Beinn Mhanach - 953m
Saturday 16th March 2013
Weather/Conditions: Pretty normal "Scottish winter" conditions! A dry start, leading to wind on top, snow falling on the summit.
Whiteout on top, then a descent in freshly-fallen snow to glen level and a rather white drive to Glen Coe in the evening gloom afterward.
Distance/Ascent/Time: 20km / 950m / 5h 40m
I took the bus to Crianlarich where I met Struan, having somewhat regretted it when I ended up with my stomach in my mouth from the constant winding on the Tarbet road. But Struan picked me up and we headed of to Auch to do this singular Munro, Beinn Mhanach.
It was a typical wintry overcast day, and we walked in chatting about the upcoming summer and what we were each going to get up to. Beinn Mhanach itself is a fairly undistinguished hill, and today's weather was unspectacular too. Still nice, though. At the foot of the hill, we bashed straight up the flank to pick off Beinn a' Chuirn before traversing across to the main summit.
The summit section was the most interesting part of the day: I began navigating beyond Beinn a' Chuirn and we ended up in the vicinity of Mhanach's summit, in a complete whiteout, and a hoolie blowing snow around like bullets.
There was no cairn. Not a trace. I know it's a fairly big cairn, so it should be somewhere here surely? Maybe it's buried. After some plodding about, we got the GPS out, got a six-figure reference and checked it against the map. We were bang on. There was no point in walking off into Coir an t-Sneachda (the northern coire) in pursuit of a cairn that didn't exist, so with that we called it good and fled south, back into Srath Tarabhan and our approach track. Fresh snow was falling on a cold wind, suddenly down to ground level and not stopping. The snow was about to come to glen level!
It didn't stop either, and once back at the car, we drove to the Kingshouse in a complete snow storm. We then headed down to the Clachaig, before sleeping in the car in the Glen Coe layby for a less-than-comfortable nights sleep... Next morning: Beinn Achaladair.
(0.00) 12.25pm Auch
(3.10) 3.35pm Beinn Mhanach
(5.40) c. 6.05pm Auch