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Variations on Two Fine Ardnamurchan Horseshoes

Variations on Two Fine Ardnamurchan Horseshoes

Postby weaselmaster » Mon May 20, 2019 8:59 am

Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn Resipol, Creach Bheinn (Morvern), Fuar Bheinn, Garbh Bheinn (Ardgour)

Grahams included on this walk: Beinn Bheag (Ardgour), Beinn na Cille, Sgorr Mhic Eacharna

Date walked: 19/05/2019

Time taken: 21 hours

Distance: 48 km

Ascent: 4069m

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With our holiday coming up I was keen not to overexert ourselves this weekend. I thought a nice trip to Ardnamurchan, for the first time in a long while would be pleasant - Garbh Bheinn Friday, camp at Resipole over the weekend and do Resipol, then Creach Bheinn & Fuar Bheinn on the Sunday. Weather forecast seemed reasonable too.

We drove up on Thursday, catching the Corran Ferry and camping at the start of the route up Garbh Bheinn. Nice wee spot, a camper van parked nearby with an older couple in occupance. Would have sat outside for a bit after pitching the tent, but the appearance of the first midges of the season put paid to that idea. Well, we knew they were coming... A fair night's sleep for being pitched close to the road (although there seemed very little overnight traffic) and up early in a muggy sort of morning with a reddish glow to the sky over the mountains to our east. My intention was to do the standard Garbh Bheinn horseshoe, taking in the two Grahams, then extend to the west to cover the two Simms on that side of the ridge.Last time we'd had a good day to start with, but the summit of Garbh Bheinn had coincided with rain and cloud - I hoped for better today.

garbhx.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

We walked over dry bogs towards Sgorr Mhic Eacharna and hiked up the grassy mountainside. As you climb, Garbh Bheinn slowly opens up to the eye. A fine mountain. There were also good views up Loch Leven - so used to seeing that view from the opposite perspective. The first summit of the day reached, we could look round at the circuit awaiting us, including the high bealach from where ascent up the northern side of Garbh Bheinn takes place. Onwards, over Beinn Bheag and its northern Simm before a steeper, rocky descent to Bealach Feith 'n Amean where we paused for lunch. The choice of gully up was made and we ascended - the grass being dry helped but it is quite a steep pull up here. At the head of the gully we opted to head over the rocks to our left rather than take the obvious grassy rake in front of us - this gave excellent scrambling opportunities, as easy or tough as you wished to make it. The rock was dry and super-grippy, just a joy to play on. We both took different routes and at one point I saw a figure way up ahead. I was puzzled as to how A managed to get herself so far ahead of me - however, this was actually a climber who had solo-ed up the main face :shock: We reunited at the top of this section, meeting three guys who were doing the horseshoe in reverse.

The start of the walk
ImageP5170297 by Al, on Flickr

View up Loch Leven
ImageP5170299 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP5170300 by Al, on Flickr

The horseshoe
ImageP5170301 by Al, on Flickr

Mhic Eacharna
ImageP5170303 by Al, on Flickr

Garbh Bheinn
ImageP5170304 by Al, on Flickr

Beinn Bheag
ImageP5170307 by Al, on Flickr

Gully up
ImageP5170310 by Al, on Flickr

Scrambly fun
ImageP5170312 by Al, on Flickr

On to the summit, where we met the older couple who had been at the campervan last night, had a good blether. Then we headed round the top of Choire a'Chothruim for the two rocky Simms along the western ridge. A steep descent down a dried up gully was next - I was hesitant about attempting on first sight, this but A went across for a closer view and reckoned it was safe enough. There was evidence of deer passage, which is always a good sign :wink: We managed to get down safely, following the deer fence for a bit then walking back along the road. Altogether an enjoyable day out, especially the scrambly bits.

Summit Garbh Bheinn
ImageP5170313 by Al, on Flickr

Loch Sunart, Beinn Resipol, Simms in the foreground
ImageP5170315 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP5170317 by Al, on Flickr

Garbh Bheinn from the west
ImageP5170318 by Al, on Flickr

Descent gully
ImageP5170319 by Al, on Flickr

Time & distance are wrong - should read 8 hours and 16km
ImageP5170321 by Al, on Flickr

We drove along to Resipole campsite in glorious sunshine. There were not many tents in place and I chose to park near to one where the owner had walking boots out beside his car...thinking if he's a hillwalker he'll be a decent sort. On closer inspection I recognised my brother-in-law, Alan, who told us he'd come up for the weekend to get a few Corbetts done. What are the chances? Anyway, that was a nice co-incidence, we pitched and enjoyed a few hours sat in the sun having a good blether before the sun dropped and the midges appeared.

resipolsim.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Through the night we could hear pretty constant rain and sadly this continued all day on Saturday. Midges were making up for their long absence by plaguing us in and around the tent. We'd decided that we'd all do Resipol, with a comfortably late start of 9.30, given that it was a short day. Last time we'd done the hill from the east, so it was pleasant, even in the wet, to ascend by a different route. The walk starts from the campsite, though an old oak wood then into birch trees lining the Allt Mhic Chiarain. A boggy section on an ATV track follows before heading into the coire - we were going to the Simm south of the main summit first, lying on the opposite side of Lochan bac an Lochain. This was Alan's introduction to the delights of Simm bagging - not sure he's been converted :lol:

