As part of our week’s holiday in September, Sarah and I were keen to try and tick off as many hills as we could get away with. We were staying in Appin for the first leg of our trip, a wee corner of Scotland I hadn’t visited before. With a good choice of hills not far from our accommodation, we settled on Beinn Fhionnlaidh, a fairly easy walk with some lovely scenery and a great feeling of remoteness and quietness.
We always enjoy a hill walk without the hours of driving as it makes for a much less stressful and tiring morning. Our morning commute for this hill was all of about 15 minutes and we arrived at an almost empty car park at the end of the public road up Glen Creran. Without too much effort, we were ready to go just before 0830 and headed along an initially tarmac road towards the large (and very fancy) estate house at Glenure.
It was an overcast and murky morning, but the mountain forecast seemed fairly sure of cloud-free summits in the area at least until early afternoon. It was certainly an ideal temperature for walking without the intense heat of my summit camp just a few days earlier!
There were a few helpful signs dotted along the track through the estate (I assume so walkers don’t bother the owners) and we soon found ourselves at the bottom of the hill proper. There would be no navigational difficulties on the way to the summit – it was pretty much a 900+m trudge in front of us, but we were looking forward to ticking off another hill and seeing some nice views.
The best views on the way up were definitely behind us towards Loch Creran and with this walk being an out-and-back route, it meant we’d be able to make the most of the scenery. We stopped a few times on the ascent for a short rest and a quick drink, but otherwise it was a fairly easy and uneventful saunter towards the summit above us.
Until the 600m mark we’d been following a reasonably obvious path, but at this point it disappeared just short of a boggier section below a couple of lochans. After passing the lochans, we picked up the path once more.
As we neared the summit, the views opened up to the north. It was a bit hazy and murky, but we had good views of the Etive Munros and on towards Ben Nevis and its neighbours.
With little difficulty we reached the summit of Beinn Fhionnlaidh, 2 hours 40 minutes after leaving the car park below. Pleased with our efforts, we enjoyed the views for a short while before heading back downhill, retracing our steps to reach the valley below.
The breeze had picked up slightly just as we reached the summit, so we opted to get rid of some height before stopping for a spot of brunch. We found a great spot overlooking the Ballachulish Horseshoe beyond and settled down for a bite to eat.
Feeling replenished, we headed off once again towards the valley below, stopping every now and then for a quick photo and to admire the fine views. Had it not been quite so hazy, the views across to Mull would have been superb. There’s always Beinn Sgulaird for that…!
We reached the car park once again after 4 hours 50 minutes and 9.7 miles. It wasn’t until we got back to the car that we realised we’d only seen one other person on the hill for the duration of our trip. It was a lovely being able to enjoy such a quiet, peaceful walk. Content with our efforts, we got our boots off and prepared for the very long and arduous 15 minute journey back to our accommodation!