A Corbett & a gold mine: Beinn Chuirn
I can’t remember when someone told me there was a gold mine in the hills near the Scottish Highlands’ village of Tyndrum. I wasn’t even sure if I had heard correctly. But when I subsequently read about the gold mine when researching a Corbett for a weekend walk I was excited to see it.
Hmmm. Yet, sadly, any hopes of actually getting up close to the mine and possibly even spotting a glint of gold, were dashed when my friend Ben and I walked the track towards the Corbett Beinn Chuirn and saw padlocked gates.
The sign in Cononish Glen told us there was a mine, but we were not going to be able to get close to it. In fact, the best view of the gold mine is from higher up the slopes, although it doesn’t look any different, from this distance, from any other mine, whether coal or mineral.
Hike of the Corbett Beinn Chuirn
Distance: 10 miles
Corbett height: 880m
Rather than start the walk from Dalrigh, as detailed in the Walk Highlands description, Ben and I began from Tyndrum lower station. Tyndrum has two train stations, lower and upper.
The walk starts on an obvious track after crossing the train line. The wide track winds upwards through forestry until it finally emerges into Glen Cononish and joins the track from Dalrigh to the east.
It is a classic Scottish glen with a track that climbs fairly gently between wide open moorland and the ever-rising slopes of hills and mountains. Close by, we heard a river flowing along the base of the glen and, in the distance, we saw an array of high summits.
We discussed which one might be our goal. The craggy rise of Beinn Chuirn looked fairly obvious, located to the north of the glen.
Another much more famous mountain, Ben Lui, dominates this glen to the south and it was great to see the prominent mountain from a different angle. Most people walk Ben Lui from Glen Lochy to the west.
Good track to vague path
As I am discovering, many Corbetts begin on a lovely track through a glen, before the route heads up the slopes of the mountain on a vague – often, non-existent – path.
Leaving the obvious glen track, around a kilometre after a farm, we joined a “sort of” path to the north-west and then spotted a bit of a zig-zagging ATV track before things became a little less obvious and we simply headed on a general bearing north and uphill.
The slope was fairly steep until around 600m, where the terrain flattened a bit and we then headed west for the summit.
The ground is wet, boggy and heathery but this is something else I have become familiar with on the Corbetts. Some people avoid the Corbetts because there are fewer paths and the terrain is often tougher than the Munros, but I like the fact that this keeps away the crowds. I rarely see more than a few people on the Corbetts and this is a joy in my opinion, especially during the restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The summit arrived seemingly suddenly, with a small cairn to mark the spot. The views across to Ben Lui and other nearby mountains were, as ever, a great reward.
And that is another thing I like about the Corbetts. So many times, I have enjoyed wonderful views of the Munros I have already summitted.
The return walk was the same as the outward route. Ben and I treated ourselves to a coffee and cake from the fabulous Real Food Cafe at Tyndrum after returning to our vehicles.