A’Ghlas-bheinn

M273 | 918 m. | 3012 ft.
Translation: The greenish-grey hill
Pronuncation: a glash vin

17 June 2016 was the last but one day in the 2016 hiking season. We had packed all our stuff into the car and had quit our quiet cottage in Glen Roy not too early in the morning. The drive up to Glen Shiel and then to Loch Duich had been swift, pleasant and uneventful. There wasn’t too much activity at the Morvich outdoor centre and camping spot that Friday morning. We set out towards Strath Croe first walking on the road and then, after crossing the Abhainn Chohaig, along the signposted and well-maintained footpath. It was a warm day. Soon a thin film of sweat appeared on our faces and forearms. We passed the grassy area below the steep face of Beinn Bhuide and entered Gleann Choinneachain.

I had been there several times before and remembered that the very convenient and well-maintained path climbs steadily and very gradually into the beautiful glen. Some pools and small waterfalls seemed quite inviting — if difficult to reach — from the high path. When maybe six or seven kilometres had been covered we reached the spot where the path towards Beinn Fhada branches off. Thereabouts we dropped our rucksacks and continued towards Bealach an Sgairne since we wanted to climb A’Ghlas-bheinn first. On the next kilometre the path leading to the bealach winds its way through and over boulders in the ever-narrowing glen. Quite interesting.

From the bealach we could not see much in the direction of the Affric hills since some clouds blocked the view. A pity. But the close-up details of the craggy and steep north face of Meall a’Bhealaich compensated a bit for the lack of grand vistas towards the east.

The continuation of the remaining 350m climb to the summit of A’Ghlas-bheinn was entertaining. First the path climbs steeply through rocky terrain broken by grassy terraces. Once some further height is gained the path more or less sticks to the top of the grassy ridge which rises in several rocky steps followed by flatter sections towards the summit of the 918m Munro. There the views were not bad at all especially towards the north and west. We had a short break at the summit and sat down to eat an energy bar. But we did not linger for long.

Having left our rucksacks behind we were obliged to retrace our steps and return to the Bealach an Sgairne. On this pleasantly easy return leg we met quite a few other walkers who had opted for A’Ghlas-bheinn as an easy option on a Friday afternoon. In no time we reached the bealach and returned to our rucksacks in Gleann Choinneachain. There we took a longer break and I decided to call it a day while Frank was obliged to continue towards the Plaide Mhor and the high summit of Bheinn Fhada. We split up our party of two.

I returned to Morvich in a leisurely fashion, drove to Ratagan, checked in at one of the best B&Bs cum restaurant in Scotland (Grants at Craigellachie), took a shower and returned to Morvich to pick up Frank.

Frank on the other hand continued towards Bheinn Fhada, bagged this great hill, returned to Gleann Choinneachain and met me at the end of the public road in Strath Croe. We congratulated ourselves on having bagged all mainland Munros we had had on our list in 2016 and drove off to Ratagan and a truly delicious meal.

A great day this was!

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Description Beinn Fhada is a mountain which is very well named, for it stretches for 10 kilometres from Strath Croe almost to Alltbeithe youth hostel in upper Glen Affric. Its south side drops very steeply and rockily along the entire length into Gleann Lichd, and there are no sensible routes on that side of the mountain. On the north side there are some magnificent corries and ridges, and unlike all its surrounding mountains in Kintail, Beinn Fhada has quite a large plateau sloping gradually westwards from the summit. 4 kilometres to the north of Beinn Fhada, and separated from it by the Bealach an Sgairne, A' Ghlas-bheinn is a small hill by comparison, steep and rocky on all sides and usually climbed with its bigger neighbour.The ascent starts from Morvich in Strath Croe. Follow the path round the western end of Beinn Fhada and up Gleann Choinneachain. A short distance after crossing the Allt Coire an Sgairne, follow a path on the right up this corrie and climb to the col on the ridge between Beinn Fhada and Meall a' Bhealaich. Turn south from the col and go up to the summit of Beinn Fhada. Return to the col and continue north to Meall a' Bhealaich. Avoid the crags on its north face by descending further east to reach the Bealach an Sgairne. Climb the rocky but perfectly easy south-east ridge of A' Ghlas-bheinn. Descend west-north-west down a broad ridge to reach the path at the forest edge. Cross the Abhainn Chonaig at Dorusduain to return to Morvich.

2017-09-19T14:14:57+00:00June 17th, 2016|2016, 2017 - 2010, Glen Affric and Kintail|