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3 posts • Page 1 of 1
A cracking view from Beinn Dubh (Mid Hill)
by Chris Mac » Tue Oct 13, 2015 9:14 pm
Route description: Beinn Dubh - Glen Striddle horseshoe, Luss
Grahams included on this walk: Beinn Dubh
Date walked: 10/10/2015
Time taken: 3.45 hours
Distance: 11.8 km
Ascent: 798m4 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
After trying to arrange a walk last month, which would bring DJ superstar The Claw (Gregor) out of hillwalking semi-retirement, resulting in it being heavily rained off, we re-scheduled for Saturday the 10th despite me having a 30th to go to the night before!
Of course nothing quite shakes you out of a hangover like a good walk and lots of bioenergy from nature so we decided to go with one of several good "warm up" hills we had decided to do for Gregor's first few walks back on the mountains and with quick and easy access from Glasgow the choice was Beinn Dubh and the Glen Striddle horseshoe. Another hill for me to tick off the list and another new place to visit with great views of the big loch.
I also had new boots to try out for the first time (Scarpa Terra GTX) so the prospect of a smaller Graham which looked grassy would be perfect, not too long to walk and no doubt plenty of boggy ground for me to feel invicible walking over while laughing at the attempts of the bog to make my feet wet... not today!
Well I was glad I got fairly well prepared the day before as due to the enjoyment of the 30th birthday and a 3am finish I awoke at 10 to 11 in the morning with Gregor due to pick me up at 11am!!
A quick rush round throwing what I needed in my rucksack and I was all set very quickly and in turn was reminded of Ross in the Munro Show series 2 when he drinks heavily the night before a walk and beats Muriel to the hill...!
So anyway we headed off just after 11am, even though i'd not quite woken up or had time for breakfast but with supplies/lunch already packed, a couple of tracker bars sorted me out and we headed for Luss to the start of the walk.
For a wee village Luss was mobbed but we eventually found a parking spot and made our way to the wooden footbridge that crosses the A82. On crossing the bridge you just turn left at the house in the photo and your destination (or what we thought was the likely summit initially, seeing as Beinn Dubh (642m) is listed here as the Graham, not Mid Hill (657m) which is 15m higher it turns out) is shown in the background. There would be no warm up for this one and straight into the ascent we went...
Turning right after the house, we crossed the stile and the path to follow is clear to see:
It doesn't take long at all for the view of Loch Lomond and Luss to open up as you turn around:
The start of the walk:
From left to right, the hills to the south: Cruach Dhubh, Beinn Ruisg and Creag an Leinibh/Coille-eughain Hill:
It may not have been the clearest of days but it was dry with no wind and the autumn colours were amazing, with lush greens combining with burnt oranges and a backdrop of a very still Loch Lomond:
The man himself, The Claw! One of the best funk and soul DJ's around and former resident for Superfly at the Woodside Social, Bar Transit and many other nights, loving being back on the hills:
More autumnal colours:
After passing through a small wooded area the path continues up the hill after this stile:
By this point Gregor was feeling the lack of hill fitness, at one point even coming out with a dramatic movie style "just go on without me, i'll only hold you back!"
Never one to leave a man behind I do the usual hillwalker fibbing and say we're about half way there already and surely the summit is just over the next bit of hill...
See there you go.... ah, ok, false summit number 1!
So up on the first bit of hill and the way ahead and up is clear to see, even if the path isn't that clear, but with people going past in shorts and t-shirts and us in full hiking kit with rucksacks we couldn't help but wonder if we were making a mountain out of a mole hill!
The view south with Beinn Eich now in view on the right but to the left of Beinn Dubh:
I'll spare a few photos of Gregor looking like he'd been forced to run up here for his life and focus on the view around us...
The view south/east:
After a quick break and with the visible promise of some flat bits along the way, Gregor perked up and was now past the initial wall of pain so it was onwards and upwards:
This section of the ascent was pretty boggy but the new boots were performing well to this point, even if I did have to adjust them slightly a few times. We were glad to pass two guys in proper hillwalking gear on their way down which made us feel less overdressed!
Looking back at the boggy ascent route:
The path is fairly easy to follow on the way up and we even joked that this was probably another false summit, with the real one to become visible on reaching the false top...
Progress was fairly fast and Gregor certainly didn't seem to mind me stopping to take photos every so often. By now Conic Hill was beginning to poke its head out of the low clouds to the east:
Now the steep bit...
Conic Hill still trying to say hi, another Loch side hill that is quick and easy to climb and affords superb views of our biggest loch:
Good choice of hill Claw dude...
