A RECENT ITV show, which I missed, has been getting a lot of comment on social media. The programme was titled The Hundred Best Walks in Britain and almost inevitably it was a walk in the Lake District that won. The first Scottish walk, to the summit of Ben Macdui in the Cairngorms, surprisingly trailed in 12th place.

In many ways the programme reminded me of a similar show a few years ago which aimed to ascertain the best view in Britain. The results were equally Anglo-centric. I seem to recall the view over Wastwater in the Lake District’s Wasdale actually won.

I know that view well, and it’s a beautiful bit of landscape, but I suspect the judges never even got out of their car. Without thinking, I could name a dozen views that are superior, and here’s one of them – the view down Loch Hourn in Knoydart from the summit of Buidhe Bheinn.

READ MORE: Declan Welsh on his poetry and his band The Decadent West

You can reach Buidhe Bheinn from the road that runs west from Glengarry to Kinloch Hourn, a journey that never fails to delight me, and there are a dozen views in that stretch of road itself that would make Wasdale look ordinary.

As you drop down into the green hollow that holds the hamlet of Kinloch Hourn you can’t help but sense the proximity of the tumbling slopes opposite you, dropping precipitously from a high and narrow summit ridge. This is Buidhe Bheinn – a Corbett that for a while wasn’t a Corbett – one of Scotland’s mountains between 2500ft and 2999ft.

A high and knobbly ridge connects Buidhe Bheinn to Sgurr a’Bhac Chaolais on the South Glen Shiel Ridge in the north. Both hills are exactly the same height – 885m/2904ft. Up until 1981 Buidhe Bheinn was listed as a Corbett, but a revision of the Corbett Tables declared Sgurr a’Bhac Chaolais to be slightly higher.

The National:

The 1997 revision reckoned both hills were exactly the same height so both hills were given equal status. However, there doesn’t appear to be very much drop in height between the two summits and in 2012 a new survey revealed that Buidhe Bheinn is the higher. As far as I’m concerned, Buidhe Bheinn is by far the better mountain.

To confuse matters more, the 2002 edition of the Ordnance Survey Explorer map had credited the hill’s west top with a spot height of 897m. That was a printing error – the proper height is 879m and so the hill’s north-east top, at 885m, is the true summit.

During the early part of the winter I left my car by the little loch at the foot of Coireshubh, just before the road drops down into Kinloch Hourn, trying to wipe these Corbett anomalies from my mind. It was far too good a day to be concerned with such things. Red deer stags had been lining the roadside all the way from Loch Quoich and the hills, in the low winter sun, were crimson. Rather than drop down into Kinloch Hourn I thought I’d save a few hundred feet of climbing by following the right of way that runs through to Glen Shiel by way of the Allt Coire Sgoireadail. This footpath offers fairly easy walking up the narrow glen between Sgurr a’Mhaoraich’s west slopes and the steep, grassy slopes of Buidhe Bheinn, and quick access to the broad shoulder that drops down from Buidhe Bheinn’s summit.

This choice of route was coloured significantly by memories of an ascent of this hill years ago when I tackled Buidhe Bheinn’s south ridge head-on from the depths of Kinloch Hourn. To this day I recoil at the memory of relentlessly steep and craggy slopes rising from sea level to a height of about 600 metres where the steepness relents slightly at a little dip in the ridge. It was a hot day and, surrounded by clouds of midgies, I sat with my feet in a peaty lochan, trying to cool off before the final burst to the summit.

The slopes of the hill’s east shoulder are steep too, but devoid of crags. This route takes you directly to the summit of the mountain, from where a narrow, rocky ridge dips slightly before climbing to the western top. A little bit of scrambling is involved too. Although this western top is slightly lower it is one of the finest viewpoints in these western hills and infinitely finer than anything near Wastwater.

At your feet the long and sinuous Loch Hourn, the loch of hell, winds it way out to sea. The Cuillin of Skye rises beyond the green Sleat peninsula of Skye and just south of it the Cuillin of Rum tries to compete with its jagged outline. Closer at hand the square-topped Ladhar Bheinn, the most westerly of the mainland Munros, rises from its scooped out Coire Dhorrcail, and on the opposite side of Loch Hourn Beinn Sgritheall pokes its head up beyond a jumble of lower hills. South and west lies the tumbled, wild, isolated and almost secretive landscape of the Rough Bounds of Knoydart, the toughest hillwalking in Scotland.

A little network of stalkers’ paths on the west slopes of the hill offers a route back to Kinloch Hourn but I chose to descend the hill’s south ridge, then dropped down into the south-east corrie, from where it was an easy descent back to the right of way. I simply didn’t fancy the big climb on the road from Kinloch Hourn back to where my car was parked.

I eventually reached the car tired but completely satisfied with my day. The winner of the best walk in Britain, according to that ITV programme, was the walk to the summit of Helvellyn in Cumbria – a nice walk by Lake District standards, but nothing but an overcrowded stroll compared with the walk I’d just completed. I guess the majority of the folk who voted in the ITV programme probably hadn’t even heard of Buidhe Bheinn. Ho-hum…