Hill: Beinn Ruadh
Date: Wednesday 23rd September 2015
Company: Just myself
Distance: 15.3km, Ascent:730m
Time: 4Hrs 20Mins

A majority of walkers would appear to ascend Beinn Ruadh from Inverchapel just south of Loch Eck. The new SMC Grahams & Donalds book also suggests starting from Inverchapel. However, every internet report I have read for Beinn Ruadh starting from Inverchapel tells of significantly steep ground. Looking at the map contours for this approach was enough to have me scrutinising the map for an alternative approach.

The new SMC Grahams & Donalds book suggests two alternative approaches but I didn't like the look of these alternatives either. The least-steep approach to this hill is definitely approaching from the South-East. I noticed a forestry track starting from Gairletter heading towards the South-East ridge. This looked a good plan, so I gave it a go today.

I parked in a small lay-by opposite the start of the Gairletter Forestry Commission track.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

Before setting off up the hill, I took a photo from the shore. There was no doubting this was a sea-level start.

Looking across Long Long to Rosneath Peninsula from Gairletter:

I followed the Forestry Commission track for circa 4km to its 300m high-point. I stuck to the lower of two tracks running above and parallel to the Stronchullin Burn.

Start of Forestry Commission track at Gairletter:

Unfortunately, pretty-much the whole day was spent walking in low cloud, drizzle then persistent rain. This route was however ideal for such conditions. I can't really complain having spent the past five days walking with no rain whatsoever.

View towards Stronchullin Hill during ascent:

Looking back towards Loch Long:

Heading towards the pylons on the skyline:

The only view of the day as the cloud temporarily lifted:

In just under one hour of following the main Forestry Commission track, I turned-off onto a pylon construction/maintenance track which is not marked on the OS map. This pylon track got me from a height of 300m up to 430m.

Following the pylon construction/maintenance track towards Stronchullin Hill:

It was great to get 430m of ascent undertaken on good tracks. Beyond the pylon track, I followed an ATV track leading towards the col between Stronchullin Hill and Beinn Ruadh. On reaching the col, it was then a case of make my way up the hill avoiding the peat hags and small patches of wet ground.

Peat hags at the col between Stronchullin Hill and Beinn Ruadh:

From the col, I followed a line of rusty fence posts literally all the way to the summit of Beinn Ruadh. These fence posts were a great navigational aid during the return as they saved me having to take compass bearings or check the GPS.

Following the rusty old hill posts up Beinn Ruadh:

Following the fenceposts:

At a height of c.600m, the fenceposts led directly to the middle of a small lochan. They continued from the middle of the lochan on its other side.

Small lochan en-route to summit:

Beyond the small lochan, I continued to follow the fenceposts over a few small knolls to eventually arrive at the summit.

Heading for the summit trig point:

I visited several rocks near the summit as several appeared to be higher in the mist. No matter which one I visited, all the others looked higher!

At the summit of Beinn Ruadh:

Cairn, fencepost and trig point at the summit of Beinn Ruadh:

I didn't hang around for long at the summit as it was now raining fairly heavily. I followed the rusty fenceposts back to the col before picking up the pylon track and then the Forestry Commission track.

I would thoroughly recommend this route if you want to avoid the very steep ascent from Inverchapel.