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Beinn Iaruinn and Leana Mhor: confirmation by ice

Beinn Iaruinn and Leana Mhor: confirmation by ice

Postby BlackPanther » Wed Dec 06, 2017 6:40 pm

Route description: Beinn Iaruinn and Leana Mhor, Glen Roy

Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn Iaruinn

Grahams included on this walk: Leana Mhór (Glen Roy West)

Date walked: 03/12/2017

Time taken: 5.5 hours

Distance: 10 km

Ascent: 800m

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We hadn't planned any hillwalking outings this weekend, but having seen good weather forecast we had a last-minute change of hearts and instead of heading to Inverness Eastgate Shopping Centre we visited Leana Mhor Westside of Glen Roy :lol: It was the last unclimbed Graham in this glen for us and we deliberately kept it for a shorter winter day. It can be climbed by itself but that makes for a very short outing so an addition of the neighbouring Corbett, Beinn Iaruinn, seemed logical. My inner Mr Spock has spoken :lol: :lol:

The title of this TR refers to my first visit to Beinn Iaruinn, almost a decade ago. It was a hot summer day, merciless sun, and Kevin thought it would be a good idea to scramble up the rocks on the southern side of Coire nan Eun. I had absolutely no experience in scrambling then. Later I called it christening by fire :lol: Thinking about it now, this story deserves a separate report, as one of my "archive stories". Now if the first visit was baptizing by fire, the second had to be confirmation by ice (as in catholic church :wink: ).
Coire nan Eun seen from Carn Dearg across the glen. The "christening by fire" scrambling route to the left:
2016-05-30 carn dearg plus graham 267.JPG

It's been a long time since that hot summer day in 2008 and I faced more difficult slopes, but the sentiment to Beinn Iaruinn remained and I wanted to return and climb this hill again, not necessarily by the same route though :lol: The combination with Leana Mhor is an excellent way to avoid the steepest ascent/descent and still enjoy the charms of Glen Roy.
We followed the WH route most of the time, starting from the bridge over the Allt a'Bhreac Achaidh and climbing steeply up Leana Mhor first, then traversing to the Corbett. On the descent we picked a faint, boggy path from the 515m bealach back to the bridge. Most of the route is pathless and the lower slopes would be overgrown with high bracken in summer months, but going was surprisingly easy most of the time :D

Track_GLEN ROY 3-12-17.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Of course, writing about Glen Roy I can't forget to mention the parallel roads, a unique feature created with the help of a glacier. They run along both sides of the glen at heights of 260m, 325m and 350m. They represent different levels of ice-damned lake (or should I say loch as we are in Scotland?) filling the bottom of Glen Roy some 12 000 years ago. To me they always looked like man-made tracks. So odd that nature created something so perfectly linear and parallel :D
The parallel roads well visible on the slope of Eastern Leana Mhor, from our parking spot:
2017-12-03 glen roy two 008.JPG

It was a bright Sunday morning and forecast was dry with a chance of cloud later on. Looking south to the entrance of the glen, I saw the outline of the Easains:
2017-12-03 glen roy two 007.JPG

The WH route suggests following the fence from the starting point, but we decided to walk about 400m back along the road to the opposite end of the fenced off pasture, where the ground looked a bit less boggy and overgrown. It makes little difference as this side of Leana Mhor is just as steep everywhere :lol:
We carried crampons just in case but it turned out to be an unnecessary precaution; we didn't encounter any hard ice and what snow remained was soft. As we gained height, the most intriguing view was north into upper Glen Roy:
2017-12-03 glen roy two 017.JPG

We crossed all three parallel roads (they are less prominent here than on the opposite side of the glen) and kept pushing up wet vegetation. A few sheep grazed about, expressing their discontent with a loud 'baaa' from time to time. I spotted a car driving up the glen, a tiny dot moving on the road far below. Apart from that - total silence and desolation.
After roughly 350m of stiff climbing, the angle eased off and we entered the snow zone (or what remained of it):
2017-12-03 glen roy two 031.JPG

Soon we reached the top of the shoulder (596m), from here the remaining 100m to the summit was easy walking.
2017-12-03 glen roy two 034.JPG

We stopped on the 596m spot for photos. The high cloud has moved in so the light wasn't as great as in the morning but the views were amazing and Kevin couldn't resist a few panoramic shots.
Beinn Iaruinn and the eastern slopes of Leana Mhor:
2017-12-03 glen roy two 035.JPG

Into Glen Roy:
2017-12-03 glen roy two 036.JPG

South to the hills of Fort William, from the Easains (left) to partially cloudy Ben Nevis (right). The hill in the foreground is an interesting wee Sub'2000 Marylin, Beinn a'Mhonicag, an easy climb for winter as well:
2017-12-03 glen roy two 042.JPG

From higher up, panorama to the east, across the glen:
2017-12-03 glen roy two 056.JPG

The final walk to the summit was a formality. The cairn is small, only big enough for Lucy to pose for her 49th Graham!
2017-12-03 glen roy two 082.JPG

My favourite view was to the west, to Loch Lochy Munros:
2017-12-03 glen roy two 061.JPG

