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Beating Brilliant Beinn an Lochain

Beating Brilliant Beinn an Lochain


Postby Chris Mac » Mon Apr 03, 2017 11:45 am

Route description: Beinn an Lochain

Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn an Lochain

Date walked: 02/04/2017

Time taken: 4.04 hours

Distance: 5.72 km

Ascent: 723m

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With another Sunday walk planned I had decided to tackle Beinn an Lochain with the other half Y, whom I sold it to as being just an hour and a half to the summit, 3.5 to 4 hours in total (giving time for breaks, summit shots etc.), a Corbett of which she had done before with no problem (Ben Vrackie), just over an hour away by car and a stunning drive there and back (apart from when you get caught behind farm traffic on the way home from Luss to Alexandria!) so it ticked all the boxes.

Unfortunately I didn't really take into account a lack of hill fitness and confidence from Y, plus the boggy conditions almost the whole way up due to recent snow melt didn't help this. I also might have had a better idea of how tricky this steep wee bugger of a hill could be for someone with minimal scrambling experience, if I had managed to climb the hill at the end of last year....

I had set off on November the 5th 2016 to do a solo ascent but a delayed departure and bad A82 traffic meant I arrived late, then foolishly parked at the car park at the end of Loch Restil before the Easan Dubh Fall one and tried to cross to the path at the start of the ascent... only to encounter the mother of all boggy ground and an uncrossable burn. Trudging back towards the car it was already getting late in the day, daylight was at a premium by then and I knew the sun would be setting behind the mountain on the way back making the chance of a twilight/dark descent a real possibility so decided to not take my chances and leave it for another day.

Annoyed and still wanting to stretch the legs I had trudged up a track on the side of Beinn Luibhean, snapped a few photos then reluctantly returned to the car and back home, vowing to return...

Beinn-An-Lochain-attempt.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Beinn an Lochain from a little up Beinn Luibhean:
Image20161105_131907 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

That's the car park and path I want down below, with Stob Coire Creagach [Binnein an Fhidhleir] in the background, at least I could say this was a scouting mission: :wink:
Image20161105_131912 by Chris Mac, on Flickr


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Fast forward to Sunday the 2nd of April, all was going well and we set off early, arriving at the correct car park this time, gearing up then setting off....
Image20170402_105818 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

After about 20 paces the burn you cross at the start was flowing fairly fast leaving few decent steeping stones to cross on:
Image20170402_110726 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Luckily with long legs and waterproof boots I leaped across and waited for Y, who then realised that of course her walking poles would be handy not only for this but for the whole walk and headed back to get them from the boot of the car, along with my gaiters which I said she could use as they may come in handy! I should have picked up on the signs at this point. :)

While waiting a nice couple (I don't know if Hamilton has an accent but the guy sounded like a mate of mine from there!) proceeded to the same point and problem but I helped them pick a way across and off they went up the hill. Y appeared and using her two poles managed to get across without incident, maybe this walk would be too much for her I was already thinking, sometimes she struggles to climb a fence! :lol: Only one way to find out....

On crossing the burn the ascent begins straight away and doesn't let up much, very quickly getting into boggy/scrambly territory:
Image20170402_111133 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Image20170402_111755 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We stopped at the first rock and chatted with the couple who set off at the same time as we all took off jackets due to pleasant conditions.

Beinn Ime and Beinn Luibhean when you look back:
Image20170402_112807 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Off they went again and I proceeded to bound and climb my way up and along the path which in no time makes you get hands on, helping Y at some of the tricky bits and early grumblings confirmed that this would be a tough walk, both physically and mentally! :wink: :D
Image20170402_113028 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

"Oi, mountain goat, wait for me!" was the call on occasion, a reference to what a fellow walker called me on Deuchary Hill last October! Picture if you will, a Mountain Goat doing this hill with a Pomeranian, that's about as accurate a description of this walk as you can get. :lol:

