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Legs Across the Kintail Loinne

Legs Across the Kintail Loinne

Postby old danensian » Mon Oct 07, 2019 3:41 pm

Corbetts included on this walk: Beinn Loinne

Date walked: 14/07/2019

Time taken: 6 hours

Distance: 17.5 km

Ascent: 860m

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Recently I must have decided to stop passing them by.

There are many hills we neglect or ignore while hurtling up the road with our eyes fixed on the more glamorous prizes beyond. Some we dismiss as nondescript, others as too low to trouble our macho enthusiasms. Yet more we lumber past while heading home after a shortened day: a shower, a meal, a comfortable bed all proving more attractive to tiring legs.

When July’s walkhighlands meet headed into the uncharted territory of a third consecutive sunny day, one such hill could no longer be ignored.

When the A87 turns left towards Kintail my attention is normally drawn to the tide mark round the Loch Cluanie reservoir. How much beach is there? How low is the water for this time of year? Does it look like there should to be a hosepipe ban?

Beinn Loinne above the Loch Cluanie Reservoir

But, above the shadowed slopes, corries and crags, rising from the southern shore, stretches a lumbering recumbent form. With no obvious pinnacle upon which to focus, it doesn’t appear to have the stature or summit to compete with the Munro’s opposite. It’s simply there, normally observing my headlong dash towards Skye.

Beinn Loinne, offering the ideal opportunity for a two-car traverse.

Border Hugh was an early taker for the idea, but another fell by the wayside, succumbing to the after effects of the night before: ‘nuff said, no stamina these youngsters. So, with my car left parked near the Cluanie we white-van’d it to the other end and were walking by 9.00.

As Hugh addressed the first challenge of the day I rummaged for my camera to catch the inevitable moment when he came a cropper while straddling the gate at the entry to the forest. I’m sympathetic like that. But, biter bit, it was nowhere to be found, lost in the mere twenty yards we’d walked. After a fruitless quick scour of the lay-by we made a second departure, with an anxiety that nagged for the rest of the day.

Striding through the forest to loosen up the legs

Loch Loyne stretches away to the south west

It’s a gentle introduction to the day, a couple of kilometres before emerging from the forestry to the open ground that reveals the gnarled eastern end of the Beinn Loinne traverse. The green bowl that separated us from the outcrops looked lush and vivid, threatening wet feet before the day had barely begun. Fortunately we managed to swerve the worst of it and weaved our way upwards with dry feet towards the skyline.

A potential bog-trot to reach the Druim na Garbh Leitir

Glen Moriston in the east from the Druim na Garbh Leitir shoulder

We knew there would be a spectacular horizon when we finally got there, and so there was - including an answer to that question about the tide-mark round the reservoir below. It just took a long time and a lot of effort for a surprisingly short distance.

Weaving in and out of outcrops and lochans

More lochans and outcrops - but the views out to Kintail in the west open up

And that seemed to be the tone for the next phase of the walk - it just seemed to be a long way - almost five kilometres in fact, taking over ninety minutes. At least the walking was relatively gentle, nothing too arduous, and it might have helped if we had looked at the map once in a while to discover that the top was right at the far western end.

Hugh contemplates the vista - how far to the car?

The first summit of Beinn Loinne ...

A fine high-level outing with the views west and north presenting an examination of our familiarity with the mountains surrounding us.

Once at the summit’s concrete pillar, and questioning the distance that GPSs claimed we had already walked, we began to realise that we didn’t face a quick hop, skip and jump back to the car. Aspirations to be heading home by 3.00pm looked under threat - and our erstwhile companion who dropped out before we began would have struggled to be on the way by 2 at the latest.

… and the proper summit of Beinn Loinne at the western end

It was time to go - and to push on.

It was still a long way to go

Loch Cluanie and Beinn Loinne

Reports of a bog-fest informed the direction of our descent as we strove to avoid the final approach to the old road down below. Higher ground along the Druim nan Cnamh kept us away from the worst of it until the last hundred metres when I managed to post-hole one leg in the gloop.They always have the last laugh, don’t they.

Then it was just a case of striding out, acknowledging those heading in the opposite direction. Some were on bikes heading for who knows where, while a couple of others laboured under the weight of an overnight bag with plans to sleep on the ridge above.

An Caorann Beag gives a glimpse to the pimple of Ciste Dhubh in the distance

As legs wearied, and feet suffered the inevitable burning from the remnants of the tarmac we trod, the track finally turned right, crossed the bridge, and led us to the car.

And guess what was still sat on my car roof?

Relief on the car roof - but at least it gave me the chance to use the camera on my new phone for the first time

All power to the honesty of those who visit the hills.

It had been a longer day than either of us had imagined, but one that had been well worth the effort. When I drive out to Kintail and beyond in the future I’ll now be able to look across the waters of the Cluanie reservoir with a familiarity and appreciation of what the skyline offers.

And the day wasn’t over. It proved to be a gripping drive back south, with tension building as DAB reception drifted in and out. It was the cricket World Cup final. Having planned to meet the Other Half at a daughter’s in Glasgow at a particular time I began to drive more and more slowly as the final overs were played out. Ignoring the phone call asking about my likely eta, I sat at the end of their road to enjoy the outcome of the deciding over.

All in all - a great weekend. Who can guarantee another three days clear weather for the next meet?

And what else have I been ignoring?
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old danensian
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Re: Legs Across the Kintail Loinne

Postby PeteR » Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:20 am

Another good read Nigel and good to see your camera safe and sound at the end of the day.
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Re: Legs Across the Kintail Loinne

Postby dogplodder » Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:46 am

Like you I'd overlooked this hill until the beautiful autumn day I did it. Your route looks good - but I suspect a good bit rougher going? 8)
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Re: Legs Across the Kintail Loinne

Postby Graeme D » Tue Oct 08, 2019 7:46 pm

A fine report there Nigel. I do remember that particular Sunday as being a rather fine day of weather indeed. In fact, I remember thinking to myself how lucky anybody tackling the Beinn Loinne traverse that day would be, and hoping that nobody would have been foolish enough to stay up drinking with very bad people until 6am and be in no fit state to take to the hills in the morning. I can only hope that your wayward, erstwhile companion - the young stamina lacking whippersnapper of whom you speak - does not stumble across this report and regret his questionable decision making of the night before! :shock: :crazy: :roll: :lol:
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