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]

Sunday 30 April 2017

Beinn Luibhean (NN243079; 858m) and Beinn Ime (NN255085; 1011m)

Friday 28 April

Having stood on Bealach a'Mhaim a couple of days ago and been very tempted by the obvious path leading the 2km, and 350m ascent, from there to the top of Beinn Ime, I can say with some certainty that there are easier ways up that hill than the way we went today. Admittedly it is quite a long walk in from Arrochar, but the reason we set out from Butterbridge today wasn't to save distance but because we were also going up Beinn Luibhean, and it seemed more sensible to combine the two from the NW side.

There is a trodden line most of the way up to Bealach a'Mhargaidh (which lies between today's two tops), but it wasn't the obvious line I expected. That may be because there's a different, better line slightly higher up from the burn, that we didn't find until our descent. I suspect people are split as to which they take, possibly depending on their direction of travel.

Reaching the bealach just as a gentle rain started to fall, we paused for elevenses* (as it had just gone 12) before plumping for the easiest hill first. Beinn Luibhean lies less than 200m above the pass, so even with the need to wind a way through crags, it was a relatively short out-and-back.

Pausing for lunch on our return to the pass, off we then set (pathlessly again) up Beinn Ime. Our ascent was badly timed, coinciding with the cloud coming in. We popped out onto the baggers' path just a couple of hundred meters (distance, not height) before the summit, and just in front of a chap doing a round including Beinn Narnain and The Cobbler. At least we were in good company in the cloud, as the rain turned to snow.

Predictably, we'd not retraced our steps very far back down before the cloud cleared. Harrumph. I reckon that summit was cloud free for over 80% of the time it was within our view today, so it was a bit unlucky to arrive when we did.

Back down at the road, we opted to cut across, via the old road/bridge, to the car park, rather than following the busy road. We knew there was bog that way. We didn't expect it to be shin deep... At least there's a river adjacent so I was able to wash our socks and shoes.

The stats came in at 6.4 miles with around 1030m of up.

(* only half a flask of coffee for me. I'd performed a manoeuvre earlier on, involving me leaning forward at such an angle that both my water bottle and my flask simultaneously fell out the side pockets of my pack. I'd already established that the flask I'd bought last week was faulty, in that the stopper tends to pop out, and that's exactly what happened when it landed - but fortunately at such an angle that only half the coffee was lost. I had to retrieve the stopper from the stream below. Alas, the flask is now a bit battered, as well as faulty.)

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