Beinn Lunndaidh, Golspie. Section 16D.
Height – 446 metres. Map - OS Landranger 17.
Climbed - 10 December 2011. Time taken – 5.25 hours.
Distance – 13 kilometres. Ascent - 550 metres.
Trip Report Details:
There was an odd snow flurry as I headed north from Inverness on the A9, which had a slight covering of snow in places. Fortunately I wasn’t using any of the minor roads today as my starting point was the small town of Golspie, where I parked in the free car park in Fountain Road, just off Main Street. I discovered walkers were discriminated against as they were expected to pay. I decided to ignore this request and headed along Fountain Road, passed an ornate fountain, over Back Road and to the unnamed road leading to Rhives Farm, signposted Ben Bharggie. This took me under the railway line and to a pay and display car park, which was empty and rather icy. There were signs for Ben Bhraggie and mountain bike trails so I opted to use these routes rather than pass through the farm.
The mountain bike trails were on a very easy gradient with long zigzags so I regretted not using the route through the farm. I did cut out a few corners but it was a bit awkward due old tree stumps and soft snow.
My plan was to ascend Beinn Lunndaidh from Loch nan Caorach so once beyond the electric transmission lines I located the forest track and followed it to a junction of tracks. A sign indicated the track round the east side of Ben Bhraggie was closed for timber operations so I remained on the existing track which headed north-west well above the Golspie Burn and Dunrobin Glen. On hindsight I should have just ignored the sign.
I emerged from the forest via a deer gate and entered a small clearing where I crossed a deer fence, using some wooden slats. The forest edge was initially followed before I left it and made my way across snow covered long heather towards the path shown on the map as leading to Loch nan Caorach. I could see the snow covered track running round Ben Bhraggie but I never located the loch path which either no longer existed or was concealed by snow.
Underfoot conditions became a bit more awkward as I headed towards the loch and it appeared easier to be slightly higher. This took me above the east side of Loch nan Caorach and onto the North Top before making the short walk to the trig point on Beinn Lunndaidh. Here there were views of the snow covered surrounding terrain and mountains.
Having read that the direct route between Beinn Lunndaidh and Ben Bhraggie was one of the worst bogs to cross I was a bit apprehensive especially as most of the time the snow and ice wasn’t holding my weight. Although progress was slow and awkward I only sunk into bog on a couple of occasions. On the ascent of Ben Bhraggie a fence was followed before a snow covered, and in places icy, vehicle track was reached and led to the statue of the Duke of Sutherland. I did take a slight diversion to locate what I thought was the hill’s highest point.
There was a telescope beside the statue but due to ice it was of little use on this occasion. I had views of Golspie and across the Moray Firth to Aberdeenshire and Moray. Earlier I saw the Cairngorms which appeared to be in brighter conditions than the high cloud I was experiencing. There was a cold breeze so I obtained shelter behind the statue for lunch before descending steeply through deep snow to locate the path. I followed it to a wooden construction that contained a gate and what appeared to be a mountain bike jump. From there I continued down the path meeting four young local teenagers ascending the hill. The route was followed this time through Rhives Farm and back to the car park in Golspie.
Photos taken on walk.