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Groban and Beinn Bheag: Grahams galore :)

Groban and Beinn Bheag: Grahams galore :)


Postby BlackPanther » Wed May 10, 2017 4:39 pm

Grahams included on this walk: Beinn Bheag (Letterewe Forest), Groban

Date walked: 29/04/2017

Time taken: 8.5 hours

Distance: 24.2 km

Ascent: 739m

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We had this duo planned in March, but with rivers high and lots of rain about, we decided to delay this trip until weather was more stable. The Mayday long weekend looked reasonable, if windy. There was a chance of passing showers on Saturday, but we wanted to enjoy the great outdoors, even if only on Grahams :wink:
Groban and Beinn Bheag were recommended to me as two hills with good views and I must admit, they are cracking viewpoints, especially Beinn Bheag, which is located basically next to the Fisherfield Munros.

Apart from admiring the scenery, I had another reason to visit this area - investigating a possible route for Sgurr Ban and Mullach CMF from Loch a'Bhraoin. I read all reports and descriptions available on WH but no amount of reading can replace a practical test :lol: I wondered how good was the path past the bothy and would it be OK to climb the slabby slopes of Mullach?

We had walked as far as the bothy before and we climbed Creag Rainich. This overlooked, but very rewarding Corbett can be added to Groban/Beinn Bheag traverse with only 450m of additional ascent, but as we had already done it, we aimed for the Grahams only.

Track_GROBAN 29-04-17.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


Starting point was the same as for western Fannichs, from the layby at the bend of A832. The morning was sunny but we could feel the gusts of wind even on low level, so we packed extra layers of clothing, just in case :wink:
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Western Fannichs from the car park:
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The last remnants of snow on An Teallach:
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Despite the wind, it was a lovely morning and we enjoyed the long walk-in along Loch a'Bhraoin:
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Our "targets" both dominated the view at the opposite end of the loch (Slioch just peeking out to the right):
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At the western end of the loch we stopped for a few minutes by a small jetty. Views back along the water to the distant Beinn Dearg were splendid:
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Didn't meet anybody when walking past Lochivraon Bothy...
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... but just past the buildings, we noticed a few bikes, hidden in the grass. Probably people climbing the Fisherfields, Kevin said, saving time by cycling. For me, this track is too rough for biking, but I have always been a rubbish cyclist. I'm too attached to my teeth to risk loosing them on rocky, bumpy terrain, so here ended the subject of cycling to Loch an Nid. We knew, if we do this route for Fisherfields, it would have to be on foot.
The path/track was very wet and boggy in places, but in other places it looked decent:
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I was mildly surprised to see next to no water in the river, but it worked to our advantage, we could cross Abhainn Loch a'Bhraoin anywhere we wanted!
We decided to climb Beinn Bheag first and then traverse to Groban, but it really makes little difference which one should come first. They are very similar in shape and ascent angles, Beinn Bheag being a bit lower. Our route up went up this slope:
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Sgurr Ban and Mullach from the lower slopes of Beinn Bheig. I was already fascinated by the huge slabs and really wanted to lay my paws on them!
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But for the time being, I had to be satisfied with a much lower mountain... The north side of Beinn Bheag is mostly grassy, a few burns running down make the lower part of this slope quite swampy, but the higher we went, the better the underfoot:
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Kevin was complaining about a rubbing boot, so we took a short break about 100m below the summit, where we found a large, flat rock. While my husband was busy adjusting his footwear, I spent some time playing with the camera, set for panoramic mode...
Creag Rainich looks spectacular from this angle!
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Loch a'Bhraoin and the edge of the Fannichs:
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Zoom to Sgurr Ban and the slabs:
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An Teallach made an entrance...
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Once the boot problem was sorted, we continued to the summit... Beinn Bheag reminds me of an overturned flower pot, it has quite large, flat summit plateau as for such insignificant hill. There are three lumps on this plateau, potentially any of them could be the true summit. We visited them all, but took photos by the one with a cairn, assuming this was the highest (and so said Kevin's GPS).
Fisherfields/An Teallach pano from just below the summit:
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On my 72nd Graham with wee Lucy (her 38th G):
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The summit was very windy and quite cold - hats and gloves required! We agreed that we would wait with lunch break until we drop to the col between the two hills, but we couldn't resist a lengthy photo session. Beinn Bheag is a magnificent viewpoint and even on a day with high cloud in the sky, The panoramic views were still impressive!
Torridon from Coulin to Slioch:
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Fisherfields, An Teallach and Creag Rainich:
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Fannichs and Fionn Bheinn:
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Slioch zoomed:
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Torridon zoomed:
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Sgurr Ban, Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair and Beinn Tharsuinn:
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An Teallach and Beinn a'Chlaidheimh:
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After taking countless zooms of the Mullach slabs, we left the summit eventually, aiming east, down the steep slopes to Bealach Gorm...
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On the bealach we stopped for refill, in a sheltered spot. Then it was up again, steep to start with, but much drier and easy climbing on grass and low heather.
Torridon hills from the climb up Groban:
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Slabby slabs again... I was getting obsessed!
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Beinn Bheag from near the summit of Groban - looks so small and insignificant!
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The summit of the second Graham is similar to the first one - flat area with a cairn bang in the middle:
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We dumped our rucksacks by the cairn and wandered around with cameras for a good while. Conditions improved and the wind dropped significantly, so we could enjoy this viewpoint for longer!
Fisherfields once more:
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Slioch and Lochan Fada:
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Zoom to Beinn Dearg and Beinn Alligin:
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Beinn a'Mhuinidh (foreground) and Beinn Eighe:
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Coulin hills from Fuar Tholl to Sgurr Dubh:
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Panorama from Fionn Bheinn (left) to Slioch (right):
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Panorama east to Loch a'Bhraoin:
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Fionn Bheinn zoomed:
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Black Panther posing with Lucy and the slabs!
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For the easiest descent, we simply headed back north, down to the glen. We didn't need to worry about river crossing, but if rivers are in spate, it would be more practical to aim further up the glen, where Abhainn Loch a'Bhraoin divides into a few smaller streams and is easier to cross. We simply followed streams flowing down the slope, jumped over the river and returned to the path :D
Loch a'Bhraoin from the northern slopes of Groban:
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During the long walk back along the loch we discussed the "slabby approach" to Sgurr Ban and Mullach and decided to give this route a go as soon as we get a long day with decent weather. Little did we expect that this day would come only the following weekend!

