Hills: Beinn Chaorach and Beinn a’Mhanaich
Date: Friday 24th January 2014
Company: Just myself
Distance: 12.1km, Ascent: 930m
Time: 5Hrs

The weather forecast for today was fairly awful. The actual weather was worse.

I opted to ascend the two southernmost Luss Grahams, Beinn Chaorach and Beinn a’Mhanaich starting from Glen Fruin. I parked a short distance beyond the start of the track leading to the small reservoir where there is room for circa three cars.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

My original plan had been to walk along the track as far as the reservoir before taking to the hillside. However, in Winter I don’t like sticking to a fixed plan. The ascent of Auchengaich Hill looked straight-forward and that would get me up onto the wide ridge with less steep-angled snow to walk through. I therefore made my way up Auchengaich Hill.

Track next to Auchengaich Burn:

My waterproofs were on from the outset and remained on throughout the walk as I endured five hours of persistent rain and sleet. The cloud was also down to circa 300m so views were non-existent .

Ascending Auchengaich Hill:

Looking down towards reservoir from slopes of Auchengaich Hill:

It didn’t take long to get onto the wide ridge and start making my way towards Beinn Tharsuinn, a Graham Top of Beinn Chaorach.

I would estimate visibility today to be circa 20m. I was fairly uncomfortable with this as I had stupidly left my paper map in the hotel room. I was reliant on Viewranger for navigation but at the same time was not keen to get my new iPhone wet. Thankfully I picked up a snow-covered track and then also a fenceline, so my concerns of being map-less were soon forgotten.

Due to persistent rain and sleet, the camera stayed in my drybag throughout the walk. Every photo taken therefore required a stop and rucksack removal.

Snow-covered track leading to Beinn Tharsuinn:

At the summit of Beinn Tharsuinn:

From the summit of Beinn Tharsuinn, I continued onto the summit of Beinn Chaorach.

At the cairn a short distance from the summit of Beinn Chaorach:

I wasn’t convinced that the trig point was the high-point. This was possibly just the mist confusing my eyes and brain!

At the summit of Beinn Chaorach:

The descent from Beinn Chaorach was fairly steep so I got my axe out but didn’t bother with crampons as the snow was soft and slushy. I followed the fenceline down to the col.

Descent from Beinn Chaorach:

Looking back at descent from Beinn Chaorach:

Beinn a’Mhanaich:

On reaching the col, I had a quick look at Viewranger to check out the contours for the ascent of Beinn a’Mhanaich. I decided to head up to the right of a gully.

Gully on Beinn a’Mhanaich:

Once above the gully, I continued on up until there was no more up .

Above the snowline on Beinn a’Mhanaich:

At the summit of Beinn a’Mhanaich:

From the summit of Beinn a’Mhanaich, I returned via the ridge leading to Maol an Fheidh and the Strone.

On reaching Maol an Fheidh, I reached the first of numerous military signs warning “no access” when red flags or lights are displayed. As I could see no red flags or lights, I continued on.

One of numerous Danger signs on ridge leading to the Strone:

As I made my way along the ridge, I met four army lads who all said hello. However, a few hundred metres further along the ridge I could hear automatic weapon fire. As the track was to the East of all of the warning signs, I assumed that it was ok to walk along the track. Surely if it was not, the army lads would have said something. During the descent, I passed a large red flag!

On reaching the road, I walked a short distance back along the road to the car. Despite wearing waterproofs, I was soaked through. An unpleasant day out .