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Binnein Beag, Binnein Mor
by seamus0 » Sun Oct 23, 2016 5:04 pm
Route description: Binnein Mor and Na Gruagaichean, Mamores
Munros included on this walk: Binnein Beag, Binnein Mor
Date walked: 15/10/2016
Time taken: 10 hours
Distance: 25 km1 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).
So I came up to Scotland to a meet at the Alex Macintyre Hut near Kinlochleven and thought it would be an ideal spot to do some Mamores. My original plan was to climb Na Gruagaichean and Binnein Mor from Kinlochleven. However the group I was with were doing Sgurr Eilde Mor and Binnein Beag. So I decided to keep my options open and start the walk with them and decide along the way. The weather forecast was looking to be grey and miserable so wasn't planning on getting any great views!
The walk started from the car park beside St Paul's church in Kinlochleven (follow signs for Grey Mare's waterfall).
There are a couple of routes you can take to get out of the wood. We followed the signs for Grey Mare's waterfall, which eventually leads you down some steps in the wood and goes over a wee wooden bridge. Going left takes you to the impressive waterfall which is only couple hundred meters away so worth having a look, however the route is dead end so retrace your steps back to the wooden bridge. Going right from the bridge takes you on a path leading steeply up through the wood.
Eventually after 1/2 hr climbing up you will reach the edge of the wood with some impressive views of Loch Leven.
The path leads to a deer fence and crosses open moorland eventually meeting up with the main landrover track. There's a great wee spot for a rest here, which surely must be one of the best seats with a view??
From here go right and follow the landrover track. There is an option about 1km further on to take a track heading NE towards Sgor Eilde Beag. However as the group were going towards Sgor Eilde Mor we continued E towards Loch Eilde Mor.
At the Loch, a few 100m's there's a hut, carry on and keep an eye out for a wee pile of stones on your left marking the track that takes you up to Coire an Lochain.
At this point it was obvious I had different pace to others in the group (not as hill fit), so the group was going to split, the fitter folk were going up Sgor Eilder Mor (I had done it some10 years ago and was my first munro !! but wasn't wanting to do it again this time, especially with no views). We had a spot of lunch in the wet at the lochain. I could see Binnein Beg in the distance, and could see the top of it so decided to climb that in the distance and work my way back, hoping to do Binnein Mor and Na Gruagaichean. I hadn't really planned any timings or distance, just decided to change my mind on my intended route. Lucy also decided to follow my route, so we said our cheerios in the hope they would meet us later in the day somewhere near Binnein Mor.
The route to Binnein Beg was a nice walk and a pleasant interlude from the steady climbing/yomping we had been doing to get to Coire an Lochain. Going at our own pace slowed things down and became more enjoyable, even though it was a bit dreich! The track follows around the west side of coire an lochain and then comes to an obvious Y-Junction. Going left takes you to a route that zig-zags up a stalkers path up to Binnein Mor (my original plan). Going right descends steeply down towards a river crossing and contouring up slowly towards Binnein Beg. At the river crossing we met a group on a walking holiday who were going the same way as us...we had a wee chat and carried on knowing we'd probably bump into them again.
At Binnein Beag go past the wee lochain and follow the obvious steep path that takes you up to the top of the Munro. It gets quite stoney towards the top. We took our time with a steady pace. At the top there were no views, but we sat down and had a wee rest. the other group had caught us up so we took the opportunity to enquire the best route up Binnein Mor (given there were several mountain guides in the group...im never afraid to ask for advice!) So the direct route up the NE face involved a steep climb and a bit of a scramble at the top. Given the wet conditions neither of us were too keen on wet scrambling. Instead the group were going from the north ridge Gualainn a' Bhinnein Mhor. We thought that would be best too and decided to follow on from a distance. The descent off Binnein Beag was 'interesting' as the guides took the group directly off a scree slope directly following a track SW from the top. It was pretty steep and required careful footing to descend safely. We kept our distance to avoid dislodging stones or take someone out!
From the lochain we headed west towards Gualainn a' Bhinnein Mhor. We couldn't see the top still, and it was misty. Occasionally we got glimpses of a view in the distance. The climb up the north spur of Binnein Mor was a slog! There was no path I could see, and it involved hanging onto clumps of grass in places. It eventually levelled off after 1/2 hr and the next 20 mins was more a steady easy climb, which I'm sure in a good day would offer excellent views! Not today! We caught up with the group at the bouldery top of Binnein Mor. Both of us were a bit wacked, but pleased most of the climbing for the day was now over. We had a bit to eat, and had a look at the map. It made sense to carry on along the ridge to the 3rd Munro, but we had no concept of time! The other group were splitting with a group ahead who were doing the 3rd Munro, and another group who were descending. We caught up with them and asked the time. It was 4pm! I hadn't realised it was so late in the day.....doing the 3rd Munro would probably mean a dark descent back. Given that we were meant to be meeting our group at car park/pub they weren't aware we were going to do the 3rd Munro. So, we decided the best option was to join the walking group who were going to descend and head back (there was still a 9km walkback). Two options of descent were to take the stalkers track we had seen earlier towards coire an lochain (there was a big pile of stones marking this along the ridge (ref- 212660 approx.) or head SE along the broad ridge of Sgor Eilde Beag. The other group knew about a stalker's path off Sgor Eilder Beag, so that was the route chosen.
It made sense in the weather conditions. The track was actually in good shape and zig-zaged down the ridge eventually we came out of the mist and saw Loch Eilde Mor again. At that point we heard a couple behind us....it was 2 from the original group who had caught us up. They had taken the direct scramble option and had made up the time...It turned out the scramble option wasn't that bad...will have to check it another time!
We yomped it back the same route back to the car park, and got back just at dark...knackered but glad we wernt descending in the dark. I certainly enjoyed my Guinness in the bothy bar after the walk where we met up with the other guys who had finished several hours earlier! Nice way to spend a wet afternoon! Oh....for future reference, the other route through the woods, there was a sign for Grey Mares falls at a fence just before the steps that lead down to the wooden bridge. At that sign there was another less obvious path of more natural steps heading up out of the wood. If you follow that and 50m u reach another y-junction. Take a left, crossing a small stream which will take you on the obvious path heading NE (An Cumhann) which also eventually meets up with the landrover track. would make a nice low-level walk just to walk the circuit...for another day!
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