Fionn Bheinn

When I watched the weather forecast I thought it wasn’t fair; it was exceptionally good and warm, and I was stuck away from the hills. Then all bits and pieces fell into the right places and it turned out I was able to hit the road and head into the mountains. I chose a solitary but relatively easily accessible Munro Fionn Bheinn. It was to be my first hill-walk this year, and I didn’t want to overdo it.

After about a 2-hours long drive I parked my car near the train station in Achnasheen. From there I crossed the road A832 and successfully tackled a maze of farm tracks thanks to a few signposts fixed on the fences. Behind one of the gates the farm track turned into a narrow grassy path, boggy at times, winding up the slope along a fence. A few minutes later, after another gate, the path went out into the open space and run up the hill, sometimes disappearing in wet and boggy ground, with the Allt Achadh na Sine stream on the left hand side. The slope wasn’t very steep, but slippery terrain required some attention. Eventually I reached the ridge and a plateau opened in front of me, with snowy Meall a’Chaorainn to the left, and rather featureless but bigger bulk of Fionn Bheinn to the right.

After a short stop at something looking like a wee hydro station I started trudging through a massive peat bog towards the slopes of my chosen Munro. It was less wet than I’d expected, nonetheless I had to wander around to avoid treacherous, slimy puddles of mud. Eventually the ground started going up a bit, but it didn’t make it any drier. The slope was getting gradually steeper and steeper, with the traditional ‘false ridge’ – a formation that looks like the ridge, but is in fact just hiding another part of the slope from the view. From time to time I stopped, officially to look behind my back, where massive and snowy hills created an impressive though hazy backdrop. After catching back my breath I carried on up the slope, and eventually reached the ridge. Behind it a pretty spectacular view of Loch Fannich and the Fannaichs opened in front of my eyes, with the hills further afield flashing their snowy bodies through the haze. Similarly impressive was the snow deposit along the upper edge of Toll Mor Corrie. After another few minutes of pretty simple ascend I stood at the summit of Fionn Bheinn.

Finding some shelter a bit below the summit I enjoyed my second breakfast, particularly hot tea from the flask, at the same time admiring the views northwards. After that nice break I headed down and followed the line of the ridge eastward for about 1 mile, going gradually down. There I came across a dry stone wall, winding its way down the hill southwards. I followed it for quite a while, once falling over and slipping a couple of times on the mud. At one point I reached a very appealing dry, grassy and relatively wide track. I followed it down the hill towards a patch of forestry. At the entrance to the latter I had to go round a fallen tree blocking the path, then avoid being hit but low hanging branches and twigs. But after a couple of minutes I went out into an open space – the trees had been felled there some years ago there. After a rather nice walk down the meadows I got to the A832 and had to follow it back to the village. Thankfully a rather wide grassy shoulder provided enough space to feel safe despite surprisingly busy traffic. A few minutes later I came back to my car after an enjoyable walk, with another Munro under my belt.