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Five single Munro's

Hillwalking in the Scottish Highlands - May & June 2008

The first of these was Schiehallion with Gareth Lynn.  He was back from a long day in Glen Coe but had a few hours to spare on Monday afternoon.  I was staying at Braeknowe with the family and had a chance to disappear for the afternoon.  I had climbed this hill before on a number of occasions but it was a first for Gareth.  Being the Early May Bank Holiday Monday the hill was very busy indeed.  The new path seems to have made it more so.  Families have realised that this is a great hill to take young children up with a high starting point and good path almost all of the way to the top.

Gareth enjoying the view from the summit of Schiehallion

The ascent was notable mostly for the speed at which Gareth and I went up and down.  All those days out in winter have paid off in terms of the fitness regime.  Another tick for Gareth and a repeat for me.

Next up was Beinn Dearg near Blair Atholl.  This was significant as it was the first hill climbed with the aid of my newly bought mountain bike.

Allt Sheicheachan Bothy with Mountain Bike outside

The need for a bike had been in the back of my mind for some time.  As I was working my way through the Munro's within easy reach of Edinburgh – well at least within a day’s drive – options for a day out where getting restricted.  The Cairngorms, Ben Alder area and some single Munro's are much easier to climb with a mountain bike to ease access.

Route to Beinn Dearg

But buying the bike also meant I had to transport it and that means a bike carrier.  Thule is a popular brand and after doing some research on the web and talking to Ian Cameron I bought the necessary equipment from roofrackshop.com based in Livingston.  This took some time and ingenuity to fit as the Honda Civic does not seem to be designed with roof racks in mind.

Looking back to the bothy from the Beinn Dearg path

The starting point for my chosen route was the Atholl Estates Glen Tilt Car Park.  The bike ride takes you all the way to Allt Sheicheachan Bothy where bikes can be left.  I chose to padlock mine for safety to a handy ladder inside the bothy.  The weather was great but it was a hard cycle. 

Climb up to Beinn Dearg  

From the bothy the walk up the hill was straightforward on good paths.  The views from the top were good particularly across to Beinn a’Ghlo which I had climbed with Gareth on 27 April.  Returning to the bothy I met three hikers who had spent the night there.

View from the summit trig point of Beinn Dearg

Following this was Beinn Buidhe in Argyll.  This is another Munro that is accessed via a long(ish) track up a Glen.  It stands on its own so linking with other hills is difficult.  There may be Corbetts in the area but the nearest Munro's are in the Arrochar Alps.

Beinn Buidhe summit cairn

Ardkinglas Estate is very helpful to walkers and cyclists.  The walkers' car park is at the head of the loch.  Walkers' are welcome to ride bikes up to the last gate where there is a bike rack.

Route to Beinn Buidhe

Although it was a Sunday I only met one other walker on the hill.  The summit lies up a short gully which gives an interesting ascent.  I met the other walker coming down from the summit ridge at that point.

View north from Beinn Buidhe towards Ben Cruachan

Again once back at the bike it was a very quick cycle back to the car.  Once there I stopped to visit Fyne Ales brewery which is very close to the head of the Glen and Loch Fyne.  They sell a selection pack of different beers produced at this micro‑brewery which has operated since 2001.

Glen Fyne & Beinn Buidhe

For the next Munro Stob Ban in the Grey Corries I teamed up with Ian Cameron who came to meet the family at Braeknow.  Ian was soon to return offshore so was getting a chance to climb as many hills as possible leaving Scotland.   

Route to Stob Ban

Ian has a very similar type of Giant MTB and his advice was very helpful indeed when selecting which bike to buy.  His bike was stashed in the boot of his car so it was quite straightforward to transfer that to the second bike rack on top of my Honda Civic.

Cars can drive up a forest track from Spean Bridge and this cuts out much of the ascent.  It was still quite a hard pull straight from the start.  The track to Lairig Leacach Bothy is also very rough and this meant pushing the bike in places.  Ian, as a more experienced MTB rider, took these in his stride.  Fitness was also no doubt a factor.

Ian at Lairig Leacach Bothy

Before long we were at the bothy and getting gear ready for the walk up Stob Ban.  Overall the weather was fine but there were a few showers which turned to hailstones the higher up the mountain we walked.

Walking up Stob Ban

The summit is of course a sharp peak and after that we choose to descend by a different route which included a great corrie with fantastic rock formations showing extensive signs of glaciations.

Scree on the way down from the summit

Back at the bothy it was time to pick up the bikes and look forward to the cycle downhill back to the car.  It was certainly an exciting ride and the brakes were almost in constant use to keep speed down.  Again the surface of the track was the main issue.  A smoother road and I would have been much happier with the ride back.  Despite the roughness it was very quick and before too long we were back at the car and ready for the drive home.  We had a stop at Laggan for a quick drink before it was back to Dunkeld.

View south to bothy and Stob Ban

My final single Munro in the run was A’Ghlas-bheinn which is north of Shiel Bridge in Ross-shire.  This was climbed whilst on a family holiday to Ferry Cottage, Balmacara near Kyle of Lochalsh .  The weather on this trip was very poor indeed.  Rain straight from the car with showers off and on.  The beginning of the walk is shared with the track to Falls of Glomach.

Path to Falls of Glomach

This has been much improved in recent years.  However once past the forestry plantation the walk from the west is hardly trod at all.  In the mist despite help from the GPS route finding was challenging indeed.  Before too long it was heartening to get within sight of the summit.  What was impressive was a water source very close to the actual top along with some flat grassy ground.  The descent leads down to Bealach an Sgairne.

Route to A'Ghlas-bheinn

My original plan was to climb Beinn Fhada afterwards but the weather was too bad and time was marching on.  There was also a steep climb in prospect after the bealach and this was none too appealing in the wet and windy weather.  So instead I took the great path back down the glen to link back up with the Falls of Glomach track.  The rain continued the whole way and by the time I got back to the car I was well and truly soaked.  Another hill completed though and an interesting walk despite the weather.

View east to A'Ghlas-bheinn & Beinn Fhada

Track logs - GPS eXchange Format

Beinn Dearg [Blair Atholl] 01/06/2008

Beinn Bhuidhe [Glen Fyne] 08/06/2008

Stob Ban [Grey Corries] 15/06/2008

A' Ghlas-bheinn 29/06/2008