Grey Corries:
2017-12-03 glen roy two 073.JPG

The Aonachs and Nevis:
2017-12-03 glen roy two 081.JPG

The wind was strengthening, so after a quick snack on sugary things, we wrapped up in windproofs and headed for Beinn Iaruinn. First, the descent to the 515m bealach, steep-ish but easy. The bealach was boggy, but as soon as we tackled the slopes opposite, we found out that walking was really pleasant on short grass and heather. View back to Leana Mhor was interesting:
2017-12-03 glen roy two 085.JPG

The reascent is just short of 300m, the first 150m rather steep but soon we emerged on the high summit plateau and headed for the rim of the corrie.
Enjoying every moment:
2017-12-03 glen roy two 094.JPG

Zoom to the Easains:
2017-12-03 glen roy two 102.JPG

Shame about the grey cloud, the views might be even better on a sunny day with blue skies - but let's not complain, it could be much worse! :lol:
2017-12-03 glen roy two 112.JPG

Kevin noticed a strange optical illusion, looking back towards Leana Mhor. The top behind it called Coire Ceirsle Hill (right of photo) seems much higher, but it is, in reality, 30m lower then the true summit of Leana Mhor (left):
2017-12-03 glen roy two 114.JPG

The illusion was so convincing that Kevin stopped, dug up his 1-50k map and studied it for some time, just to make sure we actually climbed the right end of the Graham! :lol:
In the meantime, I scampered to the edge of Coire nan Eun and spotted the summit cairn:
2017-12-03 glen roy two 115.JPG

Coire nan Eun from the ridge:
2017-12-03 glen roy two 128.JPG

Loch Lochy hills still looked amazing:
2017-12-03 glen roy two 117.JPG

Summit in sight! I was glad this hill has a substantial cairn, at least we had a chance to hide from the wind :D
2017-12-03 glen roy two 131.JPG

Ben Tee zoomed:
2017-12-03 glen roy two 135.JPG

More scampering over melting snow and we reached the top of Beinn Iaruinn. A repeat Corbett for us, but a new one for wee Lucy - her no. 59!
2017-12-03 glen roy two 147.JPG

Carn Dearg (one of three) across Glen Roy:
2017-12-03 glen roy two 141.JPG

Happy Panther!
2017-12-03 glen roy two 150.JPG

View north, where weather wasn't as nice:
2017-12-03 glen roy two 151.JPG

Kevin by the cairn:
2017-12-03 glen roy two 157.JPG

We found a sheltered spot and sat down to our picnic, hot tea and sandwiches :D It was nice to be able to spend some more time on the summit for a change (our last few walks ended with touching the cairn and quickly running down :lol: ), sipping a hot drink and admiring the views. I always wanted to see Glen Roy in white and well, I did - sort of. The sun came out for 15 minutes maybe and the world was bright again... We were glad we decided to re-visit this Corbett despite cold wind. Confirmation by ice it was :D
My favourite view by far was to the west - just amazing:
2017-12-03 glen roy two 138.JPG

Eventually, we packed up and retraced our steps down the southern side of Beinn Iaruinn to the 515m bealach, where we spied a wet path heading down:
2017-12-03 glen roy two 160.JPG

The path was filled with either snow or mud, but it followed the easiest line of descent:
2017-12-03 glen roy two 164.JPG

Tramping across some boggy ground, patches of higher heather and half-decomposed bracken, we descended back to the glen, crossing a stream by a wee waterfall:
2017-12-03 glen roy two 168.JPG

One final look ad Beinn Iaruinn and the parallel roads:
2017-12-03 glen roy two 170.JPG

A nice short-ish expedition, can be done any time of the year, but probably best before the bracken grows to its full height. Glen Roy is a great place to visit. The hills are all steep but the views are much worth the effort.
This was probably the last hill outing before Christmas for us (unless we manage something the coming Saturday, but not likely). Soon it will be time for summing up the year and counting statistics. I have to say, a very good hillwalking year for us. Over 50.000m of ascent, 1100km distance and (so far) 82 summits. We hope to add something during the festive time, but it's all up to weather. Last year we spent Christmas drinking hot cocoa at home... May it not happen again :wink:
Last edited by BlackPanther on Thu Nov 21, 2019 5:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Beinn Iaruinn and Leana Mhor: confirmation by ice

Postby rockhopper » Sat Dec 09, 2017 9:47 pm

Nipped up and down BI one evening last summer - your route does look a bit more interesting - cheers :)
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Re: Beinn Iaruinn and Leana Mhor: confirmation by ice

Postby BlackPanther » Tue Dec 12, 2017 1:47 pm

rockhopper wrote:Nipped up and down BI one evening last summer - your route does look a bit more interesting - cheers :)

Thanks RH :) This route is suggested by WH and SMC Graham Guide. Definitely more interesting to combine the two hills rather than BI alone. I wondered about access from Glen Gloy side but parking might be an issue there...

Winter has made a big comeback since, so I guess, now it would be hard to even drive up Glen Roy :lol:
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