Hills: Beinn Chabhair
Date: Saturday 5th June 2021
Company: Myself and Becky
Distance: 15.6km, Ascent: 895m
Time: 6Hrs 20Mins

Having not ascended a new Munro since 2017, it was fantastic when my daughter asked this weekend if I could take her up a Munro. The answer was of course "yes" and I immediately booked a hotel for a trip down to Crianlarich to ascend Beinn Chabhair. If you live in the central belt, the Crianlarich hills are very accessible however staying in North Aberdeenshire these hills are a four hour journey from home so an overnight stay would make the trip somewhat more enjoyable.

On Saturday morning, after devouring a fairly awesome breakfast in the hotel, I drove to Glen Falloch for our ascent of Beinn Chabhair. I opted to park at the start of the track leading to a small hydro scheme where there is limited parking. This allows for an easy initial ascent with dry feet instead of suffering the bog on the usual route up from Inverarnan.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

Just as we were setting off a group of women approched and asked if I knew the location of the West Highland Way track which they had managed to lose despite the waymarking. After pointing them in the right direction, we were on our way.

The hydro track crosses the West Highland Way track and then zig-zags up the lower slopes of the hill. During the initial ascent we stopped briefly to look across to the railway line on the other side of Glen Falloch. As Becky had not hillwalked in some time, I advised that we could take as long as necessary and that there was no need to rush.

Looking across Glen Falloch towards the railway line:

As we progressed upwards, Beinn Chabhair came into view. We were the only walkers making use of this excellent hydro track with all other walkers ascending from Inverarnan. Sometimes following a book route or Walk Highlands route doesn't make sense .

Wide track leading to small hydro scheme:

Just before reaching the two small hydro schemes our hydro track joined the track up from Inverarnan from which numerous walkers were ascending the hill.

At the small hydro scheme:

On reaching the small waterfall, which was just a trickle owing to the recent hot spell, we stopped to take some photographs and have a drink.

Small waterfall:

Beyond the waterfall the track is normally a bit of a bogfest but again owing to the recent warm spell the ground was mostly dry.

Beinn Chabhair ahead:

We followed the grassy track to Lochan Beinn Chabhair and then commenced our ascent towards Meall nan Tarmachan.

Onto the track beyond Lochan Beinn Chabhair:

On reaching the upper slopes of Meall Tarmachan I decided to put Becky onto a rope and short-rope the final ascent to and from the summit. Having last ascending this hill in the winter of 2003 I couldn't recall how much hands-on there was, if any. I did recall that one of my friends felt uncomfortable during my 2003 ascent but that was likely due to snow and ice.

As it turns out there was nothing difficult during the ascent or descent but being on a rope can provide confidence. I led the way during the ascent and Becky led the way during the descent as is normal practice when guiding.

One of numerous rocky knolls:

Ascending Beinn Chabhair:

The track ascending the upper slopes of Beinn Chabhair is good and very obvious.

Looking back during ascent:

Approaching the summit cairn:

During the ascent we could see incoming weather but thankfully we managed to reach the summit to get a view before the cloud descended to cover the top.

Becky decided to trial an Osprey Talon 8 pack during this walk which you can see in the next photo. I bought this a few years ago but have since rarely used it.

At the summit of Beinn Chabhair:

Looking back at the ascent ridge from the summit of Beinn Chabhair:

During the descent we had a few spots of rain but nothing warranting the need to put on waterproofs.

Looking back in descent:

Lochan Beinn Chabhair:

We returned to the car via the same route again making use of the good hydro track in descent.

The walk out:

Looking down to starting point:

Guide books and internet reports advise of bog hell on this hill. At the the end of the walk my trail shoes were pretty-much completely dry so this hill can definitely be done with dry feet given the right conditions and choice of route.

Dry feet:

Fantastic to walk again with Becky.