Sarah and I enjoyed a fairly easy circuit of 2 Munros – Beinn Eunaich and Beinn a’Chochuill – in Argyll. We split the journey with a stay in Tyndrum to get an earlier start on the hill and miss some heavy rain that was forecast for later in the day. Thankfully our plan worked and we missed the shower and although the summits were cloud-capped, we enjoyed some good views. This trip also took me (only just) beyond 25% of the Munros.
It might only have been a couple of hours from home to get to these hills, but it was a nice feeling knowing the drive after getting up was only 15 minutes or so and meant the morning was a little more relaxed than usual. It also allowed a slightly earlier start on the hills themselves, which was good considering the heavy showers forecast for around 1400 that day.
We arrived at the start of the walk around 0730 and parked carefully in a small layby on the B8077. The cloud was covering the summits despite a pretty optimistic forecast for early morning, but we were happy to be out and about regardless of the weather!
The first couple of miles of the route were on a good track, allowing us to make swift progress and gain some height. After a couple of switchbacks we were soon off the track though, following a feint grassy path up a broad ridge towards Beinn a’Chochuill, our first target of the day. I was more excited for the next hill, however, as this would be my 71st Munro and thus mark a quarter of my ‘compleation’. There was the small matter of a Munro in the way though, so it was on with the job at hand!
At around 800m we found ourselves in the cloud, meaning there definitely wouldn’t be any views from our first top – a real shame given the surroundings. We steamed ahead and reached the summit of Beinn a’Chochuill around 1000, 2.5 hours after setting off. A couple of quick snaps of one another at the summit and we were on our way again, now with a strengthening and rather chilly breeze to contend with.
We soon dropped below the cloud once more on our way between the two summits and stopped for a quick bite to eat on the leeward side of the slope. Relieved to be out of the wind for a second, the cloud also shifted and presented us with fine views of Glen Kinglass stretching out below us. A biking route for the near future perhaps…?
Refuelled and raring to go, we set off once more and climbed steadily towards our second Munro of the day, back in the cloud now of course! We were in good spirits though as this had been a pretty easy circuit so far and we made light work of the remaining ascent to reach Beinn Eunaich at around 1115. The cloud was a little thinner this time, so we could make out some of the surrounding hills and glens, but not enough to warrant hanging about to wait and see what happened. Content with our efforts, we headed off along Beinn Eunaich’s southern ridge towards the car.
Once below the clouds again, the views south towards Loch Awe and Kilchurn Castle were a fabulous way to end what had been an enjoyable circuit. The terrain was gentle at first with a fairly clear grassy path to follow, allowing us to make good progress towards what was described on Walkhighlands as an ‘unpleasantly steep’ descent back to the access track that we had walked earlier.
This turned out to be a bit of an overstatement. Although definitely steep, it was no worse than anything else we’d tackled. Combining this with the obvious zig-zag path, we were wondering what the fuss had been about!
Once again, we made fairly quick work of the steeper part of the descent and were soon down at the track, where it was a simple mile or so back to the car. The cloud base had also now lifted slightly and the Beinn a’Chochuill was now free of cloud. Oh well…
We arrived back at the car around 1245, 5 and a quarter hours after setting off. We were feeling pretty good with the speedy progress we’d made over what turned out to be 9.5 miles with 1265m ascent. After a quick change and a bite to eat, we were on our way home along the now very busy A82. As luck would have it, the forecast was pretty spot on. At almost exactly 1400, comfy in the car, the heavens opened. Perfect timing!