Baosbheinn from Victoria Falls

Route: Baosbheinn, near Gairloch

Corbetts: Baosbheinn

Date walked: 21/08/2022

Time taken: 6 hours

Distance: 15km

Ascent: 900m

We've been living in Gairloch for a couple of years now. Baosbheinn dominates the view from our house and I have it as my favourite mountain on my Walkhighlands profile. But I have never been up to the top so it was about time we made the effort. It's very easy to make excuses not to do something and and set an impossible set of conditions that will never be met. Ours starts with a lack of head for heights, Mark particularly can't cope with exposure - there is lots on Baosbheinn but there is one non-exposed route. Can't go when there are clegs - they seem to be over for the year. Has to be a good breeze to keep the midges off - Sunday looked ok for decent wind. Needs to be clear on top to get the views - this could have been the deal breaker as the chance of a clear summit was only 50/50. But finally that was the compromise we made.

In 2 years walking the lesser hills around Gairloch we've never met a single person away from the obvious tracks - which we tend to avoid anyway. So we decided to take the shortest route which happens to have a minimum amount of track. So we drove the 10 miles to the Victoria Falls car park and set off.

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Our route would take us up the forestry / hydro track to Loch Garbhaig then cross country to the stepping stones on the Red Stables to Loch na h-Oidhche track then across to the mainly grassy route up to Sgorr Dubh, at 875m the highest point of Baosbheinn. I had seen a comment on a Walkhighlands report suggesting this route. We got to the empty car park at 9.15am and set off up the track, not bothering with the Victoria falls viewpoint. The track through the mature forest was very short and we soon emerged into some new forestry with a good display of heather in flower among the new trees.


Then we were out of the deer fenced area with good views back to Loch Maree and its islands.


The day was looking promising and Beinn an Eoin was clear as it came into view with just some cloud on the top of Baosbheinn. There was a good waterfall on the Abhainn Garbhaig before we got to the dam but photos had to wait until the return as it was directly into the sun.


The hydro track provided easy walking up to the dam. The scheme was developed in the 1990s but upgraded in 2016 to 2MW. Considering the recent upgrade, the track was not unusually intrusive and the drawdown scar created by the fluctuating levels not really noticeable. There was no water coming over the spillway but a good flow in the river (there had been an inch of rain yesterday).


The dam with Beinn an Eoin behind

The track continued a little further to the edge of the Loch with a couple of boats in evidence for fishing. This marked the start of the rough walking over to Baosbheinn.


Loch Garbhaig with Beinn an Eoin and Beinn a' Chearcaill beyond

Despite August having been a bit drier (summer has been pretty wet, cloudy and not warm in Wester Ross) the ground was very wet and constant vigilance was needed to avoid boggy holes and frogs underfoot (they were everywhere!). We did see one toad but mainly frogs. Photos never do justice to the roughness and wetness of the terrain.


Mark setting out cross country towards Beinn an Eoin

The views back to Loch Garbhaig, Slioch and the Fisherfields was very fine at this point.


The view ahead still looked promising with some blue sky and cloud only on the highest tops of Baosbheinn.


It was about 2 km and 40 minutes until the track to Loch n' Oidhche came into view


Looking back down the track we could see the Gairloch and (through binoculars) our house.


We walked the few hundred metres along the track to the stepping stones. We had a choice of crossing here then crossing again at the outflow from Loch n' Oidhche or staying on this side of the burn to cross near where it has been artificially split to become Abhainn a' Garbh-Choire as well as Abhainn Loch n'Oidhche. The comment I saw on Walkhighlands suggested there is a bridge here. We knew there wasn't. The middle section of the stepping stones was under water so it made more sense to carry on on our side of the burn. There wasn't a bridge but we managed to cross the Garbh-Chiore branch on stones near the junction. I had half a mind to put on boat shoes and paddle across as a slip off one of the rocks would have landed us in deep water! But it was fine. There was a good view back to the split in the river and Slioch, Beinn Arigh Charr and Beinn Lair beyond.


The next section over to the base proper of Baosbheinn was a bit of a slog over sodden muir, boulder fields half covered in vegetation and numerous Caochans hiding in the peat. But as we climbed the views up Loch n' Oidhche towards the big Torridons were atmospheric with the clouds.


Abhainn Loch n' Oidhche with Baosbheinn beyond


First view of Loch n'Oidhche


For the first time the tops of Baosbheinn cleared.


Loch n' Oidhche with bits of Beinn Eighe, Liathach and Beinn Dearg visible

After crossing another small burn, the ascent of Baosbheinn proper started. There was about 300m of mainly steep grass to climb. There was no problem other than it being very slippery and, near the top, pretty steep. The rocks had the best grip but they were generally pretty scattered and all seemed to point down hill. We did see a couple of people on the ridge line, eventually climbing up to the main peak.


On the way up - left hand peak is the top


This looks horizontal but the last bit is pretty steep

The inevitable happened and during the last 10 minutes of the climb the cloud came down and covered the top. We actually crossed a distinct path a few 10s of metres from the top but it was heading for the edge - and we weren't! It came back a bit higher and we walked the last 20 metres to the top on the first bit of path (excluding the tracks) all day. At the top there were no views at all. It all looked like a top in the peak district or Dartmoor in the mist with the lack of views. Mark celebrated by sitting on the cairn.


Mark corrected me as I boldly set off towards the cliff line by saying 'No, it's this way' as we descended the way we'd come. After a short while it started to rain but after a 100 metres or so of descent we got below the cloud and could see the boggy ground around the outflow from Loch n' Oidhche.


The route was much the same on the return - though with no paths there's always a variety of rocks and bogs and mutterings of 'I don't remember this bit'. We got back to the river split and rock hopped across again.


We sat and had our cold pizza left over from the previous night after crossing over the track by the stepping stones. There was a decent breeze again to keep midges off. The wind had varied randomly between dead calm and quite strong as we walked so we only stopped when it was blowing well. Baosbheinn now looked broody and dark under cloud.


We took a slightly lower route back to Loch Garbhaig to have more fun navigating a maze through bogs.


Beinn an Eoin and boggy Abhainn Loch n' Oidhche in wide angle

By the time we got back to the dam it was brightening up again but Baosbheinn remained in cloud all the way home.


We stopped to take a photo of the falls we couldn't photograph this morning (not the Victoria Falls)


An American couple were wandering down the track so we chatted to them for a bit and from the new plantation Beinn Arigh Charr and Ben Lair were in silouette across Loch Maree.


The car park was quite crowded when we got back and we were asked by a family which was the path to the falls and had to confess we hadn't been. We'll go some other time when we're passing but after 6 hours walking we just wanted to get home for a cuppa. It was disappointing not to see the views from the top but at least we had discharged our obligation to have climbed the main hill in the view from our window. Now that just leaves Beinn Alligin, Liathach. Beinn Dearg and Beinn Eighe to do - or maybe not! To those of you who got this far here's Baosbheinn from home.

evening light.jpg

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Location: Gairloch
Occupation: Retired Cidermaker
Interests: Meteorology, Gardening, Food
Activity: Walker
Mountain: Baosbheinn
Place: Assynt
Gear: Altberg boots
Member: Norfolk Wildlife Trust, RSPB, Gay Outdoor Club
Camera: Sony RX-100
Ideal day out: Pathless varied hill walk on a fine clear day

Munros: 8
Corbetts: 11
Fionas: 6
Wainwrights: 11
Hewitts: 32
Sub 2000: 14

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Distance: 127.7 km
Ascent: 5914m
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Joined: Jun 23, 2012
Last visited: May 23, 2024
Total posts: 54 | Search posts