Lindsay Boyd's Trip Reports

.

Section 13 - Applecross, Coulin and Torridon

Fuar Tholl
Fuar Tholl
An Ruadh-stac
An Ruadh-stac
Beinn Damh
Beinn Damh
Mullach an Rathain
Mullach an Rathain

This section refers to the hills and mountains of Applecross, Coulin and Torridon and include Liathach, Beinn Eighe and Beinn Alligin. They cover the Corbetts, Grahams and Munros that I have climbed in this area since 2003. The Sub 2000 Marilyns that I have climbed in this section can be viewed here while the Humps can be found here.


Section 13 - Index

Corbetts Grahams Munros
An Ruadh-stac An Ruadh-mheallan Beinn Liath Mhor
Baosbheinn Beinn a'Chearcaill Maol Chean-dearg
Beinn an Eoin Beinn a'Chlachain Mullach an Rathain
Beinn Bhan Beinn na Feusaige Ruadh-stac Mor
Beinn Damh Beinn na h-Eaglaise Sgorr Ruadh
Beinn Dearg Carn Breac Sgurr Mor
Fuar Tholl Sgurr a'Gharaidh Spidean a'Choire Leith
Meall a'Ghiuthais   Spidean Coire nan Clach
Ruadh-stac Beag   Tom na Gruagaich
Sgorr nan Lochan Uaine    
Sgurr a'Chaorachain    
Sgurr Dubh    


Section 13 - Trip Reports

Sgurr a'Chaorachain

16 September 2015

slide show

Map - OS Landranger 24. Time taken - 4 hours. Distance - 8 kilometres. Ascent - 510 metres.

The start for the ascent of the Corbett, Sgurr a’Chaorachain, began after the drive up from Kishorn through the hairpin bends to reach the Bealach na Ba where there was a large car park used by tourists en-route to or from Applecross. This meant that we were already at 620 meters when we set off back down the road losing a wee bit of height to reach the beginning of the vehicle track leading to the radio mast.

This track was quite rough but made for a quick ascent to the telecommunications tower and the nearby cairn which marked the summit of Sgurr a’Chaorachain North Top, a Corbett Top. A descent south then east took us onto Sgurr a’Chaorachain’s West Ridge which narrowed with a couple of short steep drops before climbing to the cairn marking the summit of the Corbett with views down to Lochs Kishorn and Carron.

We returned back along the west ridge before dropping to the top of the final bend on the Bealach na Ba. Once across the road we climbed south over some rocky and rough ground to reach the trig point, the summit of the Graham Top, Meall Gorm with views across the Inner Sound to the Isle of Skye. Afterwards a short descent and road walk took us back to the car park.

previous ascent

Sgurr a'Chaorachain Corbett third ascent 792 metres

main mountain index top of page


Beinn Damh

12 July 2015

slide show

Map - OS Landranger 24. Time taken - 6.5 hours. Distance - 13.5 kilometres. Ascent - 1235 metres.

I had hoped to climb the Corbett, Beinn Damh by its east ridge but with poor weather forecasted I opted to climb it from the Toll Ban with a diversion to take in a few tops. I parked just off the A896 on an area of rough ground immediately east of the bridge over the Allt Coire Roill, west of the hamlet of Annat, before walking west along the main road to the start of the path into the Ben-Damph Forest. The path was initially rather steep and I was expecting to pass through flowering rhododendron bushes but the vast majority had been removed. Below the Allt Coire Roill was running fairly high after heavy overnight rain. After crossing a couple of minor tributaries the path ran above the gorge, Glac na Gainmhich, where the waterfall was quite spectacular although a bit risky trying to get close for a decent photo.

The path later split the left fork was for Drochaid Coire Roill but I took the right one on a fairly good path to the north of the Allt an Tuill Bhain. Higher up this path was in poor condition with lots of running water also it was muddy and eroded. At this point I entered the cloud base.

I continued up this path until I reached a small cairn above the Toll Ban from where I walked north later discovering a path taking me over the Graham Top, Meall Gorm, the summit being unmarked. A short descent north-west led to a col where a slanting path took me onto the south ridge of the Graham Top, Sgurr na Bana Mhoraire and to its trig point. On a clear day this would be an excellent view point but unfortunately not on this occasion.

On my return to the cairn above Toll Ban I had a couple of very brief views of Loch Damh but the showery, cloudy and windy weather continued as I headed briefly south-west before leaving this path and following a less obvious one towards Creagan Dubh Toll nam Biast. However this path came to an end as I crossed boulder fields to reach the cairn marking the summit of this Corbett Top.

Thereafter more boulders were crossed before the underfoot conditions improved slightly and I crossed Spidean Toll nam Biast where the ridge narrowed. I then ascended to the cairn on Spidean Coir an Laoigh, the highest point on Beinn Damh. The cloud broke a couple of times but it didn’t look likely to lift completely so I commenced my descent to Toll Ban meeting a group from the Torridon Youth Hostel on their ascent. The return took me below Creagan Dubh Toll nam Bieast to the west although the path, which was cairned in places, wasn’t always obvious. By this time I was out of the cloud and now had some reasonable views.

On reaching the Toll Ban I descended the path used earlier that morning to return to the start.

previous ascent

Beinn Damh Corbett third ascent 903 metres

main mountain index top of page


Baosbheinn

11 July 2015

slide show

Map - OS Landranger 19. Time taken - 8 hours. Distance - 17.25 kilometres. Ascent - 1130 metres.

I was part of a group staying the weekend at Torridon Youth Hostel and my plan was to climb Baosbheinn having the previous year made the ascent of nearby Beinn an Eoin for the third time. A number of hostellers were also interested in climbing this Corbett so we set off for Kinlochewe then north and west on the A832 to just west of Am Feur Loch. Here we parked beside the Red Barn which is actually green.

Once geared up we crossed the road then the bridge over the outflow from Am Feur Loch before walking south-east on the vehicle track through the Bad na Sgalag Plantation. After nearly three kilometres the track reached the Abhainn a’Gharbh Choire then continued above its east bank. Just prior to this point we followed another vehicle track that descended west but it soon came to an end to be replaced by a wet and muddy path marked by posts. Instead of continuing on this path we mistakenly crossed some very marshy vegetation to locate the bridge over the Abhainn a’Gharbh Choire when in fact the path wound its way round the hillside passing close to the bridge.

Once over the bridge the underfoot conditions were rough with hollows and water trenches. A deer fence was reached which we climbed over and although it was rough going it was an improvement on lower down. Our route took use below Coire Beag and into the An Reidh-choire. While the others crossed the Allt an Reidh-choire and headed for the summit of Baosbheinn I continued up the north side of this stream, into the cloud, and onto the north ridge to see if it was possible to return by this route.

It was a fairly steep ascent on a path where the rocks and vegetation were a bit slippery in the damp conditions. I left this path to ascend the North Top of Baosbheinn, a Corbett Top, before rejoining the path further south then climbing to the summit of Baosbheinn where I met the others. Due to the low cloud there were no views so we left the summit, the others opting to return by the upward route while I retraced my steps along the ridge, avoiding re-ascending the North Top.

It was then an easy gradual ascent to Creag an Fhithich with a couple of short cloud breaks to give me some views. Once over this Corbett Top I descended fairly steeply across grass into Coire Beag before moving onto the rockier north-east ridge. Lower down I rejoined the group and we continued the descent to the footbridge.

A member of the group suggested we return to the start using the marked path to Loch Bad an Sgalaig so once over the bridge we walked north-west on this wet and muddy path. Lower down the route crossed the Abhainn a’Gharbh Choire but the bridge was lying at an angle and impossible to use. Continuing along the east side of the stream wasn’t an option so we climbed a gully then dropped down to Loch Bad an Sgalaig to re-join the path beside the outflow from the Abhainn a’Gharbh Choire. The path ran close to a deer fence beside the shore of the loch then made a short ascent before descending to the vehicle track used earlier that day, a short distance from the start.

previous ascent

Baosbheinn Corbett third ascent 875 metres

main mountain index top of page


Beinn Bhan

15 March 2015

slide show

Map - OS Landranger 24. Time taken 7 hours. Distance - 13 kilometres. Ascent - 1090 metres.

I was staying with Corbett Bagging friends in Plockton and on our first day we decided to climb Beinn Bhan. We left the car east of the bridge over the River Kishorn, on the road leading to Applecross, just off the A896 at Tornapress where there was space for several vehicles.

We crossed the road bridge then walked north along the west side of the river following a path which in places was wet and boggy. Reasonable progress was made and prior to reaching Loch Gaineamhach we left the path and crossed some rough ground then over the shoulder of Druim Glas. A slight loss of height led to the foot of Sron Coire an Fhamhair and the commencement of a fairly rocky ridge which involved some easy scrambling as we searched out a route through the crags. Fortunately it was sunny as it would be difficult finding a way up in poor visibility.

Eventually we reached the plateau where we spotted our first golden plover of the year. On walking round the head of Coir’ an Fhamair it was noted that someone wearing crampons had ascended the snow filled corrie and climbed through the cornice before heading for the summit. As we made our way towards the top we met a party of three who were planning on descending by that route but without axes and crampons they changed their minds.

The summit was reached and here we stopped for lunch within the sheltered cairn surrounding the trig point. Afterwards we descended south-east round the cornices at the heads of Coire na Poite, Coire na Feola and Coire Each then towards the Applecross Road. Lower down there were a few outcrops to avoid and we reached the road just to the south-west of the bridge over the River Kishorn followed by a short road walk back to the car.

previous ascent

Beinn Bhan Corbett third ascent 896 metres

main mountain index top of page


Ruadh-stac Beag

29 November 2014

slide show

Map - OS Landranger 19. Time taken - 6.25 hours. Distance - 14.25 kilometres. Ascent - 970 metres.

Weather forecasts for the North and North-West Highlands indicated that it was going to be a bit of a lottery choosing an area clear of low cloud. Two of the forecasts even contradicted each other for the Torridon and Skye areas. In the end I decided to head for Torridon and climb the Corbett, Ruadh-stac Beag.

I parked in the car park at the Beinn Eighe Visitor Centre on the A832 just north-west of Kinlochewe. Accompanied by my brother I walked back along the A832 for around 250 metres to the start of a vehicle track which ran through the forest. Not far along this track we noticed an alternative path to the Visitor Centre.

The vehicle track led to a footbridge which we used to cross the Allt Sgubaidh to gain the path on the north side of this stream. Later the path split, the right fork was probably a route for tourists using the Visitor Centre, while the other one continued up the side of the burn. It was a pleasant sunny and still morning as we followed the pony path, which was in reasonable condition and where some work had been carried out to improve drainage. On approaching the Allt na Doire-daraich we came to another junction of paths and again took the left fork, the pony track continuing towards the foothills of the Corbett, Meall a’Ghiuthais.

