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Looking over to Ben Chabhair from the east
The craggy top of Ben Chabhair from the east (near Beinn a'Chroin)
Country: Scotland
Location: 4.5 kilometres north of Loch Lomond.
Accommodation: Ardlui has a hotel and camping ground. There is the Drovers Inn (recommended) at Inverarnan.
Transport: Railway station at Ardlui.
Maps: Landranger Map 0050: Glen Orchy & Loch Etive
Trip Date: 3 June 1993

If you are walking along the West Highland Way then pause near Derrydaroch in Glen Falloch to look to the SE and a good view of Beinn Chabhair (possibly hill of the hawk, 933m). Many crags guard its secretive summit and so navigation is difficult in misty conditions (as I can confirm). The long, undulating north-west ridge from the summit separates the fine streams of Allt a'Chuilinn (to the north) and Ben Glas Burn (to the south). Features of Ben Glas Burn are the high waterfalls above Beinglas Farm. These may be viewed across the River Falloch from the Drovers Inn, Inverarnan (about 3 kilometres up the A82 road from Ardlui and Loch Lomond).


Leave the A82 road about 500 metres north of the Inverarnan Inn and walk up the access road for Beinglas farm. Cross the bridge over the River Falloch and follow the path south around the field edges to the signposted West Highland Way. This takes you back north behind the farm where a steep slanting path is taken up the hillside which is dotted with birch and hawthorn. The path visits a couple of the waterfalls on the steep hillside before a final scramble brings the flatter ground above them. Alternately there is a thin path up the other side of the waterfalls (before the farm). It is easier but has no views of the waterfalls and means that you have to cross the burn at the top.

The summit cairn on Ben Chabhair
The summit cairn on Beinn Chabhair with my day pack and mascot (PW)

Continue east along the path which keeps to the north of the burn and occasionally vanishes into boggy ground. There are a couple of especially wet patches where side-streams are forded. Eventually the dark waters of Lochan Beinn Chabhair are reached - only another 400 metres to climb! The next task is to find a way through the rock outcrops on the steep grassy slopes to the NE of the lochan. There is a multitude of faint paths but the best option seems to be a rising traverse of the slopes until a good route presents itself to the NE. You should aim to reach the north-west ridge of Beinn Chabhair about 1 kilometre from the summit (at the rough col before the top of Meall nan Tarmachan).

Head SE along the ridge where a path soon forms. Do not be fooled by the small cairn that appears on the ridge crest close to the summit but pass by to the summit, where a larger cairn sits on top of a small crag. You should arrive after a nice 3 hours walking from Beinglas farm. The return is by the same route or there are a couple of other routes that may be taken.

The SMC Munro Guide has an ascent route which is also good for descent. Return along the NW ridge to the point where you climbed up but continue over the rough col and up towards Meall nan Tarmachan. This is crossed to the ridge beyond and then the next top (Stob Creag an Fhithich) is skirted on the south to reach another lochan - Lochan a'Chaisteil. From the lochan climb up to the next knoll, Meall Mor nan Eag, and then drop back SW to the level ground above the falls.

One good thing about thick clouds is the unplanned opportunity to discover "new" routes. In this case I departed the summit cairn fully intending to retrace my route and with a clear picture in my mind of the terrain where I would drop off the ridge for the lochan. Of course I totally missed the turn-off. After walking for long enough to be well past the turn-off, I sat down and figured out that I was actually on a small spur heading into the Coire a'Chuilinn. I could have backtracked up and over the ridge but decided to drop down into the corrie and follow the Allt a'Chuilinn stream down to the River Falloch. This was a pleasant walk with a stile over the one fence that I came across. The return to Beinglas farm was via the West Highland Way with a detour to have a look at the Falls of Falloch.

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