I'm so badly behind with my reports that I should really be ashamed of myself, but with two weeks of holidays in July, I didn't have a chance to sit down and catch up with all backlog stories. Hopefully will now once the dust has settled on my summer adventures.
The first of many reports will tell the story of our local Corbett, Beinn a'Bha'ach Ard. We had climbed it before in winter conditions but it was so cold on that particular day, that we decided to shorten the walk and just nip up and down from the hydro track above Culligran Power Station. Now, in summer conditions, it was time to do the justice to the mountain and explore the full circuit.
We had actually hoped to drive down south and tick off Ben Lui, but our car was playing up (bearings) so we agreed it was too risky to take a long journey. Kevin booked a visit to the garage mid-week, and a local walk had to suffice for this particular weekend.
Weather was amazing, beautiful blue sky, dry and hot. Sunscreen and sunglasses necessary! From my previous visit to Beinn a'Bha'ach Ard, I remembered wet feet, but not this year. Even the most boggy bogs have dried.
Our route followed the standard circuit from Struy:
Having parked by the gate entrance to Glen Strathfarrar, we walked along the tarmac road for about a mile:
From the Culligran Power Station, we took a track through the forest. We know this area well as it's our home ground and we come here for short walks very often. It used to be a good spot for mushroom picking, before the track was bulldozed two years ago.
After a short climb, the track evens out and follows the line of electric pylons:
After 2km, the track turns away from the river and pylons. A new hydro station has been built here and the track continues to the height of about 400m, making the initial stage of climbing very easy.
Follow the yellow brick road:
Up the slopes!
Distant Munros of Glen Affric with the remnants of cloud:
We took a short detour to have a look at the new hydro dam:
...before leaving the track for good to climb the usually soggy slopes:
Not surprisingly, today we didn't encounter any bog. Having ascended another 150m across the dry moorland, we turned slightly east to visit an outlying rocky outcrop:
Looking down to Neaty Burn and the usually wet glen:
Five minutes break for hydration, with the summit now in sight:
Looking back home to Beauly Firth:
Having gained the main ridge, we quickly followed it to the summit. It has a trig point and a stone shelter. Lucy was first to pose for photos - it was her 75th Corbett after all!
A repeat for us but it didn't matter. Easily accessed from the glen below, this hill is a perfect "quickie in the neighbourhood" for both summer and winter. It has superb views to the higher mountains to the north and west (Strathfarrar Munros behind me):
A few quick captions from the summit. Enjoy
Zoom to Strathfarrar Ridge:
Kevin wore his brand new boots today, to test them before some big rounds we had planned for July!
As we sat byt he trig point, we were constantly attacked by flies. Some were just the non-biting type blow flies, buzzing around and annoying us, but others were clegs, waiting for a blood meal After maybe 10 minutes, the company of "buzzing party" became unbearable so we packed up and set off to complete the circuit.
Panther getting ready for the cleg-fight!
The high-level traverse to Sgurr a'Phollain is a very pleasant experience, well, it would have been if it wasn't for the buzzing company which decided to follow us from the summit
Looking back to the summit of Beinn a'Bha'ach Ard, a very shapely peak from this side:
Loch Orrin and a wind farm:
A rare moment of stillness from Panther
The initial descent from Sgurr a'Phollain is steep but an old stalker's path can be followed as it zigzags down the slopes. On the way down, we met a proud mum ptarmigan with her chick:
View back to the summit ridge from the zig zags of the stalker's path:
The path descends to Carn na Gabhalach. There are some peathags here but as it's been so dry recently, we had no problems crossing them. Clegs and other flies were becoming worse and worse and I had to resort to strange arm movement just to chase them away! From the distance it looked like I was kung-fu fighting Call me Bruce Lee
Lower down the path becomes less obvious but we simply continued descending on heathery slopes to Loch na Beiste. It's a very romantic spot and in other circumstances we'd stop here for a longer break but we were fed up with the buzzing party still following us and my arms ached from all the kung-fu moves
Loch na Beiste:
From the loch a path can be picked up again, it soon turns to a track which can be followed past a couple of gates, down to the road just next to the car park. This route should not be used in rutting season as there are deer kept on the surrounding pastures and in September-October the stags can get aggressive. Apart from that, it's a good circuit for a shorter day yet still with some good views and a nice high traverse over a wide ridge. I'm glad to have this mountain close to home and will definitely visit it again, possibly in winter conditions once more
This was just the prelude to a longer series of my TR's concerning our summer trips. Get ready for adventures! What's yet to come? Sgurr na Ciche, CMD Arete, the Alder outliers, Glen Etive Munros as well as some God forsaken Grahams in the middle of nowhere. Plus Isle of Skye and WH Meet. Watch this space
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Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.