Friday, September 05, 2008

Beinn a' Bheithir & The Worst Path in Scotland

Beinn a' Beithir, is a mountain which has every feature that could make it rank high in any hillwalkers list of favourites; two great peaks, majestic soaring ridges, incredible views into adjacent Glen Coe, views over the sea, and out over the islands, gentle lower slopes leading up to narrowing rocky ridges and what is more we climbed it yesterday on a gorgeous autumn day in which the sun shone on us, and we passed around the sun cream, but there was no haze and visibility was perfect - but there is a "but" coming...... But, Beinn a' Beithir has gained a certain notoriety for the impassable forestry draped all around the great mountain, even pushing high up into the corries. We battled and struggled, pushed and scraped our way through trees, bushes, thickets, bogs and more trees in order to gain the ridge - after the 'path' came to a dead-end 100m short of open countryside! Once through this little ordeal and out onto the ridges it would be hard to think of a better hill-day, save for the nagging thought of the descent to come. Not wanting to face the horror of the ascent route in reverse we went off Northwards from Sgorr Dhearg, and just about managed to pick a route off the end of the ridge - thanks to the fact that the forestry there is relatively young, but this too will be impassable once these trees mature. It was a pretty ghastly descend, with one or two tumbles involved!

On the map above the impassable bits are marked with a red cross, and the green arrow suggest a better route up, avoiding these obstacles but involving more ascent if you want to climb both peaks. (still no camera :-( )

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