So I was having no problems but stayed with Y to help her negotiate the steeper bits of the path, as grumbles grew a bit louder. A few breaks and rests helped though and I was sure she could do this if she soldiered on and this helped the mood, along with the great conditions, not too hot or cold with good visibility and very little wind.
Image20170402_113828 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Almost immediately on reaching 300-400m the view is superb, Stob Coire Creagach [Binnein an Fhidhleir] and Glen Kinglas to the north:
Image20170402_113847 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

No that's not the summit up ahead, it's in the distance to the left!
Image20170402_113944 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

It doesn't look like it but the path is fairly clear as you move along and up it:
Image20170402_114244 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Beinn Ime looking imposing and towering above the surrounding hills including the two Corbetts next to it, with Glen Finglas stretching out for miles towards the head of Loch Lomond and The Brack and Ben Donich on the right, proper mountain country:
Image20170402_114301 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We said hello to a few walkers coming down the hill as another couple raced past us, our pace was a little slower but caution was advised and I really don't want to have the Arrochar (or any) Mountain Rescue involved in any of my walks! Best to leave them to deal with the inexperienced numpties, more on them later.... :crazy: :D

Up and up we go, flat bit, steep bit, flat bit, steeper scrambly bit... :D :
Image20170402_115852 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

The view from Beinn an Lochain definitely brings out the best side of Beinn Ime and Beinn Luibhean, car park getting ever smaller down below!.
Image20170402_120057 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Beinn Donich and The Brack look better with every step as the Rest and be Thankful begins to come into view next to Loch Restil:
Image20170402_120101 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Panorama time:
Image20170402_121011 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

I got the classic, "is that the summit up there?" comment, looking at the first false summit... :lol: nope, get used to this, there will be a few more of these I said...
Image20170402_122011 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

We stop for a break at a rocky outcrop, walking pole rock we'll call it:
Image20170402_122022 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

On initial inspection, Beinn an Lochain looks like it will provide some steep bits, followed by some flat bits, another steep bit and so on until the summit but it's much more deceptive than that, with the flat bits throwing up the odd surprise steep bit! I found it fine and was whizzing up but had to reel in the pace to ensure that my walking partner was doing ok, which she was in her own time:
Image20170402_122719 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Ben Arthur summit now in view and you can see the path I took up Beinn Luibhean on my "scouting mission" last year: :wink:
Image20170402_122730 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

After reaching the top of that you can see the actual summit on the left, with the shoulder before that and the knee(?) up ahead:
Image20170402_122847 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

View down Glen Kinglas towards Loch Fyne and Cairndow as we head towards the "knee" at 637m:
Image20170402_122924 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Me looking lovingly at the way ahead to the summit:
Image20170402_123442 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

The viewing looking back improves with every step as the path zig-zags up the hill:
Image20170402_123543 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Ben Arthur's [The Cobbler's ] amazing summit and north peak are both now in view:
Image20170402_123711 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Concerns about the descent had already been aired but I gave assurances that it would be fine as long as we took our time, used the poles for extra support, kept the centre of gravity low and paid attention, even going down onto our bums and lowering ourselves down if need be!

Now we just have what Jaxter and others refer to as "the dodgy bit"! :shock:
Image20170402_123913 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

As with any hill on the approach it can look pretty intimidating looking across at it but usually isn't so bad once you get closer...
Image20170402_124102 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Maybe i'll hold off on taking Y to the scrambly bit of Stuc a'Chroin which I missed out on doing a few weeks ago! :lol:
Image20170402_124311 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Looking less imposing as we get nearer:
Image20170402_124625 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Looking down to Loch Restil, Rest and be Thankful and Glen Croe with the two other close by Corbetts showing off their steep sides. We're making progress up the path...
Image20170402_125055 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

About half way up the path, probably at the specific point of dodgyness, Y decided she that was enough, she couldn't go on, her legs were getting a bit tired and it was just a bit too much for her. I said no problem at all and took her back down to the start to this section of path, saying we could go back to the car if she wanted but thankfully she said she'd wait for me so I could go on and make the summit which I was well happy about. :clap:

This did now give me a deadline which is never a good thing on a hill (I felt a little guilty and didn't want to keep her waiting for long) and once she was safely down I set off up the path at a fast pace, quickly getting out of breath having taken things easy until this point, and not helped by being at the steepest part! A quick chocolate crispy helped boost the energy levels.

