Beinn Sgritheall - 974m
Beinn Sgritheall NW Top - 928m
Beinn na h-Eaglaise - 805m
Beinn nan Caorach - 774m
Beinn Clachach - 643m
Beinn Clachach West Top - 618m
Saturday 18th March 2017
Weather/Conditions: We'd had snow to low levels the previous day, so I was expecting to see a lot. This wasn't quite to be, though, and the summits just had a coasting of thawing, slobbery snow, with southern flanks of the mountains completely bare. Misty on all summits, and especially cool and drizzly on Beinn Sgritheall.
Distance/Ascent/Time: 19km / 1950m / 6h 35m
It was a slow morning. The weather wasn't great and I drove around to Arnisdale from Kintail with some doubt in my mind. Lethargy was what it was. The good thing is that it disappears when I actually get walking, and as with many days for me, the crux was getting out the car.
I headed up the normal path to Beinn Sgritheall - like every time before it was overcast and a bit damp. At Bealach Arnasdail, I cut up left, over the east top and to the summit. The two tops are connected by a nice ridge. I then wandered out for the NW top, and back via. the summit.
Beinn na h-Eaglaise & Beinn nan Caorach
The momentum of the day was picking up and I was pretty sure I'd go for the Corbetts now. I went back to Bealach Arnasdail and across, heading up the steep flank of Beinn na h-Eaglaise. I included a couple of scrambling moments and popped out at the cairn with some immediacy. Continuing again, I headed along it's northern ridge and in the direction of Beinn nan Caorach.
Bealach Dhruim nam Bò was grey, with mist blowing by. I think it was Hamish Brown that pointed out it was a suitably grassy location for the cattle mentioned in the name. I crossed onto the slopes of Beinn nan Caorach to find it's summit cairn mist-bound with a couple small lochans fringed in snow. The day was too good to bring to a close now, so I headed in the direction of a further hill; Beinn Clachach. I went east in the direction of Bealach Aoidhdailean, the pass that carries the power line to Skye. Kinloch Hourn didn't seem so far away either, but of course it's a long way by road.
Beinn Clachach & back to Arnasdail
Beinn Clachach is a rugged hill set in a harsh area. The hill itself is somewhat anonymous, overshadowed by higher and mightier hills. But I was enjoying the unexpected summits, the wandering through the back end of Arnisdale. What an enjoyable thing to wander through new country; the fresh perspective, the discovery of new coires and new glens.
I went to the west top of Beinn Clachach then made my descent via. the Eas na Cuingid - if I understand it to mean the waterfall of the narrows, then it's probably apt for this waterfall as it drops into a steep-sided gorge. The path twists and turns by the river, then releases onto the sea-level flats down by Achadh a' Ghlinne. I poked my head into this building, then continued on down the glen to the sea, a public road and a last mile of tarmac back to the car. For a reticent morning, it turned into an absolutely fantastic day.
I stopped by Bernera Barracks on the way back, a building that now is truly following down. I suppose I regard the building of these places as a shameful period of oppression in Scottish history, so hell mend it, perhaps. In any case, there appear to be no attempts to keep it standing. Neither does it look particularly safe.
The Ruthven Barracks were part of an earlier (but ultimately successful) attempt to control the 'native population' - which is one way of phrasing what amounted to robbing the place of it's people, it's language, it's culture. Of course Gaels still survive and thrive here but I wonder how much strength of feeling there is, or otherwise - or does this shameful and sad history remain quietly and gently accepted? All questions to ponder over as I wandered the ruins under grey skies.
Over the following two days, Struan and I would go on a memorable trip into the Killilan/Ling wilds, climbing four Corbetts. It's nice still to have unclimbed hills in Scotland, but at the rate I've been going I'll soon run out of west coast peaks! Not a bad problem to have, and I'm enjoying the exploring.
(0.00) 10.47am Arnisdale
(1.28) 12.15pm Beinn Sgritheall East Top
(1.48) 12.35pm Beinn Sgritheall NW Top
(2.03) 12.50pm Beinn Sgritheall
(3.03) 1.50pm Beinn na h-Eaglaise
(3.53) 2.40pm Beinn nan Caorach
(4.43) 3.30pm Beinn Clachach
(5.08) 3.55pm Beinn Clachach West Top
(6.18) 5.05pm Glenfield
(6.35) 5.22pm Arnisdale