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Argyll Five - Oh

Argyll Five - Oh


Postby weaselmaster » Sun Jan 29, 2017 11:01 pm

Grahams included on this walk: Beinn Bheag (Cowal), Beinn Lochain, Beinn Mhor (Cowal), Cruach nam Mult, Stob an Eas

Date walked: 29/01/2017

Time taken: 18.75 hours

Distance: 49.7 km

Ascent: 3521m

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Normal service restored this weekend - three full days out on the hills, in some markedly varied weather. Set off for Dunoon on Thursday evening with the aim of climbing Beinn Mhor & Bheag the following day - a lengthy outing for this time of year. Pitched in Inverchapel car park - reasonable location if a little close to the road. Gave us opportunity of an earlyish start the next day. Friday - cold and crisp. Drove the short distance to Benmore Gardens parking area and crossed over the bridge, skirting to the right of the gardens themselves, we walked past some estate buildings and onto the track that leads to Benmore Farm then the water works. Walked past some nursery crags - climbing areas for kids. Across Loch Eck Beinn Ruadh sat shining in the morning sun. Quite a contrast to a fortnight ago when we climbed it and saw nothing.


mhorbheag2.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



ImageDSC02535 by Al, on Flickr

Looking down Loch Eck
ImageDSC02536 by Al, on Flickr

Track
ImageDSC02537 by Al, on Flickr

Beinn Bheag
ImageDSC02539 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02540 by Al, on Flickr


The track goes on for almost 7km up the loch side til Bernice is reached - we continued past the house and onto forest track that zigzagged up into the glen. Where the track peters out we set off along the left side of the burn, crossing over a little higher up as we headed for the highest point - we then climbed steeply up the craggy slopes of Meall Breac. Reaching the 534m point we crossed a series of knobbles on our way to Beinn Bheag. It was further away than it seemed, but the day was fine at this point and distance was no hurdle. Tiny cairn on the summit, back the way we went, down to the double fence at the bealach.

Towards Beinn Mhor
ImageDSC02541 by Al, on Flickr

Glen Bernice
ImageDSC02543 by Al, on Flickr

Towards Beinn Bheag
ImageDSC02545 by Al, on Flickr

Summit Bheag
ImageDSC02546 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02547 by Al, on Flickr

View over to Beinn Mhor
ImageDSC02548 by Al, on Flickr

Beinn Mhor appears pretty immense from here, 400m back uphill. The first 200m is quite steep on slippery grass/moss but the gradient lessens thereafter. We kept near the edge of the crags on the NE route. Onto a flat summit plateau, the ground under our feet frozen solid and frosty. Trig point silhouetted against a sky turning misty with streaks of yellow. The descent route follows a fenceline - one has to be careful not to take the SW shoulder that leads to Garracha Glen rather than the southern shoulder. We did think of going over to the Simm Clach Bheinn but this adds around an hour to the day which was quite long anyway. There are a few stings in the tail before the day is over - the SE shoulder has a number of undulations requiring further ascents. I was a little worried that the descent route would take us into the (closed) Gardens but the path skirts around the perimeter fence of Benmore and leads back to Benmore Farm and thence back to the car.

ImageDSC02550 by Al, on Flickr

Summit Mhor
ImageDSC02553 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02554 by Al, on Flickr

Descent
ImageDSC02556 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02558 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02560 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02562 by Al, on Flickr

I'd forgotten to pack water for our trip - which was a bit unfortunate as we were wild camping - so asked at the cafe at Benmore who kindly filled up my 5l container for me. Had no particular idea where we would spend the night - drove up the east shores of Loch Eck where Allison spotted an ideal spot on a spit of land with its own picnic table - not that there was opportunity to use that. We had our tea watching the loch waters lap the sandy shore, before the rain came on. It rained all through the night - we emerged in the morning to find that it had fallen as snow on the surrounding hills. We drove the short distance to Hell's Glen, where we planned to climb Stob an Eas and Cruach nam Mult. Arriving at the junction of the forest tracks and the road we found another group of three walkers setting out with the same idea. They had a 10 minute start on us, which was handy as they made a trail in the snow.

Our pitch on Friday Night
ImageDSC02564 by Al, on Flickr

Cormorant, who watched us dissemble the tent without moving
ImageDSC02565 by Al, on Flickr


eas2.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



The walk to Stob an Eas starts on forest track which leads from the (refreshing for a west coast hill) start at 200m to almost 400m From there it was snowy hillside, keeping to the left side of the stream until around 600m where we met up with the other party. We chatted for a bit - had met one of the ladies on Beinn an Lochain a couple of years ago. I led the final 100m or so to the summit. Normally I'd have continued on to the Simm of Beinn an t-Seilich, but as I could see nothing, and as there were craggy bits around that loomed out of the all encompassing whiteness, I thought better of it and followed our steps back to the car.

ImageP1140641 by Al, on Flickr

Leaving the forest track
ImageP1140642 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1140643 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1140645 by Al, on Flickr


Cruach nam Mult is on the opposite side of the road from Stob an Eas - another forest track leads up into Coire No. The trees have been felled on the right side, giving an airier amble than usual in a forest. At the end of the track there's a small cairn and a stone "arrow" pointing up through the trees on the left, just before a stream. A muddy track of sorts leads up into the trees, we didn't manage to keep to this, but did eventually come out of the wood at around 400m. We emerged into whiteness - saw nothing but snow and mist all the way up. Bit of a plough through 6 inch deep snow, but the GPS kept us right and we eventually got to the summit. Returning was much easier, just rretracing footsteps, although the wind was doing its best to eradicate those. Back in the trees we muddled down back to the track and were back at the car by 3.15.

