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An inauspicious return on Beinn an Lochain

An inauspicious return on Beinn an Lochain

Postby old danensian » Sat Oct 14, 2017 11:35 am

Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn an Lochain

Date walked: 06/10/2017

Time taken: 4.15 hours

Distance: 8.4 km

Ascent: 785m

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There are days you wished you’d never started, when it might have made more sense to simply turn around. How many things have to go wrong before you succumb to the message?

However, it had been three months since I’d last set foot on a hill so I pressed on regardless.

In July I’d dragged weary legs off Am Faochagach after a fifty kilometre overnighter that had taken in a pair of far-flung Munros. Today’s plan was more modest: Stob Coire Creagach and Beinn an Lochain, a pair of Corbetts whose summits were barely a couple of kilometres apart on either side of Glen Kinglas. If hill-fitness had disappeared, I could even drive between the starting point of each below the Rest and be Thankful.

The forecast was good. It was about ninety minutes from home, so no bleary-eyed early morning start to fog the brain. What could go wrong?

Lifting my bag from the boot of the car revealed a large damp patch: I’d cross-threaded the top of my water pouch. Result: a wet bag just where it rested on my hip. At least I wasn’t likely to be threatened with dehydration this autumn.

Booted, suited and raring to go, with a damp pack on my back, I slammed the boot shut and fumbled for my car keys: nowhere to be found. Fifteen minutes later, I’d re-packed a damp bag for the second time, having found them deep within.

Third time lucky: off I go.

Not so quick kid.

Fifty metres from the car, at the gate up Glen Kinglas, an estate notice bore a red splodge on the map exactly where I planned to walk. Mistakenly assuming this was still in the National Park, I’d not checked the stalking arrangements. A quick call to the estate office and Corbett number one was off the agenda.

North east ridge of Beinn an Lochain - playing misty

From the lay-by just below Loch Restil I started again, this time for the north east ridge of Beinn an Lochain. Take number four.

It’s a great looking route, gnarled and knobbly, rising quickly. At this time of year it’s an olive-drab, smattered with greys and browns, a hillside bedecked in camouflage fatigues. Streaks of dampness glisten down the crags and there’s a reassurance in knowing a clear path weaves its way upwards. But not yet. I didn’t even make fifty metres this time.

Unleashed, I strode out to negotiate the burn across three perfectly placed rocks. The first was a confident step, the second a dainty hop, but by the third my mind was already halfway up the hill thinking about the colours. As a result, the third step started an off-balance pirouette that ended with me standing in the stream with water above both knees. At least I didn’t sit down.

Half an hour back in the hills and I was thrashing around like a naive numpty on his first trip to the hills. Undeterred, I pressed on and fortunately there was very little else untoward to report.

A succession of short scrambles led the way upwards quickly, with wisps of cloud clinging to the tops adding a degree of mystery. Looking back down Glen Kinglas, I saw a number of vans and cars heading up the track, so I clearly hadn’t been fed a line about the stalking plans for the day.

Glen Kinglas - out of bounds today

Final slopes of Beinn an Lochain

It's a long way down - to Loch Restil and Glen Kinglas

I must have paid sufficient penance at the start of the day for the mountain gods to be a tad more benign; the clouds finally drifted away as I reached the top and I could enjoy the prospect of a precipitous drop to the Rest and be Thankful on one side, and views out to the coast on the other. Having now looked at the extensive summit view panorama on the website, I’ll be going back to catch up what I obviously missed: Goat Fell, Mull’s Ben More, The Ben, Ben Lawers, and apparently the obligatory view of Schiehallion – but that must be on a really clear day.

Summit cairn of Beinn an Lochain

North west up the coast from Beinn an Lochain

Eastern slopes of Beinn an Lochain - there might be a path through all that somewhere, but I didn't find it - just steep wet grass

Bumbling, faffing, thwarted starts and wet feet: what the hell. This was what it was all about. I shared the top with a pair of sheep who stood and eyed me suspiciously for the entire thirty minutes I spent on the top before the idea of a mug of tea from the van in the car park below proved too much – for me, not them.

Loch Restil - and back down the glen to Stob Coire Creagach

Crispy bacon and sizzling slabs of square sausage were shunned, then I wandered above the western shore of Loch Restil back to the car, where I treated the burn to the respect it deserved.
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old danensian
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Re: An inauspicious return on Beinn an Lochain

Postby Jaxter » Sat Oct 14, 2017 3:59 pm

Sounds like one of those days :lol: Glad you got some views anyway :thumbup:

It's a stunning viewpoint on a clear day definitely worth a return visit :wink:
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Re: An inauspicious return on Beinn an Lochain

Postby PeteR » Sat Oct 14, 2017 4:30 pm

It's a superb hill Nigel........one of the best in my opinion. Just a shame you had quite a day when you got there.
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Re: An inauspicious return on Beinn an Lochain

Postby Alteknacker » Sat Oct 14, 2017 8:34 pm

Enjoyed this :thumbup: . The views from the top were pretty fair, given the inauspicious start...

Bit of a bummer with the stalking - not come across this so far, thank goodness.
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