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Last updated: 15/10/10


'Beinn Bhreac but not Beinn a'Chaorainn'
13 May 2007

A mini-coach transported a small but high-quality group to the Linn of Quoich on Sunday 13 May, for a planned assault on the above two Munros. Until the Saturday, the forecast had been somewhat dire (May 2007 doing its best to restore the annual average after a splendid April), but the latest version – which turned out quite correct – predicted a decent window of light wind, highish cloud and the odd glimpse of sunshine, at least until the afternoon.

After paying our respects to the Linn, we pottered up the Glen, with views of newly fallen snow up on Beinn a’Bhuird as we approached the Dubh Ghleann junction. Here we left the President – who had been conscientiously taking up the rear - sitting under a tree, while the main party (Ruth Payne was doing the Slugain-Quioch-Derry round, while Derek Beverley was already off on mysterious personal business, later discovered to be in the upper reaches of Dubh Ghleann) continued up the Ghleann. Here we passed a couple of rather splendid stockades constructed from felled Sitka spruce, and each protecting about three cowering rowans: clearly woodland restoration is a complex business. On the boggy path, a series of convenient small wooden platforms were eventually determined to be escape gates for foxes (or rabbits?), once placed under a long-gone fence. Beyond the plantation, about a mile of rather tedious heather was traversed up to the Poll Bhat (a “curious little tarn”: SMC guide), from where a good view was obtained back over the Quoich and beyond, although Lochnagar and the higher summits remained mostly in cloud all day.

Then up onto the broad ridge, and to the summit cairn of Beinn Bhreac, where lunch was partaken, interrupted only by the surprise re-appearance of the President, whose powers of mobility and levitation had clearly improved.

Now about 12.30pm, all this had taken rather longer than had been estimated in the comfort of the bus, and with Beinn a’C. still shrouded in mist and “a great stretch of flat uninteresting ground” between us and it, the consensus was to let that peak alone for the day. Thus we contented ourselves with doing the other Bhreac summit, from whence the President escorted a couple of others down into Glen Derry, while the rest of us headed back south to Meall an Lundain and Clais Fhearnaig, on generally excellent walking ground, and with views always in sight all round, even up onto Ben Macdhui.

The Clais, with its trees, talus slopes and water, looked very pretty, and we were reluctant to head down the path – improved in places – down to the Derry high road. At the bridge, a further picturesque route was taken by following the east bank down to the tarmac, passing impressive scenery of rock, water and tree-blow en route. Finally, the new paths at the car park and the Linn were inspected before headed for the Fife Arms (not what it was, these days) and home.


Author: Ken Thomson