Fionn Bheinn

The way points are taken from my SPOT GPS transmitter

Fionn Bheinn seems to have a reputation for being a bit of a boring hill to climb but I didn't find it so. The views are extensive and the walking relatively easy although it can be boggy in places.

My plan was to arrive at Achnasheen from Garve at 10:19 and then catch the afternoon westbound train to Kyle of Lochalsh at 14:50 to do some food shopping for the next day's walk. My timing calculations suggested that the return walk would take about four hours so there was a little bit of time pressure! The next westbound train wasn't until 19:16 so my back-up plan was to go back to Dingwall on the 15:48, do my shopping for the next day and then catch the evening train to Strathcarron. Using public transport in the Highlands sometimes needs a little thinking "out of the box".

Achnasheen with the Kyle train and the 'Royal Scotsman' tour train stabled for the night in the station. Many of the sleeping car curtains were still drawn, whilst I a few Americans tourists were wandering around the village.

From the station footbridge the first part of the walk can be seen climbing the gully in the centre of the photo.

At the end of the station approach road the way is across the main road and past the telephone box.

A helpful sign makes it clear where the villagers want walkers to go - over the bridge and onto a small path..

....with this way mark sign of two boots.

Just before the water treatment building the path goes along the bank of the burn.. a gate with yet more helpful signs.

Once out on the moor the clear path follows the banks and then ...

.....crosses to the other side of the fence at a gate...

....and clambers up by the gully.

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A panoramic view of Strath Bran with Achnasheen and the hills beyond. Click on it for the full sized image.

Where the gradient becomes gentler the track becomes less distinct and at around about NH 152 598, at about the 450m contour, I started to head across the trackless moor towards the summit of Creagan nan Laogh - the one on the right in the photo above. The higher summit of Fionn Bheinn is to the left.

Looking across Strath Bran with Sgurr a Ghlas Leathaid and the Corbett Sgurr a' Mhuilinn

The next kilometre or so is across peat hags...

.....which too my surprise didn't slow me down too much and weren't excessively wet.

Looking roughly north west I think the hill covered with cloud is Slioch.

On this walk I was carrying a full pack which, especially after the previous day's walk on Ben Wyvis in gale conditions, felt extremely heavy. Plodding up hill to Creagan nan Laogh wasn't  a highlight of my day and I was beginning to wonder if I'd make the train I wanted to catch.

Over to the north west is the summit of Fionn Bheinn.

To save time and effort I decided to skirt round the slopes of Creag nan Laogh. Why climb another 50 metres just to drop down to the next col?

I'd initially intended to climb onto the east ridge of Fionn Bheinn at about NH 155 620. There's an obvious high point on the skyline but as time was passing I decided a better way to the summit would be... cut diagonally up gentler slopes to gain the depression on the ridge at NH 152 620.

It's a pleasant and gentle slope over turf.

A glance back shows the way up from Achnasheen with the hummocks of Creag nan Laogh in the centre.

Once on the ridge there's a clear track with the cliffs above the Toll Mor corrie making this side of the hill more interesting.

There's still a bit of a climb up to the summit..

...but with Loch Fannich adds interest to the view.

A final pull to the summit leads... the trig point at 933m. Across the loch are the Fannich Munros.

The climb had taken 2 hours and 25 minutes, exactly the time I'd expected. This cheered me up no end, as I'd been convinced I'd been walking more slowly than normal. Unfortunately, the hazy weather conditions were poor for photography over to the north and west so there are no summit photos apart from this one.

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Click on the image above to see the panorama of hills from Fionn Beinn's summit in ideal conditions.

All that remained was to return to the station. The walk back took just an hour and a half and I had over half an hour spare before my train to Kyle of Lochalsh. Tea and a flapjack at the station cafe rounded off a successful walk and my 123rd Munro.