Al, Allison & Alan, Resipole campsite
ImageP5180323 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP5180326 by Al, on Flickr

Lochan bac an Lochain
ImageP5180327 by Al, on Flickr

Balanced boulder
ImageP5180329 by Al, on Flickr

Alan bags his "first" Simm
ImageP5180330 by Al, on Flickr

We paused for some lunch before tackling the steep 250m pull up to Resipol's summit - mostly on grass though there are some craggy bits near the top. Alan was struggling with his poles, which kept sliding down into midget poles - not a great deal of use. No views sadly when we reached the top. Did see the smashed remains of two trig pillars. My plan was to return by the usual route to Resipole, but I managed to take a path leading east and had to make some corrections...The descent was uneventful, the rain continued to drizzle upon us. Back at the campsite just after 3 - time for a shower, then an early tea, followed by an early bed on account of ongoing rain and midges.

Summit Resipol
ImageP5180332 by Al, on Flickr

Midget poles
ImageP5180333 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP5180334 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP5180335 by Al, on Flickr

cillex.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Up early on Sunday - Alan was having a rest day - we thought we'd had one of them yesterday :wink: So we headed off, having packed a sopping wet tent away amid a plethora of midges. Drove along to Kingairloch for the Creach Bheinn circuit. Last time we'd done the horseshoe as described in WH, with a memorably steep ascent of Beinn na Cille in shoulder high bracken. I'd revised to route, starting from a forest walk/bridleway route into Coire Ghardail. There's limited parking at the start, and a stony forest track takes you through the trees to a height of 250m. Onto open hillside on the western aspect of Beinn na Cille - a rough ATV track leads up until it disappears in the grass, but there are useful deer tracks heading up the hill. Once again we had poor visibility, although the rain had faded to a light drizzle. This ascent of Beinn na Cille was far far more pleasant than last time - just an easy stroll on short grass, not a single bracken stem around.

ImageP5190337 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP5190338 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP5190339 by Al, on Flickr

Towards Beinn na Cille
ImageP5190340 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP5190342 by Al, on Flickr

From the Graham summit it's the standard route to Fuar Bheinn and then Creach Bheinn. As we could see little we had to navigate by GPS and compass. Saw a herd of feral goats on the way up to Creach Bheinn. Didn't see much else - though we did note that the cairns of Ardnamurchan are substantial ones. Creach Bheinn's summit has another smashed skeletal trig point - lightning has a lot to answer for. We retraced our steps back to the bealach with Fuar Bheinn then headed for the western continuation of the ridge, around Coire Ghardail to climb the two Simms before descending easily into the glen and regaining the forest track we'd started out on.

Fuar Bheinn
ImageP5190343 by Al, on Flickr

Goats in the mist
ImageP5190346 by Al, on Flickr

Approaching Creach Bheinn summit
ImageP5190347 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP5190348 by Al, on Flickr

The two Simms
ImageP5190350 by Al, on Flickr

Impressive cairn for a Simm
ImageP5190351 by Al, on Flickr

Fuar Bheinn
ImageP5190352 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP5190354 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP5190355 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP5190356 by Al, on Flickr

The way home was marred by me hitting a rock on one of the tight corners on the road from Kingairloch. Fortunately I have a spare wheel in the car, not just a can of spray cream, so I was able to get us moving again - that's the first time I've had to use the spare on the Yeti. We called in at Ballachuillich for something to eat from the Co-op and who should we meet there but my niece Emma, who was taking a group of her school pupils for a two week mountain adventure, having been in Glen Affric for the last week and now down in Glencoe.
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Re: Variations on Two Fine Ardnamurchan Horseshoes

Postby Klaasloopt » Mon May 20, 2019 10:12 am

Great choice of hills! Garbh Bheinn is the first hill I climbed in Scotland, back in 1994. Memories! Etched into my brain is the fact that your 'gully up' is very hard to find when coming from the summit when it's claggy. For a newcomer, that is :wink:
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Re: Variations on Two Fine Ardnamurchan Horseshoes

Postby Stoogie » Thu May 23, 2019 9:11 pm

As Weaselmaster's brother in law, I had a great time on the Ben Resipol day. Going up myself during fairly miserable weather after a midgie attack would not have been enjoyable without company.

By the way, I have sorted the problem with my "midget walking poles" (for now anyway)! Though they weren't too bad going up steep slopes!

After my rest day I climbed Garbh Bheinn and experienced the lifting of the clouds while on the summit - fantastic. :D
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Re: Variations on Two Fine Ardnamurchan Horseshoes

Postby Jaxter » Mon May 27, 2019 11:38 am

Fabulous area, I can’t get there enough. Shame there are so many other competing good places :lol:

Is it just me that’s worried about that balancing boulder taking out Allison?! :lol: :lol:
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Re: Variations on Two Fine Ardnamurchan Horseshoes

Postby toctioneer » Sun Oct 13, 2019 8:16 pm

Many thanks for the variation on the Beinn na Cille ascent route. Followed your route including the SIMMs and had a cracking day!
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