This path, which wasn’t on my map, soon came to a deer fence and a fallen gate then below the north-east ridge of Sgurr nan Fhir Duibhe, the most easterly top on Beinn Eighe, which was in cloud. The path appeared to head onto this ridge so we left it, crossed some rough and bouldery ground as well as a few burns as the sun was replaced by cloudy conditions. A few metres of height were lost as we headed for the path on the south-east side of the Allt Toll a’Ghiubhais. Although it was less defined than I remembered from previous visits it took us into the lower reaches of the corrie and below the north-east ridge of the Munro, Spidean Coire nan Clach.

We crossed the stream and commenced the ascent of Ruadh-stac Beag initially on grass but soon reached the unstable boulders which made for slow progress.Once over them it was an easy walk across fairly flat and stony ground to reach the summit cairn. Beyond was an area of moss.

Despite a cold breeze we stopped here for lunch then returned to the Visitor Centre by the upward route although on the initial descent we came down the scree until it ran out. We also walked further down the Allt Toll a’Ghiubhais path before crossing over to the pony track and once across the bridge over the Allt Sgubaidh took the path back to the Visitor Centre. It did meander through the trees but we couldn’t see very much as it was dusk.

previous ascent

Ruadh-stac Beag Corbett third ascent 896 metres

main mountain index top of page


Beinn an Eoin

3 August 2014

slide show

Map - OS Landranger 19. Time taken - 7.75 hours. Distance - 20.25 kilometres. Ascent - 1060 metres.

The starting point for the ascent of the Corbett, Beinn an Eoin, was the ‘Red Barn’, which was painted green, on the A832 east of Loch Bad an Sgalaig. We parked at the west side of the barn where the midges were out in force.

Once booted and geared up we crossed the road then the footbridge over the outflow of the Am Feur-Loch where a couple of the wooden planks were broken. A rough track then led through the young trees of the Bad na Sgalag Native Pinewood where there were signs for four walks of varying distances as well as boards giving information about plants, wildlife and trees. It wasn’t worth stopping to read these notices as the midges were immediately on attack mode.

Beyond the pinewood the track made a slight descent to a bend in the Abhainn a’Gharbh Choire before following it south-east to regain the lost height and more. The vehicle track then turned south crossing Meall Lochan na Geala on its west side before descending to the Abhainn Loch na h-Oidhche. Here the stepping stones were above water level despite heavy showers the previous few days.

Once across this stream we continued south on the track gaining a bit more height before leaving it and walking east across some wet, boggy and rough ground to below Coire Loch na Geala. From here we climbed south-east round rocks before joining a path on the north-west ridge of Beinn an Eoin. Later this path was left briefly to include Beinn an Eoin’s North Top, a Graham Top, the summit probably being a large boulder. A couple of nearby bumps were also crossed but they appeared lower.

Rain commenced as we descended south-east on a gentle gradient. The cloud lowered and engulfed us and what we could see of the climb onto Beinn an Eoin looked rather challenging. The ascent commenced following a zigzag path but other than being rather steep we didn’t encounter any problems. The wind shelter, where a trig point once existed, was reached as the cloud broke up. The highest point was a small rock just beyond this shelter. We returned to the shelter for lunch and watched the cloud clear to eventually give grand views of the main Torridon Munros.

On leaving the summit area to return by the outward route there were several lightening flashes to the north but fortunately they never headed our way although we did encounter a few showers.

previous ascent

Beinn an Eoin Corbett third ascent 855 metres

main mountain index top of page


An Ruadh-stac

2 August 2014

slide show

Map - OS Landranger 24 and 25. Time taken - 8.5 hours. Distance - 21 kilometres. Ascent - 1130 metres.

Residing at Torridon Youth Hostel was an opportunity to approach the Corbett, An Ruadh-stac from the north. The starting point was only a drive of around one and a half miles to the south along the A896 to the hamlet of Annat. Here I parked on the loch side of the road just after the speed derestriction sign on an area of rough ground probably capable of holding around three cars.

To avoid the midges we were already booted up so grabbed our rucksacks and headed back along the road for a few metres to the signpost for the ‘Right of Way’ to Coulags. The path above the entrance to East Lodge soon turned and headed east passing through an old gate, serving no purpose, and onto the open hillside. The path gradually gained height as it passed below Beinn na h-Eaglaise then round its east side to Loch an Eion where the path split.

We took the left track and followed it round the west side of Maol Chean-dearg then onto its south side where the path gradient increased as it passed above Loch Coire an Ruadh-staic to gain the Bealach a’Choire Ghairbh. At this point we left the path, crossed the rocky knolls above Loch a’Mhadaidh to reach the col below An Ruadh-stac.

Initially the ascent of An Ruadh-stac was across dry slab rock but higher up there were more boulders and scree than I recalled from my previous ascents and this made for slower progress. Eventually we reached more level ground before walking out to the summit cairn where despite a breeze we stopped for lunch. Late on in the morning low cloud had been drifting around some of the mountain tops but despite this we had views out to the Islands of Rum and Lewis, as well as some of the nearby hills.

The return, which was by the outward route, was uneventful for us. We were passed by a couple of mountain bikers and later spoke to them north of and heading back towards Loch an Eion as they had missed the turn off. Unfortunately one was carrying his bike as he had another puncture having already used his spare tubes. It would be a long walk to Coire Fionnaraich Bothy where they were staying.

previous ascent

An Ruadh-stac Corbett third ascent 892 metres

main mountain index top of page


Meall a'Ghiuthais

1 August 2014

slide show

Map - OS Landranger 19. Time taken - 5 hours. Distance - 8.5 kilometres. Ascent - 920 metres.

I was spending the weekend at Torridon Youth Hostel, so before heading there I decided to climb Meall a’Ghiuthais. On my previous visits to this Corbett, I parked at and started from the Beinn Eighe Visitor Centre, north-west of Kinlochewe but on this occasion was looking for a different approach.

A map showed a mountain trail north of the Beinn Eighe Visitor Centre, around 4 kilometres north-west of Kinlochewe so I decided this would be my initial route. I arrived in the car park on the east side of the A832 as a group of teenagers from Dingwall and their guides set off. Once geared up I used the underpass to reach the opposite side of the road and the start of the walk. Immediately thereafter the Allt na h-Airidhe was crossed via a footbridge then I headed west following the ‘Mountain Trail’ in a clockwise direction. The path, also part of a woodland trail, was fairly steep with long vegetation on either side so with no wind and a slow pace the midges found it easy to keep up with me.

At a junction I took a left, the other path being the continuation of the woodland trail, and soon cleared the trees with views across Loch Maree to Slioch, Beinn Lair and Beinn a’Mhuinidh. The ground was now rockier as was the path which returned towards the Allt na h-Airidhe where the gradient eased for a while. Fencing prevented the unwary from going too close to the deep gorge as the path skirted round its north and west sides before steepening again. There were various cairns naming the gorge and a couple giving the height so it was time to set the altimeter watch.

Beyond the top of the gorge the gradient eased and I reached a small lochan and an easy crossing of the Allt na h-Airidhe. Here the youngsters, whom I had spotted at various times, were having fun beside the water. Just after the lochan I left the path, crossed some rocky ground and commenced the ascent of Meall a’Ghiuthais. Higher up there was some vegetation until the hillside steepened when rocks and scree had to be traversed.

The cairn on the North-East Top was gained with grand views of the north end of Loch Maree and its Islands as well as Beinn Airigh Charr. After a few minutes here I walked across to the higher South-West Top with more views this time of Beinn Eighe. However with dark ominous clouds approaching I left the top and returned to the mountain trail. Part way down the rain commenced but had almost ceased as I re-joined the path just south of the point where I had left it earlier.

Using the path I ascended Leathad Buidhe, a Highland Five, as banks of low cloud affected the area. There was a large pile of stones marking the summit with a smaller cairn nearby called ‘Conservation Cairn’. I stopped here for a quick bite to eat but with only a light breeze the midges also thought it was lunchtime!

I left this summit and descended north-east passing several cairns and a few folks on their ascent. The rocky path was badly eroded compared to the ascent route. Lower down there was a long steep descent which required some care and occasionally hand holds. The awkwardness of the route surprised me especially as it was being used by some non-hill walkers. Anyway once clear of this section the path entered the wood and was followed back to the car park.

previous ascent

Meall a'Ghiuthais Corbett third ascent 887 metres

main mountain index top of page


Fuar Tholl

30 May 2014

slide show

Map - OS Landranger 25. Time taken - 4.75 hours. Distance - 11.25 kilometres. Ascent - 955 metres.

My previous approaches to Fuar Tholl commenced from Achnashellach and followed the paths round the east and north sides of this Corbett, so on this occasion I fancied a different route. I arrived at the parking area on the A890 just west of Coulags Bridge to discover the area full although there would have been a space if the cars had been better parked. I managed to get my vehicle off the road and onto the verge although on my return there were several cars partially parked on the roadway.

I set off along the A890, crossed the bridge, went through a gate and walked along the track to Coulags Lodge. On reaching the path which bypassed the Lodge to the west a group of female cyclists were going in the opposite direction and a chap was about to set off having left his bike there. At the north side of the property I left the path and climbed fairly steeply north-east through bracken and heather, avoiding a few rocks, to reach Cnoc nan Each, a good view point for Loch Carron on this fine morning.

This was followed by a slight descent to some damp ground before a gradual climb led to Carn Eididh. From here I aimed for the wide grassy and heathery gully which was climbed to gain the west ridge of Fuar Tholl then a short walk took me to the summit shelter containing the now disintegrated trig point.

There were some good views from this summit so I stopped here for a while before returning down the gully then bypassing Carn Eididh and Cnoc nan Each to the west. A fairly steep descent took me to the path for Coire Fionnaraich which returned me to Coulags Lodge and the start.

previous ascent

Fuar Tholl Corbett third ascent 907 metres

main mountain index top of page


Maol Chean-dearg

26 September 2013

slide show

Map - OS Landranger 25. Time taken - 5.25 hours. Distance - 15.5 kilometres. Ascent - 1080 metres.

I left my car in the parking area on the A890, west of Coulags Bridge, where I was joined a few minutes later by a chap from Cumbria who was heading for the Corbett, An Ruadh-stac. We crossed the road bridge, passed through a gate, round a barrier, then walked along the track towards a house surrounded by trees. At the cattle grid we followed the path that by-passed this accommodation on its west side. The path was boggy with lots of exposed tree roots.

