M106 | 1025 m. | 3363 ft.
Translation: Malcolm's hill
Pronuncation: byn cha-lam

29 May 2015 saw us arrive at Edinburgh Airport from Cologne and Berlin on time and full of anticipation. The weather was much better than we had expected it to be. The waiting line at the car rental was short and off we went quite swiftly.

The first hill of the May/June 2015 “campaign” was to be Ben Challum which is a good hill for an afternoon hike since its ascent from Kirkton Farm is straightforward and very quickly done. The choice of Kirkton as the starting point also signalled our decision to skip the slightly longer but likely more interesting approach to the hill via its north-east ridge due to time constraints imposed upon us by the advanced hour of the day. We reached the farm buildings using the minor road that leaves the A82 a few kilometres west of Crianlarich. Right in front of the Farm the West Highland Way runs parallel to the railway line. We parked the Vauxhall in a little parking provided by the farmer (Thanks!). Then the stuff we needed for the short hike was torn from our suitcases and disappeared into the rucksacks. Hiking clothes were found, put on and boots were laced.

After a short glance at the ruins of St. Fillan’s Priory we took the Land Rover track leading uphill towards the rail tracks. We crossed the tracks and continued uphill for a few dozen metres until we picked up traces of a path and later the path proper which we were able to follow all the way to the summit of Beinn Challum. But before we got there seemingly endless slopes of grass interspersed with two deer fences, the occasional squishy section and the odd peat hag needed to be climbed.

This was no problem, though, since the weather had been mostly dry the days before we arrived in Scotland. The views became more extensive as height was gained. An overcast day with high clouds and the occasional ray of brilliant sunlight. Not the worst hillwalking weather at all.

Then the south top of Ben Challum came into view. Once we got there the terrain became more interesting for a few minutes since the way from the south top to the main summit is via a short narrow section of rocky ridge. Nice for a change. Soon, however, the ridge became wider again. The path dips a bit and crosses a shallow bealach and then climbs up the final rocky section of Ben Challum’s summit slopes. From the summit cairn the views were extensive. We very much enjoyed seeing the Glen Lochay and Glen Lyon Munros climbed a few years earlier from the south and the west. Towards the south the Crianlarich hills were prominent just as were Ben Oss, Ben Dubchraigh and Ben Lui when looking in a westerly direction. A great summit panorama.

Since it was already late in the day (about 5:30 pm) we soon left the summit again and headed back towards the glen reversing the route of ascent. This was an easy return leg of the hike and we had time to saviour the views towards the Crianlarich hills. A few squishier sections on the steepish slopes above the West Highland Railway need some attention in order not to slip and fall. But all in all we made it back to the car in four hours with a few minutes to spare.

An easy start to Alba 2015. Good views and a benign atmosphere helped making this purportedly boring ascent an enjoyable short afternoon outing. The beginning to the Munro walking holiday 2015 was made and in style. All that was left was a relaxing evening in the Bridge of Orchy Hotel; also spent in style if I may add this wayward observation. 🙂

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Total distance: 11033 m
Max elevation: 1028 m
Min elevation: 154 m
Total climbing: 992 m
Total descent: -985 m
Total time: 04:26:15

Description The north-east side of Strath Fillan between Crianlarich and Tyndrum is dominated by the slopes of Ben Challum, the largest and highest hill on that side of the strath. Seen from Crianlarich, the main impression of the mountain is a wide expanse of grassy hillside rising above the River Fillan at an easy angle to the South Top, behind which the true summit is hidden. The other side of the mountain overlooking the head of Glen Lochay is steep and craggy, and from that direction the summit appears to be quite pointed.The ascent is usually made from Kirkton Farm in Strath Fillan. From there cross the railway just above the old graveyard of St Fillan's Priory and climb north-eastwards up wide featureless slopes. The ascent goes over a small knoll and across flatter ground to the final rise to the South Top. From there a fairly narrow ridge continues north to the summit.