Beinn Fhionnlaidh from Glen Creran

Beinn Fhionnlaidh

Beinn Fhionnlaidh is one of those mountains that seems to have been created by nature purely as a spectacular viewing point. This quiet and rarely trodden mountain is ideally situated for views to the more popular surrounding mountains and beautiful, wild glens. This route starts from Glen Creran on the west coast, and takes a direct slog up Beinn Fhionnlaidh's western slope. The ascent is steep, sometimes pathless, and has several deceptive, somewhat demoralising, false summits. The descent gives great views, especially at sunset. There are a few points of interest along the way such as the huge erratic, and the beautiful Lochan Cairn Deirg, but what will keep you going are the stunning surroundings from this excellent natural viewpoint.

Route Directions

  1. This walk starts from the Glen Creran car park at the end of the minor Glen Creran road, from the A828 between Ballachulish and Connel at grid reference NN035488. The minor road leaves the A828 from the small roundabout on the northern side of the Loch Creran bridge near Appin.
  2. From the car park, turn right and head east along the minor road. After two hundred metres you will pass the abandoned house and outhouses at Elleric. Continue along the road for another four hundred metres to cross the River Creran.
  3. After half a kilometre, crossing two smaller streams, the path reaches the farm at Glenure. At the farm, the road bends left then passes a large barn. After the barn, pass through a gate, then turn left along the footpath towards the forest.
  4. Only two hundred metres along the path, just after it crosses a small stream on a wide wooden bridge, turn right and head east up another track. Ascend this track through the forest where after three hundred metres it opens out above the forest.
  5. The track comes to a sudden end just after it opens out above the forest. Here follow the footpath that heads in an east to north easterly direction. To your left there will be a line of trees flanking the Garbh Allt.
  6. After half a kilometre on this footpath make sure you stick to the faint paths that take a steep descent towards the crest of the ridge. Just over a kilometre of steep ascent later the ridge starts to flatten out at times, around the five hundred metre contour.
  7. This is a great place to stop and look behind you at the stunning view over Loch Creran. Also, there is the obvious bulk of Beinn Sgulaird to the immediate south, towards which you will have been looking on the ascent. To the north there is the conical shape of Fraochaidh that sits like a mountain on top of a mountain.
  8. From the flat area on the ridge continue the steep grassy ascent of the ridge, now heading in more of an easterly direction. You will come across a huge erratic sitting precariously on several small stones, almost as if it had been put there by man. In fact, the erratic is most likely to have been dumped there thousands of years ago by a retreating glacier.
  9. Continue along the path in an easterly direction beyond the erratic and you will soon reach a small lochan. Continue for another hundred metres to the beautifully wild and peaceful Lochan Cairn Deirg.
  10. Take the path round the southern side of the Lochan Cairn Deirg. Turn left, and head up a steep ascent following a ridge crest for half a kilometre, before reaching the eastern end of the summit ridge of Beinn Fhionnlaidh.
  11. When you reach the seven hundred and fifty metre contour, start heading east. Again, keep to the crest of the ridge. Here the terrain turns from grass to rock. Look out for ptarmigans running away from you along the rocks.
  12. After heading east for a kilometre, look up to see the actual summit, and on a clear day you can make out the trig point pillar and its surrounding shelter of rocks. At this point the path turns left and heads up towards the summit plateau.
  13. Ascend in a north easterly direction for two hundred metres, then turn right and ascend east for another three hundred and fifty metres, and you will find yourself at the summit of Beinn Fhionnlaidh where a lovely stone trig pillar stands protected by surrounding shelter of rocks.
  14. The views from Beinn Fhionnlaidh on a clear day are far and wide showcasing literally hundreds of mountains. Even in just a ten mile radius from Beinn Fhionnlaidh there are no less than twenty two Munros and ten Corbetts.
  15. Looking north to northwest you will see the twin-topped Beinn a' Bheithir, the two tops Sgorr Dhonuill and Sgor Dhearg more famously known as the Ballachulish Horseshoe. Looking directly north on a clear day over the Mamores you will spot Ben Nevis which, when seen from a lower mountains like this, makes you appreciate just how high the Ben really is.
  16. Looking east to northeast is the huge Bidean nam Bian and its many neighbouring peaks of Glencoe. Looking east you can see over Glen Etive, the Back Mount, and looking south, Ben Starav and its many pointy neighbours. Looking west and seaward over Loch Creran, you can even see as far as Ben More on the Isle of Mull.
  17. To descend from the summit, head in a westerly direction for three hundred and fifty metres, then descend south west for two hundred metres. Turn back to an easterly direction again, and keep to the crest of the ridge for another kilometre.
  18. When you get to the eastern end of this part of the ridge you will be looking down to Lochan Cairn Deirg. Descend southwest down the crest of the ridge to reach Lochan Cairn Deirg.
  19. Walk around the south side of Lochan Cairn Deirg then continue along the faint path passing the smaller lochan to the left. The path will rise slightly then pass the erratic you saw earlier on the ascent.
  20. Continue along the crest of the ridge which now starts to head in a south western direction. The path will descend grassy slopes until it reaches the wide track at the edge of the forest.
  21. Follow the track back through the forest down to the farm at Glenure, then follow the track out of the farm back to Elleric, crossing the River Creran. A short walk along the road will find you back at the car park at the start of the walk.
  22. For refreshments after the walk you could head to the recently reopened Creagan Inn. You will find the Creagan Inn on a bend less than half a kilometre east along the A828 towards Appin from the roundabout at the Creran Bridge. Situated on the banks of the beautiful Loch Creran, it is a great place to eat, drink and relax after the walk.