The old path was reached although in reasonable condition there were some drainage issues. It was a sunny pleasant morning with the temperature rising from only +2C as I drove to the start. The footbridge over the Fionn-abhainn was crossed and led to the Coire Fionnaraich Bothy, which was locked as this was the main stalking season. Beyond the bothy there were more drainage issues before we reached a junction of paths which was marked by a cairn. Here we followed the left hand one and after a steady climb up the side of the Allt Mnatha Luadhadair reached the Bealach a’Choire Ghairbh.

We parted company here but instead of crossing to the col for An Ruadh-stac my walking companion decided to climb Meall nan Ceapairean, a Graham Top, despite the fact he had never heard of Graham Tops until I mentioned it to him. I commenced the ascent of Maol Chean-dearg following a scree path onto its South-East Top then a mainly rocky path that led to the final climb through a boulder field to reach the summit cairn. The views were awesome from Skye and the Outer Hebrides to the main Torridon Range of mountains. The nearby Munros, Corbetts and Grahams were all very impressive.

I had lunch at the summit and was a bit reluctant to leave this perch but eventually returned to Bealach a’Choire Ghairbh and made the easy ascent of Meall nan Ceapairean. While at the summit a herd of deer ran across the hillside possibly disturbed by walkers on the path below. Instead of returning to the bealach I followed the cliff edge south-east. Lower down there was a wide break in the cliffs and here I descended, across mainly wet ground, to rejoin the path used earlier that day just south of the Coire Fionnaraich Bothy while listening to the roar of the stags on the other side of the glen. On reaching the path I followed it back to the start.

previous ascent

Maol Chean-dearg Munro sixth ascent 933 metres

main mountain index top of page


Sgorr nan Lochan Uaine and Sgurr Dubh

14 July 2013

slide show

Map - OS Landranger 25. Time taken - 6.5 hours. Distance - 20 kilometres. Ascent - 1225 metres.

I have climbed the Corbetts, Sgorr nan Lochan Uaine and Sgurr Dubh twice and on both occasions I’ve approached them from the west using the Ling path. Having used this path only two days earlier to climb the Munros, Beinn Liath Mhor and Sgorr Ruadh I wanted to approach them from Loch Clair in the east as I had never been that way before. I was to be joined by seven other walkers but only for part of the route as I had a couple of lesser hills that I wanted to include.

There were a few parking spaces on the A896 Torridon to Kinlochewe Road beside the access road to Coulin Estate. Vehicles weren’t permitted down this private road according to a sign. We set off along the estate road and followed it across the A’Ghairbhe, down the east side of Loch Clair and across the stream flowing between Lochs Coulin and Clair. We eventually found the route round the houses and outbuildings at Coulin Lodge to reach a gate in the deer fence. Once through this gate we followed the path on the north side of the Allt na Luib through a Caledonian Pine forest. Later this stream split but the path continued up the glen now on the north side of the Allt Leth-allt.

Around ninety minutes after setting out we took a short break followed by the parting of the ways. One group were going to Sgurr Dubh only and four were continuing up the glen with the intention of climbing both Corbetts. I left the path and walked through some long heather heading for Cuirn Liatha, a Highland 5. Once I had gained a bit of height the ground was rockier and I made my way onto the west ridge of this hill, and to its cairn. I also visited an area further east as I wasn’t convinced the cairn was the highest point.

I returned along the west ridge then swung round onto the bands of sandstone on the east side of Lochan Gobhlach before heading for the col to the west of Beinn Liath Bheag. Here I could see the group of four ascending Sgorr nan Lochan Uaine, the summit being in cloud. I climbed the stony west ridge of Beinn Liath Bheag, a Graham Top, again visiting two points. I later checked a 1:25000 map and it showed the east point higher by one metre.

My next hill was the Corbett, Sgorr nan Lochan Uaine so I returned to the col and climbed to its summit cairn. I was fortunate by this time it was clear of cloud although the nearby Beinn Liath Mhor was still cloud covered. I descended the stony and rocky north ridge looking for the easiest route through a maze of large boulders, cliffs, knolls and lochans. Lower down I stopped for lunch and through my binoculars I could see the group of four closing in on the summit of Sgurr Dubh.

Afterwards I continued my descent before heading for Sgurr Dubh working my way round the same hazards as on the descent from Sgorr nan Lochan Uaine. Higher up there was scree and rocks to cross and I passed several small cairns but they didn’t appear to mark any sort of path or have any significance. A couple of gullies were crossed before the final climb to the summit cairn.

The descent was due south over scree and heather and through a gully before the hillside opened up and I observed several scree paths which continued well down the hillside. Once clear of them I cut across the heather to join the path at the side of the Allt Leth-allt some distance below where I had left it earlier that day. I followed it and soon met up with the group of four who were taking a break. We then returned to the cars by the upward route.

previous ascent

Sgorr nan Lochan Uaine Corbett third ascent 871 metres
Sgurr Dubh Corbett third ascent 782 metres

main mountain index top of page


Beinn Liath Mhor and Sgorr Ruadh

13 July 2013

slide show

Map - OS Landranger 25. Time taken - 8.25 hours. Distance - 18.5 kilometres. 1430 metres.

I have always climbed the Munros, Beinn Liath Mhor and Sgorr Ruadh, from Achnashellach to the south but on this occasion I wanted to attempt a northerly approach. Staying at Torridon Youth Hostel as a guest of a hillwaking group was my opportunity but I was surprised that a number of the group were interested in this approach.

We parked in the car park at the foot of Coire Dubh Mor in Glen Torridon, crossed the road and followed the ‘Right of Way’ over the River Torridon by a footbridge, passed the Ling Hut and into Coire a’Cheud Chnoic. The path was in reasonable nick but the further south we got the less obvious it became although it went a lot further than my map showed. At NG950523 it appeared to come to an end so from here we headed south-east through heather and rocks onto the stony west ridge of Beinn Liath Mhor and to its summit cairn.

After re-grouping at the summit we descended west then south-west across slab rock to an eroded steep path. At the foot of this drop I left the party and climbed easily to the summit of the Corbett Top, Beinn Liath Mhor South Top, while they went round its south side. On my descent of the South Top there were several sheer drops but they were avoidable and my route took me to the small lochan near the head of Coir Lair. I then ascended a grassy gully onto the south-east ridge of Stuc a‘Choire Ghrannda and walked out to its summit cairn, a sub Corbett Top.

I returned along the ridge and met up briefly with the rest of the group who en-route had stopped for lunch. As I intended including another Corbett Top on this walk I left the group to make a leisurely ascent of Sgorr Ruadh’s rocky north-west ridge. I followed some of the obvious stony paths which led to a short east scramble before reaching the circular cairn marking its summit. From here I descended north-east over rocks and grass to the col with Sgurr Ruadh’s East Top and climbed to its summit cairn perched above Raeburn’s Gully.

It was time for a bite to eat before re-ascending Sgorr Ruadh then back down to the col with Stuc a ‘Choire Ghrannda where I met up with the rest of the group who were taking a rest. We then descended to the head of Coire Lair and followed the path over the bealach and into Coire Grannda. The path quickly lost some height and as it started to head west we left it, crossed some stony and heathery ground, located the path we used earlier that day and followed it back to the start.

previous ascent

Beinn Liath Mhor Munro sixth ascent 926 metres
Sgorr Ruadh Munro sixth ascent 962 metres

main mountain index top of page


Beinn Dearg

12 July 2013

slide show

Map - OS Landranger 19 and 24. Time taken 8 hours. Distance - 15.75 kilometres. Ascent - 1090 metres.

I met a couple of friends at the Torridon Youth Hostel, where we staying the weekend, before driving to the car park at Coire Mhic Nobuil, on the minor road to Diabaig. We then walked along the ‘Right of Way’ on the east side of the Abhainn Coire Mhic Nobuil with views of the Beinn Alligin Tops and our destination the Corbett, Beinn Dearg.

Not long after passing the Allt Toll a’Mhadaidh Waterfall, which wasn’t spectacular due to the low water level, we crossed the bridge over the Abhainn Coire Mhic Nobuil, then later a newer bridge over its tributary the Allt a’Bhealaich. The path along the side of this stream became less obvious as height was gained. Before reaching the Bealach a’Chomhla we left the path and crossed to below the west face of the Corbett Top, Stuc Loch na Cabhaig. Here there was evidence of a large rock fall so we walked round the boulders before climbing steeply up a grass and stony slope where at times there were traces of a path.

We reached the ridge just south of the summit of Stuc Loch na Cabhaig and made the short walk to its summit cairn before returning and climbing the rocky north ridge of Beinn Dearg following the obvious path. The earlier brightness was fading as the cloud moved in and at times covered the higher tops. After a break for lunch we continued along the ridge taking in the three pinnacles although the first one and highest probably doesn’t justify this description. All were easily by-passed by the route taken by my friends but I went to the summit of all three as one, probably the first one, has the classification of a Sub Corbett Top.

The next part of the walk involved two sections of down climbing but once on the rock there were plenty hand holds and foot placements. A third area involved sliding between the rocks but this was only possible if you and your sack fitted the gap. An easy stroll then led to another cairn marking the summit of the second Sub Corbett Top.

A slight descent took us to the col with the Graham Top, Carn na Feola, which we climbed. The cairn at the north end and an area further south were visited as I wasn’t sure which was highest. We returned to the col and made a diagonal traverse through long heather and rocks with several cliffs to avoid and lower down a bit of bog. This led to the path on the north side of the Abhainn Coire Mhic Nobuil which was followed back to the start.

previous ascent

Beinn Dearg Corbett second ascent 913 metres.

main mountain index top of page


Beinn a’Chlachain

1 July 2009

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 24. Time taken - 4.25 hours. Distance - 10 kilometres. Ascent - 660 metres.

The Applecross Peninsula, on mainland Scotland, was just across the Inner Sound from my overnight base in Portree, on the Island of Skye. As the crow flies it was only 25 kilometres but by road it involved going via Kyle of Lochalsh, Lochcarron and across the Bealach na Ba, a spectacular pass between Kishorn and Applecross Village. The pass boasts the greatest ascent of any road climb in the UK, rising from sea level to 626 metres.

On reaching Applecross I drove north and parked at the side of the road just beyond the Applecross River. I walked along the vehicle track on the north side of this river, a ‘Right of Way’ to Kenmore and Inverbain. I had some previous knowledge of the area as many moons ago I attended the West Highland School of Adventure, for twenty six days, where we were forced to do early morning runs followed by a cold shower, walking and other outdoor activities. Now I do the running and walking for pleasure but without the cold shower. I therefore may have already summited Beinn a’Chlachain but have no records or recollection that far back.

