A sunny winter’s day on the Corbett, Beinn Mhic Mhonaidh
Sunshine and snow offered a fabulous winter’s walk of the Corbett, Beinn Mhic Mhonaidh from Glen Orchy, near Tyndrum, in he Scottish Highlands.
Winters in Scotland can be harsh but sometimes the weather Gods are kind and on Saturday, sunshine, snow and calm conditions combined to create the perfect day for an ascent of a Corbett.
The goal was the summit of Beinn Mhic Mhonaidh, climbed from Glen Orchy, which is a wonderfully sheltered valley to the west of Tyndrum. According to the history books, the mother of the Scottish outlaw-turned-folk-hero Rob Roy was born in the glen and today it’s home to the most southerly remnants of Scotland’s ancient Caledonian forest.
While I still have 42 Munros left to compleat my first round, my friend Rob has finished his – and he has moved on to the Corbetts. I am always happy to go for a mountain hike and I am fairly sure I have walked more Corbetts over the last year than Munros thanks to Rob. We were joined by Ron and his partner Anne.
The Corbetts are the smaller siblings of the Munros, but often they are an equally tough challenge.
Brilliantly, they are less hiked than the Munros and on a day when the mountains were busy with walkers because of the amazing conditions, we bumped into no one else.
It felt incredible to have the Corbett to ourselves.
The walk of Beinn Mhic Mhonaidh starts from a single-track road near the beautiful Eas Urchaidh falls on the River Orchy. At first, a wide track winds through a forest. It climbs relatively gently and we enjoyed views of stunning snow-covered trees and icy burns and falls.
Spotted amid this modern plantation of evergreens was an ancient Caledonian pinewood. It seemed very sad that the remnants, so sparse across Scotland these days, were almost consumed by the plantation.
As we came out of the northern edge of the forest, the mountain was suddenly there in front of us and we could see the faint trace of a path heading steeply uphill.
The rewards for the stiff climb were ever wider and more impressive vistas of the surrounding mountains. The Corbett is set amid a fantastic scenery of high peaks, including numerous Munros.
There were too many peaks to mention but a few names include Ben Lui and Beinn a’ Chleibh to the south; Ben Cruachan and the Dalmally Munros to the west; and the Blackmount and Etive mountains to the west.
Rob said: “It was an amazing view all round. I love that about the Corbetts – seeing the hills from new angles.”
The sky was so clear that we could also see as far as the distinctive paps on the Island of Jura and the Munro, Ben More on the Isle of Mull. It was breath-taking.
Starting close to sea level, the climb took us to a summit of 796m and a distance of 8.5 miles. The route is an out and back and relatively easy to find. The top is marked by a generous cairn and although a little breezy, the temperature at the summit was surprisingly warm for a mid-winter’s day in the Scottish mountains.
The panoramic views of snow-covered mountains as far as the eye could see and in all directions were some of the best I have ever seen.
I’ll let you enjoy the photos of our superb walk of Beinn Mhic Mhonaidh.
Beinn Mhic Mhonaidh in photos
Thanks to Rob Wight, editor-in-chief of The Scots Magazine, for allowing me to use some of his photos, as well as mine.
As we descended the mountain in the mid afternoon, the sun began to set offering a different light on the surrounding landscape. It had been a magical day out in the hills and one of those that will be easily remember for its rarity.
I have said it many times before, but when the weather is right, I would not want to be anywhere other than Scotland’s spectacular mountains.