Beinn a Bheithir
Area: Loch Linnhe to Loch Etive
Munro’s: Sgorr Dhearg, Sgorr Dhonuill
Date walked: 30/10/2010
Time taken: 4.8 hours
Distance: 16.3 km
Beinn a’Bheithir is an arched ridge rising high above Ballachuilish on the shores of Loch leven near Glencoe containing the two Munro’s Sgorr Dhearg and Sgorr Dhonuill. On a good day there are some great views to be had out to loch Linnhe to the West and the Aonach Eagach and Mountains of Glencoe to the East.
This weekend was the long awaited Walk Highlands meeting in Glencoe. We had been looking forward to this first meeting of members of the website and were exited at the prospect of having a few drinks with other like-minded individuals. Unfortunately Danny had been ill on Friday night and wasn’t sure if he was going to make the walk but he was going to attend for the beer and banter anyway.
As it turned out he was feeling better on the Saturday morning and he was going to take part in the walked as planned. We were driving up early on the Saturday morning to walk the Beinn a’Bheithir Munro’s and then join the other walkers for a drink later in the Clachaig Inn. We left Dunfermline at 0500, with a slight detour to collect Janet from Glasgow and driving on clear roads we arrived in Glencoe at 0810. We went into the Clachaig Inn for coffee and to use the facilities then drove the short distance to the Independent Hostel.
On arrival we met Andy outside and after introducing our self’s we entered the hostel and met the rest of the walkers. It seemed that most of the walkers were going to do Beinn a’Bheithir, with Malky (sticking to his planned big route regardless of weather) doing Sgor na h-Ulaidh and some Corbett’s and a Graham, and a group of girls going down to the Bridge of Orchy Munro’s. (in addition there may have been others doing different hills). I offered to give a lift to anyone wishing to go to Ballachulish but they had transport covered and therefore Danny and I headed over to Ballachulish Information Centre to start the walk.
We were soon booted up and on our way as most of the other guys were arriving in the car park. The weather was ok at the moment, not raining but not sunny, as we headed off along the road into the village. After a short distance we arrived at the bend in the road where the bridge crosses the river and then we turned left up the lane past the school. Another two walkers, Sanders and Radman, were in the school car park where they had parked there car waiting for the main group to appear.
We continued past the school to the first gate which we crossed and then followed the path along the back of the school. The path was boggy and soon faded out as we headed west directly up the slope. We traversed left and right and soon arrived at the fence which we had to cross. At about 350m we found a good path heading North West. The views from here were excellent so we stopped to take some pictures. We continued on the path as it bent around to the West and continued up the ridgeline.
It was obvious that the weather was deteriorating and the wind strength was increasing, blowing with strong gusts as we continued along the obvious path climbing up the ridgeline over Beinn Bhan and onto Sgorr Bhan. At one point on the ridge the wind gust was so strong it was nearly blowing us over and I was beginning to doubt whether or not we would actually get to the Munro summits. At Sgorr Bhan cairn we stopped to put on waterproofs because in addition to the strong winds it was now raining. It rained hard with stinging sleet pouring down and at one point in the walk it actually turned to snow just before we arrived at Sgorr Dhearg summit.
We stopped to take more photos and then headed South West down the ridgeline to the Beallach below where we stopped for lunch. (In fact we stopped slightly above the Beallach at a nice large rock for shelter). After refreshments we headed up the grass slope which soon turned rocky leading to the final steep ascent up to the summit of Sgorr Dhonuill.
We then retraced our steps back down to the Beallach. We saw a couple of figures up on the ridgeline from Sgorr Dhearg and decided to wait the 5 minutes or so for them to arrive at the Bealach thinking they were from our group but it turned out they were another couple of walkers. They did say a large group was about 20 minutes behind them but we decided not to wait and headed off on our way taking the path North down the hillside. The path was boggy and after a while we crossed the fence to continue on the path that skirts the first part of the forest. There has been some good path building work here as there is a number of boulder steps first ascending then descending as the path heads into the forest. It’s now simply a matter of following the Car park signs at each junction of the forest tracks. The route zigzags back and forward heading into and out of the forest eventually arriving at a good cycle path. Following this brought us out onto the main road, in the pouring rain, for the last 2 miles or so back to the car Ballachuilish.
We took this opportunity to visit Kinlochleven for some lunch, then later headed back to the Youth Hostel where we booked a bed for the night then met the guys for a drink or two in the Clachaig Inn where tales of the day and other walking adventures were in abundance. Superb.