Loch Goil, Beinn Lochain

Helen Rose Hill Walking Diary September 2004

When I am hill walking, I sometimes like to combine it with some local history and visit new areas. This summer, Ralph led a walk for the Glasgow HF Outdoor Club to Beinn Lochain at Loch Goil where a USAAF B29 Superfortress crashed in 1949 killing all 20 of the crew on board. This site is unusual as most of the wreckage is on a small area including the fuselage, wings, undercarriage and various other pieces of wreckage. There is a memorial plaque to those who lost their lives in the crash and it is always sad to stand at a place like this. The ?plane crashed between the two hills of Stob na Beine Druim-fhinn and Beinn Tharsuin. and can be visited without actually climbing the hills. However, the main purpose for us intrepid hill walkers was to ascend the two peaks and also Beinn Lochain at the end of the ridge.

Loch Goil is located to the west of Arrochar and is reached by driving over the Rest and Be Thankful road to Loch Fyne then taking the minor road to Lochgoilhead. It is a pleasant drive of around 90 minutes from Glasgow. There was little in the way of paths on the walk but navigation was easy as it was a clear, warm, sunny day and Ralph had already ?reccied? the walk and planned the route carefully. It is a circular route which is always more interesting as the views are constantly changing throughout the day. The mountains form an escarpment overlooking Loch Goil.

Photo: Morning Coffee. The first section of the walk was uphill through a fire break on fairly steep ground gaining access to a broad ridge where we stopped for coffee. I am renowned for insisting that I need an elevenses stop and have converted most of the HF members to having a proper sit down stop to enjoy the views. We needed to be fortified for the next section of the walk up a very steep gully but in no time we were on the summit of Stob na Beine Druim-fhinn. Now there is a mouthful of Gaelic. Does anyone know what it means?

Photo: Gully. From the summit, we could see down to the crash site located near the trees. We had a walk around the crash site in the eerie silence before a further ascent to Beinn Tharsuinn where we had magnificent views over the Arrochar Alps to Ben Lomond in the distance. You will recall that I have previously written on the Arrochar Alps and I promise to write again about them in the near future. From there it was down to the col and up to Beinn Tharsuin, the highest point. This might all sound fairly easy but it is steep ascents on each of these three hills and the entire walk did take more than five hours. From the last hill it was down to Curra Lochain where Ralph had planned a stop for tea at the side of the Loch. Unfortunately, the midges were out in force and would have made a stop unbearable. The midges tend to hang around damp areas such as burns and lochs and in calm conditions they are eager to bite to reproduce and expand their population!.

Photo: Loch. We continued the walk past the Sruth Ban Waterfall and onto the forestry track leading back to the start. Being deprived of our tea stop, we quickly made our way to the hotel at Lochgoilhead for the customary ?pint?, well deserved after a reasonably strenuous walk in the fresh air. It was a perfect day in glorious weather with great views and a bit of history. The company was also good!

Coming attractions; Munros at Loch Quoich, anything else I have done or that you request!

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Thanks to Ralph McLeod for the photos

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