Located near Glenfinnan and on the western side of Loch Shiel, the Corbetts Beinn Odhar Bheag and Beinn Mhic Cedidh provide a rugged 14km of walking with a real sense of getting away from it all.
On the day that I completed the pair, with my friends Rob and Ben and Rob’s dog Storm, I was struck by just how busy it is close to the tourist attractions of Glenfinnan, including the monument and the Glenfinnan Viaduct, better known these days as the Harry Potter bridge.
The A830 in the area streamed with traffic and the car parks were full of visitors. This was on a week day, too, not a weekend.
Yet, just 5km or so away, the car park at the start of our walk was almost empty. (Make sure you choose the right car park at NM856813). Throughout our entire walk, we met no one else.
This is one of the things I most love about walking Corbetts. So often, the mountains are wonderfully quiet and on many occasions, I meet fewer than a handful of people.
Hike to Beinn Odhar Bheag
From the start, after crossing a bridge over a river and then crossing the railway line, it was a rough walk. There are some sections of trods but there is also a lot of thick vegetation and plenty of bogs, especially on the lower slopes.
After the railway, we headed south-west up the lower slopes of Beinn Odhar Bheag, aiming for the broad ridge to the north of the Corbett.
The weather looked a little less than promising but for the first couple of hours we didn’t need our waterproofs.
The ascent of the ridge was rarely to strenuous but it was one of those climbs that seemed to go on for much longer than I imagined it would.
But, oh, the views were superb, especially looking over our shoulders across Loch Eilt.
The first summit reached is called Beinn Odhar Mòr, which is marked by a cairn. There were more great views, this time along Loch Shiel to Glenfinnan.
Yet, despite the “Mor” in the name, this was not our Corbett. Beinn Odhar Bheag (Bheag normally refers to the smaller hill) is actually the taller by 12m.
So, we walked on, heading south along the ridge and then over a series of rocky ups and downs to the 882m top.
We were treated to yet more spectacular views across Loch Shiel.
By now, the wind had whipped up and rain was threatening not far away. Already wearing waterproof jackets, we were forced to add waterproof trousers and then continued north-west. Looking ahead, it appeared we would need to descend a long way, before walking uphill again, to reach the second Corbett.
Corbetts, even two in a row, are rarely an easy hike and this proved to be the case again. What looked like a relatively short outing on paper, became more of a hard push as the route progressed.
On to Corbett 2: Beinn Mhic Cedidh
Bealach a’ Choire Bhuidhe is located betwen the two Corbetts at a height of about 480m and this was where we descended to from the first Corbett. Once we reached this point, we could see the climb of Beinn Mhic Cedidh rising ahead.
The climb was fairly steep and ended up being a bit of a slog, especially as the rain had started and the wind was gusty. As I ascended, going at my own pace, I thought about how amazing it is to have great access to such wild places in Scotland.
Yes, the weather was a bit less clement than I would have liked, but the terrain and scenery still delighted me because it is so rugged and remote.
Finally, we reached the summit at 783m height, where there was a small cairn. Looking west, we could see the ridge line of the Rois-bheinn mountains. Rob and I had walked the three Corbetts in the Rois-bheinn range earlier in the year. Ben had bagged these summits the day before and he reported his legs were a little tired!
Return leg of our Corbett circuit
We headed off Beinn Mhic Cedidh along a wide ridge to the north. Then, from around 600m elevation, we progressed on to grassy slopes in a north-westerly direction and towards a bealach.
We joined a muddy and boggy ATV track that took us east and further downhill.
The rain was falling hard by this point and the hike turned into a soggy march. I usually choose fairweather days for hiking if I can and this meant I couldn’t recall the last time I’d walked in heavy rain.
We pushed on along the track, which seemed to wind on and on, until we eventually came across a short pedestrian tunnel under the railway.
After this, we walked through woodlands at the southern end of Loch Eil until we reached the busy A830.
To return to our car, we needed to walk along the side of the road. There was a path for some of this but there were sections on the road side itself.
After so much quiet and solitude, it was an assault to the senses to be faced with many cars and some travelling far too fast.
Ben and I left Rob and his dog Storm (who is anxious around traffic) in a layby early on and then drove back to pick them up once we reached the car.
This is a truly rugged walk of two Corbetts with a great remote atmosphere and lovely views. You should be prepared for lots of off-path hiking and plenty of bog and wet, too.
Route details: Beinn Odhar Bheag and Beinn Mhic Cedidh
Elevation gain: 1280m
Route: Walk Highlands (My watch switched off half way through the walk so I do not have my own route details for this walk)
Corbetts bagged: 131 and 132