I stopped and took a picture of the old school, which is now called Hartfied and part of the Venture Trust. Just beyond Hartfield I crossed a field of rushes, which fortunately was fairly dry, and came to an electric fence. However I discovered it couldn’t be in operation as part of fence was lying on the ground. I followed animal tracks up the side of the forest and then made a traverse towards the south-west ridge of Beinn a’Chlachain.

Cows were roaring and I could see that they were standing in the River Applecross, probably trying to cool down as it was rather humid. The other problem, which I’m sure was annoying the cattle as well, were the flies and clegs.

Once I reached the ridge it was a relatively easy walk, sometimes round and at other times over large areas of rock, passed some lochans, until I reached the summit trig point of Beinn a’Chlachain with a Golden Plover sounding an alarm call. On the ascent I had views of the Corbetts of Beinn Bhan and Sgurr a’Chaorchain, and back to Applecross Bay and across the Inner Sound to the Islands of Raasay and Skye. I could now include the Torridon mountains and the Island of Rona to that list.

I had my lunch sitting at the summit taking in the views. Thereafter I did a small circuit to include a nearby knoll, not high enough to be included as an additional contour on my map, where I had better views of the Island of Rona and the Inner Sound. There were a few more Golden Plovers here and on the descent of the south-west ridge, so it must be a popular area for these birds away from the busier mountain tops.

It was a pleasant descent, interrupted by a shower of rain which was short lived and then it was too warm to keep the waterproofs on. This was a great descent route as the views of the Inner Sound and Applecross Bay opened up the lower I got. However the final section to just west of the house at Cruarg was a bit steep before I followed the path to the roadway and a short walk passed the Heritage Centre at Clachan and to where I had parked my car.

Beinn a'Chlachain Graham first ascent 626 metres

main mountain index top of page


Beinn na h-Eaglaise and Maol Chean-dearg

20 June 2009

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 25. Time taken - 7.75 hours. Distance - 19.5 kilometres. Ascent - 1430 metres.

I wanted to climb the Graham, Beinn na h-Eaglaise on a fine day as I had read that the views from the summit were awesome so with an improving forecast coming in from the north-west during the early morning I set off for Torridon. I parked on a rough off road parking area on the east side of the bridge over the Allt Coire Roill opposite the Loch Torridon Hotel. It can be reached from either Shieldaig or Kinlochewe along the A896.

On my arrival the cloud was well down the mountainside, there was a light drizzle, and the midges were out. I walked the short distance west on the A896 to the start of the path to Coire Roill and Beinn Damph. Despite the conditions it was a lovely walk through the forest which was full of flowering rhododendrons and the path covered in petals. A deep gorge was followed to a waterfall but the ground was too slippery to get a reasonable few of the falls.

On leaving the forest I came to a junction of paths and took the left hand one as the other headed for Beinn Damh. The path later crossed the Allt Coire Roill although care would be required in poor visibility that this is not done at a gorge where the ground is worn on both sides as folks have looked into the gorge. Slightly higher was a better and easier option.

I followed the path as it rose away from the burn, before leaving it and commencing the climb to the north-west ridge of Beinn na h-Eaglaise. I was soon in the low cloud with occasional bouts of drizzle. The going soon became quite awkward through deep heather and boulders. However once on the ridge underfoot conditions improved if not the weather. A small cairn was reached but I don't know its significance as it was too early to be the summit cairn so I continued along the ridge to a reasonable sized cairn which I am the opinion was the highest point on the ridge, although there was nothing to compare it with. Here I had a coffee break in the hope that the cloud would clear but to no avail.

On setting off I came to a third cairn, which appeared to have been knocked down so I am still presuming that the middle cairn was the highest point. I came down the south ridge, steeply in places, over some rock and grass and during this descent the cloud started to break up.

I was disappointed that this hadn’t happened earlier so I decided to include the Munro, Maol Chean-dearg on this trip, which had been in my thoughts if the weather was fine. The descent continued to the south side of Loch an Eion and it was here that I decided to make a direct approach to Maol Chean-dearg, although the top was still in the cloud. I could use the path to the Bealach a'Choire Gharirbh on the return route rather than an out and back ascent.

I crossed the path and commenced the ascent of Maol Chean-dearg over some heather and boulders. Above me deer were trying to make there way quickly across the rocky hillside. One of the deer was accompanied by a young calf, the first I had seen this year. Higher up there was a section of easy scrambling although the rock was damp. I tried where possible to use some grassy rakes rather than cross the boulders. Just prior to the top a bit more scrambling was required and this took me to within metres of the summit cairn.

I sought some shelter behind the cairn and spoke to two chaps from Glasgow who were now headed home after a couple of days on the hills. The cloud was still swirling round the summit but broke occasionally for me to obtain views of the surrounding Torridon mountains and to take some photos. After lunch I descended the boulders at the top of the Maol Chean-dearg’s south-east ridge then followed the rocky ridge to the scree passing a few walkers who were on their ascent. Several routes through the scree led to the stalker’s path at Bealach a’Choire Ghairbh.

The path was followed west and then north round Maol Chean-dearg’s west face and back to Loch an Eion. North of here three mountain bikers, who were headed in the opposite direction, had stopped for a breather. The path gradually descended round the east side of Beinn na h-Eaglaise with improving views of Liathach and Beinn Eighe and later across Upper Loch Torridon to Beinn Alligin. The path eventually exited at Annat on the A896 and it was then a short walk back to my car.

previous ascent Maol Chean-dearg

Beinn na h-Eaglaise Graham first ascent 736 metres
Maol Chean-dearg Munro fifth ascent 933 metres

main mountain index top of page


Beinn an Eoin and Baosbheinn

4 – 5 October 2008

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 19. Time taken -
Day one - 6.5 hours.
Day two - 6.25 hours.
Distance -
Day one - 17 kilometres.
Day two - 13 kilometres.
Ascent -
Day one - 990 metres.
Day two - 700 metres.

It had been a wet night and morning when we arrived at the ‘Red Barn’, which is presently painted green, on the A832 Kinlochewe to Gairloch Road just east of Loch Bad an Sgalaig. There is a parking area at the west side of the Barn.

As we set off from the car park the rain was lighter with a more favourable forecast for the rest of that day and the next. We crossed the A832, which is single track at that point, and headed for the path through the Native Pinewood Regeneration Forest. At the start of the path was a wooden bridge which crossed the outflow of Am Feur-Loch. The path immediately before the bridge was flooded and the water was up to the bottom of the structure. With care we crossed the bridge then followed the track, through the pinewood, as it gradually gained height. A flock of geese passed overhead also heading south.

Later the path ran alongside the Abhainn a’Gharbh Choire which was in spate and rushing through the gorge. This was a concern as we had a river crossing to negotiate a couple of kilometres further on. We continued along the track as it exited the Pinewood onto open hillside. At this time the rain ceased and the cloud started to break up. The Abhainn Loch na h-Oidhche was reached and as I thought it was in spate and the steeping stones well under the surface of the swollen stream. This stream is a man made diversion to reduce the flow of the Abhainn a’Gharbh Choire to prevent flooding of the River Kerry which flows into Loch Gairloch. We searched for an alternative crossing point to no avail so we were left with two options, cross the stream or abandon the trip. The first option was our decision so we waded across the stream trying to locate the stepping stones. Once on the south bank we continued along the track to Loch na h-Oidhche.

The plan was to pitch our tents here and climb Beinn an Eoin and return to the tents overnight and climb Baosbheinn the next day. The first problem was that the bridge over the outflow of Loch na h-Oidhche had been washed away, with only remnants of it remaining. The stream was in spate and fairly deep so this approach to Baosbheinn was out. Next the ground here was very rocky and wet and it took a while to find suitable pitching sites. Once the tents were erected we took shelter in the boat house, from the frequent showers, including a sleet shower, for a late lunch.

After lunch we set off for Beinn an Eoin but initially had to head north-east to avoid the steep west face and several rocky sections before joining its north ridge. The higher we climbed the better the views became especially of Slioch and the snow covered Torridon Munros. We also could see the Outer Hebrides, Loch Maree and the Letterewe and Fisherfield mountains. Although it was now sunny there was a cold wind blowing and we encountered a short lived snow shower. Higher up the going was relatively easy with a walker’s path to follow. A couple of ptarmigan flew off. The summit cairn was reached with evidence that there had been a trig point here at one time as the base remained. It was cold and windy with the next shower approaching so we commenced the descent of the south ridge. It was rather tricky with a bit of scrambling required. Lower down we changed direction to head steeply down to the end of Loch na h-Oidhche. This took some time as it required a bit of extra care to avoid lots of rocks and boulders. We could hear the roar of the stags to the south and also to our right.

We reached Poca Buidhe Bothy where we planned to take a short break. The Bothy is privately owned and mainly used by stalking and fishing parties, with most of it being locked up. However the kitchen area is open to the public with a sleeping area upstairs containing a couple of beds. It would not be available for use by walkers if the bothy was occupied by a shooting or stalking party. However as it was lying empty my companion decided that she would prefer to stay overnight in the bothy rather than camp. It made sense as it would solve the next morning's river crossing problem. We therefore set off along the track on the east side of Loch na h-Oidhche with the deer scampering up the hillside, to collect our tents and gear.

Half an hour later we were at our camping site and packed away the tents and our gear before heading back along the lochside reaching the bothy as it was getting dark. Cooking tea in candlelight was easy in the bothy especially with its kitchen facilities. Later it was bed time and very dark in the loft of the bothy once the candles and headtorches were extinguished. During the night it rained several times so the bothy was a better plan.

In the morning it was tough getting out of my down sleeping bag and into the cold but Baosbheinn beckoned. After breakfast and tidying up we left the bothy and set off across some wet and boggy ground working our way round some small lochans at the south end of Loch na h-Oidhche. Once beyond this area we climbed onto the south-east ridge of Baosbheinn which was quite rocky in places. It was still rather showery but the cloud breaks allowed us to see the main Torridon mountains and down into Loch a’Bhealaich. We climbed to the summit of Ceann Beag followed by a short steep drop, with a bit of easy scrambling to a col and then a steep climb to a grassy ridge. This led us to the East Top of Baosbheinn where we took a break looking across Loch na h-Oidhche to Beinn an Eoin and south to the Torridon Munros.

