Creach Bheinn – Irish horizons. February 2016.

Date: Sunday 13th February 2016
Distance: 8.6km
Ascent: 700m

Up early in Tobermory and heading down the road for a hillwalk. The forecasts had suggested, rightly, that areas south and east of Mull would be clouded on the Saturday with north and west clear.

Sunday’s forecast promised clear sunny conditions to the south with cloudier conditions north.

One view that seems to have eluded us on Mull is a decent view south towards Jura so, with this in mind, we picked Creach Bheinn to head back up. This Graham is a wee cracker at the SE corner of Mull above Lochs Spelve and Buie with a grandstand view south to Colonsay, Islay, Jura and on to Arran. It also has a view up Loch Linnhe, being visible from Onich.

Parked up just after sunrise at Loch Buie – there’s a space at the bridge (NM 615 255). Headed up the Gleann a Chaigin Mhoir path for 200m before ascending the ridge up to Creach Bheinn Bheag and on to Creach Bheinn. Nothing tricky, just an enjoyable ridge with an expanding set of views.

Ben Buie:

Loch Buie:

The wind was whisltling south down the glen, but much of the ridge was relatively sheltered so it was a fairly calm and reasonably warm ascent in beautiful sunshine.

Ben Buie:

As we ascended we were able to pick out the hills of Arran across Kintyre.

Arran:

To the SE we could identify the hills of Arrochar and Cowal. No longer a nameless jumble having visited them now.

Arrochar:

The ridge is quite nice terrain, simply a bit of picking grassy strips up through rocky bands.

SW ridge of Creach Bheinn:

Once above 500m the islands of Jura, Islay and Colonsay were better appreciated.

Jura:

Scarba:

No need for winter kit – we’d left all that in the car having needed none on Ben More the day before.

Ascending Creach Bheinn:

From this side Ben More looked rather more wintry than our SW approach on Saturday.

Ben Buie and Ben More:

The mainland looked even whiter – about a 500m snowline.

Cruachan group:

The summit had a light snow dusting and the northerly wind was rather chilling. Donned some insulating layers before having an explore of the top followed by lunch.

Creach Bheinn summit:

To our NE the hills looked rather clagged, but the NW out towards Skye seemed to be having a fine day.

View north to Beinn Talaidh and Rum:

The views across Loch Spelve to Oban and Cruachan were worth the climb – beautiful.

Loch Spelve, Oban and Cruachan:

We had better views NE up Loch Linnhe last time. A bit limited on this occasion.

Lismore and Fraochaidh:

The hills towering above Oban kept the attention.

Oban and Cruachan:

We were enjoying the views south across the Firth of Lorne – Mull of Kintyre was visible down that direction. Scanning SW over Colonsay we picked out a hill behind the island which could only be on Ireland. A bit hard to pick out in the zoomed photo so I’ve fiddled the contrast in that strip.

Ireland over Colonsay:

160km line of sight to a foreign hill is not too shabby.

Sheltered behind the summit for lunch.

H on Creach Bheinn summit:

Just reversed route back to the car. Sheltered from the wind some of the rock bands were palpably warming in the sun and the heat was sufficient to start to smell the vegetation and earth again….the lack of sounds and smells in winter is nearly at an end.

Ben More:

The glen was now fully in the sun.

Loch Airde Glais:

Back down towards the lochan on the ridge – presumably the descendents of damselflies seen on our last visit are sleeping larvae right now.

Ben Buie and lochan:

Back at the car for 1400 we headed on a reconnoitre to Croggan on Loch Spelve – well worth a visit, with a camping pitch identified for future use.

Back to Craignure to join the ferry queue for the 1700 run to Oban. Frustrating to be in the shade at Craignure as the sun shone elsewhere. Watched the ferries go by.

MV Hebrides on Castlebay run:

MV Isle of Mull at Craignure:

A nice run back to Oban. Sunset was obscured by the Mull hills but still lots to see.

Cruachan sunset:

Scarba and Jura over Lady’s Rock:

Eilean Musdile lighthouse:

Cruachan:

Cracking wee hill, possibly my favourite Mull Graham. Great to finally get those southern views, all the way to abroad.

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