Friday, 15 June 2012

Murrays on Tour - Ben Rinnes

Friday 15th June
We're off on our jolly holidays today, heading for Loch Sunart just south-west of Fort William. Well that's the eventual destination anyway. We're stopping off in Nairn for a couple of nights since the lease on the cottage is Sunday to Sunday and Nairn holds some nice memories of our youth. But enough of that, the run over to Nairn, well by our favoured route, took us past The Buck 'o Cabrach and I was tempted to have a wander up there since Mo had missed out on my original visit and also to find the carved stones, but the walk in is muddy through high heather. The alternative was Ben Rinnes just outside Dufftown which, as far as I could ascertain had a good path all the way to the summit. We decided that this was the best option since the weather was already threatening and the forecast had been for a getting worse kind of day. There's a car park just off the B9009 Dufftown to Glenlivet road which was already full when we arrived, (although it could have held another couple of cars in the twat in the Audi had known how to park it!).

Dodgy parking!
The weather was cool and windy and we didn't hold out much hope of reaching the summit in clear weather and discussed whether we would go all the way up if it closed in. The estate tracks are well maintained so the walking underfoot was easy and with no navigation involved we set off at a brisk pace. The path is uphill straight from the car park before levelling off at 411m when we crested Round Hill and got our first look at Ben Rinnes.

Off at a brisk pace both to keep warm and to try and stay ahead of the weather

Our first look at Ben Rinnes
From Round Hill the path undulates along for a while before climbing up over Roy's Hill at 535m. We dropped down slightly, gaining some relief from the tail wind that was bowling us along quite nicely and took advantage of the lull to get into our waterproofs. It was by now typical Scottish weather where it wasn't actually raining but there was enough moisture in the air to get you wet and the mist was slowly blowing in.

Our last view of Ben Rinnes before the weather closed in.
We past a few walkers who were on their way back down, (probably knew something we didn't), as well as a jogger in tee-shirt, shorts and sandals. We felt a little bit over dressed in full waterproofs! The mist finally caught up with us on the final pull up to the summit, but we reckoned that we were too close to seriously consider turning back, and with the well maintained and obvious path it seemed a responsible enough decision to push on.

Our first "view" of the summit cairn

Final few steps, Ben Rinnes 841m, (Corbett 106 by height)
 The trig point is on top of a fine granite tor although I would argue the highest point is on the next ledge, so we crossed over to it - just in case. Our route guide had promised us some great views from the top but I guess we will need to take their word for it since we were struggling to see the path never mind any further. We stopped in the shelter of the wind for a while and had some coffee and chocolate in the hope that it would clear, but no luck. Eventually we gave up and retraced our steps back down the path. Strangely we never met anybody making their way up, I wonder why?! The mist eventually turned into proper rain and we were pretty wet when we arrived back at an empty car park. We had set off just after twelve o'clock and arrived back by three which was pretty quick for us.

A now empty car park, obviously only fair weather walkers!!
All in all it had been good fun and we'll come back eventually and do it again in better weather so that we can take in those promised views. For now though we're heading west to Nairn and a well earned holiday pint.

More photos


  1. Enjoy your holiday pint, John. I hope the Audi driver and his mates haven't taken over every table in the pub.
    Cheers, Alen McF

    1. Hi Alen, thanks for looking in. Holiday pint, and the rest of the holiday, was fantastic. Unfortunately no internet connection for the week so posting might take a while to catch up!.............J