Restrictions Are Coming – Beinn Sgulaird
I imagine Walkhighlands will currently be overflowing with Walk Reports from those excited to finally be allowed back into the hills following the recent easing to the lockdown restrictions, and rightly so!
However, in typical fashion I am still more than 3 months behind in uploading my photos, so this takes us back to the 21st March 2020, just before lockdown – remember then?
During lockdown I have nearly cleared my backlog. In fact, if I had managed to get this finished I would have cleared it 100%. Resolution going forward is to keep more up to date and avoid certain individuals claiming (in late 2019), “look forward to reading that report in 2021” ...
Andrew, Callum and I set off well in the knowledge this could quite possibly be the last outing in a long time – although I probably hadn’t fully considered how long it would feel.
Beinn Sgulaird starts pretty much bang on sea level and the ascent starts straight away, making this easily my least suited type of hill. More partial to a couple of kilometres walk in through a glen before any real ascent to get going.
Reached the 488m mark looking toward Loch Crenan
Loch Etive and would that be Ben Cruachan?
Once we were over the first 488m and were on route to Meall Garbh I felt like my legs had finally warmed up and we were beginning to make quick progress. Felt far from winter at the loch side but once above 800m we were grateful to have all the winter gear.
Even from early on it was a cold, cold day with no direct sunshine to provide any respite from the bitterly chilling south westerly winds.
Man taking some photos on the 863m summit
Nearing Meall Garbh
Summit in sight
The section from Meall Garbh to Beinn Sgulaird was occasionally frighteningly windy in parts, making walking somewhat arduous, so much so it even put the days plans into question, albeit only for a short period of time. The section from the 863m mark to Meall Garbh seemed to be funnelling through the wind quite efficiently, unfortunately.
Although we didn’t have a bluebird day, the clouds were high, and visibility was good enough to enjoy the amazing panoramic views. As Walkhighlands suggests, it is indeed a “fantastic viewpoint”.
We opted not to linger too long due to the wind and headed back down in an attempt to get some shelter to enjoy our lunch.
We obviously talked about how long it would be until we would be back out doing this, I can’t remember how many months we agreed on, but it can’t have been far from the reality. Looking back, I really hadn’t appreciated how much I enjoyed sitting; half comfortable, half warm enough, eating a sandwich squashed beyond all reasonable recognition, munching on a packet of Jelly Babies that had somehow got wet, whilst looking out over some other Scottish hills – making informative guesses about what they could be.
At least three people heading up
It seemed snowier on the return section… Crampons very much needed
Taking the express route down
Walkhighlands suggest 6-8 hours and we were somewhere within that ballpark so when we were close to reaching the car it was slightly unnerving to meet a couple of others just heading off with the less than reassuring questions somewhere along the lines of; “how long to the summit” & “will I need crampons”.
Although starting straight off with the ascent and the dreaded “out and back” route, I’d rate Beinn Sgulaird as an excellent little day walk with views well worth the journey. Quite a fitting final hill, at least for a couple of months.
Spent the last couple of months planning routes for the second half of 2020, along with the rest of the country by the looks of things, so here’s hoping they come to fruition.
Thanks for reading
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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.