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The white, white cliffs of Assynt

The white, white cliffs of Assynt


Postby BlackPanther » Wed Jul 22, 2020 4:42 pm

Route description: Glas Bheinn from Inchnadamph

Corbetts included on this walk: Glas Bheinn (Assynt)

Date walked: 07/07/2020

Time taken: 8.5 hours

Distance: 20.3 km

Ascent: 957m

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This is the second attempt from yours truly to post this report. My first version was eaten up by the ghost in my machine. I'm not totally computer-illiterate but I forgot to save the draft this time so now I have to write it all again. Arghhhhhhhhh :evil: :evil: :evil:

In June last year, when we climbed Conival via its NW ridge and visited the highest grave in Scotland (details of this trip in my report "The lost Avro Anson"). As we walked up the path along Allt Poll an Droighinn, Kevin noticed, that the passage continues to Bealach na h-Uidhe and it offers a superb alternative route to the nearby Corbett, Glas Bheinn. Of course, there is an easier route to Glas Bheinn,from the western side and this is the way we climbed it in 2011. It's only half day's walk, but to our excuse, it was in winter conditions. But in my husband's eyes, a "quickie up and down" didn't really do the justice to this lovely Corbett, so he plotted a more complicated route, including both Glas Bheinn and the neighbouring ridge of Beinn Uidhe, infamous for being so rocky it hurts to traverse it :lol: :lol:

Track_GLAS BHEINN20,3KM.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


Actually, Kevin said this kind of attitude is not really climbing/hillwalking, it's panthering. To give you the definition of panthering... It means climbing a mountain using the most ridiculous route, just to make it more difficult for no reason :lol:

We started from Inchnadamph. The car park wasn't as crowded as we expected - plenty of room to park and as a bonus, the welcoming committee in the shape of a swarm of hungry midges. We quickly geared up and run away from the car park, leaving the bloodthirsty cloud behind.
2020-07-07 glas bheinn 002.JPG

The path up Poll an Droighinn is part of the Cape Wraith Trail so it was obvious to follow, if a bit wet in places. The morning clag still covered the tops of Assynt hills, but we hoped it would burn off by the time we reach higher ground.
2020-07-07 glas bheinn 007.JPG

Meall nan Caorach waterfall:
Image2020-07-07 glas bheinn 025 by Kevin Dalziel, on Flickr
This rarely used approach to Glas Bheinn could be called "the mini loch district" (as oposite to the Lake District) due to the number of lochs and lochans scattered everywhere:
2020-07-07 glas bheinn 028.JPG

We wondered about the crossing of Allt a'Chalda Mor. WH description suggested it might be impassable in spate and it had rained quite heavily the previous night, but we needn't have worried. The steppeing stones were partially submerged but we hopped over easily, even if without much grace:
Image2020-07-07 glas bheinn 047 by Kevin Dalziel, on Flickr
Soon we came across the second stream but this one was even easier to cross:
2020-07-07 glas bheinn 050.JPG

By now Kevin was studying the map with the facial expression I knew very well: he's cooking something up!
And of course, he simply had to make our lives more difficult by changing the route! Instead of going up the obvious path to Bealach na h-Uidhe, he suggested, we should cross just below Lochan Bealach na h-Uidhe and gain the ridge of Glas Bheinn further to the south. "More ridgewalking!" he explained "And a circular rather than boring up and down!"
Anybody mentioned panthering?...
To gain the southern end of the ridge, we had to cross one more stream but who pays much attention to such unimportant details? :wink:
2020-07-07 glas bheinn 285.JPG

I'm not complaining but we really need to talk about Kevin, especially his attitude to extra ridge walking :lol: :lol:
2020-07-07 glas bheinn 072.JPG

Lochan Bealach na h-Uidhe and Beinn Uidhe from above:
2020-07-07 glas bheinn 075.JPG

After a short steep section we gained the ridge and by then I was in the mood for fun and games, despite the cool breeze. Surprisingly cold it was as for the middle of July. Scottish weather is so weird. No comment!
2020-07-07 glas bheinn 083.JPG