Once the break was over it was another steep descent listening to the roar of the stags in Coire Mor. Several times we ventured to the rocky edge to look for the deer but there was no sign of them. From the col another steep climb took us to the summit of Baosbheinn where there was a covering of snow surrounding the cairn. It was cold and windy here so we descended north then east down a ridge before dropping steeply through rock and some rough vegetation into An Reidh-choire. We then headed for the outflow from Loch na h-Oidhche but it was still rather high and wild so we followed its west bank to its junction with the man made stream, Abhainn Loch na h-Oidhche. Even after the split in the stream the water was rather high and the current strong so we continued along the west bank of the Abhainn a’Gharbh Choire and spotted a bridge. However it wasn’t in a great state and wobbled quite a bit on the crossing but at least we were across the water.

We then rejoined the outward route and returned to the car park beside the Red Barn. The stream at the roadside was down several feet. Here we met a couple we had seen descending the path in front of us. They had reached the stepping stones at the Abhainn Loch na h-Oidhche but couldn’t get across. These were the only people we had seen in two days although there were other cars in the car park when we returned there.

previous ascent

Beinn an Eoin Corbett second ascent 855 metres
Baosbheinn Corbett second ascent 875 metres

main mountain index top of page


Sgurr a’Gharaidh

7 September 2008

photos taken on walk

Map – OS Landranger 24. Time taken – 4.75 hours. Distance - 7.5 kilometres. Ascent - 680 metres.

The weather forecast was once again showing fine weather in the far west and north-west so rather than climb a hill near the rather cloudy Inverness my brother and I headed off to Lochcarron and then took the A896 to Shieldaig. Although not sunny here it was bright and any cloud was well above the summits.

At Loch an Loin we parked off road just at the vehicle track leading to the property at Glasnock and walked round the south side of the Loch and passed a rather untidy white cottage. Just beyond this cottage we left the track and headed uphill passed an overturned caravan and through a field of cattle and sheep. Once over the gate at the top of the field we were onto a variety of vegetation and where possible used animal tracks, always keeping to the north side of a stream. Frequently we looked back across the main road to the impressive Beinn Bhan and the other Applecross Corbett, Sgurr a’Chaorachain as well as out across Loch Kishorn to Skye. Later we were also able to see Rum, Eigg and probably Mull.

Higher we spotted a large Caterpillar tractor and noted that a new track was being constructed on the south side of the stream, probably to allow easy access to cull the deer. Another scar on the hillside to add to those on the opposite side of the main road.

We skirted the mainly rocky ridge and continued over grass and heather until we reached some old iron fence posts. These were followed through a gully to above Lochan Meall na Caillich from where we climbed Sgurr a’Gharaidh. Here we had terrific views of the main Torridon mountains, Beinn Damh, Meall Chean-dearg, An Ruadh-stac and Fuar Tholl as well as the hills and islands already mentioned. There were also the waters of Upper Loch Torridon, Loch Kishorn and Loch Carron to take in. A large herd of deer on one of the ledges below us were on the move having obviously spotted us. There was a cool breeze blowing so we sought some shelter for a break looking west out to the Islands.

The descent was down the more rocky west ridge which involved searching for the best route. We came to the conclusion that our ascent route was probably easier than the more direct route as it avoided all the rock. However on the descent we were able to inspect the weather scarred limestone rock.

At the field we had to avoid the cattle and on walking back along the edge of Loch an Loin we met another walker who was setting out for his third Graham of the day, on his second round.

Sgurr a'Gharaidh Graham first ascent 732 metres

main mountain index top of page


Beinn a’Chearcaill

6 September 2008

photos taken on walk

Map – OS Landranger 19. Time taken – 5.25 hours. Distance - 13 kilometres. Ascent - 820 metres.

The Graham, Beinn a'Chearcaill, is located to the north of the more famous and higher Torridon mountains and south of the A832 Kinlochewe to Gairloch Road. Our starting point was the A832, just west of the bridge over the River Grudie where we found a small parking area, which may have been part of the old road.

Accompanied by my brother I walked along a vehicle track towards an unnamed cottage and searched for the stalker’s path. The start of the path wasn’t immediately obvious and was in fact just east of the cottage and looked more like part of its garden.

The path gradually climbed south in Glen Grudie with views towards the Munro, Ruadh-stac Mor and the Corbetts, Meall a’Ghiubhais and Ruadh-stac Beag. Of course we couldn't ignore the view behind us, across Loch Maree to Slioch. Higher up we left this path and followed another stalker’s path into Coire Briste. This path was not marked on the map and wasn't so obvious. In the Coire we watched an eagle floating around using the thermals to glide back and forth a couple of times before disappearing.

The path led to the head of the corrie where we turned south across some rough ground towards Creag na Feol. Here we heard a distant gunshot but never saw a stalker or in fact anyone else that day on the hill. From the summit of Creag na Feol we descended slightly and thereafter climbed to the large rocky area containing the summit cairn of Beinn a’Chearcaill. Here we could see Coire Mhic Fhearchair, Liathach, Beinn Dearg, the Horns of Alligin, Sgurr Mhor and Beinn an Eoin.

The weather had been reasonable during the ascent allowing for good views, in particular to the west. Cloud and rain showers appeared to be spreading up through Fisherfield and towards Gairloch but we only experienced a couple of spots of rain, although there was a cold and fairly strong wind on the summit. The descent north involved working our way through boulders and small areas of bog to some lochans and climbing to the summit of A’Choineah Beag where the views north were now clear and included, Beinn Airigh Charr, Meall Mheinnidh, Beinn Lair and of course Slioch.

We worked our way off the north-east ridge of A’Choineach Beag, avoiding some rocky outcrops and lower down joined the stalker’s path used on the outward route.

Beinn a'Chearcaill Graham first ascent 725 metres

main mountain index top of page


Fuar Tholl

15 June 2008

photos taken on walk

Map – OS Landranger 25. Time taken – 5.75 hours. Distance - 14 kilometres. Ascent - 1010 metres.

The Corbett, Fuar Tholl, misses out on Munro status by a mere 7 metres, however it is a very impressive mountain protected by cliffs. The starting point was the A890 Achnasheen to Lochcarron road at the access road to Achnashellach Station, where there is parking for several vehicles on the south side of the road. This is the same starting point as for the Munros, Beinn Liath Mhor and Sgorr Ruadh.

I walked up passed the Station, crossed the railway line, and followed the signposted route through the forest to the path at the side of the River Lair. The path continued up the east side of the river but as height was gained it mainly followed a tributary to the junction of paths marked by a cairn. Here I took the left fork, descended and crossed the fairly shallow River Lair, and continued up the path, which eventually passed the north face of Fuar Tholl with views of the Mainnrichean Buttress and into Coire Mainnrichean.

The plan was originally to ascend Fuar Tholl by Coire Mainnrichean but I decided to continue to the highest point on the path and ascend from the north-west. I left the path, passed several small lochans, and climbed through scree following a walker’s trail. Higher up it involved some easy scrambling as the hill steepened before I reached a grassy knoll. The mountain was engulfed in cloud and I had another of the now frequent rain showers. From the knoll there was a slight descent before following the cliff edge to the cairn at the summit of Creag Mainnrichean where I saw a couple of ptarmigan.

At times the cloud appeared to be breaking up as I descended to the top of Corrie Mainnrichean and climbed to the summit of Fuar Tholl. The trig point had been badly damaged with chunks lying outwith the surrounding shelter. I decided to have lunch hoping that the cloud would clear and in fact encountered a hail shower instead. However the cloud later broke up a bit and I managed views of Loch Carron, the South Achnashellach mountains and the nearby Munros, Sgorr Ruadh and Beinn Liath Mhor.

Once I had taken several photographs I descended to the top of Corrie Mainnrichean before dropping down into the corrie, initially over some scree, before the going became easier on grass. Lower down I joined the path used on the upward route and followed it back to the start.

Fuar Tholl Corbett second ascent 907 metres

main mountain index top of page


An Ruadh-mheallan

13 June 2008

photos taken on walk

Map – OS Landranger 24. Time taken – 2.75 hours. Distance - 5.5 kilometres. Ascent - 470 metres.

The start of this walk was the unclassified road running from Torridon village to Diabeg. Torridon village is just off the A896 Lochcarron to Kinlochewe road. At the high point on the Diabeg Road, called Bealach na Gaoithe, I parked my vehicle in a small parking area overlooking Loch Diabaigas Airde.

I crossed the road and set off over pathless terrain towards An Ruadh-mheallan. The area consisted of loads of rocks, knolls, bogs and lochans making it impossible to head in a straight line and instead I had to find the most advantageous route towards this Graham. I had views across to Beinn Alligin, back to the Coulin mountains, across Loch Torridon to North Applecross and over the sea to the Islands of Rona and Skye.

The hill was my own except for a few deer and once clear of the lochans and knolls it was a steady climb to the rock strewn summit. A cold wind was blowing but at least it was dry and cloud free unlike the summits of Beinn Alligin. In addition to the views already mentioned, to the north I could see Red Point, the Gairloch area and the Corbett Baosbheinn.

The return was roughly by the ascent route but once lower down things weren’t so obvious so a radio mast near to where I parked my car was a perfect navigation aid to return to the road.

Navigation in poor conditions would be rather awkward so I would suggest leaving this hill for a fine day especially for the views.

An Ruadh-mheallan Graham first ascent 672 metres

main mountain index top of page


Liathach

12 June 2008

photos taken on walk

Map – OS Landranger 25. Time taken - 6.5 hours. Distance - 8 kilometres. Ascent - 1300 metres.

The weather was to improve slightly for Steve’s ascent of the Liathach Munros, well his plan was to just climb Spidean a’Choire Leith and return by the ascent route. However having guided Steve on his annual visits to Scotland for around five years I considered that he was capable of completing this classic route. Steve has always been unfortunate with the weather and has never had a sunny day yet. This walk was to be no exception.

We set off in the rain from the usual starting point on the single track A896 in Glen Torridon, and climbed up the side of the stream towards Toll a’Meitheach as the rain ceased. I was able to remove my waterproof jacket as it was warm work climbing this steep path containing a few short rocky sections. However I soon had to put it back on as the rain resumed.

A couple of chaps, who were staying at the Youth Hostel in Torridon and whom we had seen the previous day on Beinn Eighe, passed us as they raced ahead apparently to watch a late afternoon European football match.

Higher up the condition of the path deteriorated considerably as we headed high into the corrie and the cloud. The path then turned to the east before we reached Liathach’s ridge between the Munro Tops Stuc a’Choire Dhuibh Bhig and Stob a’Coire Liath Mhor. Here a cold north wind was blowing which was a bit of a shock after the heat generated on the sheltered south side of the ridge.