ImageP1140646 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1140647 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1140648 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1140651 by Al, on Flickr

Once again we had no idea of where to camp - I'd looked at a few possibles on Google Street View, but the terrain was either too stony or too near houses. We drove past Lochgoilhead down to Carrick Castle and Allison once again spotted an ideal pitch on a rocky promontary - obviously gets used for camping a bit as there were fire pits around. We got the tent up and I started cooking dinner, once again with a vista of a loch beside us. And just like the night before, the rain wasn't long in starting - it poured much of the night. All a bit soggy around the tent in the morning, but at least the rain had stopped.

Carrick Castle
ImageDSC02567 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02570 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02573 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02574 by Al, on Flickr


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



Today's objective was Beinn Lochain, along with Beinn Tarsuinn and the demoted Graham Stob na Boine Druim Fhinn. The route was from Lettermay, same to begin with as that we'd taken to climb Beinn Bheula. Once more forest track took us some way up - a new track (not on the map) cutting through the cleared trees would have been preferable to a squelchy traipse alongside the Lettermay Burn, but that's maps for you. We regained the Cowal Way, headed through trees on a short section of new track then reached the waterfall of Sruth Ban. The Way ascends to the left of the falls, boggily gaining height, then continues on to the head of Curra Lochain, passing the turn off for Beinn Bheula. A strange new gate is passed through after a small group of trees, then it is up the hillside on the right, steeply. I kept to the right of an obvious gully due to the presence of increasingly thick snow - my route took us over a boulderfield which wasn't great as the possibility of holes under the snoe couldn't be easily dispensed with - so slowish progress. We paused for lunch after exiting the boulders and prepared to take on the remaining 200m of this mountain. For a time the sun was out - making the day splendid. However, as we neared the craggy final 100m or so, mist swirled around and the routes up became uncertain.

Sruth Ban
ImageDSC02577 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02581 by Al, on Flickr

Corra Lochain
ImageDSC02583 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02585 by Al, on Flickr

Boulderfield
ImageDSC02588 by Al, on Flickr

Beinn Bheula
ImageDSC02589 by Al, on Flickr

We reached the bealach with the east top and scouted about for a safe route up - problems were the lack of visibility beyond what one was currently looking at and the possibility of a slip or avalanche. Just as well we'd brought the axes today. Some fairly exciting scrambles up snow covered rocks brought us out to the summit plateau and a short trot over to the summit "cairn" (2 rocks) bagged us our fifth Graham of the weekend. It was difficult to know what the weather was going to do - clear or clag? The eastern sides of these hills were holding a lot of snow, which made onward progress a little challenging. It was coming up for 1.45pm so time was reasonably on our side, but Stob na Boine Druim Fhinn had a "rocky gendarme" according to the book, which I didn't fancy in these conditions. I had also been keen to see the B29 crash site beyond Beinn Tharsuinn which wouldn't be possible in the snow. Dropping down the gully between Lochain and Tharsuinn would be shorter, but again carried an avalanche risk, so we decided to head back the way we'd come - although we did come off the top section to the east rather than the exciting route up we'd taken.

Scramble to the summit
ImageDSC02591 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02592 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02593 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02598 by Al, on Flickr

Descent
ImageDSC02599 by Al, on Flickr

Our route up
ImageDSC02600 by Al, on Flickr

East summit
ImageDSC02602 by Al, on Flickr

The weather cleared as we descended - typically - providing some improved views of Beinn Bheula and the falls. As we returned to the car, Loch Goil reflected Cnoc Coinnich mirror calm. We drove back round to the Rest & Be Thankfull then back to Greenock as the skies turned leaden and the rain once more threatened.

ImageDSC02606 by Al, on Flickr

Sruth Ban
ImageDSC02609 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC02610 by Al, on Flickr

Cnoc Coinnich
ImageDSC02612 by Al, on Flickr
User avatar
weaselmaster
Hill Bagger
 
Posts: 1899
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Location: Greenock

Re: Argyll Five - Oh

Postby Alteknacker » Tue Feb 07, 2017 10:51 pm

Great to get an idea of these hills, which had never crossed my mind at all. For some of us effete southerners, it seems a bit off the beaten track :).
The first day seemed like an excellent route, Beinn Mor looking especially characterful. It must have been a bit frustrating on the next couple of days, though, to have all that lovely white stuff, but poor visibility (at least on day 2 - day 3 didn't seem so bad at all...).

I notice that your peak speeds continue to increase (51.4 kph; 62 kph :shock: :roll: ). I'm now quite convinced that the walking gear is just to conceal the fluorescent spandex suits and flowing cloaks of a couple of superheros....
User avatar
Alteknacker
Scrambler
 
Posts: 3007
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Joined: May 25, 2013
Location: Effete South (of WIgan, anyway)

Re: Argyll Five - Oh

Postby weaselmaster » Wed Feb 08, 2017 12:12 pm

Alteknacker wrote:I notice that your peak speeds continue to increase (51.4 kph; 62 kph :shock: :roll: ). I'm now quite convinced that the walking gear is just to conceal the fluorescent spandex suits and flowing cloaks of a couple of superheros....


Just one of the benefits of the vegan diet ;-)
User avatar
weaselmaster
Hill Bagger
 
Posts: 1899
Munros:214   Corbetts:44
Grahams:76   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:359   Hewitts:31
Wainwrights:15   Islands:28
Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

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