I took care and used my mountain goat skills to bound up and along the path. A couple on the way down and at an exposed bit of path saw me stomping up and stood aside to let me pass which I thanked them for, saying "it's a steep bit of path here isn't it" to which the reply was "it's all steep!". :lol: Well I couldn't really disagree with that! :D

However, on reaching the shoulder, not only did the views get suddenly amazing all round, of the summit and surrounding Alps, but it looked like an easy path along to the final summit ascent, shouldn't take me long at this pace!
Image20170402_130257 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Beinn an t-Seillich and Stob an Eas, with the view west even showing Ben More (Mull) in the far distance:
Image20170402_130300 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Off I go, at a fair pace it has to be said, made easier knowing there is just one final ascent section left to the top:
Image20170402_130532 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Looking back down...
Image20170402_131545 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Sure enough, just 15 minutes later (would normally take 25mins according to the planner) I was at the first cairn, not the actual summit according to Hillbagging, with the one across looking slightly higher:
Image20170402_131809 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

I took the customary 360 shots before proceeding to the actual summit to the south west to get out the good camera, just 19mins to get there after the dodgy bit, not bad going. Only a few people at the top of the hill including the couple we started with at the same time who are heading for a lunch spot:
Image20170402_131812 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

The view from the proper summit was superb (with of course the summit I had just been on looking taller now as always happens :lol: ), all around I could make out hills I had already been up, Ben Lui, Beinn a 'Chleibh, Ben Challum, Ben more Stob Binnein, even the Tarmachan Ridge:
Image20170402_132100 DSCF9236 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

The twin giants yet again, hard not to have them in any summit shots in the southern highlands:
Image20170402_132101 DSCF9237 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

With the good zoom camera I enjoyed snapping away, Beinn Ime:
Image20170402_132102 DSCF9239 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Beinn Narnain, Ben Lomond and Ben Arthur. You can see the gulley going up the Cobbler's west side that I climbed in the snow last April... :shock:
Image20170402_132103 DSCF9240 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

I have a feeling Beinn narnain will be climbed soon, probably with Y, shouldn't pose much of a problem for her after this attempt:
Image20170402_132104 DSCF9241 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Ben Lomond is another on the to-do list but i'm still tempted to keep this as my last Munro as I noticed another WH member has done, with only it remaining!
Image20170402_132200 DSCF9242 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Ben Arthur, doesn't look quite as good from the west as it does from the east, especially as you drive into Arrochar which I love and the Arrochar Hotel, Tea Room and other spots all have that cracking view of it, nice to see it from this side though:
Image20170402_132201 DSCF9243 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

The summit of The Cobbler looked as busy as Sauchiehall Street on closer inspection! :lol:
Image20170402_132202 DSCF9244 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

View down Glen Croe, stunning:
Image20170402_132203 DSCF9246 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Loch Lomond Grahams, The Brack, Cnoc Coinnich and Ben Donich:
Image20170402_132204 DSCF9248 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

I was very happy to be able to see the Arran hills back home, one of the reasons I had wanted to climb Beinn an Lochain today with good visibility promised, it could have been better but at least I could see them:
Image20170402_132300 DSCF9252 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Image20170402_132301 DSCF9253 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Goatfell, Mullach Buidhe and North Goatfell:
Image20170402_132302 DSCF9254 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Cir Mhor, The Witches Step, Beinn Tarsuinn and Caisteal Abhail:
Image20170402_132303 DSCF9255 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

To the north and slightly west Ben Cruachan and Stob Diamh, a range i'm itching to climb as like others they appear in so many summit views, looking great:
Image20170402_132304 DSCF9256 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Ben Lui looking majestic as always (when the summit is free of clouds):
Image20170402_132400 DSCF9260 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Little Beinn a 'Chleibh looks tiny next to it's neighbour, what you get when one of the smallest Munros (280) is next to one of the bigger ones (27)!
Image20170402_132401 DSCF9262 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Excellent, a few people approach summit 2's cairn which is always great, to show shots with stick people on top for scale, Ben Challum to the left:
Image20170402_132402 DSCF9264 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Finishing off with a few panoramas in every direction so I could enjoy the view at my leisure back home, and due to my limited time on the summit not wanting to leave Y below the shoulder for much longer. I play a game of "got got, need need"! :lol:
Image20170402_132500 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Image20170402_132505 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Image20170402_132517 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Image20170402_132522 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Image20170402_132527 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Image20170402_132531 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Image20170402_132535 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Image20170402_132540 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