Visibility was now poor as we headed for Stob a’Coire Liath Mhor and en-route spotted a female ptarmigan head away from us followed by a couple of chicks. A few minutes later she returned and came very close as she searched for her brood. We could hear the ptarmigan and her chicks calling but she obviously had lost some of them. It wasn’t the best location to bring them up on such a popular walking route. We left her to the search and walked to the summit of Stob a’Coire Liath Mhor where we took a break sheltering from the wind. Thereafter we continued along the ridge with a short steep descent before ascending the Munro Spidean a’Choire Leith. It was now the point of no return but I had convinced Steve to continue along Liathach's ridge.

The descent from Spidean a’Choire Leith was over rocks and down some scree to the narrow col and a short walk to the Pinnacle Ridge. We took the narrow path on the south side of the ridge occasionally joining the ridge route where it was cold and windy. A couple of chaps were heading east over the tops of the Pinnacles. Around half an hour of carefully negotiating the path we reached the 903 Point at the west end of the ridge. Just beyond this knoll the cloud cleared very briefly for glimpses north to Loch Coire na Caime. It was then a relatively easy ascent to the second Munro, Mullach an Rathain where we had lunch.

A cairn just west of Mullach an Rathain marked the start of the steep descent down scree into Toll Ban and eventually out of the cloud. Lower down the path twisted and turned where it had been repaired. On reaching the A896 Steve’ partner was waiting for us which saved us a walk back up the Glen.

Steve, although apprehensive before the start of the walk, was glad that he had completed the ridge albeit by the path just below the ridge. The only downside was his usual bad weather.

previous ascent

Spidean a'Choire Leith Munro ninth ascent 1055 metres
Mullach an Rathain Munro seventh ascent 1023 metres

main mountain index top of page


Beinn Eighe

11 June 2008

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 19 & 25 Time taken – 6.75 hours. Distance - 16 kilometres. Ascent - 1300 metres.

Last week it had been a lovely sunny day when I set off for Beinn Eighe from the car park at the foot of Coire Dubh Mor in Glen Torridon. This time it was wet and windy with low cloud covering the summits and a lot colder than in recent weeks.

The route took the same format. Once in Coire Dubh Mor the rain became more showery and there were some breaks in the cloud. On the path on the west side of Sail Mhor there were lots of hinds, some were unperturbed by our presence, others ran off. After the usual two hour walk we reached Loch Coire Mhic Fhearchair with views of the Triple Buttress but the cloud soon lowered making the corrie very atmospheric.

We took a break at the edge of loch and were passed by a couple of chaps who were staying at the Youth Hostel in Torridon. Thereafter we followed the path round the east side of Loch Coire Mhic Fhearchaie, headed passed the three small lochans, and climbed the scree gully to the ridge east of Coinneach Mhor. The cloud had lifted again and we could see back down our ascent route and the summits of Ruadh-stac Mor and Spidean Coire nan Clach, our target Munros.

Firstly we headed towards Ruadh-stac Mor passing the two chaps we had seen earlier who were returning from the summit. The cloud lowered again and we encountered more rain and on reaching the summit cairn there were no views. We therefore returned to the top of the corrie and followed the walker’s path round the south side of Coinneach Mhor and onto its south-east ridge.

The cloud appeared to be a bit thicker and we still had no views. It was well passed lunchtime so we found a suitable sheltered area for our break. Thereafter we continued along the ridge, passing three men going in the opposite direction before commencing the ascent of Spidean Coire nan Clach where we passed another gent also going in the opposite direction.

The trig point was eventually reached and it was then a short walk, which involved an easy scramble, to the summit cairn. Here the cloud broke briefly to allow us to take a few photos of the ridge and into Coire Ruadh-stac. However the break in the cloud was short lived so we returned to the trig point. From here we descended towards Glen Torridon, initially down a steep and eroded path which improved lower down. Steve’s partner was waiting for us In Glen Torridon which saved us the walk back along the road.

previous ascent

Ruadh-stac Mor Munro seventh ascent 1010 metres
Spidean Coire nan Clach Munro seventh ascent 993 metres

main mountain index top of page


Liathach

6 June 2008

photos taken on walk

Map – OS Landranger 25. Time taken – 6 hours. Distance - 8 kilometres. Ascent - 1300 metres.

This was the final walk this week in Torridon requested by John who wanted to complete the Torridon Munros although he was insistent that he wasn’t a Munro bagger. However I suspect that by the end of this trip he was beginning to admit that maybe one day he would like to have climbed all the Munros.

The start of the walk was Glen Torridon on the A 896 Kinlochewe to Shieldaig Road. East of Glen Cottage and a cattle grid there were parking spaces on the south side of the glen capable of taking 6 – 8 cars. We parked here, crossed the road and followed the steep path up the side of the Allt an Doire Ghairbh, initially on the west side but soon crossed the stream and continued into the Toll a’Meitheach clambering over some rocks. It was rather warm so I needed to replenish my water supply from the trickle in the stream.

High up in the corrie we took a right and followed a very eroded path, again involving some scrambling, onto the ridge where we took a break looking across to Beinn Eighe and some of the north Torridon hills.

The ridge was followed west, taking the easiest route over boulders and scree to the Munro Top, Stob a’Coire Liath Mhor. Another unnamed top was crossed before the ascent of the first Munro of the day, Spidean a’Choire Leith, the final section being over some large boulders. Here we met another guided group who had passed us in Toll a’Meitheach. The descent from this Munro continued in the same vain of boulders and scree.

A narrow gully was reached and ahead was the Pinnacle Ridge. We opted for the easier route along the path on the south side just below the ridge. The path was narrow but dry with the occasional awkward step to negotiate which required extreme care and a couple of easy scrambles. Eventually we reached the end of the Pinnacle Ridge where the going was easier as we ascended the second and final Munro, Mullach an Rathain.

We took a lunch break on the summit of Mullach an Rathain looking down to the very eroded Northern Pinacle, another Munro Top, which is actually easier to ascend on its own from the Coire na Caime in the north. While eating lunch the summit was engulfed in cloud. We left the summit and descended very steeply down scree into Toll Ban and were soon out of the cloud. Lower down conditions became a bit easier although the path was very eroded. A few small sections higher up had been repaired as was the lower section but that had been the case for a few years.

The Allt an Tuill Bhan was followed until we reached A896 where we had left a car. This saved a walk of around two kilometres back up the Glen.

previous ascent Spidean a'Choire Leith

previous ascent Mullach an Rathain

Spidean a'Choire Leith Munro eighth ascent 1055 metres
Mullach an Rathain Munro sixth ascent 1023 metres

main mountain index top of page


Beinn Eighe

4 June 2008

photos taken on walk

Map - OS Landranger 19 & 25 Time taken - 7.25 hours. Distance - 16 kilometres. Ascent - 1300 metres.

It was a lovely sunny day when we set off from the car park at the foot of Coire Dubh Mor in Glen Torridon. A single track road, the A896, runs through this glen linking Kinlochewe with Torridon viallage.

We walked up the path in Coire Dubh Mor which runs between Laithach and Beinn Eighe. It eventually links up with the path in Coire Mhic Nobuil which was part of the previous day's walk. Just beyond the highest point on the Coire Dubh Mor path we took the right fork and this path worked its way round the foot of the Munro Top, Sail Mhor, before a short climb into Coire Mhic Fhearchair.

We sat for a while beside the beautifully located Loch Coire Mhic Fhearchair where it was very quiet and peaceful. Reluctantly we set off again along the east side of the loch and then climbed passed three small lochans. The path here was a bit indistinct in places but the bottom of the scree gully was soon reached. We climbed the scree looking for the easiest ascent route and higher up kept to the east rock wall which gave us some hand holds. Once at the top of the gully we had views of Ruadh-stac Mor and Spidean Coire nan Clach, our target Munros.

Ruadh-stac Mor was was easily climbed before we returned to the top of the gully, bypassed the summit of Coinneach Mhor, and walked along Beinn Eighe's main ridge. We stopped briefly for lunch looking down into Coire Ruadh-stac. Once fed and watered we continued along the ridge, which narrowed slightly, and ascended Spidean Coire nan Clach. Firstly the trig point was reached but this was not the summit it was further east. The ridge narrowed again and with a bit of easy scrambling we reached the summit cairn.

Once we had taken a few photographs we returned to the trig point and descended a very eroded path into Stuc Coire an Laoigh where we spotted a lone deer. It wasn’t perturbed by our presence and even sat down. Lower the path improved and we continued the descent to the A896 where we had left a vehicle. This saved a walk back along the road.

previous ascent

Ruadh-stac Mor Munro sixth ascent 1010 metres
Spidean Coire nan Clach Munro sixth ascent 993 metres

main mountain index top of page


Beinn Alligin

3 June 2008

photos taken on walk

Map – OS Landranger 24. Time taken – 7.5 hours. Distance - 10 kilometres. Ascent - 1240 metres.

The start for the ascent of Beinn Alligin was the car park at the foot of Coire Mhic Nobuil. It is located on the single track unclassified road that runs through Torridon village to the road end at Diabeg. The car park is normally a haven for the dreaded midge but fortunately there was a slight breeze as we prepared for the first of several days in the Torridon mountains.

We crossed the road and followed a walker's path which started on the west side of Abhainn Coire Mhic Nobuil. We were soon clambering over some rocks and a stile as height was gained. Beyond that the usual boggy sections were remarkably dry after a fine spell of weather in the north-west coast of Scotland . In saying that it started to rain at this point and the cloud base lowered.

Eventually the foot of Coir nan Laogh was reached and we commenced the ascent of this grassy gully by way of eroded paths. Soon we were in the cloud but as we gained height the rain gradually eased. The top of the corrie was reached before a short ascent to the summit trig point of Tom na Gruagaich where we took a short break.

The descent of Tom na Gruagaich was fairly steep and in places involved a few hand holds to get over some of the rocks. During this time the cloud base lifted slightly and we had views on one side to Gairloch and The Minch and on the other side Upper Loch Torridon. James, who walked with me last year, was delighted to have some views as on his previous visit to Liathach he had tremendous weather. My other walking companion John was used to the fickleness of the Scottish weather and was expecting poor conditions as was the norm on his visits to Scotland. He obviously had been unlucky as the weather improved and he had a fine week.

Once at the bealach the ascent of Sgurr Mor commenced and again we entered the cloud. A small knoll was crossed as we continued up the walker’s path to the Eag Dhubh, a sheer sided cleft, and onto the summit cairn of Sgurr Mor. There were no views to be had so we descended the east ridge. It was windy here and rather cold but as we lost height we came out of the cloud and found shelter for lunch looking over Loch a’Bhealaich to Baosbheinn and Beinn an Eoin.

