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The Bubble Bursts on Beinn Chabhair

The Bubble Bursts on Beinn Chabhair

Postby GeorgiePorgie » Thu Dec 10, 2015 7:51 pm

Route description: Beinn Chabhair, from Inverarnan

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Chabhair

Date walked: 02/10/2015

Time taken: 7 hours

Distance: 14 km

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The last 3 days had been fabulous weather-wise in the Crianlarich area giving me the pleasure of ticking of 6 Munros - Ben More, Stob Binnean, Cruach Ardrain, Beinn Tulaichean, An Caisteal and Beinn a' Chroin in Indian Summer conditions. It would be pushing my luck to ask for the same weather for my last Munro here - Beinn Chabhair wouldn't it?

And disappointed I was as I left the B&B in Crianlarich as there was a lot of low cloud on all the surrounding hills. Driving south along the A82 didn't raise my spirits as a damp low mist was lingering along Glen Falloch.
On reaching the start point at the Drovers Inn at Inverarnan, the midges certainly were out in their millions revelling in the damp, windless conditions. The car park was virtually empty due to being at the latter end of the tourist season and being a weekday where most people would be at work.

The Drovers' Inn, Inverarnan

It was good to get moving away from the blood-sucking pests as I made my way along the narrow path beside the quiet A82 until I reached the good wooden bridge crossing the River Falloch and heading for Beinglas Farm, a popular overnight stop for the West Highland Way walkers either camping or in their distinctive wigwam accommodation.

Wooden bridge at entrance to Beinglas Farm

Following the previous WH reports for this walk informing you to turn immediate right across the bridge and to follow the West Highland Way (WHW) signs, I respected the privacy of the Beinglas Farm residents by skirting around the edges of the campsite. This diversion is pleasant enough as it follows the River Falloch for a short time before heading towards the campsite. It was at this point that I wished I hadn't bothered coming this way as you are confronted by a deep gash in the field where the river, at some point in spate, had washed away a good chunk of the land exposing a very steep bank (twice) and a gooey mud. Ok, I thought, no problem; let's just get through it despite the early confrontation my clothes had with mud. Successfully negotiating this obstacle with the minimum of clortiness, I then faced a large fallen tree across the path. For someone who is in his mid-50's, this was quite a feat to get under! Next time I visit here, I will walk straight towards the farm despite the owners protestations.

Anyway, having successfully negotiated these early obstacles, I now passed the campsite with some early risers and intersected the WHW path. From this point, I couldn't remember which way it was to reach the path taking you up the steep side of the glen towards Beinn Chabhair. Over to my right I caught site of a well worn path making its way through the tall bracken on the right hand side of the BG burn. This I thought was the correct way so I began to follow this path as it snaked its way up the steep side of the glen. For a brief time I had the sound of the burn for company but soon lost this all together. The path also began to fade out and then finally peter out. I continued to ascend the now open hillside and came across a barbed-wired fence which didn't look to pleasant to cross. I then decided to follow the fence line until I reached the burn again and somehow cross over to the other 'correct' side. This was done fairly quickly and one consolation it did give me good views of the BG burn waterfalls. From here I ascended using the burn as a guide and within no time, the steep ascent now began to level off. I could now see the good path on the other side of the burn and I was able to cross the burn by a lovely pool and solitary birch tree. This may have been difficult to do had the burn been in spate. Thankfully, due to the spell of hot weather, the burn had turned into a pleasant trickle.

View of Glen Falloch from the 'wrong' path

View back down to the Drovers' Inn

Burn crossing point to correct path

Now on the correct side, I now saw the vast moor ahead of me with a row of ugly electric pylons to my right. I now followed a series of paths across this rather boggy ground, using the main BG burn as a guide. Apart from the occasional boggy section, the ground was remarkably dry and a pleasure to bouce along.

After a time, the Ben Glas series of hills on my left started to envelope me. These hills looked great in their own right and I would have to overcome them shortly to reach the high ground leading to Beinn Chabhair.

The path now hugged the BG burn and I stopped for a short break at a lovely waterfall. Shortly thereafter I attempted to jump across a really boggy section of path with no alternate way around right of left and ended up to my thighs in thick black mud. Wonderful.

Waterfall on approach path

Mud, glorious mud

Having been hidden so far, I now got my first glimpse of Lochan Beinn Chabhair, a lovely lochan to visit if you have the time between bagging Munros. A small cairn of rocks indicates that you should leave the path (following this path takes you to the lochan) and strike up left to a col to the west of Meall nan Tarmachan. A good view of Beinn Chabhair would have been good from this point but sadly the tops were covered in a stubborn mist. At lower levels like where I currently was, the sun was again beginning to burn off the remnants of the overnight damp mist and I began to feel the heat on my back.

