The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Monday, 7 May 2018

A'Bheinn Bhan and Beinn Laimhain

Sunday 6 May

A'Bheinn Bhan (NM945665; 477m)
Distance: 7.3 miles
Ascent: around 500m
Weather: dry with increasing visibility after a murky start
Start point: by bridge over the river Gour ( NM 97848 62920)
Altitude of start point: less than 10m

The constant dripping of trees onto Bertie's roof last night, but the absence of the sound of rain, suggested to me that it was going to be a misty, murky start to the day. It was too, but we didn't let that stop us from catching the first ferry over to Corran this morning. I had faith that the cloud would lift.

Bertie was manouevred into a comfortable position at the end of Glen Gour and, as breakfast was eaten, there were signs of brightening. Hoping that they would continue with some rapidity, I set off, with Mick accompanying me for a little way.

There had been a late revision to my route when, over breakfast, Mick had pointed out that my intended route (taking the track up the west side of Glen Gour, before cutting across) would require me to cross a large river. His suggestion that I should stick to the N side of Loch nan Gabhar was entirely right, as the track that left the road opposite Bertie's parking spot continued (albeit in the form of an ATV track rather than a 'proper' track) all the way to an altitude of 210m, a good way towards my summit.

Having walked the length of Glen Gour twice before (on our way from Lowestoft to Ardnamurchan in 2011 and on the TGO Challenge in 2013) we know it to be a very wet place. Thus I was not surprised to find myself sploshing my way up hill.

At least it was dry from above, and that cloud was definitely lifting...

...although not rapidly enough to give me clear views from the top...

...but by the time I had sploshed my way back down to the valley floor, I finally had a good view up the glen:

Beinn Leamhain (NM957622; 508m)
Distance: 5 miles
Ascent: around 530m
Weather: quite a bit of sunshine
Start point: As above

I hadn't intended to do a second hill today, but faced with clear tops and a bit of sunshine, and with the suspicion that it would be back to cloud early on Tuesday morning, when I had intended to do this hill, I brought it forward to this afternoon, and Mick said that he would join me.

Our outward route was a direct one. We went a hundred metres or so along the Glen Gour track, then headed off across country, to attack the closely stacked contour lines on the east side of the hill.

With some amount of huffing and puffing, the trig point was reached and a quick selfie was snapped...

...but the trig isn't the highest point, so we battled the wind (which, per the forecast, had now really picked up) over to the summit-proper. There I got blown about a bit, we admired the surroundings, and Mick snapped off a few shots, before we continued on our way.

Given the options of a longer route, but gentler descent, by dropping down the NW shoulder of the hill, or returning the way we had come, Mick didn't hesitate to pick the longer/gentler combination. What we gained in kindness to our knees, we lost on the lower slopes with the most horrible terrain, with old woody heather and great knots of dead grass concealing holes and hazards.

It was a relief to finally scale the deer fence at the bottom of a strip of woodland and gain the track that runs along the glen. That track was every bit as waterlogged as we had found it five years ago...

... but it was easy going, in lovely surroundings, and it deposited us nicely back at our start point.


  1. Photos are great when enlarged. I hope others take the trouble to do so. I often wonder how many people do with the photos on my own blog.

    1. One of the few downsides of living most of my life without wifi, and being too tight to pay for much mobile data, is that I often have to read blogs without seeing the photos. At best I only get to see them as tiny representations on the screen of my mobile.

      The same applies to my own photos - I post them on the blog without any real idea as to how they really look, so it's nice to have feedback that they are showing my surroundings (today's (Tuesday) photo excepted, but even I couldn't see my surroundings, so the camera had no chance!)