Maps for this walk

Paper maps for this walk

Click to buy OS Explorer 384 Map Click to buy OS Landranger 50 Map Click to buy Cameron McNeish's The Munros Click here to buy Cicerone Walking The Munros Sth, Ctrl & West Highlands

GPS files for this walk

Route map of this walk

Photos & Trip Reports

Planning for a walk

Check the weather

The weather is a very important part of hill walking. Weather conditions and daylight hours will dictate where you walk, what gear you will need to carry, how far you walk, and may even decide if you go at all. The following links will help you gather information on weather conditions for areas of Britain...

Plan your journey

Planning your journey before you set off for your walk can save you vital hours on the day. You need to make sure you know the area surrounding your starting point as many factors can influence or change the place you park. Don't forget change for parking meters and fees.

Maintenance of your vehicle and being ready for breakdown situations when driving to remote areas is also vital. Pack a full spare petrol can in your boot, and take de-icing tools in winter, including a shovel. The Transport Direct website below is a great resource for anyone wanting to get to the start of their walk using public transport...

Pack the right gear

Carrying and wearing the right gear is essential for walkers to remain comfortable and safe while hill walking in Britain. However, the best gear in the world is of no use to anyone who doesn't know how to use and care for it. Knowing how to use your gear will give you a much more enjoyable experience. The following items are, in my opinion, the essential items to wear and carry for a hill walk in Britain. It would be foolish to head into the hills and mountains of Britain without these essential items and the knowledge of how to use them. Check out the gear section of this site for techniques and gear lists...

  • Footwear
  • Clothing
  • Rucksack
  • Warm Clothes
  • Waterproofs
  • Map & Compass
  • Emergency Kit
  • First Aid Kit
  • Food & Drink
  • Seasonal Gear

Know what to do in emergencies

It is good practise to tell someone where you are going, and when you expect to return. If you don't get in contact when you said you would on your return, and those you told can't get hold of you, at least they will be able to provide the search party with your general location.

Emergency equipment in the check list above means items such as a survival bag, whistle, and emergency food rations. This isn't anything special; any whistle will do, the orange emergency bags only costs a few pounds, and basic food rations can consist of a couple of chocolate bars. Carrying a head lamp is also an important component and a vital piece of kit used for signalling when you require rescuing.

You should always try and get out of a difficult or emergency situation using your own gear, knowledge and energy. If you cannot do this, then you should dial 999 and ask for the police. Use all the gear you have to keep any unwell or injured members of your party or yourself safe and warm, and use your signalling devices to let the rescuers know your whereabouts. To do this blow six good long blasts on your whistle, or flash six flashes of your torch. Stop for one minute. Repeat. Carry on with the whistle blasts until someone reaches you, and don't stop because you've heard a reply.

Never contact mountain rescue unless absolutely necessary, but on the other hand don't ever feel guilty for having to do so, especially if you are a prepared walker. The Mountain Rescue teams are full of fantastic like-minded souls who love nothing more than people who are prepared for being safe in the mountains.