But before I get to the story of my "slabby adventure", there is one more Graham tale to tell, from the Bank Holiday Monday :D TR to come soon.
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BlackPanther
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Re: Groban and Beinn Bheag: Grahams galore :)

Postby Sgurr » Thu May 11, 2017 9:25 pm

Good for you. That's a really long walk which we broke up by using the bothy. Met some people in there who had a print out from an old Munro book and were going in to climb the "Fisherfield six" I think they thought I was out of my mind when I said that they could save themselves trouble by just doing the five and the other later when they came to do the Corbetts. Never knew what happened.
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Sgurr
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Re: Groban and Beinn Bheag: Grahams galore :)

Postby Mal Grey » Fri May 12, 2017 10:30 am

Another excellent report, thanks BP.

I wouldn't fancy cycling the track either, to be honest, and I mountain bike regularly. To the bothy, 3/4 of its fine for an off-road bike, but the 1/4 that isn't would be hard work as its shingle. Beyond the bothy, you won't get far before the wheels sink...



Sgurr wrote:Good for you. That's a really long walk which we broke up by using the bothy. Met some people in there who had a print out from an old Munro book and were going in to climb the "Fisherfield six" I think they thought I was out of my mind when I said that they could save themselves trouble by just doing the five and the other later when they came to do the Corbetts. Never knew what happened.


Two of the 3 people we met whilst we were at Lochivraon didn't know that "Clammy" had been demoted. One was really pleased, as he'd turned back on that one due to conditions, and though he'd missed a Munro. The other we daren't tell as he'd just had a looooong day doing 4 "Munros" which were really 3...
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Mal Grey
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Re: Groban and Beinn Bheag: Grahams galore :)

Postby BlackPanther » Fri May 12, 2017 1:22 pm

Mal Grey wrote: Sgurr wrote:
Good for you. That's a really long walk which we broke up by using the bothy. Met some people in there who had a print out from an old Munro book and were going in to climb the "Fisherfield six" I think they thought I was out of my mind when I said that they could save themselves trouble by just doing the five and the other later when they came to do the Corbetts. Never knew what happened.

Two of the 3 people we met whilst we were at Lochivraon didn't know that "Clammy" had been demoted. One was really pleased, as he'd turned back on that one due to conditions, and though he'd missed a Munro. The other we daren't tell as he'd just had a looooong day doing 4 "Munros" which were really 3...


All 6 (or 5+ Corbett) in a day from Loch a'Bhraoin seems far too much for me! Doing only Mullach + Sgurr Ban took us over 11 hours, but to be honest we spent an awful time photographing the landscape and playing on the slabs :lol:

As we are happy to climb all kinds of hills, not just Munros, we have "Clammy" on our list as a separate walk from Corrie Hallie. For the rest of Fisherfields: Beinn Tharsuinn from Kinlochewe, the Armageddon duo from Poolewe with a wild camp (hopefully weather will be nice for the 2 weeks of hols in June!). No pressure for us on doing all in one go. We are lucky to live only an hour drive from the edge of Fisherfields so we can visit them in chunks over a few good weekends.

The two Grahams are less of a challenge perhaps, but we really, really enjoyed them, superb views and the taste of wilderness :D Plus no hydro scheme in sight, which is becoming a rarity! The day after we went for a walk in Glen Affric and we were shocked by the mess caused by hydro construction (I posted my rant in general discussion).
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Re: Groban and Beinn Bheag: Grahams galore :)

Postby rockhopper » Sun May 14, 2017 11:07 pm

Long walk but well rewarded with the views - does look a good approach for Fisherfield but think a tent would come in handy so as not to rush them - cheers :)
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