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.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

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.

Beinn a’Bhacaidh:

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.

Hoof fungus (tinder fungus):

This hill is an excellent viewpoint .