walkhighlands

Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
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.

Stick to the Path on 2 Beinns

Stick to the Path on 2 Beinns


Postby neilmckenzie » Fri Jun 27, 2014 4:45 pm

Route description: Beinn Dorain and Beinn an Dothaidh, Bridge of Orchy

Munros included on this walk: Beinn an Dothaidh, Beinn Dorain

Date walked: 25/06/2014

Time taken: 6 hours

Distance: 14 km

Ascent: 1228m

1 person thinks this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

My first solo munro bagging trip; I decided to take the train up to bridge of orchy and tackle Beinn Dorain:

Image

Beinn Dorain has filled me with awe on many a road trip. First as a child on family holidays visiting my grandparents, and then on numerous road trips with friends heading up to the higher climbs( :clap: ) of Glencoe. There is something perfect about it's curve on it's steep slope. Some sort of mathematical perfection which shouldn't really exist in nature or something. If I'd got my head round it it wouldn't be a mystery.

I set out on the 0824 train from Glasgow Queen Street - paying an extra surcharge for using the train service at a time when demand is high and there's money to be made. £33 to climb a mountain :? To my memory I've not been on this train line before. I'm sure I was when I was a child. Once you're past Glasgow and Dumbarton and into the real countryside it really trundles along - more like some sort of train in an exotic travel programme or rickety trains I've taken in Eastern Europe. The entire journey is familiar to me, but it's nice seeing a new perspective on it and wondering where the various tourists are off to.

After the lengthy operation of splitting the trains at Crianlarich(Why does it take so long when they do it so regularly?) we arrive at Bridge of Orchy and the grey overcast clouds have not been replaced by the glorious blue sunny skies my fingers were crossed for. It feels like a completely different country than the one I was getting sunburnt in last week in Arran.

Bridge of Orchy station is one of those stations where you get off and once the train leaves - midweek anyway - there's no one there. No commuters going their separate ways, no cars waiting to pick people up. It feels pretty remote. EVen the streams of west highland wayers haven't synced with with me crossing their path. So from the station it's a straight walk into the glen between two munros which are shrouded in mist. To start with it;s fairly easy going, but eventually the path is quite crumbly and it is like climbing a pile of marbles at times. The last stretch to the Bealach is pretty tough going - luckily my iPod kicks in with a good driving song and I just lean into it and get on with it. I can see two other walkers sitting having a munch, so it's chest out and make it look as if you're finding it easy. They are a nice couple of chaps. One of them has done a full round of the munros. They take my photo:

Image

I stop for a spot of coffee on the bealach cairn and mourn the lack of views:

Image

Image

If I only manage one of these munros, I'd prefer it to be the picture postcard recognisable one, so I head south on the path to Beinn Dorain. It's a relief after the upward climb to be walking along a nice broad ridge and gaining height less immediately.

Image

There's very little to see and very little to report - but I finally reach the summit:

Image

Image

Image

I settle down for some soup and a sandwich and enjoy the peacefulness despite the lack of view.

Heading back to the bealach, despite the path not being steep there's some slatey plates of rock which are quite slippy in the rain and the footing requires a little care.

By the time I get to the bealach - if anything the mist is worse. I head north this time and take the steep norther path up the side of the hill to enter the mist towards Beinn an Dothaidh. It's a far steeper path than Beinn Dorain. The path steps over a few burns and stream and eventually reaches a cairn not marked on the OS map. Visibility is down to about 5 metres and there is no visible path. I have a decision to make…. do I start navigating through the fog with a compass, or so I bail and admit defeat and only clock off one Munro for the day.

With trepidation, I decide based on the map that if I am going uphill, it's north, downhill is south, and if I keep on heading north- I'll get to a ridge and then have a rough bearing again. I nervously step along boggy moorland with sheep appearing from the mist regularly to add an ominous streak to it. I've never understood the perplexing look the sheep give you as if they don't see walkers regularly. It even happens on really popular hills. My paranoia is making my sense of direction, time and distance seem a thing of the past, and I'm thinking through the process of surviving not knowing where you are with visibility of 5 metres that doesn't look clearing.

Eventually I come across a distinct path. it's heading east and I decide that it has to lead somewhere, so I'll follow it and break with my initial decision. The summit is east anyway, so it may be the path. A little along this path I can see rocks in the incline and decide they are a significant enough landmark to head north again and try and find the ridge. If I go for too long I can come back down and follow them to this path - which may head into the glen for 10 miles for all I know. I now have more than one option, and it makes me a little happier.

100 meters or so from where I start heading north, I can see that it reaches a summit, and I climb it with a bit more fervour and get to the ridge. From here, I am pretty confident from the map that if I head east here, I will eventually find the top. Right enough I finally summit:

Image

Phew!!! I always have a compass with me, but I rarely have to actually use it!!

Going back down is much easier, I walk along the ridge and then head left at a cross I made in the mud where I came up beside the rocks. I link up with the path again - which I'm now pretty sure would have taken me to the summit if I'd kept following it.

Once I can see the unmapped cairn, it's plain sailing and before I know it I'm back at my old friend the bealach!

The trek down from the bealach to the station is long and arduous in rainy mist with only the promise of a pint at the end of it.

I rest my weary feet in the bridge of orchy hotel over a pint before heading back to Glasgow on the 1859 train. It gets sunnier and less misty all the way down.

8 down… 274 to go….
Last edited by neilmckenzie on Thu Jul 03, 2014 11:24 am, edited 2 times in total.
neilmckenzie
Wanderer
 
Posts: 40
Munros:34   Corbetts:5
Grahams:4   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:5   
Joined: Jan 17, 2012
Location: Glasgow

Re: Stick to the Path on 2 Beinns

Postby neilmckenzie » Fri Jun 27, 2014 4:45 pm

neilmckenzie
Wanderer
 
Posts: 40
Munros:34   Corbetts:5
Grahams:4   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:5   
Joined: Jan 17, 2012
Location: Glasgow

Re: Stick to the Path on 2 Beinns

Postby Fife Flyer » Fri Jun 27, 2014 6:52 pm

Nice one Neil :clap: :clap:
You must have been reading my reports, losing paths is my speciality & I practice it on every walk - not intentionally :lol:
User avatar
Fife Flyer
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 2318
Munros:158   Corbetts:46
Grahams:35   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:104   Hewitts:2
Islands:5
Joined: May 15, 2013
Location: Guess?

Re: Stick to the Path on 2 Beinns

Postby neilmckenzie » Fri Jun 27, 2014 11:36 pm

It was great practice - I just had to remind myself that I wasn't in any danger and I had to "use the force" - but certainly a squeaky bum moment…
neilmckenzie
Wanderer
 
Posts: 40
Munros:34   Corbetts:5
Grahams:4   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:5   
Joined: Jan 17, 2012
Location: Glasgow

1 person thinks this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).



Walkhighlands community forum is now advert free

We need help to keep the site online.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by setting up a monthly donation by direct debit?



Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Mikeyandkingy, Peterlikestogethigh, Steve B and 51 guests