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