Ben Griam Beg is a mountain/hill in Sutherland. On top are the ruins of a fort, but other than that the landscape is very barren, so there's not much to see, but if you enjoy the scottish highlands with the barren heather-moors, you'll love this trek.
The trailhead to Ben Griam Beg is approximately 5,6 km south of Forsinard on the A897. On the right side of the road you’ll find a gravel road travelling almost due west, crossing the railroad just beside the road. Remember to close the gates properly when crossing the railroad.
Follow the gravel road all the way (3,4 km) to a small cottage situated just below the slopes of the mountain.
Just before the fence surrounding the cottage, on your left hand side there is a gate and a very faint tractor track leading in a north-westerly direction. Depending on how long it’s been since somebody used the track, you might have difficulty picking it up at the house, but it becomes a little clearer farther up from the cottage.
The easiest thing by far is to stick to the track up the gentle incline. You will be slogging along for 45 minutes, maybe an hour, before reaching a fence. Follow the track through the fence. At this point you should start heading cross-country towards the saddle visible on the western part of the mountain, as this is the least steep side to climb from, and if you continue on the track you’ll end up in a boggy part of the heather, which you will avoid when heading off from the track early. You will have to jump a number of smaller streams and waterholes on your way, but they’re not big enough to cause you any trouble.
Finally you’ll be reaching the foot of the real incline! We switch-backed up this incline because it is quite steep and uncomfortable to go straight, but if you’re more hardcore than us feel free to go straight!
Just stick to the saddle, and you’ll be coming to a shoulder on which there is the remains of a fort. From this side you will have views of what you think is the top, but don’t be fooled, there’s 2 or 3 false summits in store for you. When you reach the part with the fort on it, turn slightly to the right and continue to climb towards the summit. At this point there are a great deal of loose rocks and scree, so take care on the footing.
On a clear day you’ll be able to see the Orkney Islands from the summit, and also have nice views of Forsinard and all the surrounding countryside.
We would recommend backtracking for the route down. We got lazy and decided to head down the south face instead of the northwestern face, which was a bad idea. The south face doesn’t look that steep from the summit, but you’ll find yourself on a 45 degree slope, and it is a very long slope too. So say goodbye to your toes and knees if you do this. We regretted it deeply.
A big recommendation from us would be trekking poles. We didn’t have any, but it would have made crossing the heatherlands a bit easier and especially helped during the descent. And remember that the weather in the highlands changes from one minute to another, so be prepared for all eventualities.
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