Rock of the Britons

Oct 5th, 2015

Rock of the Britons

Ever since we have lived here (two years now believe it or not!), R and I have wanted to climb Beinn Donich straight from our house without joining the throngs (well not throngs exactly, but you know what I mean) climbing it by the usual route from the Rest and be Thankful. So yesterday we did just that, and on the way found out a piece of interesting local history.

We headed out early and went up to the waterfall, where we met a local friend going in the same direction. While we walked he told us about the Rock of the Britons, which was where the boundary lay between the Clyde Britons and the Scots of Cowal – it is marked on the ordnance survey map as Clach A’ Bhreatunnaich. I’d never heard this story (more details on this website, but I was then determined to see it for myself. It is a very large rock, it is visible from the path and it is on the way up Beinn Donich, but to say it is challenging to reach it is a bit of an understatement because the whole area has been planted for forestry and then cut down – turning it into an ankle defying morass of tangled stumps and branches. The expanse between the main path, the stone and the clear slopes of Beinn Donich must have been 500m and taken us well over half an hour to cross.

The stone was very impressive, with a real sense of history. I’d been going to climb up it, but R managed to induce a sanity check when I was half way up by asking how I proposed to get back down – so I didn’t. It seems a shame that a piece of history is so neglected and impossible for most people to go to see – there should at least be a basic path to it.

Anyway – we then went on up Beinn Donich and it was a pleasant walk indeed. We heard what we thought was a stag roaring but turned out to be two heiland coos. Then a large ram stood watching us from a cliff top, looking like the Monarch of the Glen to the extent that R though he might be going to try to see us off. Just before the summit, a large raptor took off right in front of us. We only got a quick glimpse, but it was too large for a buzzard and had a white tail. I’m wondering if it could possibly have been a sea eagle (though I hadn’t heard they were around Loch Goil).

We got a great view from the top: four lochs and the firth of Clyde, and a variety of famous and not so famous mountains (most of the Arrochar Alps from here, plus a distant Ben Lomond).

We were back home for lunch and it rained all afternoon which made having to do housework just about tolerable.

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