Hill: Beinn Mheadhonach
Date: Saturday 26th November 2016
Company: Just myself
Distance: 8.8km, Ascent: 735m
Time: 4Hrs 30Mins
Having ascended two of the three Barcaldine Grahams yesterday, I returned to Barcaldine today to ascend the third one, Beinn Mheadhonach.
All internet reports I have seen for ascents of the Barcaldine Grahams start from the 157m road high-point. Today I decided to ascend Beinn Mheadhonach starting from the road to Bonawe near Inveresragan.
I did however stop briefly at the road high-point to take a sunrise pic.
Sunrise at Loch Etive:
I parked in a large passing place where there is room for two or three cars.
From the passing place, I walked along the road for a hundred metres or so before heading through an open gate into a field.
Entrance to the field:
I made my way across the field to a gate at the opposite side. Beyond the gate there is lots of
thick, unpassable gorse. To get through the gorse, I turned right and
followed an animal track as far as a circular cattle feeder. From the cattle feeder, I followed a
"path" which wound its way up through the gorse.
Once above the gorse, I made my way up the steep slopes picking out a route
to avoid most of the bracken and tussocks. As I gained height, the views got better and better.
I didn't realise until looking at the map when I got back that the loch below
was Loch Etive.
The views towards Connel Bridge and beyond to Mull were really nice today. I could see a small band of cloud inversion between Argyll and Mull.
View towards Mull (zoom):
Looking down to Loch Etive and out to Mull:
There is a Sub2000ft Marilyn next to Beinn Mheadhonach called Beinn Duirinnis. I decided against ascending it today but may come back to ascend it at some point in the future.
As I gained more height, Ben Cruachan and its neighbours started to come into view behind Beinn Duirinnis.
Cruachan hills beyond Beinn Duirinnis:
I eventually reached the 387m top from which I made my way down towards a wooden gate at the col between the 387m top and Beinn Mheadhonach. I was surprised to find what looked like an old stalker's path beyond the wooden gate. I followed the stalker's path up the hill and then followed the trackless ridge-line.
Beinn Mheadhonach from 387m top:
The ascent of Beinn Mheadhonach was really pleasant. The terrain is mostly short grass. Yesterday, I spent most of the day plodding through snow on the two neighbouring hills. Most of that snow had now melted, the snowline had risen
at least 200m overnight.
This is how Beinn Mheadhonach looked the day
Ascending Beinn Mheadhonach:
I stopped numerous times during the ascent to take photos of Mull. It was nice to see Ben More with a cap of snow. I last ascended Ben More in February 2015, when it had much more snow than today.
Looking out towards Mull:
Connel Bridge and Mull (zoom):
I also last ascended Ben Cruachan, along with Taynuilt Peak, in 2015.
Away to the south, I could also make out Jura with its distinctive paps.
I stopped briefly at the 619m top to take some photos. The views were now getting better and better and the weather was improving.
At the 619m top of Beinn Mheadhonach:
From the 619m top, I descended a short distance and then began my ascent towards the summit.
Beinn Mheadhonach from the 619m top:
Again, the terrain was nice, short grass for most of the way. The final few hundred metres to the summit is rockier.
There is a short rocky cleft to go down and then up the other side, visible
in next photo.
Looking towards the summit cairn of Beinn Mheadhonach:
The views from the summit area surpassed all expectations.
Not only could I see the Cruachan hills, which are really close-by, but I could also see the Glen Etive hills and
the Glen Coe hills.
View from the cleft:
I spent a while at the summit just soaking in the views. I even took a pic on my iPhone
which I uploaded to Twitter.
View from the summit of Beinn Mheadhonach:
View from the summit of Beinn Mheadhonach:
I also used the panorama feature on my iPhone to take the next photo.
Panorama from the summit of Beinn Mheadhonach:
From the summit, I returned to the car following pretty-much the same route. During the walk back, I took a full-zoom photo of Ben More.
Ben More on Mull (zoom):
On eventually reaching the 387m top, I began the really steep descent back to the car. During the descent, I had to make sure I found the start of the
"path" winding its way through the gorse.
Descent towards Loch Etive:
View during descent:
Looking back at steep descent:
On reaching the car, I thought I had been walking for circa three hours. I was a bit surprised that it had in fact taken me four and a half hours. I guess I was going a bit slow during the initial steep ascent and final descent.
I had expected Beinn Mheadhonach to be another dull Graham. On the contrary, it is a nice hill and an outstanding viewpoint. This is a Graham I would
definitely do again.