Hills: Cruach Bhuidhe, Beinn Bheag and Beinn Mhor
Date: Friday 30th October 2015
Company: Just myself
Distance: 20.4km, Ascent: 1370m
Time: 7Hrs 50Mins

I set out this morning to ascend my two remaining Cowal Grahams, Beinn Mhor and Beinn Bheag. I had initially considered an out-and-back from Benmore Gardens or an out-and-back from Glenbranter. However, on pondering over the map I was not inspired by either of these options. A traverse from Glenbranter to Benmore, or vice-versa, was however appealing.

I searched the internet for a trip report of a traverse but found none. The new SMC Grahams and Donalds book does include a traverse option for these hills so I decided to follow its suggested route.

I checked out bus times this morning. A traverse from Glenbranter to Benmore was possible although I would need to move fairly quickly to complete the traverse before dark.

I drove to Benmore where I parked in the Benmore Gardens car park. I then caught the 09:09 bus from Benmore to Glenbranter (Bus number: 486, cost £2.25).

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

On arrival at Glenbranter, I followed the road leading round towards Glenshellish farm.


Track near Glenshellish Farm:

Beyond Glenshellish farm, I followed the Loch Eck West track towards Loch Eck.

Loch Eck West track:

Loch Eck:

The SMC guidebook suggests ascending a firebreak next to a burn/waterfall. I'm not sure if anyone from the SMC has actually ascended this way. To say the ascent was unpleasant would be an understatement.

The firebreak is steep and today it was very wet and slippery underfoot. It would also appear to be the domain of deer ked, numerous of which landed on me including one in my eye.

Firebreak ascent:

Firebreak ascent:

Looking back down the firebreak:

I took my time ascending the firebreak to ensure I did not slip down into a waterfall. I was relieved to eventually get above the trees and onto easier ground.

Onto safer ground above the firebreak:

My first summit of the day was Cruach Bhuidhe. It is a HuMP (HUndred Metre Prominence hill). There is a small hut and the remains of a transmitter near the summit.

Approaching the summit of Cruach Bhuidhe:

A bit of care is needed during the initial descent of Cruach Bhuidhe which is down a gully between two crags.

Looking back at Cruach Bhuidhe descent gully:

I next ascended Cruach Bhuidhe's South Top.

Loch Eck and Beinn Bheag from Cruach Bhuidhe South Top:

Looking back to Cruach Bhuidhe and Cruach Bhuidhe South Top:

The ascent of Beinn Bheag was straight-forward albeit steep.

Ascending Beinn Bheag:

The summit of Beinn Bheag provided the best views of the day.

Loch Eck from summit of Beinn Bheag:

Loch Eck from summit of Beinn Bheag:

Getting from Beinn Bheag to Beinn Mhor took longer than expected.

Looking back to Beinn Bheag:

I skirted round Meall Breac during the descent towards the col.

Looking towards Meall Breac and Beinn Mhor:

Looking back to Meall Breac:

Descent to col between Beinn Bheag and Beinn Mhor:

On reaching the col, I decided to follow a fence leading up Beinn Mhor.

Beinn Mhor from col:

Looking back to Beinn Bheag during ascent of Beinn Mhor:

During the ascent I was fortunate to see a flock of Redwing. The clag was however down so it wasn't worth trying to take a photo of them.

Ascending Beinn Mhor into the clag:

I reached the summit of Beinn Mhor around 14:30. I was conscious of having a long walk ahead with only 2.5 - 3 hours of daylight remaining. As I didn't fancy trying to find my way down through the forest in the dark, I pressed on without stopping.

Summit of Beinn Mhor:

During the walk towards Capull Cloiche, I spotted several more Redwing. This time I did stop for a photo.

Following the fenceline towards Capull Cloiche:

One of numerous Redwing:

The flat section of ground between Capull Cloiche and Creachan Mor was very wet underfoot.

Looking towards Creachan Beag:

Ascending Creachan Beag:

As I progressed towards Creachan Beag, I descended below the clag and started to get some limited views.

Glen Massan:

It was disappointing to walk this ridge in clag as this was the part of ridge I was looking forward to the most.

At the summit of Creachan Beag:

Loch Eck:

A' Chruach:

At the summit of A' Chruach:

From A' Cruach, I initially followed rusty fenceposts and then wooden fenceposts down the hill.

Looking towards Holy Loch during descent of A' Cruach:

The fenceposts lead to a gate and a stile beyond which is a track that leads down to Benmore Gardens.

Gate and Stile at start of track leading down to Benmore:

Looking towards Holy Loch:

Looking back to A' Cruach:

I enjoyed the walk through Benmore Gardens; there are lots of nice trees.

Benmore Outdoor Centre:

I got back to the car park at 17:15 just as it was getting dark.

This is an excellent traverse over rough trackless hills.