A few low clouds were kicking about by this point but we kept managing to avoid them which was good:
Lo and behold, on reaching the "summit" we saw that our jovial premonition was spot on, another false summit! I don't think Gregor was too happy by this point but it gave him a new lease of life and determination to make sure there were no more as he kicked it up a gear and we continue on, passing the group of young Americans who had beenwalking way ahead of us and had stopped for some lunch, probably in disgust at the false summit scenario we had just gone through!
The view to the left (south) and Beinn Eich, looking like a fine walk:
The path up now follows a fence and remains as it has for the whole walk so far, a combination of grassy track with bits of boggy ground:
Glens on the left of me:
Munros to the right:
Here I am stuck on a Graham with Gregor! (sorry)
Ahem, anyway to the right as we make the final(ish) ascent up Beinn Dubh, Ben Lomond looks particularly impressive with a squadron of big flying insects (not sure what species) visible as they buzzed around:
I took out the good camera and snapped a summit shot as we approached the brow of the hill:
Looking back at the loch:
Almost there now, a final steeper bit of path to follow before we cross the fence and head slightly left...
Past the lost valley of the sheep...
And we've made it, summit cairn ahoy!
Now luckily we had planned to walk the whole horseshoe and take in Mid Hill after this but due to not paying close enough attention to my map, and with no need to since the walk wasn't exactly a complicated one, we never even realised until the following day that Mid Hill is the true summit of Beinn Dubh! Hill-bagging.co.uk has Mid Hill (Beinn Dubh) as the summit which makes more sense but I suppose all this confusion could have been cut out if i'd properly checked out my map or the hill beforehand, but hey, I was hungover don't forget!!
Ben Lomond to the north east from Beinn Dubh cairn:
After the energy expended to get up here it was time for a well earned lunch break including a surprise cup of coffee that I didn't realise Gregor had brought with him, nice one!
We sat looking to the south west in the hope that a view of Arran may appear but it was too cloudy and on checking later (on the brilliant generate a panorama website that was posted in the forum here recently, thanks Sgurr, this is perfect for seeing what hills are going to be visible from any that i'll be climbing or have climbed!) it looked like we'd not see much due to the hills in front of us anyway:
To the west we could make out the dots of a few people (+ dog) coming down from Mid Hill, where would would be following shortly:
The Graham Top of Beinn Dubh doesn't have the most scenic of summits, with a big flat and round hill top:
But the views are good and looking to the south east past Balloch and Glasgow we could make out a couple of larger hills which on checking the generate a panorama website (hours of fun!) turned out to be Tinto Hill (middle) and Cairn Table (pointy one to the right) which blew me away (retrospectively), especially since I had climbed those two earlier this year!
A few more summit shots before heading off:
A couple that were coming up behind us sit and have lunch, since we stole the cairn... sorry!
To the NNW and with earlier clouds now clearing, the pointy summits of the Arrochar Alps came into view which was as good an invitation as any to get moving and continue walking round to Mid Hill where the views would be less obstructed by the fat, featureless top of Beinn Dubh (sorry Dubh, no offence, you're a decent top!):
Unfortunately our view of the horseshoe route ahead to Mid Hill was obscured by clouds at this point which didn't amuse the Claw!
So we follow the path to the NW and the view up Loch Lomond extends into the distance:
This part of the walk is another boggy one with us trying to avoid large puddles and stick to the path where it is visible:
Ben Lomond to the right again, not enjoying cloud free Munro status today that's for sure!
A few wee ups and downs and we continue on with the bog hopping and lots of squelching, leaving me very glad I shelled out for my bargain boots!
Thankfully the cloud had cleared off by now so our route ahead was clear to see:
As we made our way along the Arrochar Hills became more visible and I began to wish I was on some bigger hills... I think I definitely have a preference for pointy mountains and not the big round ones, due to growing up on Arran!
In another comedy moment we pass a digger sitting between the two summits of Beinn Dubh/Mid Hill and wonder if a few neds stole it and drove it up here to hide it... and the summit of Beinn Dubh is now the one covered in clouds, great timing so far!
The way ahead and down to our left hand side, but first, up to Mid Hill:
As far as hills go it isn't the most feature-packed but the views to make up for the bog trudging...
...especially when the Cobbler and Beinn Ime come into view!
Ben Lomond to the right, still pestered by clouds, as we begin to turn round to the left for Mid Hill:
Panoramic shot facing north:
We reach a small cairn on the way to the proper Mid Hill cairn and take some pics of the horseshoe shape of the hill looking back at the ground covered so far, and it a decent time too:
The Cobbler looking very impressive... so I may be one of few people who hasn't been up the Cobbler yet but it's on my "to do soon" list and seeing it close up like this makes me even more eager to climb it!
