M80 | 1050 m. | 3445 ft.
Translation: Hill of the rowan
Pronuncation: byn a choerin

The two hills closest to our cottage had to be climbed this holiday. Beinn Teallach having the reputation of being a rather dull hill and Beinn a’Chaorainn being renowned for featuring nice cornices in winter and for carrying with it a longish dispute as to which of its summits really is the highest one.

As the books propose, we started out from the A86 at the parking close to the bridge over Roughburn. We walked up the forrest road, turned left at a junction and left the road at a firebreak. From here onwards the terrain was very boggy until we reached the stile which straddles the fence separating the plantation from the open hillside. From the stile we followed the footpath that first contours around Meall Clachaig and then gradually gains height until it peters out on the easy south-western slopes of Beinn a’Chaorainn. The wind picked up when we reached an altitude of about 900m so we had to put on our raingear.

Soon after we reached the cloud base we also reached the main ridge of the hill somewhere between the south top and the central summit of the hill. The cornices which form at the rim of the eastern corries in winter were still very much present. Soon we reached the central summit of the hill. We touched the cairn and carried on. Visibility was very modest and as soon as we reached the north top we headed north-west to the bealach between the two hills. When we dropped below the clouds we sat down at a reasonably sheltered place, ate our sandwiches and drank some hot tea. Then we headed down to the bealach and the massive cairn which sits on it.

At the cairn Alex decided to call it a day and to walk back on the path along the Allt a’Chaorainn. Frank and I crossed the bealach and started the ascent of the steep eastern side of Tom Mòr. Once on the ridge we picked up a track of sorts and climbed steadily over rocky knolls to a cairn. There, in thick clouds and with a strong wind blowing, some chocolate was devoured and we congratulated  one another on having reached the summit of the lowest munro. But, to our great surprise, we soon found out that this summit party had indeed been premature. After one more minute of walking we saw another bump in the ridge which was two or three metres higher and which carried another, more massive cairn. Of course we also touched this one and then headed down the very easy southern grass slopes of Beinn Teallach.

After another thirty minutes of walking over increasingly wet grassy terrain we reached the path beside the Allt a`Chaorainn. From there we followed this obvious way to the flat ground between two forrest plantations. There we crossed the Allt a’Chaorainn, headed towards the forrest and picked up the track which within ten muinutes took us to the fire break where we had started the walk. From there we strolled back to the A86 and our car. Alex had reached the road 10 or 15 minutes before us. We took off our gear, had a look at Roughburn and drove home.

A good tramp, in acceptable weather. Both Beinn a’Chaorainn and Beinn Teallach had given us enough interesting things to see. Certainly not a hike you would call dull!!

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Description These two mountains rise to the north of the Laggan Dam on opposite sides of the glen of the Allt a' Chaorainn. Beinn a' Chaorainn is the finer of the two, rising above the forest on the north side of Loch Laggan reservoir It has three tops of almost equal height on its long north-south ridge, and the east face forms a line of rocky corries above the Allt na h-Uamha. Beinn Teallach is not nearly so distinctive, and although it has some crags on its east face, the other sides of the hill are featureless, and it looks quite uninteresting in views from Glen Spean.Start from Roughburn beside the A86 in Glen Spean and follow the track north-west to a junction, then west for a further 200 metres to a firebreak. Go north along it onto the open hillside and climb north-east to the summit ridge of Beinn a' Chaorainn. Traverse the three tops and beyond the north one descend north-west to the col at the head of the Allt a' Chaorainn. From there climb south-west up a ridge to the flat summit of Beinn Teallach. Descend south down wide grassy slopes to reach a path on the west side of the Allt a' Chaorainn and cross this stream lower down to rejoin the track leading to Roughburn.