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 7 May 2017

Beinn Ghlas and Deadh Choimhead

Saturday 6 May

Beinn Ghlas (NM957259; 512m)
As we arrived at our parking area, next to a bridge in Glen Lonan (NM 95381 27739), Mick poked his head out of the door, looked at the day's two hills (lying either side of the road) and declared he was only coming with me to Deadh Choimhead. So, I was on my own as I headed up Beinn Ghlas (it was only a few days ago I was up another hill of the same name).

This afternoon's hill as viewed from the way up this morning's. Bertie is the white box on the left of shot.

I'd opted for the 'straight' up route, rather than going a long way around to use a track further to the east. That started remarkably well when I found an unmapped track that took me up the first 100m of ascent, and handily through a gate in a deer fence. Then the track veered away from my objective, whereupon I discovered that the deer fence inside of which I now found myself is the most effective I've ever come across. The area has been recently planted with various varieties of tree, none of which is protected by shielding higher than six inches. The effectiveness of the deer fence is good for the seedlings, but not so good for the walker as the complete eradication of grazing has led to the double whammy of there being no trods, but a complete blanket of knee-high dead grass.

Interesting clouds

I waded through and up, only to realise, some while later, that whilst I was making good progress towards the stream I wanted to follow, I hadn't actually checked the map. It turned out that, working from what felt right, rather than by any informed means, I'd identified the wrong stream and thus was heading gently away from my hill. Paying a bit of attention to the map, I righted myself, but it was a slightly indirect upwards line I took.

Being another fine day, the views from the top were, again, superb...

...and sheltering out of the wind behind the cairn, it was positively warm.

The line I took to get down was more like the one I'd intended on my outward leg, and incredibly I managed to hit gates in every fence in my way. The wade back through the long grass of the ungrazed section was barely any easier in descent.

Mick was just starting to worry about me as I got back, having been a little longer than estimated - slow going terrain combined with my accidental wander.

(3.2 miles, 450m ascent.
Navigational note: the track starts almost at the road, but doesn't become really evident until 95587 27554. It takes you through the lower deer fence and comes to a T junction at 95629 27337. On the way back (i.e. the better route) I came out on this track to the west of the junction. There are also gates at 96083 26845, 95747 26455 and 95469 26839.)

Deadh Choimhead (NM 947287; 383m)

This morning's hill as seen on the way up this afternoon's. Comparing this with the first photo above, you can see why Mick chose to do this afternoon's.

In the warmth of mid-afternoon, off we went, across the road, across two streams, across a fence, across a field in need of grazing and another fence and into a felled/replanted forest. A short distance of bashing and we were on an old unmapped track which took us meanderingly up to the modern forest track. There we found a caravan, obviously in current use, complete with electric hook up, and bearing a licence from the Forestry Commission, giving permission for it to be there for use by forest workers. It was the electric hook up that bemused me most, given its position, a reasonable height up from the road in a barely-inhabited glen.

In between the conifer plantations above the track, there lay a bit of a clearing (although, again, recently replanted) which gave us easy passage to the top of the woodland. A bash through some heather later and we were only a couple of minutes away from the top.

Retracing our steps I so very nearly managed to cross the stream without dipping a foot in. That stream was the source of the only wet-footed incidents of the day, as the unusually dry underfoot conditions continue.

(2.4 miles, 290m ascent).


  1. You're certainly taking full advantage of the nice weather. Your last few postings made me dizzy with summits. You must be getting close to the Marilyn Hall of Fame!

  2. The danger with this sort of weather is that I don't get a day off because its such a shame to waste good weather days. I was exhausted by the time the Challenge started last year for that very reason. Fortunately, this year the weather is outlasting the number of hills I have available in the immediate area.

    Still quite a way to go for the MHoF.