Hills: Ben Griam Mor and Ben Griam Beg
Date: Friday 8th July 2011
Company: Myself and Beinn
Distance: 12km, Ascent: 910m
Time: 4Hrs 30Mins
Ben Griam Mor and Ben Griam Beg have been on my wish-list for a number of years.
These hills are situated between Kinbrace and Forsinard in the heart of
Sutherland flow-country. There is an
reserve at Forsinard.
In April 2010, I got a good view of these hills from the summit of Morven when I
also ascended Scaraben, Smean and Maiden Pap –
I travelled up to Sutherland yesterday, ascending a couple of easy Marilyns
en-route – Meall Dola (above Lairg) and Ben Horn (above Golspie/Brora) –
brief report. This morning I drove
to the starting point near the Garvault Hotel.
The sign at the Garvault Hotel advised this morning, “Open all year round” and “Open to non-residents”. I thought great, I’ll get a pint in there when I come off the hill – the Garvault
Hotel claims to be one of Britain's most isolated hotels. When I got back off
the hill another sign advised, "Closed today"
I initially followed the path which eventually leads to Loch Coire nam Mang.
Path at start of walk (nr. Garvault Hotel):
Ben Loyal and Garvault Hotel (zoomed):
The views were pretty-good right from the off and it looked like it was going to be a really nice day despite awful forecasts.
Ben Griam Mor:
Heather in bloom:
Seeing neighbouring Ben Klibreck, Ben Loyal, etc. was a good reminder of how far North these hills are.
Very remote Grahams: Ben Armine and Creag Mhor across Loch Badanloch:
Ben Kilbreck and Ben Loyal:
During much of the ascent, I was accompanied by Golden Plover.
Looking back towards start:
Despite walking over lots of Cotton grass, Bog Ashpodel, etc., it was remarkably dry underfoot.
Cotton grass en-route to Ben Griam Mor:
The final ridge up Ben Griam Mor was quite straight-forward.
Wide ridge onto Ben Griam Mor:
View from slopes of Ben Griam Mor:
Loch Coire nam Mang and Loch Druim a’Chliabhain:
Small crag on Ben Griam Mor:
We reached the summit of Ben Griam Mor, one hour and fifteen minutes after setting-off.
Approaching the large summit cairn:
View from summit of Ben Griam Mor:
Beinn bagging the summit:
From the summit of Ben Griam Mor, Ben Griam Beg looked a fair distance away - with quite a drop in between the hills.
We continued on, descending the wide NE ridge.
Ben Griam Beg from Ben Griam Mor:
Looking SE, it was good to see Morven and its neighbouring hills away in the distance.
A distant Morven and the Allt Airigh-dhamh:
The two lochs Loch Coire nam Mang and Loch Druim a’Chliabhain also looked quite nice – I would be visiting them later.
Loch Coire nam Mang and Loch Druim a’Chliabhain from descent of Ben Griam Mor:
Descent from Ben Griam Mor:
There was only one steep bit during the descent – important to stay to the left in descent to avoid the crags.
Looking back at steep bit:
By the time we reached the flat area between the hills, Beinn was feeling the heat. We stopped for a while at the Allt Airigh-dhamh for Beinn to have a good drink. Midge-net was essential!
I took a photo of a small butterfly which I have identified as being a Small Heath Butterfly.
Small Heath Butterfly:
Ben Griam Beg:
Looking back to Ben Griam Mor:
During the ascent of Ben Griam Beg, we passed the remains of a fort. I have seen many fort remains on hills – this is one of the best I’ve seen.
Remains of fort on Ben Griam Beg:
We eventually reached the top and its broken trig point.
Bits of trig point at summit of Ben Griam Beg:
To get back to the car, I opted to skirt round Ben Griam Mor rather than go over it.
We made our way down towards Loch Druim a’Chliabhain so Beinn could have a cool down and a good drink.
Descending towards Loch Druim a’Chliabhain:
During the descent I was surprised to see the remains of a circular wall as well as straight walls.
Fort lines and circle:
Beinn in Loch Druim a’Chliabhain:
It would be nice to camp near this loch (outwith midge season).
Beinn at small sandy beach of Loch Druim a’Chliabhain:
Looking back to Ben Griam Beg:
I never enjoy skirting round hills as its hard on the knees and feet.
Skirting round Ben Griam Mor:
Looking back to skirting rise from Loch Druim a’Chliabhain:
We eventually reached the high-point and then made our way back to the car.
Looking towards starting point:
These hills were as good, if not better, than expected and I got some sunburn on
a day I was expecting rain