Panoramic view east to Beinn Uidhe and the bulk of Conival-Ben More Assynt:
Image2020-07-07 glas bheinn 088 by Kevin Dalziel, on Flickr
We were always fascinated by the rock of Assynt. Glas Bheinn is probably one of the whitest mountains in the Highlands, considering how much quartzite it contains. Kevin spent some time studying the rocks:
2020-07-07 glas bheinn 294.JPG

Higher on the ridge we had good views in all direction, but the morning clag was reluctant to disappear and the shapely line of Suilven was still partially obscured:
2020-07-07 glas bheinn 103.JPG

...but Quinag, on the other hand...
2020-07-07 glas bheinn 113.JPG

The summit was cold but at least the large stone shelter offered us a good spot for lunch. Lucy claimed her 112th Corbett!
2020-07-07 glas bheinn 121.JPG

Distant Arkle and Foinaven:
2020-07-07 glas bheinn 117.JPG

By the time we finished our sandwiches, weather improved slightly and even some clear sky appeared to the west, framing Quinag in lovely blue frames:
2020-07-07 glas bheinn 132.JPG

Now, having re-visited the Corbett, we still had plenty of time and Beinn Uidhe was waiting!
2020-07-07 glas bheinn 146.JPG

We quickly located the path coming down the steep scree to Bealach na h-Uidhe. Kevin complained a bit about his knee giving him tough times, he said he had to slow down and take it one step at a time. Or was it just an excuse to take more panoramas?
Kevin, look, this is the way down!
2020-07-07 glas bheinn 159.JPG

As we started descending to the bealach, we simply couldn't stop shouting "aaah" and "wow, just look at this"!...
Panoramic view east to Conival-BMA massif:
Image2020-07-07 glas bheinn 163 by Kevin Dalziel, on Flickr
Panorama north into Coire Gorm:
Image2020-07-07 glas bheinn 165 by Kevin
Dalziel
, on Flickr
Looking down the descent route, with Beinn Uidhe to the right of the photo:
2020-07-07 glas bheinn 146.JPG

He took his time:
2020-07-07 glas bheinn 330.JPG

Looking back at Glas Bheinn from the bealach:
2020-07-07 glas bheinn 179.JPG

Now, it's miles and miles of rock hopping, but don't tell me twice!
2020-07-07 glas bheinn 184.JPG

He wasn't impressed but didn't turn back either:
2020-07-07 glas bheinn 332.JPG

Suilven and Canisp from Beinn Uidhe:
2020-07-07 glas bheinn 188.JPG

Panther showing off:
2020-07-07 glas bheinn 189.JPG

I had heard stories about Beinn Uidhe being such a torture, but to my own surprise, I rather enjoyed it! It might be miles of rocky terrain, but the rocks are relatively flat and easy to walk on. Even Kevin with his dodgy knee didn't find it too hard.
2020-07-07 glas bheinn 195.JPG

He Who Always Knows It Best on the summit of Beinn Uidhe, 741m. Technically, it is an outlying top of Conival but for us it felt more like a natural prolongation of Glas Bheinn.
2020-07-07 glas bheinn 341.JPG

Views from the top are just as good as from the Corbett. Quinag is out of sight but there are better vistas towards the main ridge of Conival-BMA, including the illusive plane crash site of the lost Avro Anson.
2020-07-07 glas bheinn 221.JPG

View west:
2020-07-07 glas bheinn 220.JPG

Back along the ridge to Glas Bheinn:
2020-07-07 glas bheinn 199.JPG

Panthering might be tougher than hillwalking, but I still wouldn't swap it :lol: :lol: :lol:
2020-07-07 glas bheinn 204.JPG

Beinn Loinne, one of the less popular Corbetts, can be linked to two Grahams for a superb longer day:
2020-07-07 glas bheinn 339.JPG

Arkle, Foinaven, Ben Stack etc:
2020-07-07 glas bheinn 214.JPG

As our descent route we planned to continue along the ridge and drop to Loch nan Cuaran, where we could join a path descending along Allt Tarsuinn. We had used this path when visiting the crash site so we knew it wasn't too steep for Kevin's sore knee.
2020-07-07 glas bheinn 230.JPG

