Fionn Bheinn: One Of Scotland’s Forgotten Mountains
Fionn Bheinn is quite an isolated munro located in the Ross & Cromarty area of Inverness-Shire. Its featureless slopes is probably the main reason of its low popularity. It has an expanse of grassy terrain surrounding it with many boggy sections which can be almost impassable in adverse conditions.
It is generally climbed en-route to some much more interesting mountains in Torridon. Most munro-baggers will try to tick this one off as they are passing by.
Fionn Bheinn – 933 metres (3061 ft) – pronounced FYOWN-VEIN
If you’re not sure about the definition of a munro then check out my post about the mountains in Scotland. Here I give an in-depth overview on the different types of mountains in Scotland and how they’re classified.
The hike itself starts in the hamlet of Achnasheen, located almost directly between Dingwall and Gairloch.
If you’re coming from the south, follow the A9 until you reach Inverness. Cross over the Kessock Bridge onto the Black Isle where you’ll come off the A9 at Tore. Take the second exit at the Tore roundabout and from here follow the A835 for 18 miles (29 km) until you reach the tiny village of Garve. A minute or so after Garve turn left where the sign indicates Gairloch. Continue along this road, the A832, for a further 16 miles (26 km) until you reach Achnasheen. This final stretch of road is straight and fast. Turn left where there are signs towards the train station and park by the Achnasheen visitor centre which has toilets.
Alternately, you can take the A82 north until you reach Drumnadrochit. Take a left straight after the second bridge in the village, you’ll see signs for Cannich. Continue along this road for 1.5 miles (2.4 km) until you see a right turn with signs to Beauly. Head up this steep hill, now the A833, following signs for Beauly. Pass through Beauly and Muir of Ord and then, at the junction shortly after Marybank, take a left towards Gairloch. Now you’re on the A835 and you can follow the same directions as above.
Check out the map at the end of this post for the exact location.
The toughest part for me was the hike up from the road in Achnasheen. It is an initial steep slog which feels like it goes on forever. Once you get past the initial blind summit, the terrain levels out a bit more and is more of a steady ascent to the summit of Fionn Bheinn.
The path is fairly self-explanatory for the initial climb but it does start to disappear in the bogs and marshes of the moorlands above. The descent is made simple by an old wall which you can follow all the way down to the final track.
Duration & Length
Duration: 3 – 6 hours
Length: 7.5 miles (12 km)
For keen hikers who go at a fair pace, 3 – 4 hours is a realistic time to aim for. If you take your time and prefer to amble, or are a beginner hiker then you’re better off aiming for 4 – 6 hours.
Where To Stay
If you’re looking to stay as local as possible then look no further than Ledgowan Lodge, a hotel located in the village of Achnasheen itself and right on Fionn Bheinn’s doorstep.
Another great option is the campsite in Gairloch which, although located 30 miles (48 km) away, is a better budget-friendly option and is ideal if you are planning on hiking a few more munros in the area.
Head left out of the visitor centre car park and back up onto the main road. Straight over the road you’ll see a red telephone box, this is where the climb begins. You’ll see a sign indicating where walkers are supposed to go. Follow the track up, past the water treatment facility and through the gate where you follow the path. This path will continue all the way up by the side of a stream (river in rainy conditions), make sure that you stay to the left of the fence.
Continue up until you see a mini water plant on your left-hand side. From here you have the peak of a graham, Meall a’ Chaorainn to the left, and the summit of Fionn Bheinn straight ahead.
Continue straight along the vast moorland towards the final climb up to the summit of Fionn Bheinn. Here there is no single route which must be taken, you need to use initiative and go where the ground is driest. I did it in October and there were lots of boggy areas with no real path to follow.
As you begin to climb up again there are 2 potential routes that you can take.
You can veer right and up onto the ridge of Fionn Bheinn. This is the more popular route because of the views on offer and, once you reach the summit, the ascent up to the trig point is fairly steady.
The alternative and slightly faster option is to head straight up the mountainside directly ahead of you. I chose this option because when I did it there was almost hurricane force winds and it wouldn’t have been entirely safe walking along the ridge. This route is a bit more of a slog and is just a case of going up and further up until you reach the trig point in the form of an Ordnance Survey pillar.
The views from the top are truly spectacular. You get views of the Fannichs munros and Loch Fannich to the north, and the Torridon munros to the west. If you get the weather for it then I highly recommend spending some time on the summit to take in your surroundings.
The quickest way to descend would be to head straight back down the same way. However, there’s a different route which is more enjoyable and not that much further.
Follow the ridge of Fionn Bheinn east until you reach an old stone wall which has been knocked down in sections. Follow the stone wall until it finishes. The end of the wall is marked by a clear track heading down the hill, follow this until you reach a small forested patch. Head through the gate and this dense area of trees, all the way down to the roadside.
Turn right at the road and walk the 0.5 miles (0.8 km) back to Achnasheen and the car park.
Fionn Bheinn is a largely uninspiring mountain but it’s one which should definitely be saved for a calm and clear day. It is not difficult by munro standards and is one that you can do with your kids if they enjoy hills and the outdoors.
It is most commonly climbed en-route to Torridon, the home to many more interesting peaks.
The toughest part is choosing the route over the expanse of moorland before the final ascent up to the peak. This will depend on the time of year you decide to go up and how the weather has been in recent days/weeks.
As always, thanks a lot for reading, and please add anything you would like to add or any questions in the box below. 🙂