Bheinn Mhor from Loch Aineort

Grahams: Beinn Mhór (Uist)

Date walked: 13/08/2022

We enthusiastically planned a short break to South Uist during a heatwave. We couldn't get a vehicle onto the ferry at short notice so decided to take bikes, boots and book a pod. Then the forecast changed, showing cloud and rain on the Western Isles. Anyway, we were committed. There is an excellent museum at Kildonan to pass a wet afternoon, and we spent a cloudy morning cycling round various archaeological remains. However, after a conversation with fishermen "We want sun" "We don't", the sun broke through the clouds. No fish for them then.
The next day was beautiful. We planned to climb just Bheinn Mhor rather than tacking on Thacla, especially since we had to cycle 10km to the start of the walk, and the same back. We decided that it would make a nice round to go up from Loch Aineort, as described in the SMC guide and by Dempster. It was a lovely round, although once we were back at base, our host suggested that the route up from the north was far easier. No loop with that approach though.
There were indeed lovely views over the lochs.
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Nearly at the start of the walk
At the end of the road, there is a network of excellent paths and benches which would be ideal for a short ramble. We started off along here then followed a much fainter boggier path round the head of an inlet.
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Walking round the inlet
From here we headed across the moor then up to the Bealach Crosgard. The SMC guide suggests doing a wide sweep over Beinn na Caorach to avoid the steep slopes up to the Bealach. However even the Hare, who has a tendency to choose to sweep wider than I would like to gain the ridge sooner rather than later, was unconvinced of the merits of this.
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Lily Loch and the Bealach
On Open Street Map there is a path marked all the way from the road end to the summit, going via the bealach. This path is sometimes more a concept than a reality on the ground, we lost it and found it again across the moor, and followed it up to the Bealach. As the ground steepened, it was mostly possible to walk up on grass and soil in very little zigzags, with only a short section of heather at the top. After that the path vanished completely, though as we stopped for 'elevenses' near the bealach we were apparently spot en route. "Oh, it's actually lunchtime, that took ages and we're only half way up".
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View out to Barra
Another steepish section though on wide grassy slopes, and we gained the ridge.
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Looking towards Rhum
After a short flatter section, there is another steeper part. I think it's a bit steeper than it looks in the photo.
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The last steep bits
Then there was just a short traverse to summit for lunch number two. The trig point is enclosed within a wall. Our first top is lower than the summit, despite appearances.
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Looking back the way we had come.
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Our onward route
We contemplated traversing along the ridge line, but quickly decided that the path alongside was better. It switches sides occasionally and we admired the cliffs looking back.
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Looking back to the summit
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Over to Hecla, not going there today
. Then the suggestion is to follow grassy sections down to Spin, and we only had one bit of boulder traversing to do. Looking back, it doesn't look very grassy!
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Looking back at the descent from the ridge
From Spin it was easy walking down the ridge and back to the trees. though we cut off too soon into the bracken and ended up escaping from it with an undignified fence climb to get onto the track. It would have been far better to stay high for a short time longer and then cut down to the gate, I think. Or find a gate higher up. The tide was out when we got back to the car park, and we heard then saw a few seals. An excellent day. We had really wanted good weather for this day, and were delighted to have managed it.

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Occupation: Retired
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Ideal day out: Currently a new Graham in nice weather.
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