By now, we were mesmerized by the white cliffs of Assynt and simply didn't want to go home...
2020-07-07 glas bheinn 239.JPG

Red Admiral butterfly:
2020-07-07 glas bheinn 346.JPG

Loch nan Cuaran and the flat, green area where the doomed Avro Anson attempted its landing. Looking at the site from above, no wonder the crew considered it a possible spot for landing, bearing in mind it was then covered with snow:
2020-07-07 glas bheinn 248.JPG

Loch nan Cuaran:
2020-07-07 glas bheinn 348.JPG

Kevin impressed:
2020-07-07 glas bheinn 350.JPG

I didn't hurry him up on the walk back, especially that we had plans to tackle the south ridge of Sgurr na Lapaich the following day. Weather has improved to a sunny, warm afternoon, and the white, white cliffs of Assynt looked simply magical:
2020-07-07 glas bheinn 277.JPG

We returned to the car park to the swarm of bloodsucking midges, but by now our spirits were too high to even care about a few bites. We had a gobsmacking day. Sometimes it's worth panthering a hill rather than just simply climbing it :lol: :lol: :lol:

More summer adventures to come soon, panthering and crash sites included :D
User avatar
BlackPanther
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Re: The white, white cliffs of Assynt

Postby Mal Grey » Thu Jul 23, 2020 9:45 am

That looks like a fabulous place to visit. A part of Assynt I haven't yet visited...result!
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Mal Grey
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Re: The white, white cliffs of Assynt

Postby BlackPanther » Thu Jul 23, 2020 1:48 pm

Mal Grey wrote:That looks like a fabulous place to visit. A part of Assynt I haven't yet visited...result!


If you are looking for a less frequented yet interesting area in Assynt - this is your best bet. The lochs and lochans are too small for long canoe trips, but the ridges, the cliffs, the views, all so worth exploring.
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BlackPanther
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 3497
Munros:260   Corbetts:165
Grahams:114   
Sub 2000:49   
Joined: Nov 2, 2010
Location: Beauly, Inverness-shire

Re: The white, white cliffs of Assynt

Postby Mal Grey » Thu Jul 23, 2020 2:00 pm

BlackPanther wrote:
Mal Grey wrote:That looks like a fabulous place to visit. A part of Assynt I haven't yet visited...result!


If you are looking for a less frequented yet interesting area in Assynt - this is your best bet. The lochs and lochans are too small for long canoe trips, but the ridges, the cliffs, the views, all so worth exploring.


I do sometimes leave the canoe at home :lol: It does look like a properly wild area, and I've not done much in that area, other than C and BAM in horizontal rain.

Mind you, we have paddled this nameless little lochan;


Image


and this, Lochan Fhionnlaidh which was 180m up...

Image


My friend's 12 year old apparently says, when he's climbing hills, that "I bet Mal would carry a canoe up here". This is partly because we told him we were going to take one up Snowdon at New Year... :lol:
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Mal Grey
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Posts: 3473
Munros:110   Corbetts:20
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Joined: Dec 1, 2011
Location: Surrey, probably in a canoe! www.wildernessisastateofmind.co.uk

Re: The white, white cliffs of Assynt

Postby BlackPanther » Thu Jul 23, 2020 2:16 pm

Even from hillwalker's perspective, I can see Assynt is full of lochs to explore. The area north of Beinn Uidhe-Conival ridge is more water than land:
2019-06-08 conival 209.JPG

The nearby Sub'2 Marylin, Maovally, is on our to-do list and it would be a perfect viewpoint for this remote corner of the far north. Plus its name sounds suitable for Panther to visit :lol:

I'm trying to visualize a group of people carrying a canoe up Snowdon. Sorry, it beats my imagination :lol: :lol: :lol: Though I do get my share of odd looks when I carry Lucy up mountains :wink:
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BlackPanther
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Posts: 3497
Munros:260   Corbetts:165
Grahams:114   
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Location: Beauly, Inverness-shire

Re: The white, white cliffs of Assynt

Postby Graeme D » Thu Jul 23, 2020 10:43 pm

Perhaps it should be renamed "Little Stob Ban" :shock: . I just did the tourist route on this one - maybe on my second Corbett round....... :roll: :lol:
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