Monday, 9 September 2013

Beinn Chabhair

Walk Statistics
Walk Date - 09 September 2013
Walkers - Steve Smith, John Parkin
Accommodation - Pine Trees Leisure Park, Tyndrum
Start Point - Beinglas Farm campsite (GR NN 32116 18695)
Start Time - 09:50
Finish Point - Beinglas Farm campsite (GR NN 32116 18695)
Finish Time - 16:30
Duration - 6hrs 40mins
Average pace - 1.09mph
Distance Walked - 7.26miles
Height Ascended - 998.88metres

Other walks on this trip
14th The Glen Lyon Horseshoe
13th Tarmachen Ridge
12th Meall Ghaordaidh
  9th Beinn Chabhair
  7th Ben Chonzie
  6th Ben Vorlich & Stuc a' Chroin

Peaks visited
Munro (282)
Ben Chabhair (4)
Corbett (221)
Graham (224)
Marilyn (1216)
Ben Chabhair (7)
Hump (2168)
Ben Chabhair (7)

GPS tracklog of actual walk
Walk Summary
Main objective for today's walk is the Munro - Beinn Chabhair a lone top in site of An Caisteal and Beinn a' Chroin; tantalisingly close enough to consider bagging these two peaks on this walk as well.
The OS Explorer map did not offer any clues other than a confused spaghetti of contours without any obvious feature such as a wall or ridge to use as a navigational aid, certainly not a marked footpath. On the other hand there were not too many concentrations of tightly packed contours. Guide books suggested it was a possible option but tough, well we got that from the contours.
With this in mind we set off from Bienglas campsite with the intention we would give it a go if an obvious route became clear. Otherwise we would leave them for another day and make do with bagging four of Bein Chahairs Graham Tops of Munro, including Bein Glas on our return from the days Munro.
As it turned out an obvious path did not materialise though a possible route after our lunch location provided temptation it was filed away as a possible return route if we decided to continue past the main Munro. But for now we concentrated on the main objective for the day and press on to Beinn Chabhair.
At least two false summits later along an easy to follow path and both with a steep assent we eventually got sight of the summit cairn and after a final effort reached the summit and enjoyed all round views including the massive of Loch Lomond to the south and Ben More to the north.
The sun also made an appearance which persuaded us to linger with other baggers of the day and enjoy the warm September sunshine.
However this was short lived to the west we could see black storm clouds in 2 clusters and it looked like they were heading our way soon. By the time we had returned to our lunch venue the storms had merged, cloud closed in and it was raining steadily persuading us to head home rather than diverting upwards to bag the four Graham Tops; Ben Glas, Stob Creag an Fhithich and the twin Meall nan Tarmachan tops.
The boggy ground we had crossed on the way up was even more boggy resulting in us failing to mirror our outward route. But the path down to Beinglas farm was clear enough and steep enough to be grateful I had trek poles with me to take the weight off my knees and ankles after what had been a very tiring day.
Mission accomplished Beinn Chabhair had successfully been bagged. We had missed out on the Graham tops and never got round to An Caisteal and Beinn a' Chroin. In all honesty they never were an option from this start location. Most disappointing was having lunch within 100m of another peak namely Meall nan Tarmachen, but like all the hills they will be there another day.

