The Mountain's Silhouette

Hiking and backpacking in the mountains of Scotland

Garbh Bheinn

An afternoon ascent of the Corbett Garbh Bheinn on the Ardgour peninsula accompanied by Cob the apprentice mountain dog

Dramatic light over the Ballachulish Hills

Date: 23rd June 2019
Distance: 9.5km
Ascent: 1,028m
Time: 4hrs
Hills: Garbh Bheinn (Corbett)
Weather: Hot and sunny to begin with but clouding over later
Route: View on OS Maps

It was just a short drive from our holiday cottage around to the parking area near Inversanda Bay which forms the access point for the standard route up Garbh Bheinn. It was a hot June day and the sun was beating down as we emerged from the trees by the river and made our way across the undulating ground to the foot of Sron a' Garbh Choire Bhig. I was a little worried whether we would find enough water on the long pull up the Sron but this proved unfounded as Cob managed to find and sample just about every single pool and puddle of water on the way up.

Coire an Iubhair, Ardgour

The initial ascent is on a fairly clear and well worn path that winds itself up the lower slopes of Sron a' Garbh Choire Bhig. The views soon opened up over Inversanda bay behind us and across the waters of Loch Linnhe to the Ballachulish hills.

Inversanda Bay on Loch Linnhe

The path up Sron a' Garbh Choire Bhig

Higher up the ground was rockier and the path became less defined but there was no difficulty in finding a way up. It was hot work with almost no respite from the steep gradient but as we climbed higher there was a steady build up of cloud which started to take away some heat from the day. Behind us the views were opening out to encompass the Ballachulish bridge, Loch Leven and the Glencoe hills.

Beinn Bheag

Ballachulish Hills

A little more effort and we were approaching the top of the Sron and looking across the Glen to Creach Bheinn a little further south.

Towards Creach Bheinn and Loch Sunart

We came out on the rocky summit of Sron a' Garbh Choire Bhig, marked by a small cairn, which suddenly revealed the dramatic buttressed eastern flank of Garbh Bheinn beyond.

Summit of Sron a' Gharbh Choire Bhig

Garbh Bheinn and Ardgour

After a short break here we continued on, dropping down the rocky slopes to curve around the head of the dark coire below Garbh Bheinn's buttresses. I spotted a pair of climbers high on the face with their dog, intrigued by Cob, patiently keeping watch from a wide ledge. We made quick progress around to the slopes of Garbh Bheinn itself, the views changing and opening up as we regained height. Off the in the distance Loch Linnhe appeared again where it seemed the good weather was holding on better.

Garbh Bheinn

Ballachulish from Garbh Bheinn

Looking back to Sron a' Gharbh Choire Bhig

The rocky path moves slightly away from the precipitous edge and then without very much drama rapidly ascends to the head north-east towards the summit, finally coming along the very edge of the buttresses. The summit cairn soon came into view and we were up.

Summit of Garbh Bheinn

This is a grand perch, the views muted slightly by the grey cloud that had built up in the west and taken much of the life and colour out of the views down to Loch Sunart and the hills of Ardnamurchan.

Ballachulish from Garbh Bheinn

Loch Sunart and Beinn Resipol

After another break to take in this magnificent spot we headed over the undulating ground towards the western top to see what the views into Ardnamurchan and Ardgour would be like from there.

Beinn Resipol and Cob

It was easy going, weaving over rocky outcrops and around a couple of pools of water. Soon we were at this second vantage point looking down the length of Gleann Feith 'n Amean as it wound down towards Loch Sunart. Below us to the left we could hear the distant sound of occasional traffic passing through on its way to Strontian. There were good views back east to the rugged slopes of Garbh Bheinn and Sron a' Garbh Choire Bhig.

Garbh Bheinn

Towards Loch Sunart

Towards Loch Sunart

We could see far off into the Northwest Highlands and out beyond the dark outline of Ben Resipol could be glimpsed islands and the western sea.

Towards the Northwest Highlands

Loch Sunart and Ben Resipol

Down to Glen Tarbet

After an extended break here it was time to be heading back. Rather than re-ascending back up to the summit of Garbh Bheinn we dropped off the west top and then contoured around the southern slopes to rejoin the path as it dropped down to the bealach. Heading this way we now had a view ahead over Loch Linnhe.

Loch Linnhe


Towards Ballachulish

We rejoined the outward path and dropped down the scrabbly slopes to the bealach. From here Ben Nevis stood out bright against the murk to the north and I enjoyed the views once again onto the rocky slopes of Garbh Bheinn. There was a final glimpse through a gap towards Ardnamurchan.

Garbh Bheinn

Ben Nevis and the Mamores

Garbh Bheinn

Ben Resipol

We climbed back up Sron a' Garbh Choire Bhig, again circumventing the actual summit by following the broad southern slopes. As we came back around to the east ridge the view opened out across Loch Linnhe to the Ballachulish hills and Glencoe which were now dramatically dark under brooding clouds.

Dramatic light over the Ballachulish Hills

Dramatic light over the Ballachulish Hills

Dramatic light over Loch Linnhe

We quickly dropped down the ridge, picking a slightly different line to the ascent but encountering no particular difficulties on the rocky ground. Ahead the clouds across Loch Linnhe were slowly lighting up.

Inversanda Bay

On Sron a' Garbh Choire Bhig

Coire an Iubhair

As we dropped back down towards Inversanda bay the sun finally found a gap in the clouds and the landscape around us lit up once more. It made for a very pleasant final half mile or so across the lumpy ground to reach the car.

Inversanda Bay