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Beinn a'Bheithir: of mists and mellow fruitfulness ...

Beinn a'Bheithir: of mists and mellow fruitfulness ...

Postby 2manyYorkies » Sat Nov 12, 2016 10:25 pm

Route description: Beinn a' Bheithir via Schoolhouse Ridge

Munros included on this walk: Sgòrr Dhearg (Beinn a' Bheithir), Sgòrr Dhònuill (Beinn a' Bheithir)

Date walked: 28/10/2016

Time taken: 7.15 hours

Distance: 15.5 km

Ascent: 1326m

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Apologies for the slightly poncey title, but it was autumn and there was definitely mist, if not so much mellow fruitfulness (whatever that is).
Technically a spot of foreplay on the way up to the now legendary Ratagan WH meet; I'd stayed at Glencoe SYHA after an afternoon/evening drive up from the People's Republic of Yorkshire, and the day dawned fair, high cloud, just brushing the tops. No sunshine to speak of, but dry looking.

This walk followed the standard WH route from Ballachulish, over the two Munro summits then down through the forestry.

Starting the walk, after walking past the school, required a less than dignified leg over a red gate, handily tied shut, a boggy path through a field, followed by a lung bursting pathless slog straight up to the 250m line, where a small fence is easily crossed. I chose to cross by a large fence post, then carried straight on up.
Fence in the foreground, Ballachulish and the Pap in the background:
After another 10 minutes or so, a traversing path is reached. Turn right, slightly unintuitively as the summits are away to the left, and the path rises relatively gently compared with the horrendous assault just gone.
Looking south-east back down the path:
At this stage I still felt like I was bathing in pure lactic acid after the initial slog, but the path was much kinder, and eventually turned to the left, onto the nose of the northern ridge, crossing Beinn Bhan on the way to the first Munro summit of Sgorr Dhearg. Any good landscape photographer will tell you to always be looking behind for shots, and this is particularly true of this walk, with the backdrop of Glencoe and Loch Leven.
Sunshine on Bidean:

Glencoe, in full brooding mode:

Loch Leven:

This is one of those walks where the main prizes are hidden from view for some time, but you then get that "wow" moment when the full view is revealed over a matter of steps, looking very impressive, even if the second Munro was still out of sight. Sgorr Dhearg (the first Munro) summit just left of centre:

Further up the ridge, I crossed the Munro top of Sgorr Bhan, looking ahead to Sgorr Dhearg:

Back to Glencoe from Sgorr Bhan:

And onwards up the final easy ridge to the summit of Sgorr Dhearg. The views were truly stupendous from this walk, at least on this bit .... the summit of Sgorr Dhearg with Loch Leven and clag-dusted Mamores in the background:

Back once more to Glencoe:

And the way ahead to the second Munro, Sgorr Dhonuill:

After the standard demoralising loss of height between the two summits I plodded up to Sgorr Dhonuill. In contrast to the first Munro, this ascent demanded a bit of care on some mild scrambles with a bit of exposure. I reminded myself that I'd been labelled "the most graceless walker going" by a certain 'sarf Londoner, so extra care was taken.
The final climb:

And looking back down from near the top, the summit of Sgorr Dhearg in the distance:

True to form, the mist rolled in as I arrived at the summit of Sgorr Dhonuill, and I missed out on the views out west to the sea, but had the view of the forestry on the way down:

I'd noticed another walker descending Sgorr Dhearg as I was ascending Sgorr Dhonuill, the first (and only) other person I'd meet on this walk. We met on the descent off Sgorr Dhonuill and again at the bealach before the main descent, where I'd stopped for lunch. This was supermario of WH fame, and we walked the rest of the route down together, a very civilised end to the day.
View of the way down from the bealach:

I'd been wary of this bit of the walk from the reports I'd read, but it all seemed fairly straightforward, boggy in parts granted, but an easy path to follow.
Looking back up to Sgorr Dhonuill:

The path takes you along the top edge of the forest, small bits of ascent causing mild irritation only, then after an obvious dip into the trees the path winds delightfully around the hill before descending. You reach a broad track and at this point go across and to the left to find the footpath plunging down through the trees once more. At the second track turn right onto it and just keep going, eventually finding the road back to Ballachulish, a slight irritation at the end of what had been a wonderful walk.
From the forest:




I suppose the tree colours in the final forest section contributed to the "mellow fruitfulness" of autumn but what do I know, I'm no poet! I do know that this was an excellent walk, tough initially but very rewarding ultimately, and a little bit of something for everyone. A fair bit of ascending involved as it's from sea-level, not a day to be underestimated. :lol:
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Re: Beinn a'Bheithir: of mists and mellow fruitfulness ...

Postby Jaxter » Sat Nov 12, 2016 10:48 pm

Foreplay indeed :lol: :lol: :lol:

Some cracking photos there J-Dawg :thumbup:

Sorry again for not giving you a lift along the road :lol:
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