As the cloud broke we had views of Na Rathanan, the Horns of Alligin, and James and John were looking to see if there was a path up The Horns but it wasn’t obvious from our position. After lunch we continued the descent to the bealach and spotted another walker, the only one of the day, walking along the Na Rathanan ridge. We commenced the ascent of the first Horn, which was steep and involved some easy scrambling passing the other walker. Some months ago James e-mailed me to suggest we take the by-pass route round the Horns, but he appeared happy to clamber over the tops and had no problems. John just took it in his stride. The weather continued to improve and we had good views of Liathach and its Pinnacles.

The ridge, which was narrow in places, was followed with several short steep ascents and descents before we had climbed all three Horns. Thereafter it was a rather steep and rocky descent to the path on the west side of the Allt a’Bhealaich. This path soon joined the path on the east side of the Abhainn Coire Mhic Nobuil with views of the castellated Beinn Alligin and its cleft, Eag Dubh. The path was followed down Coire Mhic Nobuil to the car park and the end of an interesting and entertaining day.

previous ascent

Tom na Gruagaich Munro sixth ascent 922 metres
Sgurr Mor Munro sixth ascent 986 metres

main mountain index top of page


Beinn Liath Mhor and Sgorr Ruadh

7 October 2007

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 10 hours. Distance - 12 kilometres. Ascent - 1190 metres.

This was Frances's penultimate and then final Munro after fourteen years of hill walking. It was also her second attempt at ascending these mountains as previously strong winds had prevented her from getting onto Beinn Liath Mhor's east ridge.

A lay-by on the south side of the A890 Achnasheen to Lochcarron road opposite the private road to Achnashellach Station is a suitable parking spot. From here we walked to the railway station, crossed the railway line and followed the signposted route through the forest onto the path on the east side of the River Lair. It was cool after a touch of ground frost with some mist floating about. There were obviously several stags in the area as we could hear them roaring.

The path was followed until it split at a height of around 370 metres and we took the right hand path which led to the foot of the south-east ridge of Beinn Liath Mhor. This was followed by a relatively steep climb on an eroded path which took us to the boulders surrounding the 876 summit which we crossed to reach the cairn. Unfortunately the cloud had lowered and was now covering the higher summits.

Beinn Liath Mhor's undulating ridge was followed and here we saw some ptarmigan, heard the roar of the stags in the glens below and were eventually overtaken by a lone walker who headed into the cloud. We followed him but never saw this walker again. The summit of Beinn Liath Mhor was reached where we had our lunch.

After lunch we headed for the bealach with Sgorr Ruadh. This is more complicated than the map showed especially in poor visibility as there are lots of rocks to avoid. However there are a few lochans which assist in navigation. The descent to the first lochan was over loose rocks before changing direction and heading for the second lochan which involved finding the gully where a walker's path had been created. This path was steep and eroded and took us to the second lochan from where we traversed round the east side of the 769 point and clear of the low cloud. The path was muddy in places but once on the south side of the 769 point it descended to the third lochan at the Bealach Coire Lair where the path from Coire Lair was joined.

The path was only used for a few metres before we left it and climbed a grassy section onto the stony north-west ridge of Sgorr Ruadh. We had earlier seen another couple of walkers who were behind us searching for the descent to the second lochan but they never caught up and we later spotted them descending the path into Coire Lair.

The cloud started to be break up as we climbed the north-west ridge of Sgorr Ruadh and the sun tried to make an appearance but unfortunately it didn't last long enough for us to reach the summit. The final climb was over some rocks before the large summit cairn was reached and Frances summitted her 284th Munro.

I took a few photographs to mark the occasion and the new Munroist received a couple of phone calls before we descended towards Loch a'Bhealaich Mhoir. There were traces of a path but the descent was wet in places and had some rocks to avoid. We heard the stags again but never saw anything due to the cloud. We walked round the west side of Loch a'Bhealaich Mhoir and over some rough ground to the stalker's path below Fuar Tholl.

We descended the stalker's path and lower down crossed the River Lair where fortunately the water wasn't too high. Once on the other side a short climb led us to the path and the route we used in the morning which we followed back to the start.

I then drove Frances to a village near Beauly where she was having a champagne dinner to celebrate her achievement in ascending all 284 Munros.

previous ascent

Beinn Liath Mhor Munro fifth ascent 926 metres
Sgorr Ruadh Munro fifth ascent 962 metres

main mountain index top of page


Liathach - Spidean a'Choire Leith

13 August 2007

Time taken - 6 hours. Distance - 4.69 kilometres. Ascent - 1060 metres.

It was a wet and windy morning as we drove west through Glen Torridon, so different from my last walk here in June. In fact today's client was due to come on that walk but had to pull out due to injury.

We parked a vehicle near Torridon village at the point where we would descend from the Toll Ban and returned to east of Glen Cottage. Here there is a parking area on the south side of the road capable of taking several cars.

A few metres east of the car park, on the opposite side of the road, a small cairn marked the start of the path to Liathach. Initially it followed the west side of the Allt an Doire Ghairbh but we soon had to cross this stream, which was in spate, as the upgraded path, continued on the east side of the burn.

The ascent included a few easy scrambles over some rocks before we reached Toll a'Meitheach where it was very windy with lots of water rushing off the mountainside. The path deteriorated from here onwards as we continued into Coire Liath Mhor and the cloud. A couple of small landslides had eroded the path even further. At Coire Liath Mhor we changed direction towards the bealach west of the Munro Top, Stuc a'Choire Dhuibh Bhig. This path was just a stream of water with stones being washed away by the force of the rainwater. Scrambling over some of the rocks meant water up our jacket sleeves.

The ridge was eventually reached and it was surprisingly less windy. I hadn't expected to get this far in these conditions but with the wind lighter we decided to continue and walked west along the ridge. A couple of small tops were crossed before we reached the Munro Top Stob a'Coire Liath. This was followed by a short descent before the final climb to the summit of the Munro, Spidean a'Choire Leith which nearer the summit involved scrambling over a few large boulders.

It was now decision time whether to continue along the ridge, over the Pinnacles, and onto the second Munro Mullach an Rathain. Initially the wind on the summit wasn't too strong but after a few minutes it strengthened and gave us a bit of a buffeting so the decision was made. The risk was too high so we headed back along the ridge.

It was now a bit windier on the ridge but eventually we reached the path used on the upward route and commenced the descent to Coire Liath Mhor. The path was still awash and at points Sue had to sit in the water to get over some of the rocky sections, a new experience for her. On reaching the Coire the wind was very strong with spray from the burns blowing in all directions including upwards. We had obviously made the correct decision as the wind was now definitely stronger although the cloud base was higher.

The descent continued back to the A896 and thereafter we had to retrieve the car we had deposited near Torridon village, which had been a bit optimistic on these conditions.

previous ascent

Spidean a'Choire Liath Munro seventh ascent 1055 metres

main mountain index top of page


Liathach

8 June 2007

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 6.5 hours. Distance - 8 kilometres. Ascent - 1240 metres.

The request for this walk started in December 2006 when I was contacted by a lady who was looking for a guide to take her brother up Liathach for his 50th birthday. After several e-mails everything was agreed and her brother James started on a training regime.

I met James outside the Kinlochewe Hotel where he was staying. The Hotel had recently changed hands and it would appear to have improved compared to the way it was run previously. We drove towards Torridon where James left his vehicle at the foot of Mullach an Rathain and we returned up the Glen to the car park below Toll a’Meitheach.

From this car park we walked the few yards along the road to small cairn which marked the start of the path to the Toll a’Mheitheach. The path soon crossed to the east bank of the Allt an Doire Ghairbh and was in a reasonable condition until higher up where it was very eroded. By this time I had learned from James that it had been an ambition of his for over 25 years to climb Liathach. In his training regime for this walk he had lost over a stone and a half.

Fortunately the weather was fine as the early morning cloud cleared the summit tops. On the ascent James was awestruck with the views down into Glen Torridon and across to the mountains on the south side of the Glen.

Eventually we reached the narrow ridge west of Stuc a’Choire Dhuibh Bhig. Despite the sun there was a cool breeze but the views made up for any slight inconvenience. James was overjoyed with the views and all along the ridge and even on the descent kept repeating this fact.

We walked along the ridge over the Munro Top, Stob a’Choire Liath Mhor and ascended the Munro Spidean a’Choire Leith where we had a short break and discussed the next section of the ridge which is the hardest part of the walk as it gives the most exposure.

The descent from Spidean a’Choire Leith was over boulders and various scree paths which needed care and this took us to the bealach east of the pinnacles. It had been decided that we would take the narrow path to the south of the pinnacles but even here there were sections that were wet and eroded and any slip would have severe consequences. James was relieved once we were beyond the pinnacles and he could return to enjoying the views instead on concentrating on every step he took.

On a grassy area we had lunch enjoying the surrounding scenery before continuing the ascent of Mullach an Rathain. On reaching this summit we viewed its severely eroded north-west ridge which led to the Northern Pinnacles. The Munro Top, Meall Dearg, is on this ridge and a few years ago it took me three visits before I managed to reach its summit cairn with an approach from the north by Coire na Caime.

The descent from Mullach an Rathain was along the ridge for a few metres before going down its south ridge where we had views of Upper Loch Torridon and its various blue colours. The descent continued into Toll Ban but the path was more awkward than on my previous visits due to more erosion and over use by walkers. Below Toll Ban the path was fine and in the lower stretches it had been upgraded.

James was pleased with the walk but the weather had made the difference so all that was left was the memories of a fine day on Liathach and his long drive home to South Yorkshire the next morning.

previous ascent

Spidean a'Choire Leith Munro sixth ascent 1055 metres
Mullach an Rathain Munro fifth ascent 1023 metres

main mountain index top of page


Sgurr a’Chaorachain

27 May 2007

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 1.75 hours. Distance - 6 kilometres. Ascent - 220 metres.

Sgurr a'Chaorachain might be one of the easiest Corbetts to climb in relation to distance from a public road but it must be one of the most spectacular with its impressive buttresses and views across to the islands.

We had climbed the other Applecross Corbett, Beinn Bhan, a few years ago. and on that occasion hadn’t sufficient time to bag Sgurr a’Chaorachain.

To reach the starting point required a drive up the narrow and twisting road from Kishorn to Applecross to the head of the Bealach na Ba, the pass of the cattle. There is a large car park at the top of the bealach where we had fantastic views across the Inner Sound to the Island of Raasay, the Cuillin of Skye and Glamaig.