Walk Description
Beinglas campsite bar and shop at Inveranan
 0.) First job was to buy a very reasonably priced £1 parking ticket for the days parking from Beinglas campsite bar.
Steep ascent ahead and to the right after crossing West Highland Way
 1.) From the bar we turned left and east to cross the West Highland Way before starting a steep ascent towards Creag an Fhéidh.
Broken stile above Beinglas campsite
 2.) Early on in the ascent use broken stile to cross fence marked on OS Explorer map.
Stay this side of fence below Ben Glas waterfalls
 3.) Next you will reach waterfalls on Ben Glas Burn half way up ascent. Stay this side of fence until you reach a second more solid stile.
For the last part of climb ascent seems to get even steeper
 4.) After climbing over stile ascent does not get any easier other than the fact you are nearer the top than when you started. Carry on following the obvious path to the top.
Nameless falls of Ben Glas Burn.
I have called them Fan Falls until the correct name is known
 5.) Once at the top you will join a distinct track from the north it soon transforms in to a path which at times becomes a boggy smear, continue heading east keeping north of Ben Glas Burn until you reach some unnamed waterfalls.
Unlike ourselves stay on the path left and higher,
away from Lochan Beinn Chabhair
 6.) Follow path up left side of falls and continue on towards Lochan Ben Chabhair
Head for the notch high up on your left.
 7.) With the lochan straight ahead, look to your left and follow path up to notch.
The peak on the left edge is the Graham Top of Munro
Beinn Chabhair - Meall nan Tarmachan
 8.) At base of notch follow path round to your right, then descend left to base of Meall nan Tarmachan before turning right and ascending to a small unmarked loochan just south of 719m spot height and summit of Meall nan Tarmachan.
Lunch venue,
small Lochan on east side of Beinn Chabhair - Meall nan Tarmachan
 9.) We had lunch near this lochan. Did not bother with bagging twin peaks of Meall nan Tarmachan as intended to bag all four Graham Tops of Munro - Bein Chabhair on way back.
2nd big climb since lunch and still no sign of Beinn Chabhair
10.) The path continues around and then to the west of the lochan. Expect at least two further ascents up what could be considered false summits. Avoid going right over the tops, the path tends to lead you around the right side anyway.
Beinn Chabhair summit area.
Ben Lomond beyond
11.) When you reach the final ascent there is no doubt it is not a false summit.
Beinn Chabhair cairn and summit
12.) Any time spent at the summit is time well spent especially if the sun is shining.
Path continues east from Beinn Chabhair cairn
but not really an option today for a circular walk home
via An Caisteal and/or Beinn a Chroine
13.) John did inspect option to continue west along path from cairn, then north and down towards Am Caisteal and Beinn a Chroine. But although it did look possible it looked too far and hard work for us today without an obvious path down. There would be only just enough daylight and from my point of view would require a rest day tomorrow. So might as well save energy today and have two days walking rather than one hard day and one rest day. For it to be an option the best place to start would be tomorrow's start point from the lay-by on A82 opposite Keilator Farm and pull in Beinn Chabhair from An Caisteal/Beinn a Chroine walk rather than the other way round.
Time to head home. Rain heading our way from Breadalbane Hills
14.) So the best option for us was to return home and head back towards Meall nan Tarmachan along the route we took on the way up. Especially with gathering storm clouds on distant hills.
More rain to the left of Ben Lui and Ben Oss
15.) The plan was to visit the four Graham Tops of Munro around Lochan a Chaisteil but looking beyond to Ben Lui & Ben Oss more storm clouds gathering and look to be heading our way.
45 minutes after leaving Beinn Chabhair summit
we are down to Lochan Beinn Chabhair
16.) So at the unnamed lochan where we had lunch our chosen option was to descend to Lochan Beinn Chabhair with bothering to pull in the Graham Tops.
Boggy trudge west along Ben Glas Burn - try and stay on faint path
17.) Follow faint path wher visible for a further 1½ miles to start of descent to Beinglas Farm campsite
Troisgeach opposite at end of boggy trudge,
start of descent to BeinGlas and Inveranan
18.) Just before start of descent more or less after crossing a feeder stream to Ben Glas Farm there is a less steep descent route to the north along an established track. We took the path off the track on the left and took the steeper but shorter descent option down the path we followed on the way up. 
Time for a pint at Benglas campsite
19.) The final stage though not compulsory is to have a pint from the welcoming bar at Beinglas Farm campsite then return to camper van to left of buildings.

More Photographs
Ben Chabhair summit with Ben Lomand and Loch Lomand beyond
Click on photograph to view slide-show

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