|Beinn Dubh from Mullach
|Estimated net time||1½-2 hours|
|Drinking water||No access to drinking water.|
|Parking||Room for several cars at trail head.|
|Start height||138 metres|
|Vertical metres||200 metres for the roundtrip|
|Trip distance||5.2 km|
|GPS-file||X - Do not follow the ascent route from Loch Fada to the base of the mountain!|
From Port Ellen on Islay drive north on road A846. At Bridgend continue on A846 towards Port Askaig for 7.4 km. Turn right (signed for "Mulindry"), and drive another 2.6 km. Here you turn left onto a gravel/dirt road and drive 500 metres, where the road is closed by a gate. Find parking here.
Follow the dirt road east, towards Beinn Dubh. Where the road ends continue south and aim for the bottom of the south-west ridge of the mountain (do not get tempted to cross the wet area at the foot of the mountain; if you do you will be waist deep in mud). Follow this rounded ridge all the way to the summit, which is marked by a cairn.
The easiest descent route follows the ascent route.
02. May 2009
This was my third hike this fine Saturday, and Pål joined me also for this hike. After our lunch at Port Charlotte we drove directly to the trail head, and by 15:40 we were on our way.
We walked along the farm road leading to the base of the mountain, and from the end of the road decided to head straight up the hill to the summit. After a little while we got to an area that seemed to be a bit wet, but the water seemed to be restricted to the ditches so we assumed it OK to walk on the dry (seemingly) land between the ditches. However, we soon found that what appeared to be dry land was also pretty wet. After a few tens of metres Pål got second thoughts about proceeding, but by now I was already wet to my ankles and assumed it couldn't get any worse. Seconds later I was standing with mud to my waist, and thinking more about survival (for both camera and myself) than whether I was wet or not. After a fair bit of struggle I managed to get myself onto a piece of land floating in the water, before it was down again. This second time I was at least mentally prepared, and just hoped that I wouldn't get any deeper than the last "dive". I was now close to dry land on the other side, and decided to keep going, as opposed to my wiser friend Pål, who had turned around and was heading up the ridge to the right of my swimming pool.
Soon I found myself on dry land, and had time to undress to wrench my clothes before Pål caught up with me. My biggest concern now wasn't the fact that I was soaking wet, but what germs and other nasty stuff did the mud contain? I did a quick check of my legs to see if there were blood-sucking creatures having a feast, but none were found so I got dressed again and joined Pål for the hill up to the summit.
From the summit we had excellent views across to Jura, and the Paps, but being soaking wet I didn't fancy standing still for very long. So after the compulsory photos were taken we headed back down. This time we both used the route along the ridge, which was a fine route and not that much longer than the "short-cut" I had attempted for the ascent. Down in the hill-side Pål stumbled across an adder, but for the rest it was plain sailing back to the car.
The motivation for a quick drive back to Machrie was by now very high. One thing was the need for a shower and clean clothes, but there was also a major desire to get to the bar, after having bagged three small Islay mountains during a long day.