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Beinn a' Bheithir and Gleann a' Chaolais
by Bonzo » Tue Oct 12, 2010 2:21 pm
Date walked: 09/10/2010Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
I've walked for many years and have never relied on signposting to get to any destination but this was a particularly troublesome descent that at times bordered on dangerous.
We descended north from the col and walked along what was the only obvious path descending towards the trees. On reaching the fence which borders the top of the forest (East-West direction) the path became less obvious but someone had kindly built what appeared to be stile from a couple of large boulders. Footprints and worn grass again pointed to this being the obvious route so we climbed over the fence and headed into the forest.
We soon came across a horribly steep peaty drop which appeared to fall towards a stream. Again, the odd footprint appeared to suggest this was a known route down, but the awful conditions underfoot, the threat of a fall into a ravine of unknown depth and concern over having to retrace our steps resulted in us backtracking into the forest and looking for the route marked on the OS map.
After a good search through very dense forest and steep ground we decided to check the GPS\map and discovered that we had been over the supposed marked OS route but every attempt to descend to the forest road was thwarted by steep slimy rocky drops with the sound of running water below. We gave up, scrambled back uphill until we reached the fence and followed this over atrocious ground until we reached a cleared area of forest. Another dreadful descent over tumbled trunks, logs, holes and branches followed until we eventually reached the forest road. After a short while we came across a signpost pointing the way off the road for anyone on the ascent but something similar needs to be provided to assist walkers on the descent.
Earlier in the day we commented on the lack of cairns\post pointing the way up Sgorr Ban's NE ridge where a narrow band of grass was the only clue to gain a decent start without reverting to stomping over knee deep heather.
In bad weather the confusion surrounding the descent into the forest could easily result in an accident as there appears to be no obvious route through the forest. We may have found the 'official' route by descending the first tricky step but many others, like ourselves, wouldn't take that risk and look elsewhere.
by houdi » Tue Oct 12, 2010 7:06 pm
If you are talking about the ascent of the north-east ridge of Beinn Bahn from the school, there is an intermittent path through the field from behind the school which disappears in boggy sections and appears to contour round the bottom to the front of the ridge at Bac Odhar. Most people tend to go straight across the field (no path) to tackle the ridge from a side ascent. There is a fence to cross halfway up and, there are clear marks on the slopes of many boots which have gone this way. Basically, there is no path across the field because it is boggy and everyone takes a different line.
by Paul Webster » Tue Oct 12, 2010 7:49 pm
by Scotjamie » Wed Oct 13, 2010 3:27 pm
Bonzo wrote:We soon came across a horribly steep peaty drop which appeared to fall towards a stream. Again, the odd footprint appeared to suggest this was a known route down, but the awful conditions underfoot, the threat of a fall into a ravine of unknown depth and concern over having to retrace our steps resulted in us backtracking into the forest and looking for the route marked on the OS map.
I was there many years previously bonzo - exact mirror of your experience and comments - the ravine looked deadly.
Suzi (dog) and I had to circle the forestry to find a 'cleared area' to struggle through and down into the glen again. That was long before I found Walkhighlands of course
by LeithySuburbs » Wed Oct 13, 2010 3:38 pm
- mountain coward
by houdi » Wed Oct 13, 2010 10:47 pm
by GillC » Mon Nov 25, 2013 6:35 pm
houdi wrote: I usually descend anywhere I think is viable and not worry about paths too much.
Yep,, safety issues aside,,no such thing as the wrong route,,just a different route lol
by Collaciotach » Mon Nov 25, 2013 10:46 pm
The terrain off route here is as steep as you'll find and deadly slippy as you say , best to take compass bearing to keep out of harms way
The descents are fairly clear at Bealach Bheinn a Bheither and to the seaward (west) ridge of Sgurr Dhonuill ,drops you back onto the horseshoe road.
Another more difficult route is off in the coire between Meall a Caolais and Bheinn Bhan which drops you down a faint path to St Johns.
If you do end up in the wood , a working commercial forest .... aye can be a nightmare
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