With the 2nd weekend of the Phase3 lockdown restrictions easing and a fine forecast, the hills were going to be busy. AJ hadn't climbed Beinn a'Ghlo before but rather than following the traditional guidebook route from Loch Moraig, we started from the private road-end at Straloch off the A924.
There's plenty of parking just off the road near some recycling bins here https://goo.gl/maps/HQgKZaCrrCUciWo1A
The private road (tarmac for 7km) leads to Daldhu passing a couple of gates and cattle grids up Gleann Fearnach. At the fork we took the left branch onto the Land-Rover track which we followed for another 5km. A bit rougher and some pushing required for the old yin:
We dumped the bikes at the shieling marked as 'Bothan Ruigh-chuilein' on the 1:25K map in a beautiful grassy meadow with Loch Loch just about visible to the north. The shoulder of Carn nan Gabhar (3rd Munro) shadowing from the north-west. This allowed us to choose our descent route for later in the day.
We headed west on the excellent fast footpath for another ~4km before we were SW of Carn Liath. Crossing the valley floor and the shallow Allt Coire Lagain, we became aware of a few folk on the new tracks coming off the main mountain. Then a short-eared owl flew up from the heather, a bit of a surprise.
We followed the new track that climbs into Coire na Saobhaidh until about 500m, due east of the Carn Liath summit. After a quick bite to eat, it was time to face the big climb of the day, 475m straight up. Although the terrain was easy (short heather, some solid scree), it was unrelentingly steep and we found it tough going.
Finally the summit cairn loomed into view, along with 8 other walkers eating, drinking and taking selfies. There was a strong westerly wind blowing over the summit dome so we hid in the lee of rocks by the trig point to put on some more layers. Then we joined the conveyor belt along the traditional guidebook ridge. Fortunately the summits are well spaced so we didn't encounter any others until the final peak (though we could see them).
At the Bealach an Fhiodha we met another walker who had given up for the day to wait for her husband who had gone on to the third Munro, Carn nan Gabhar. She told us the car park at Loch Moraig had been full, with cars being dumped on the verge. On our ascent up the third Munro, we met dozens of other walkers on their return from the summit, about to start the long trudge back east.
The summit boulder field was a bit painful but we were glad for the break. Finally, it was time to descend back to the bikes 700m below. Steep, but doable. However not recommended in winter conditions.
The cycle back to the road was great fun, mostly free-wheeling. What had taken almost 90mins on the way in, took 30 out.
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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.