Thursday, 7 November 2013

Wet Weather Walking

It's November, so there's no point in hanging around indoors in the hope that the weather will clear so we can walk in wall-to-wall sunshine - it's best just to set out and hope.  The only condition is that we go out fully prepared for the worst.... which is exactly what we got when we set out yesterday to climb Glas Bheinn, the hill that stands at the back of Kilchoan itself.  We'd hardly left the car and started up the waterworks track when the sky darkened and we were pelted with hail.

The track leaves the Sanna road and follows the burn called Abhainn Chro Bhienn upstream.  We left it by the treatment works and....

....started to climb the hill, not choosing the easiest route but visiting each small peak to enjoy the slightly different view from each.  Glas Bheinn is elongated east-west, and we approached it along the western shoulder.

The first views are down onto Kilchoan village.  In this picture, Pier Road, which leads to the Cal Mac ferry terminal, is seen going away to the left, the Kilchoan Hotel is on the far side of the main road from the building with the reddish roof, and the parish church, where work has now started on the major repairs required on the roof, is towards the right.  In the distance is the Isle of Mull: the lighthouse is just this side of Tobermory Bay.  Just to the left of the lighthouse is a very brave yacht under full sail, heading up the Sound to round Ardnamurchan Point.

Then the sun came out, not on Kilchoan but on Ormsaigbeg, where all the best people, including Hughie's pigs, live.  This picture shows the whole of the township, with the land of the crofts running from the common grazings at the back in strips down to the sea.  The hill land in the foreground is part of Glebe Hill.

As we worked our way towards the summit, so we could see the views further round to the east.  Here we look down on Mingary, with the large buildings of the steading, Mingary House beyond, and the castle sheathed in scaffolding.

The cairn at the summit of Glas Bheinn is unusual, in that it isn't at the summit but a few metres down the slope.  It may be that it was started here as it's visible from the village, whereas the summit isn't.

On the OS map the summit is marked at 263m but our new Garmin GPS handheld machine says it's at 258m.  No doubt the Americans know best.

We walked to the the eastern end of the hill and then started to descend into the valley of the Abhainn Chro Bhienn, with the bulk of Meall an Tarmachain rising behind it and, above it, blue sky.

We then followed the burn down to the waterworks.  This picture looks back upstream to one of several very pretty waterfalls along the burn's course, and to the heights of Glas Bheinn beyond.

After our initial pelting with hail, it didn't rain, not until we had walked in through the front door, when it poured.

A map of the area is here.


  1. I like the photos. We walked up it last week from the Old Golf Course, then down the back to the water works. I'd never been up before and I enjoyed it. And the field immediately behind the Old Golf Course turned out to be good for kite flying later in the week.

    Not only that, we discovered a secret army of piglets. It looks like they are being trained before they're unleashed on Ormsaigbeg.

  2. In the fifth picture from the top, was the big square white house with the hipped roof once a doctor's house or a manse?

  3. No, it's one of the Ardnamurchan Estate houses built, as far as I know, to house employees. Jon