the waterfall that way... and the goat!!


I got it :wink:

I've yet to see a goat on my travels. I tent to run into birds you don't see often. Today it was a Jay.
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