Fionn Bheinn - Sunshine, Snow, Raven, Spectacular
by keithturrastane » Wed Feb 28, 2018 9:07 pm
Route description: Fionn Bheinn, Achnasheen
Munros included on this walk: Fionn Bheinn
Date walked: 25/02/2018
Time taken: 6 hours
Distance: 12 km
Ascent: 807m7 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
It was one of those weather days that you know is going to be special. Driving towards Inverness, the pink light of the sunrise illuminated the Moray Firth and the hills beyond. Onward to Dingwall and Garve and into lonely Strath Bran, Fionn Bheinn was prominent ahead, covered in snow - I can't say that I've ever noticed it like this before on the countless journeys along this stretch of road.
I left the nice little parking area in the city centre of Achnasheen around 9:30am. The path is well signposted and leads up behind the village, past the water treatment building, and up the hillside to the right of the Allt Achadh na Sine burn, following a fence. It's a bit of a slog for the first hour, and I imagine it would be very wet if not frozen. Soon, it levels out a bit and the snow line brought easier walking conditions - the walk ahead was opening up.
The Monar, Strathfarrar & Achnaschellach hills are prominent to the South, and the views just keep improving as height is gained. The flat area between Fionn Bheinn and the Graham Meall a' Chaorainn looks like it would be a hugely boggy heat hag fest most of the year, but today it was covered in hard frozen snow, and easy to negotiate. There was evidence of recent avalanche debris on the Graham, which just goes to show that you are never far from potential danger - even on lower hills:
The views become more interesting as more height is gained - Slioch and the Fisherfield hills are prominent:
I realized now that I had probably come too far, and should have diverted right and taken the easy ridge route up Creagan nan Laogh, however the direct route up the frozen snow slope toward the summit was not too steep - I did take the excuse to use the crampons in my bag for the first time in 2 years.
Looking back towards Achnasheen, it was just a perfect icing sugar kind of day:
Hitting the corrie edge below Fionn Bheinn just revealed more of a panorama, as Loch Fannaich and the Fannaichs were revealed:
There was a huge amount of cornicing on the North side of the ridge, with wide cracks ready to go bang, so I stayed well back:
I was joined at the summit by Darren & Mark from Cumbernauld, and another older couple from Inverness who had some interesting stories, and then by a group of skiers who looked to have a fantastic descent when I saw them whizzing past on the way down. The views from the summit were just fantastic, full 360 panorama of snow covered Munros all around.
At this point, I should mention one of the yet unfulfilled prophesies of the Brahan Seer -
" The day will come when a raven, attired
in plaid and bonnet, will drink his full of human blood on
' Fionn-bheinn,' three times a day, for three successive
I'm glad to report that the Raven is alive and well, and should have been wearing his bonnet and plaid, given the wintry conditions. I left him a piece of my sandwich, lest he gets a taste for human blood.
Sadly, all days like this have to end at some point, and with a last look at the Fannaichs from the ridge:
and a look back towards the summit:
I headed back down the direct steep slope, the snow well frozen and easy to walk on. The sun was getting lower, bathing the hills of Achnashellach beyond:
Back at the car in Achnasheen at 15:30, that's good I thought - home in good time tonight. Sadly, on reaching Garve, I learned that the A835 was closed due to a fatal accident. There's not much in the way of alternative routes in this part of Scotland, so it was a choice between Ullapool-Bonar Bridge-Tain-Inverness or Achnasheen-Kyle-Glen Sheil-Invermorriston-Inverness - I chose the latter. Two hours later, I was in Inverness, and then another 2 hours to home. The bonus was driving down Glen Carron/Glen Sheil, which was looking spectacular.
by Alteknacker » Thu Mar 01, 2018 12:28 am
You certainly picked a superb trip to write up as your first WHR!
Some fantastic pics there, especially the panos (BTW if you use a Flickr link for your pics, it's possible then for readers to click on the image and get a full screen view of the panos).
by BlackPanther » Thu Mar 01, 2018 11:57 am
We visited FB (and Meall a' Chaorainn) last year in January. It felt like April or May up there. Snow was nowhere to be seen... I found a similar pano snap from that day:
What a difference! I think this year we're getting too much of the white stuff... At least it has consolidated and walking is much easier on harder snow.
PS. Welcome to the Trip Report Writers Society!
by ancancha » Thu Mar 01, 2018 4:10 pm
The cracked cornices are really interesting, thanks for posting
by Sick Kid » Thu Mar 01, 2018 11:12 pm
Maybe if I ever go up there again I’ll wait till winter
Oh and don’t feel bad about this being your first report, I’ve still never done one, I leave that to my hillbuddy
by Mal Grey » Sun Mar 04, 2018 8:27 pm
by litljortindan » Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:52 pm
by spiderwebb » Mon Mar 05, 2018 5:13 pm
by Graeme D » Mon Mar 05, 2018 10:14 pm