Wow, Mordor awaits...!
A zoom shot of Ben Lomond, which doesn't look half as busy as people make out...
Gregor at the sub-summit cairn of Mid Hill:
Just along the path to the south is another cairn which is visibly higher so we head there and take more photos, success at last, Beinn Dubh and Mid Hill have been bagged!
Beinn Dubh still in cloud, a good thing we never did this hill the other way round!
With no more views of the surrounding peaks to be had...
...we decide to continue and start the descent and walk out down Glen Luss:
Looking down Glen Striddle towards Loch Lomond:
The couple who were on the Beinn Dubh summit just after us are now making their way round to Mid Hill, with Ben Lomond still plagued by clouds behind them!
So the descent begins with an easy slope downwards with a cracking view of Loch Lomond ahead of us for the whole way, nice!
Time for a filter/postcard shot, with Conic Hill now popping its head out of the cloud in the distance:
A cloud free Beinn Dubh and the shape of the domed summit is now easier to make out compared to the ascent:
Another postcard shot with the path about to get steeper over the brow of the hill ahead:
We make it down the grassy path fairly quickly, with Gregor threatening a few slips on his backside a few times while my new boots grip like a pro! Another test passed although it was only at this point that I decided to not lace them up to the very top to afford some more room at the top of my ankles which I was more used to after a summer of walking in Merrels:
Looking back up at the way down:
While following the path we spot a very hairy caterpillar and stop for some pics:
It's certainly keeping up with the autumn colour scheme of the day!
Down we go...
...and looking back we're glad we went round the hill the way we did as the walk up Glen Luss to then ascend this hill wouldn't be as fun as the insta-hill-start that we took:
Before long we reach a stile and make it down towards the farm and through the second last field:
At this point I had heard what I was sure were some stags being very noisy somewhere in Glen Striddle so after a quick bit of searching I finally made one out, a beauty up on the steep side of Beinn Dubh:
Zoomed out, the stag is the small brown dot in the middle/left:
Continuing on the ferns reappear and the greens and orange/brown colours are in full display again:
It's not as steep now so the final section is easy going although my feet are a bit sair now due to breaking in the new boots but they have faired well in their initial test:
Getting there now as the path veers left a bit...
...down towards the final field:
Where we reach, and I quote the Claw; "the worst gate in Scotland!"
Onto the road and it is now an easy walk out and back to the car at Luss, passing lots of impressive old trees on the way along:
To the right, Cruach Dhubh:
Coille-eughain Hill with Beinn Ruisg behind it:
We arrive back at the car after just under 4 hours and take a final look back at Beinn Dubh:
So that was that, the Claw has once again returned to the hills and i'm looking forward to him signing up here and ticking off the hills he has climbed so far as he reckons it is over 50 so i'm intrigued to see where we can head to that he hasn't been to before. I've still got loads of catching up to do of course so it isn't hard for me to find new hills to climb! Hangover? What hangover... oh yeah!
So in summary, Beinn Dubh/Mid Hill (Mid Hill [Beinn Dubh]) or whatever we're going with, is a great quick walk with brilliant views all around of the bigger hills along with the rest of the Loch Lomond west bank Grahams collection. Perfect for getting Gregor's hill fitness back and a good warm up for me heading to Arran to tackle A'Cruach, a similarly boggy and featureless hill but one which will give me some brilliant views of the Arran Corbett collection. Stay tuned...
As always the full set of pics from this walk are available to view on Flickr. And welcome back Claw dude, looking forward to the next expedition next month already...
Last edited by Chris Mac on Thu Sep 22, 2016 9:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.
by rockhopper » Thu Oct 15, 2015 12:49 am
Some nice hills in these parts for a good wander and for testing out new boots - enjoyed reading your report - cheers
by Chris Mac » Thu Oct 15, 2015 7:41 pm
rockhopper wrote:Some nice hills in these parts for a good wander and for testing out new boots - enjoyed reading your report - cheers
Cheers man, yeah there are lots of good hills to choose from around Loch Lomond, quick and easy to get to, great views and this was indeed a good walk and boot test, they definitely passed! I see you've done most of the Grahams on the west side of the loch, any recommendations for the next one in that area?
I thought Gregor may want to ease himself back into his hill walking but we're planning on Tarmachan ridge early next month at his request, seems he's right back into it already!
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