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]

Thursday 26 April 2018

Tullich Hill and Beinn Bhreac

Tullich Hill (NN293006; 632m) and Beinn Bhreac (NN321000; 681m)

Wednesday 25 April
Distance walked: 6 miles
Ascent: around 900m
Start point: parking area at NS310987
Weather: Heavy showers of rain, hail and snow

Having arrived at the start point for today's intended hills (Beinn Damhain & Meall an Fhudair, from the S), Mick asked if I really wanted to do them today. They were heavily shrouded in cloud, the parking situation from my chosen start point was such that Mick would have to stay with Bertie, and it wasn't a particularly nice place to sit for four or more hours whilst I battled through rough terrain in dreary conditions. So, after very little thought, I decided that those hills, which had already been deferred from last year to this, could be deferred again.

A short while later we arrived at the parking area for Tullich Hill and Beinn Bhreac instead. A much better choice: although not much lower, they were cloud free and the parking area here was good, so Mick could come with me.

I'd opted to do these two as a clockwise circuit, which gave us a short road walk at the beginning, followed by a moderately steep ascent. Two deer fences had to be crossed, one of which had two stiles only about 100m apart; the other we had to climb. Except for that, the going was straightforward, in a slightly rough sort of way.

The weather, that had been reasonably clear as we clambered up the flanks, didn't play fair, and as we made our way the final 500m to the summit the wind was positively hurling hail at us and all views had been obliterated:

By the time we left the summit it was snowing. At least snow is neither painful nor particularly wet.

Reaching the beallach (An t-sreang) the sun was out, so a brief pause was had for lunch and we observed that sandwiches made of four-day-old crusts (scraping the bottom of the barrel on that loaf) do work to remove all moisture from your mouth. It was a pity I hadn't packed a flask.

The next shower arrived just as the last chunk of dry bread was arduously swallowed, and next came a 1.5km traverse up to the dip between Ben Reoch and Beinn Bhreac. Animal trods helped us along, but it's never comfortable walking that distance across a hillside, with ankles constantly at an unnatural angle.

Rain hit us again as we reached the pass, and such was our reluctance to turn to face into it that we walked further than necessary across it. We also completely missed the vague path that would have taken us more easily up to our second summit. We did pick it up eventually, after a bit more rough stuff.

Loch Lomond would have been visible in the far right of this snap, if it wasn't for the cloud

There it is! The view was far better than this snap suggests

Four chaps were met on the summit who were doing the same route but in reverse, and they gave us a valuable bit of advice about where a gate lay in the fence we would meet on our way down.

Taken on the way down. Our route pretty well followed this photo ascending Ben Tullich on the far left, dropping to the beallach the ascending to Beinn Bhreac on the right.

Also taken on the way down. I'm throwing this one in just because I like it.

The final bit of the descent was horribly wet. It's a feature of Scotland this year. Whereas for the last two Aprils I've found myself skipping across crisp, dried out bogs, there has not been such a warm dry spell yet this year and the ground is about as waterlogged as it gets. I was happy to have opted for waterproof boots today rather than my usual mesh slippers.

The outing (excluding our brief lunch stop) took 3 hours 35 minutes, covering 6 miles. Quite a contrast in the nature of the terrain compared with, say, Scaw'd Fell a few days ago, which was 9.8 miles (although only 500m of ascent) in 3 hours.


  1. Your hills are getting bigger.

    1. Bigger isn't ideal at the moment: we've just bypassed another four that were on my list, due to inclement weather. If only there were any unbagged littluns around here!

  2. Re the bike. I never saw mine as a source of pleasure in the same way as walking, more a means to an end which generated a certain amount of satisfaction, especially on the downhill returns from a multi-Munro big day.

  3. That Marilyn total must be climbing fast, Gayle. Enjoy your ongoing bagging, and the April Showers!

    1. The total would be climbing faster if I spent more of my time in the UK! These are my first Marilyns since last May, and I don't this trip's tally is going to rival that of the last two years.

  4. With a LHD campervan, who wants to be in the UK anyway? Not to mention a host of other reasons...