Lochan Beinn Chabhair

Although steep, the walk is made enjoyable by the zig-zagging of the well-eroded path or paths depending on which one you take. Another consolation is the excellent views opening out to the lochan below.

I now reached the top of the summit ridge just west of Meall nan Tarmachan and it was here that I finally picked up the good but twisty path which would take me to the summit of Beinn Chabhair although some distance still to go. With the boggy sections now well and truly behing me, the pleasant path made its way over and around the series of lumps on this ridge. I was now in the mist and could not see what lay ahead. For the winner of the hill with the most blind summits, this Munro must be up there with the rest as it seemed an endless route of one mound after another. It now began to get cold and for the first time in four days, I had to put my jacket on.

For what seemed like an eternity of ascending, levelling of and ascending again, the mist finally cleared briefly to expose a small hillock with a cairn on top. Was this the actual summit? I had to confirm the altitude using my GPS and it was! The path seemed to go on further to another small rise but I chose not to venture along it. A couple who were present at the summit with me followed the path but returned a few minutes later saying that it just petered out before dropping off steeply (probably the infrequent and difficult route to Beinn a Chroin).

Mist clearing near summit

At last, the summit cairn comes into view

I had timed my arrival at the summit perfectly as the mist began to lift on occasions displaying the surrounding hills and corries before being enveloped again in the mist. This was now my 51st Munro bagged, so I now have the incentive to go for the 100.

After a quick snack, I now retraced my route back to Inverarnan. I was glad to be moving again as I got rather cold sitting at the summit. I started to pass quite a few people now making their way up. One young couple I passed as they were resting had a massive white coloured greyhound breed of dog, a type I didn't think suitable for this terrain. The female also was dressed in a pair of holed jeans and trainers - fashionable wear which was inappropriate for these conditions. They still had a long way to go to reach the summit and back.

Once out of the mist descending from the ridge, the temperature began to return to what I had experienced over the last three days. The walk across the moorland stretch was actually a joy! On reaching the steep section to Beinglas Farm, I decided to follow the correct path on the right hand side of the burn and began to regret it. What a horribly steep, stony and eroded path it is. I'm so glad I got my ascent route of this section wrong this morning. What seemed like an eternity, I was so glad to reach level ground by the farm. If ever there was a project to restore this path it is NOW. I was so determined to reach the bottom that I forgot to stop and view the BG waterfalls properly.

The Beinglas Falls

From the farm, I ignored protocol and walked straight towards the wooden bridge at the far end as by now I was fairly tired. On reaching the Drovers' Inn at Inverarnan, I contemplated nipping in for a quick pint but decided against it preferring to wait for the evening's refreshment at the Rod & Reel bar in Crianlarich, a place I can recommend.

So here endeth my expedition to Crianlarich - 7 Munros in 4 days and blessed with the most brilliant Indian Summer weather (well for the first 3 days anyway). My impression of this area has now changed; no longer the cold wet and miserable place that's signposted from everywhere else in Scotland but now an area with good food, friendly people and of course wonderful mountains that deserve respect. Onwards and upwards.
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Re: The Bubble Bursts on Beinn Chabhair

Postby Gordie12 » Fri Dec 11, 2015 8:12 pm

When I read about the bog you couldn't find a way round then took a jump at it I got the feeling I may have visited the same one a couple of months ago and I too can confirm that it is deep :lol:

Once the main climb was out of the way I didn't bother getting the map out to check how far I had to go so each time I saw a top I assumed that would be it, how wrong I was.

You seemed to get better views than me from the top which would make the effort worthwhile.

The other similarity was at the end of the walk, having been polite and taken the bypass round the campsite at the start, the legs were knackered at the end after the steep descent through the woods so the direct route was selected.
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Re: The Bubble Bursts on Beinn Chabhair

Postby GeorgiePorgie » Fri Dec 11, 2015 11:07 pm

Yes Gordie it could well have been the same bog, not far before you turn left to start the ascent. I did take a jump to clear it but failed!
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Re: The Bubble Bursts on Beinn Chabhair

Postby BobMcBob » Sun Dec 13, 2015 7:22 pm

Lol if I had a pound for every bog I've failed to jump over...... I'd have 3 quid :D You got some great photos for your troubles so it was worth it :)
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