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Feet and wheels recommended - Beinn Bhuidhe
by ramblingsteve » Sat Oct 02, 2010 2:52 am
Route description: Beinn Bhuidhe, via Glen Fyne
Munros included on this walk: Beinn Bhuidhe
Date walked: 30/09/2010
Time taken: 4 hours
Distance: 20 km
Ascent: 955mRegister or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
I grabbed my bag and boots and chucked my bike on the back of the car and took off towards Beinn Bhuidhe.
It is a walk I'd had one eye on for a while but was waiting until I got a new bike... and I really fancied going it alone for the 1st time on this one, since it is described as an isolated Munro I wanted the full experience of isolation... and was not disappointed.
On the drive up the skies got greyer the further north I got so I was expecting to get wet, however, when I arrived at the Glen Fyne car park the sun was out and the thermometer read 14 degrees... ideal, I thought.
I left the car at 1:30pm, slightly concerned about the number of daylight hours remaining. I took the road on the west bank of the river, past the power station and joined a land-rover track heading up the glen. I soon entered a small quarry, or gravel pit and wondered if I should be there but continued on full alert... It may have been lunch time but there was not a soul to be seen and I rolled on, rejoining the land-rover track through some gated fields before reaching the tarmac road where it crosses the river. I was enjoying my time alone in the wilderness and on a couple of occasions my bike almost rolled to a halt as I let my mind drift away, so I had to remind myself to keep pedaling, after all I was in a bit of a race against time.
I arrived at the point where I had to part with my bike at 2pm and was slightly surprised to find another bike... someone else was having as much fun as me
At this point I thought about getting caught in the dark on my own (My last outing a fortnight earlier ended in total darkness around 10.30pm after my brother twisted his knee in the Crianlarich hills) so I thought I should probably turn back if I hadn't reached the summit by 4:30.
The kilometre or so between the bike park and Inverchorachan was a gentle incline, initially through woodland and soon the eerie white cottage came into sight. (Cue banjo)
Outside the cottage I met a couple who were on their way back so I asked how long it might take to get to the summit from there... The guy reckoned it took them about an hour and a half, this gave me confidence and a pace to aim for (since this was my first solo adventure). I was also delighted to hear that there was a path all the way to the top and grateful for the advice to turn left when I reached the ridge
The initial climb up the gorge was quite steep but very nice with 1 particularly dodgy scramble to get the adrenaline pumping. About half way up I stopped for a drink and a look back the way I'd came, when I was suddenly under attack from some horrible flying tick-like creatures. Dressed only in shorts and T-shirt and sweating too much to layer-up I kept going... these things were all over me, burrowing through my beard and arm hair on way to their salty snack. I was glad to have my hat on and spent the next 10 min or so slapping and clawing at myself trying not to be eaten alive...freaking out tbh whilst tring to pay enough attention to where I was placing my feet. Maybe the wee munchers suffered from altitude sickness because they didn't follow me beyond the waterfall (about 450m I think) so I stopped briefly to take some pics.
Beyond the waterfall the ascent became more gradual but the path was very boggy in places and I found myself ankle deep a few times. I was just below cloud level at this point so unfortunately I couldn't see much of what lay ahead, but the views back were quite impressive.
Although the cloud was rolling by overhead I was still comfortable enough to stay in my base layer and shorts. With about 200m left to climb I crossed a flat boggy section before the final ascent where I met my fellow cyclist on his way down. I think he was quite surprised to see me approach in shorts and T-shirt and warned me that it was quite unpleasant on the ridge. After another 100m or so the wind picked up so I chucked on my fleece before I was completely exposed. A small cairn marked the ridge where I turned left and followed a good path to the summit.
I was relieved to reach the summit around 4pm but disappointed to find it in the middle of a cloud. I was hungry by now and not too cold so I grabbed some rolls and a flask of soup from my bag and hung around at the summit, hoping for a break in the cloud. As I sat there in the cloud, using the summit cairn as a wind-break, I got that feeling of total isolation... fantastic! The sun poked through momentarily to the south and I could make out Loch Fyne and my finish point, which suddenly seemed very far away. I had achieved what I had set out to do... get away from it all and clear my mind, so I wasn't hanging around any longer than necessary.
I decided to retrace my steps the entire way since I was confident of getting back to the car before dark that way. On my way back along the ridge I was treated to some attractive views as the cloud thinned and the sun got through.
As I approached the gorge the old faithful left knee began to let me know it was there and working hard under pressure on the descent. I had to slow the pace down... just what I needed as I entered blood sucking bug territory. Fortunately only a few of the wee beasties chanced their luck and I soon came upon the dodgy scrambling bit I wanted to avoid with a dodgy knee. I managed it fine on the way up so I went for it again rather than go back to find a way round it. It wasn't quite so easy on weary legs but I survived to tell the tale.
I was relieved when the cottage at Inverchorachan came back into sight, marking the end of my downhill struggle and couldn't wait to take the weight off and get on my bike.
I really enjoyed my day out on my own and only wish we had a few summer months left this year to squeeze some more in. I might just need to invest in some proper winter gear and keep it up.
- On the ridge
Thanks for the great detailed report and photos though - very helpful as I need to do this soon...
- mountain coward
by gaffr » Sat Oct 02, 2010 9:20 am
by ramblingsteve » Sat Oct 02, 2010 2:57 pm
by ramblingsteve » Sat Oct 02, 2010 3:06 pm
I know which bit you mean on Beinn a' Chroin - I found it okay as I have long legs and a good reach for the high foothold up on the right... it took a while for us to get Richard up it though. But I wasn't keen with the travelling along narrow rakes through massive crags with an even more massive drop into the mist below me. Having said that, I knew the ascent wasn't going to be my sort of thing so, being forewarned, found I could just get on with it and managed to not look down the drops (after noting they were approaching). So I didn't panic in the end - just swore a bit and was very relieved when I got up to the flat bit above!
- mountain coward
by JonnyMG » Sun Oct 03, 2010 10:42 pm
by Morag M » Sun Oct 03, 2010 11:32 pm
looks good fun and really interesting.
by ramblingsteve » Mon Oct 04, 2010 9:24 pm
MC - I don't think you will find this quite so intimidating as Chroin. I think maybe the sound of the water thrashing below you keeps you switched on and you're only really close to the edge at 1 or 2 points. If you can keep your nerve at the scramble you will have no problem at all with your long reach and big pins... well thats what I think... You will enjoy it
- mountain coward
by ramblingsteve » Tue Oct 05, 2010 8:18 pm
Oh, and enjoy your night in the caves.