Cloudy with a chance of cheescake

Grahams: Beinn a' Chaisgein Beag

Date walked: 26/05/2021

Time taken: 8.5 hours

Distance: 27.1km

Ascent: 905m

After two days of wreckage hunting and drowning in peat hags, we wanted to do something different and possibly, bag another remote Marylin. Weather for Wednesday was so-so with low cloud and an odd shower possible, but we agreed that it was good enough for a Graham. A few weeks earlier, we successfully climbed Meall Mheinnidh in the Fisherfields, so now it was time to visit another Graham in this area, Beinn a' Chaisgein Beag.
Most folks combine this hill with its higher brother, Beinn a' Chaisgein Mòr which is a Corbett, but we have a different plan for the bigger cheesecake, so we always planned to climb Beinn a' Chaisgein Beag on its own and the quickest option is the walk-in form the north-west, from Gruinard Bay. The track along Gruinard River makes for quick marching (and is suitable for bikes); our secondary mission today was to assess the area around Guisachan ruin for a possible wild camping spot in the future (we'd like to do a two-day trip to bag the Beinn Deargs). Once off the track, we encountered some bog and peat hags but nothing too drastic. The old stalkers path helped us a lot. Sadly, the stubborn clag never lifted, so no splendid panoramas this time :(

Track_BEINN A CHAISGEIN BEAG 27.1KM.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Parking at the start of the track is restricted to room for maybe 4-5 cars on the grassy verge by the bridge, but when we arrived early int he morning, it was empty. We booted up and started up the track. River Gruinard was in spate after several days of rain:
2021-05-26 beinn a chaisgein beag 001.JPG

The impressive cliffs of Carn na h-Aire:
2021-05-26 beinn a chaisgein beag 003.JPG

The walk-in took time but it was very pleasant at the same time, despite the grey, murky sky above; I guess we are so used to foul weather in Scotland that we no longer care :lol:
2021-05-26 beinn a chaisgein beag 021.JPG

The bridge over Allt Loch Ghiubhsachan (good luck pronouncing the name of this river :lol: :lol: )
2021-05-26 beinn a chaisgein beag 024.JPG

All available descriptions for this route suggest following the river with tongue-twisting name into a narrow glen, seen here to the left of the photo:
2021-05-26 beinn a chaisgein beag 025.JPG

...but Kevin, of course, wanted to be original and pointed at the slopes right above the Guisachan ruin.
"We could go straight up, looks less wet."
I just shrugged. Weather wasn't showing any signs of improvement so it didn't really matter which particular line we picked.
2021-05-26 beinn a chaisgein beag 030.JPG
A bit steep above the ruin...

Kevin noticed two small streams flowing down the steep slopes and suggested we followed one of them. The ground was wet but mostly grassy so walking wasn't as hard as it looked from below. The steep section ended after about 150m of ascent. Behind us, we had the panoramic view of the small, craggy tops on the northern side of River Gruinard:
2021-05-26 beinn a chaisgein beag 034.JPG

...in front of us was a labyrinth of rocky bumps, boulders, heather and little streams, with an occasional peat hag for better flavour. A perfect recipe for one small cheesecake :lol: :lol:
2021-05-26 beinn a chaisgein beag 044.JPG

Clag was down to 500m so soon we entered the world of mist and silence. Navigation in such monotonous terrain, even with the help of a simple GPS, can be challenging. We knew about an old stalkers path higher up, but at the moment, it was just rocks, grass and cloud.
2021-05-26 beinn a chaisgein beag 050.JPG
Are you sure we are going the right way???

Finding the path was a relief. We took a short break to swallow some calories and honestly, to give the cloud a chance to lift. I can imagine how fantastic the views are here, even from lower ground. Sadly, we were out of luck today.
Gazing up Creag na Sgoinne:
2021-05-26 beinn a chaisgein beag 058.JPG

The stalkers path was easy to follow, as it crossed the slight dip in the ground. We hopped over a small river (which was just about fordable on stepping stones) and continued up the path on the other side. At 450m we left the path to climb the straightforward slopes to the summit of Beinn a' Chaisgein Beag.
Time to leave the safe track:
2021-05-26 beinn a chaisgein beag 067.JPG

Not much to say about the final climb - just a steady push up a grassy slope dotted with rocks. Once on the main ridge, we consulted our GPS to discover that we were only 100m from the summit; not that we could see anything... Bl**dy clag!!!
For the lack of views, I tried to find something else to admire :lol:
2021-05-26 beinn a chaisgein beag 070.JPG
Black Panther performing black magic in a stone ring...

We found the summit straight away - our 117th Graham and the last one in Fisherfield/Torridon area:
2021-05-26 beinn a chaisgein beag 073.JPG

Kevin posing by the cairn, trying to look cheerful but we couldn't shake off disappointment. Such a great location and no views. Arghhhhh :evil: :evil:
2021-05-26 beinn a chaisgein beag 075.JPG

As we sat by the cairn to eat our lunch, I noticed the faint outline of the trig point:
2021-05-26 beinn a chaisgein beag 077.JPG

Having finished our sandwiches, we wandered along the summit ridge to the trig, where Lucy posed for her photo. It was her 98th Graham - she's now pushing for a ton! :lol: :lol:
2021-05-26 beinn a chaisgein beag 079.JPG
I'm the mountain-bagging lamb!

There was nothing left to do now but to go back. Weather didn't play along and we didn't get any views from higher ground, but this is just how it is in Scotland sometimes. At least we didn't get soaked or blown from pillar to post. Or, in this case, from summit cairn to trig point.
There was no point playing heroes and trying to invent "some kind of a circualr" as Kevin calls it. We simply retraced our steps down to the stalkers path and then followed our own GPS line across the pathless section.
View back to Creag na Sgoinne, still cloudy, but at least we got the cheesecake!
2021-05-26 beinn a chaisgein beag 081.JPG

Following one of the small burns down to the glen:
2021-05-26 beinn a chaisgein beag 082.JPG

The only view we had today:
2021-05-26 beinn a chaisgein beag 086.JPG

It was still an enjoyable day even without the views of Fisherfield hills; on the way back we discussed our options for finishing off Corbetts in this area. The twin Beinn Deargs look very tempting but we will definitely wait for better weather to bag them!

In my next story we'll return to Panthers Aircraft Investigations and visit our local crash site on the remote moors of Dava. TR in progress.

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User avatar
Location: Beauly, Inverness-shire
Interests: Hillwalking, cycling, jogging, mushroom picking and many other outdoor activities, meowing on mountain summits included :P
Activity: Mountain Walker
Mountain: Beinn Eighe
Place: Isle of Skye
Gear: well... my husband ;)))
Camera: FujiFilm Finepix HS10
Ideal day out: Anything - from beach strolls to scrambling up icy slopes. Just bring it on!
Ambition: Tick off all Munros...

Munros: 260
Corbetts: 169
Grahams: 119
Sub 2000: 55
Long Distance routes: Dava Way    Moray Coastal Trail   

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