Hills: Meall Dubh and Beinn Loinne
Date: Saturday 21st June 2008
Company: Myself, Ken, Lydia, Judy
Time (walking): 11.5 hours
At 15:00 on Saturday we set off from the A87 beside the Loch Loyne dam, laden with heavy packs, for an overnighter on the Cluanie Corbetts.
After crossing the Allt Garbh-Dhoire, we began the ascent through newly planted forest.
Loch Loyne dam from lower slopes of Meall Dubh:
Looking down Loch Loyne towards Knoydart:
On leaving the forest, and after climbing a couple of high deer fences, we chose a line through the trackless heather towards the 680m top, Carn Dearg.
After passing several lochans on Carn Dearg we descended circa 40m before beginning the ascent up grass and heather towards Meall Dubh.
Carn Dearg Lochan:
Beinn Loinne sandwiched between Loch Loyne and Loch Cluanie:
Looking down Loch Loyne:
We reached the top of Meall Dubh just before 17:00 where there is both a small cairn and a really large cairn.
Ken, Lydia and Judy at the large summit cairn of Meall Dubh:
On reaching the top of this hill we were somewhat surprised in seeing a windfarm which was very close to the summit.
Windfarm from summit cairn:
After a quick bite to eat, we descended directly towards the Beinneun forest, making for a clearing leading to a land-rover track where a number of trees had very recently been felled.
A wee bit along the track we watched an amazing machine, called a Tigercat, pick up a whole tree and strip all the branches off and cut it into logs literally within about 10 seconds! Was surprised to find someone still operating this machine at 18:30 on a Saturday night.
We reached the starting point on the A87 at around 18:40 and then crossed the road heading towards the dam. At the dam we had a wee break and boiled up a brew.
Water being released at Loch Loyne Dam:
At 19:10 we began the ascent of Beinn Loinne. After ten minutes our small group split-up as different lines of approach were taken up the hill.
Ken, Lydia and Judy crossed a stile heading into the forest and then followed a landrover track as far as possible before ascending to the bealach between Beinn Loinne East Top (775m) and un-named 748m top.
I avoided the forest during the ascent, making initially for the 414m top and then to Ceann Druim na Garth-leitr to allow a traverse of the entire ridge of Beinn Loinne.
Looking towards the craggy Ceann Druim na Garth-leitr:
The ascent of Ceann Druim na Garth-leitr was much easier than it looked from a distance. It was possible to ascend through the various rocky outcrops, pretty-much keeping hands in pockets.
Ceann Druim na Garth-leitr:
On reaching the ridge, I continued West reaching the cairn of the 748m un-named top at 21:00.
Loch Cluanie and Glen Shiel from ridge:
Looking towards East Top of Beinn Loinne (775m) from 748m top:
Reaching the East Top only took 20 minutes.
Looking towards Summit of Beinn Loinne from East Top:
Until now the weather had been quite good. However, I could see that the forecast rain was on its way as the skies really began to darken. By the time I was approaching the summit trig point, just after 22:00, it was really getting dark, the rain was starting and the wind was strengthening.
Approaching summit of Beinn Loinne:
I pitched my tent around 30m below and 200m distant from the summit trig point. I sat for an hour or so awaiting the arrival of the rest of the group but they didn’t arrive. Found out next day that they pitched up at the bealach before the East top.
A rather sleepless night was had as I lay listening to the sound of the wind and rain against the tent.
At 05:00 this morning, the rain stopped temporarily so I grabbed the opportunity to pack up the tent and was moving by 05:40. There were no early-morning views, whatsoever.
Camping in the clouds:
I descended the very-wide Druim nan Cnamh ridge in low cloud and was happy to eventually reach the road running round the start of the South Glen Shiel ridge. I followed this road over the Drochaid an Ullt Ghuinhais, past Cluanie Lodge and out to the Cluanie Inn where I had a great full cooked breakfast.
Think this would make a terrific walk in good weather.