I think I may have found one of my favourite mountains and summit viewpoints! :clap: :D

I forced myself to say cheerio to the view and surrounding mountains, all of them looking grand on a great day for hill walking:
Image20170402_132544 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Going over the secondary summit again I headed down at a fairly rapid pace, still taking as much care as possible. I had no pole for this part which I have recently found to be quite useful for awkward descents but it didn't bother me in the slightest as I was so used to not having them I just reverted to my usual low centre of gravity/babysteps when needed method, or using grassy steps next to the path and was making a good time back down, soaking in the views on the way for one last time...
Image20170402_132856 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Steep, the buzz-word for this walk without a doubt:
Image20170402_132859 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

There are some nice rocky outcrops for taking pics on while heading down, no time for that now though, plus I don't like selfies:
Image20170402_133053 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Lochan above a loch:
Image20170402_133243 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Almost at the edge of the shoulder:
Image20170402_135419 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

At the shoulder I saw Y waving her poles then starting to head back down so she must have seen me, at that point on the way up it was easy to make out the silhouettes of walkers at the top of the steep shoulder dodgy bit path. I returned a wave and took care going down.

Catching up, all was good and we stopped at walking pole rock so I could have my sandwich, since i'd only had another chocolate crispy at the summit. While snacking, a family of four passed us, not recognising their accents but they were European and not very well dressed, weating jeans and with only the Mum and Dad carrying small rucksacks, with 2 younger boys maybe around 10 years old or so. Y commented on their innapropriate walking gear, saying how bad jeans were especially if it rained and I praised her knowledge and agreed.

Sandwich and Watsits down the hatch and I felt my lost energy return. We then tackled the same path down, taking a more grassy route at points and zig-zagging which made it easier on the auld knees and bad ankles we have both suffered various injuries on over the years.

Car still there!
Image20170402_142416 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Did I mention this "hill" was steep?! :lol:
Image20170402_142444 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

The pace was quite slow so I could help with path negotiation and we were quite surprised but also a bit relieved that the family soon appeared behind us, having given up not long after passing us it seemed! I wondered what part that could have been and thought it must have been the site of the steeper path which turned them back, or possibly just common sense prevailing!

The way they took down was a bit strange, sometimes following the path, at others just going over the hill towards craggy bits with the Dad shouting on one of the boys to come back, pretty crazy. At the final steep section they overtook us having taken a slightly more direct route down!
Image20170402_145838 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

With the car not far away we headed through the final boggy section of the path at the foot of the hill towards the burn which after a quick wash of walking poles and boots was crossed safely.
Image20170402_150005 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Image20170402_150604 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Conquered!
Image20170402_150607 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Burn crossing, done with no problems:
Image20170402_150834 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

A final panorama of what Y said was definitely a mountain, not a hill! :lol:
Image20170402_151026 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Looking back the couple that started at the same time as me, who I had seen moving down from the summit to sit round the corner from the second summit and have lunch, were just behind us. That was pretty much how I expected this walk to go for us, getting to enjoy the view from the top for longer, especially with sunshine due in the afternoon but I wasn't complaining, I had climbed the beast of Beinn an Lochain and we had both still had a good if steep hike and returned safely which was the most important thing. :clap:
Image20170402_151503 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

Y also seemed more annoyed at herself for not being able to go on, blaming her lack of practice which was commendable especially after having a good go at such a steep "wee" bugger as the hill seems to be affectionately called by others, rightly so! :D

Final shot, already a bit darker on this side:
Image20170402_151509 by Chris Mac, on Flickr

On changing at the car the couple passed and we chatted briefly, asking how they enjoyed it and they said it was good but pretty steep (no surprise there) and also quite exposed in parts. To be honest, in my haste on the final third to the summit I had barely noticed the exposure, or I was just quite used to it by now having done a lot worse in previous walks. We said our goodbyes and finished getting ready.

