Hill: Beinn a’Bhacaidh
Date: Sunday 5th May 2013
Company: Just myself
The prospect of spending a third consecutive day walking in mist on the Isle of Skye was not appealing, so I abandoned Skye this morning in the hope of finding some blue sky and sun. By the time I reached Invermoriston, the weather had improved significantly. There was lots of blue sky to the East of Loch Ness, so I drove to Fort Augustus and then took the Foyers road to reach the starting point for an ascent of Beinn a’Bhacaidh.
I parked a short distance away from a metal gate, with an excellent wooden stile next to it, where there is room for several cars.
After crossing the stile, I walked along the track that skirts round Loch nan Lann. Walking the track around the loch would be a pleasant walk in itself, as the scenery is nice and there are lots of birds in the surrounding wood.
Looking towards Beinn a’Bhacaidh from near start of walk:
I took several photos as I made my way round the loch.
Looking across Loch nan Lann:
Knockie Lodge (zoom):
As I walked round the loch, I decided not to head through the first gate that provides access to the hillside. Instead, I carried on walking a few hundred metres further round the loch until reaching a second gate providing access to the hillside.
Once through the gate, I followed a fairly good track that initially started going up the hill but then started skirting round it.
Following the track next to the fence:
Looking back towards Knockie Lodge:
Following the track skirting round the hill:
After walking circa 1km, the good track ended and much heather bashing was to follow. On reflection, I think it would have been better to head through the first gate, which apparently has a good track heading up the hill rather than round it.
Once past most of the crags, I made my way fairly steeply up the hill.
Into the deep stuff:
Looking down towards Loch Ness:
I eventually reached the North-East ridge of the hill. Circa four hundred metres from the summit, I reached a short steep section of very wet moss and heather that I had to ascend. I was sufficiently uncomfortable during the ascent, owing to the slippery wet moss and strength of the wind that I really didn’t fancy coming back down this way.
Loch Ness, Knockie Lodge and Loch Knockie:
Knockie Lodge and Loch Knockie (zoom):
Once beyond the steep section, it was an easy walk to the summit.
Not far from the summit:
Approaching the summit cairn:
This hill provides excellent views along the length of Loch Ness.
Loch Ness from the summit of Beinn a’Bhacaidh:
Fort Augustus (zoom):
Ben Tee, Sron a Choire Ghairbh and Meall na Teanga (zoom):
Lots of snow-capped hills to the West:
After taking a number of photos at the summit, I started to make my way back via the same route. A couple of hundred metres from the summit I come across several deep holes that could be potentially dangerous if hidden by snow.
A deep hole:
Nice view from a cairn a few hundred metres from the summit:
On reaching the steep section, I made several attempts at descending before concluding that the risk was not acceptable. While I would have been happy to descend steep rock I was not happy descending steep, slippery moss and potentially falling 10-15 metres. I am sure this descent would be fine when the ground is not so wet.
I therefore returned to the summit and made my way down past the small lochan to the South-West of the summit.
Lochan below the summit of Beinn a’Bhacaidh:
The descent via this route was straight-forward with any steep sections easily avoided.
Looking back to Beinn a’Bhacaidh:
After descending a couple of hundred metres, I traversed the side of the hill to reach my in-bound track.
Descent back towards the track next to the fence:
During the walk out, I took a photo of some hoof fungus on a dead tree.