Beinn Dearg GM/SS-067

Ah, one of the many Beinn Deargs in Scotland, it means red hill. Anyway this one is due for the chop. It’s nominally 706m and another point on the ridge was found to be 40cms higher. The cutover date to the new top and ref is 1-Dec-2021… time to get this one activated as I’ve chased. So that should a complete and unique in the same time.

It’s a bit of a trek, 6.5km to the top and also 8km down a single track road into Glen Artney. I’ve not been down here for over 10 years and it was a murky November day then. All I can say is wow! Glen Artney is very, very pretty. There’s a big car park for Glen Artney church, space for 20+ cars and that’s where I stopped. The route is back a km to Dalchruin Farm where a track leads to the bridge over the river the Water of Ruchill. Of course you have to climb about 50m up to the farm and immediately descend 50m to the bridge. Nothing really but very noticeable on the way back when you’re tired!

From there you follow the tracks to the deserted building at Dalclathick and then that’s the end of the tracks after 1.8km , wild walking from now on for the next 4.4km to the summit. I had some routes download from Walkhighlands but it’s fairly obvious what to do… aim for the distant summit. The value of the routes were they showed were to cross bigger streams. Round the back of some woods by Dalclathick and there’s an obvious stile over a wall and deer fence and then pow! The grass.

The grass features heavily on this hill. It varied from knee height to waist height and was thick and luxorious. I’ve never seen so much and it was just impossible to walk through. Well no, you could walk but it was energy sapping and the ground was seriously uneven, a bit like Tussock Grass. As it was tall you couldn’t see where to walk and so progress slowed dramatically. Now I have avoided this hill for a long time because the reports say it can be wet at the bottom. Well we have had significant dry spells so it was dry today and not boggy. But this would be a nightmare normally and the grass was longer than gaiters, so you would get soaked. Waders would be better. Just look at the map… lots of large streams and rivers so there is significant amounts of water being drained. Says it all.

After what seemed like an eon I reached the Allt Coire Choire which was easily crossed as there was not that much water. It would be challenging if in spate. As I climbed up the fields of almost level grass continued to almost infinity :frowning: Measure on the map, I’d crossed 750m of this grass with another 750m to go. At the end of the grass is the first climb. Not hard but I was fairly bushed by now. It was about 17C and alternating between fully clouded to 50% blue sky and sun. At the top of the bank was another prairie sized grass field, at least they had an imperceptible slope. I continued onwards but was slow and not having fun.

Around here you decide West or East ridge separated by the Allt Coire an Eich. That looked appealing so I made my way to the fast following water and had a good drink and filled my hat with water and poured it over me. I continued on for a few more minutes and stopped and sat down. I was ready to quit. Bag off and I lay in the long grass for 15minutes trying to chill. The sun came out and it was scorchio hot. I got up and applied suncream and thought “Its a bit wimpy giving up, see if you can make that ridge in 10mins then decide”. I was about 2km and 200m from the top. I made the ridge and pressed on. And on. And on. The ground got easier. Even the massive area of Peat Hags was dry and easy walking. Then I realised that I was nearly there and just pressed on. Finally I got there, it had taken 3hrs not 2hrs simply because of the ground.

There’s a tiny cairn at the top and some views to kill for. A long slow drink and some chocolate and then what LF or HF? 20m won. I used the keyer to call CQ and RBN had me spotted. However, I had a good 4g signal though it was weaker at the top than in the church carpark. Seems like moving to EE was a good move. I also had the sat spotter but didn’t need it. 20m was lively for a Monday afternoon and the most surprising QSO was with Allan GW4VPX in S. Wales, he was a belting signal, quite short skip for 20. If I hadn’t been short of time and knackered I’d have tried 10m. I had started late as I had wild chase amongst doctors and pharmacies finding a lost prescription. Late start, late arrival gave me a must-stop time of 4pm to allow for a long and slow walk out and still leave plenty of light.

Walk out was essentially the reverse. I managed to get some speed up going down till I found the hole. Right boot in and then that caused me to pivot and fall forwards. Complete end over end and I ended up on my back. OK I was lucky I didn’t break my leg but the ground around the hole broke up. However, my bag was wedged into some softer ground and I was like a tortoise on my back for 45secs. I did think I’d need to remove the bag but I struggled upright. I was impressed I had deployed a 5m pole in the process. Pole collapsed and clothes adjusted I set back off somewhat more cautiously.

The grass was still a bitch to cross but eventually I got back to the tracks and then just that sting in the tail of climbing up to the farm and back down to the car. Computer says 2hrs up and 1hr back but it was 3hrs up and 2hrs back because of the damn grass. Boots off, Red Bull drunk, car into ECO mode out of the glen then into super-hoon mode for the drive on the Comrie/Braco Le Mans track. ECO for the trip back home :slight_smile:

The target Beinn Dearg GM/SS-067

Looking back to the farm and car park, about 1.75km away but it felt like 175km already.

I was too knackered to take many photos on the ascent but here’s the summit view. The pointy hill is Ben Vorlich GM/SS-008 with Stuc a’Chroin GM/SS-010 to the left. In front of Stuc a’Chroin is Meall na Fearna GM/SS-035

Not the biggest summit cairn I’ve ever seen.

A zoom onto Mor Bhein GM/SS-098, someone has given the trig point a new coat of white paint.

Looking North, the big hill is Ben Lawers GM/CS-001 to the left Meall Corranaich GM/CS-010, to the right An Stuc and Meall Garbh GM/CS-004

The wooded hill is Torlum Hill GM/SS-227 with the town of Crieff on the left.

Looking towards the location of the new summit when this one is retired. Its name Creag na h-Eararuidh [Stuc na Cabaig] just flows off the tongue!

On the way down this tree has a burnt section…struck by lightening perhaps?

The Allt Coire an Eich

Looking back up at the ground. The grass is so thick you can see my track. This is the easy stuff, mainly knee high here.

Mor Bhein GM/SS-098 very purple as the heather is in bloom.

A lonely Rowan that had rooted in the crags.

Andy plays photographer. The most impressive of many water falls on the Allt Coire Choire. This was taken at 1/4000th sec shutter speed and the next at 1/30th sec.

Rowan tree in full fruit.

More of that tall grass with the summit behind.

Visually this was a brilliant hill. If only that damn grass wasn’t everywhere. What’s worse is the realisation that there’s a new summit further around the ridge which means coming back and doing it all over again!


Well, seeing that I missed you I haven’t chased this one, so I think I will let it go past its sell-by date and not mourn its passing. Mind you the situation might change before the due date. Presumably the new summit will offer a similarly trying ascent with opportunities for a broken ankle… maybe even the same route. :frowning:

Many thanks for another excellent report. My jealousy chip is suitably switched on by those photos. Unfortunately I’m confined to barracks due to family events for most of August, but hope to be back up north as soon as I can.

73, Gerald

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It’s a big horseshoe shaped mountain Gerald.

The new summit is the green square by the spot height 705. You can go either way but the nearest car park is at Glen Artney church.

©Crown copyright 2021 Ordnance Survey. Media 018/21


I’ve just read a few reports on this one. The tussocky grass is mentioned in several of them. It looks like an alternative route might be to take the road WSW and then back over the river and up the slopes to Sron na Maoile and then onwards via the new summit. Either way it’s a long trek for the points on offer… maybe the 2 hours each way just to get to your start point from my base in Northumberland is making me rather choosy about which summits I activate. :neutral_face:

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Rigwelted as they say in Lancashire and Yorkshire regions… (Usually animals not humans!).

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