As we were peeling off boots and socks, Y pointed out a group of lads who had parked up and set off for the walk, saying I had to see this... they were wearing jeans and brand new casual trainers! :shock: Definitely not the gear to wear for this walk and they were leaving fairly late, at about half 3 in the afternoon, leaving them about 4 hours until it got dark, probably less since the north west ridge gets darker first with the sun setting on the other side of Beinn an Lochain!

We both shake our heads and agree that they will probably turn back like the family of 4 did earlier, if they have any sense. You have to wonder... from some of the reports on this hill even a lot of experienced walkers take a few attempts to climb Ben an Lochain, I wonder how many have attempted it more than once before being successful?

We then drove off and waved cheerio to the nice couple as they prepared to do the same at their car. Leaving Arrochar we pass two Arrochar Mountain Rescue Landrovers and wonder if they are instinctively heading to Beinn an Lochain to get ready to collect some numtpies...

The drive back was good until getting stuck in 10mph traffic for most of the drive down Loch Lomond but we rewarded ourselves with a Chippy and Chinese takeaway before we reached home, with my Chippy being one of the biggest portions i've ever seen and it was completely finished off! I guess I needed it... :wink:

So it turned out a cracker of a day and a good learning experience. I reckon once her hill fitness is a bit better and having attempted a hill with lots of scrambling and steep bits that Y will be fine to tackle the bigger hills again very soon. But we'll maybe start with some more Sub-2000 hills, Grahams and easier Munros with better paths on the way up before taking on more tricky Corbetts, well, until I take her up Goatfell at Easter that is... home of the Mountain Goat! :D
User avatar
Chris Mac
Scrambler
 
Posts: 600
Munros:32   Corbetts:16
Grahams:7   Donalds:8
Sub 2000:44   Hewitts:3
Wainwrights:10   
Joined: Sep 11, 2014
Location: Glasgow

Re: Beating Brilliant Beinn an Lochain

Postby rockhopper » Mon Apr 03, 2017 1:49 pm

Yesterday certainly was a nice day for this hill - lets you see the best of the views. Like you, I also got stuck in the traffic queue although for me it didn't start until 3 miles north of the Arden roundabout. Tip for the future :wink: - I usually end up taking a larger rucksack and carrying everything for both of us - that way my better half doesn't need to carry anything which seems to help :wink: - cheers :)
User avatar
rockhopper
 
Posts: 6203
Munros:282   Corbetts:187
Grahams:59   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:8   Hewitts:2
Wainwrights:3   
Joined: Jun 1, 2009
Location: Glasgow

Re: Beating Brilliant Beinn an Lochain

Postby Chris Mac » Mon Apr 03, 2017 11:28 pm

rockhopper wrote:Yesterday certainly was a nice day for this hill - lets you see the best of the views. Like you, I also got stuck in the traffic queue although for me it didn't start until 3 miles north of the Arden roundabout. Tip for the future :wink: - I usually end up taking a larger rucksack and carrying everything for both of us - that way my better half doesn't need to carry anything which seems to help :wink: - cheers :)

Yup the views were outstanding in every direction but especially to the surrounding Arrochar Alps, picked a great day for it.

Cheers for the tip, her rucksack didn't have too much in it but I passed on your suggestion and it was most welcome, thanks! I guess i'll need to get used to being a mule instead of a mountain goat from now on... :crazy: although my bag is usually heavy enough with the bridge camera in it! :lol:

Still buzzing from the walk and views, had a great day and it's a belter of a hill. I've promised to do some smaller hills next though but may have to escape and take a midweek day off to do a bigger one on my own as I'm left wanting more after recent walks and getting a bit of scrambling in yesterday... :wink:
User avatar
Chris Mac
Scrambler
 
Posts: 600
Munros:32   Corbetts:16
Grahams:7   Donalds:8
Sub 2000:44   Hewitts:3
Wainwrights:10   
Joined: Sep 11, 2014
Location: Glasgow

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