It was late afternoon when we set off as we had already climbed An Ruadh-stac earlier that day. The sun was out but it was cold and very windy. We walked along the vehicle track to a radio mast where we had views into Coire a’Chaorachain and the massive cliffs surrounding it. A short descent took us to Sgurr a’Chaorachain’s west ridge which had a couple of short descents, difficult in the wind. However the views compensated for any inconvenience with steep drops into Coire a’Chaorachain to the north and Coire na Ba to the south. Almost directly below us was the road we drove along to reach the Bealach na Ba.

The summit cairn of Sgurr a’Chaorachain was reached again with the views already described but also across to Torridon and the North Achnashellach mountains. including An Ruadh-stac.

We returned along the west ridge and rather than head back to the radio mast we cut directly across rough ground to the vehicle track and the short walk to the car.

previous ascent

Sgurr a'Chaorachain Corbett second ascent 792 metres

main mountain index top of page


An Ruadh-stac 

27 May 2007

photos taken on walk

Time taken – 6.5 hours Distance - 15.5 kilometres. Ascent - 900 metres.

The walk started from the A890 Achnasheeen to Lochcarron road at Coulags. Rough ground on the west side of the bridge over the Fionn-abhainn had been improved for parking and should be used rather than obstructing the gates on the east side of the bridge which is used by the local farmer and house owner.

We left the parking area, crossed the road bridge and headed north up the east side of the Fionn-abhainn taking the short diversionary path avoiding the grounds of a house. Further north the path crossed the Fionn-abhainn by a small footbridge and passed the Coire Fionnaraich bothy where a number of residents were sitting outside in the sun partaking of a late breakfast.

Beyond this bothy we came to the junction of paths and took the uphill one, which was rather eroded, to the Bealach a’Choire Ghairbh. This is the same route for the Munro, Maol Chean-dearg. We crossed to a second bealach, climbed over a small knoll and onto a third bealach. Here it was cold and windy so some warmer clothing was required before commencing the ascent of An Ruadh-stac. This initially meant scrambling up rock which fortunately was dry and higher up boulders but eventually the summit was reached.

Although the highest point was obvious and was marked by a cairn we wandered around the summit area taking in all the views. It was still sunny although with a cold wind, but the views were great especially across to the Torridon area, the Applecross hills, snow clad Lurg Mhor and over to Skye and the Inner Isles. Eventually we went to the actual summit were we had lunch sheltered behind the cairn.

The return was by the upward route with a plan to pop over to Applecross to climb another Corbett which would only take a couple of hours.

previous ascent

An Ruadh-stac Corbett second ascent 892 metres

main mountain index top of page


Beinn Eighe

21 October 2006

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 7 hours. Distance - 19 kilometres. Ascent - 1290 metres.

The weather was rather wet as we drove from Inverness to Glen Torridon and parked in the car park at the foot of Coire Dubh Mor and the forecast wasn’t very promising for the rest of the day.

We set off from this car park and followed the path up Coire Dubh Mor and took the path round the north side of Sail Mhor and into the spectacular Coire Mhic Fhearchar. It was still rather damp here but the cloud was beginning to rise as we walked round the east side of Loch Coire Mhic Fhearchair, passed the three lochans, to the foot of the scree at the head of the corrie.

The ascent of the scree slowed us down a bit and higher in the gully we stuck to the east side where we could use the rocks to climb to the bealach. On reaching here the summit of Ruadh-stac Mor was clear and we headed over to its summit disturbing numerous ptarmigan, some of whom were starting to turn white. Further on we disturbed a large group of snow buntings.

From the summit of Ruadh-stac Mor we had views over to the Sea of the Hebrides and of some of the surrounding mountains. We returned to the bealach above Coire Mhic Fhearchair and headed along the ridge towards the second Munro of the day Spidean Coire nan Clach.

On approaching Spidean Coire nan Clach the cloud lowered and covered the ridge as we climbed to the Trig Point and onto the summit. There was no views so we headed south down the scree covered ridge rather than return to the Trig Point and descended the scree as I had done previously. The descent was fairly arduous and probably slightly tougher than the descent from the Trig Point. We eventually joined the path I had used on previous occasions and shortly thereafter we alighted from the cloud.

We followed the path down to the A896 in Glen Torridon and then a walk along the road back to the car park at Coire Dubh Mor.

previous ascent

Ruadh-stac Mor Munro fifth ascent 1010 metres
Spidean Coire nan Clach Munro fifth ascent 993 metres

main mountain index top of page


Beinn Alligin

19 August 2006

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 6.5 hours. Distance - 9 kilometres. Ascent - 1270 metres.

The car park beside the bridge over the Abhainn Coire Mhic Nobuil, on the road between Torridon and Diabaig, is midge infested as it is sheltered, damp and surrounded by vegetation that the midges love. This day was no exception so we donned our walking gear while seated in the car.

Once dressed in our outdoor gear we quickly crossed the road and followed a path, which was wet and boggy in places, to the foot of Coir nan Laogh. The cloud was clear of the tops of Beinn Alligin at this time and it was windy so we had left the midges behind.

The ascent up Coir an Laogh is a fairly steep climb on an eroded path which appeared to be under repair, probably started recently, as only a few boulders had been re-positioned. As we approached the top of the corrie the cloud lowered and engulfed the area. We walked to the summit of Tom na Gruagaich where it was fairly windy and with no views we headed down the north ridge, which was steep and rocky in places.

From the bealach we ascended a small knoll and then a steep climb, passed the cleft of Eag Dhubh, to the summit of Sgurr Mhor. We were still in the cloud and my client was given the opportunity to continue over The Horns but decided that she would prefer to return by the upward route.

As we returned to Tom na Gruagaich the cloud started to break up and we had some good views over the sea to Skye. The descent was otherwise uneventful but the midges were waiting for us at the car park.

previous ascent

Tom na Gruagaich Munro fifth ascent 922 metres
Sgurr Mor Munro fifth ascent 986 metres

main mountain index top of page


Beinn Liath Mhor and Sgorr Ruadh

22 July 2006

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 6.5 hours. Distance - 16 kilometres. Ascent - 1350 metres.

It was misty with drizzle when I left Inverness and headed for Achnashellach. The further west I went the better the weather became and by the time I arrived at the parking area on the A890 beside Achnashellach Station it was warm and sunny and the clouds were clearing the mountain tops.

I walked up the Station Road, crossed the railway line and continued through the forest to the path up the east side of the River Lair.

On leaving the forest, an information sign erected by the Estate and giving contact details, had obviously been vandalised. There are several of these perspex signs throughout this Estate, but this one has obviously been smashed. I find this act of wanton destruction, probably by walkers, unacceptable as it gives the rest of us a bad name. The guilty should be named and shamed.

The path, which was in good condition, continued onto Corrie Lair, but where it levelled out I took the right hand path which leads to Coulin. Once at the foot of Beinn Liath Mhor, a path, created by hill walkers heads up onto the mountain. This path is quite steep and badly eroded but at least height is gained fairly quickly.

The gradient of this path later eased as I headed towards the stony summit at 876 metres. The cloud engulfed the mountain and I was stopped in my tracks by a ptarmigan's warning call as I almost stood on its young.

In fairly poor visibility I walked from the 876 Point along the ridge, which became narrow at times and had several ups and downs. I reached the summit of Beinn Liath Mhor as the cloud cleared and the sun re-appeared and I had magnificent views of Loch Torridon, Beinn Alligin, Liathach, Beinn Eighe and many lesser known mountains.

I sat at the summit for some time taking in these views but in the end I reluctantly left and headed for the bealach with Sgorr Ruadh. This descent is fairly tricky, even in good weather, as it involves avoiding several rocky outcrops. A couple of adult ptarmigan were sounding warning calls but I couldn't see their young as they blended in well with the surrounding rock.

The ascent of Sgorr Ruadh was initially grassy but higher up it became rocky but I soon reached the summit with views of Loch Carron as well as those areas mentioned earlier.

The descent of Sgorr Ruadh was fairly rocky and in places wet and boggy but I eventually reached Loch a'Bhealach Mhor before heading for the path below Fuar Tholl. Once again I heard the warning call from an adult ptarmigan and saw its young take off, however I came across them again a few minutes further on.

I reached the path and followed it to the River Lair, crossed it and returned to the start by the morning route. It was still hot and sunny but when I got back to Inverness it was still misty so I got the best of the day's weather.

Beinn Liath Mhor Munro fourth ascent 926 metres
Sgorr Ruadh Munro fourth ascent 962 metres

main mountain index top of page


Maol Chean-dearg

27 May 2006

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 7 hours. Distance - 14.5 kilometres. Ascent - 940 metres.

The starting point for this walk was the A890 Achnasheen to Lochcarron Road at Coulags. I had considered climbing it from Torridon, where we were staying, but there was a lot of water to cross and there had been some heavy rain.

The vehicle track took us as far as the cottage where a signpost indicated a route that was supposed to have been maintained to the west of the cottage. It was in fact a wet and muddy path at the side of the Fionn-abhainn. Once back on track we headed north over several swollen streams where it was impossible to keep the boots dry.

We later crossed the Fionn-abhainn and headed for Coire Fionnaraich bothy where we had a coffee break. The bothy was very tidy and was a welcome shelter from the rain showers.

The path continued for another kilometre before another one took us up to the Bealach a'Choire Ghairbh. This path was covered in colourful stones which retained our interest as we gained height.

The next section of the walk was a steep climb up a scree path to the knoll south-east of Maol Chean-dearg followed by a walk along the ridge to the bouldery strewn summit. This final section was very awkward and time consuming searching for the best route through the boulders but on reaching the summit it was rewarded by some stunning views.

We managed to find some shelter from the cold wind for lunch and left the summit as we were engulfed by cloud and another rain shower. The route of descent was by the upward route with another stop at the bothy before a fast walk back to the start at Coulags.

Maol Chean-dearg Munro fourth ascent 933 metres

main mountain index top of page


Beinn Alligin

26 May 2006

photos taken on walk

Time taken - 7.5 hours. Distance - 10.5 kilometres. Ascent - 1250 metres.

In May last year we attempted to climb Beinn Alligin but due to the strength of the wind we only reached the foot of Coir nan Laogh before we turned back so we were now back for another attack on this Torridonian mountain.

We set off from the car park on the Torridon to Diabaig road at the west end of the Abhainn Coire Mhic Nobuil. The clouds at this time were above the mountain tops although there was some light rain. At least the wind wasn't as strong as last year.

The first section of the walk crossed some wet and boggy ground but progress was made easier by strategically placed boulders laid by path maintenance crews. This took us to the foot of Coir nan Laogh and the steep climb up through the corrie as the cloud began to descend. We reached the bealach which was followed by a short climb to the summit of Tom na Gruagaich.

It was windy and cold on the summit with limited visibility and after a short break we made the steep and rocky descent north to the bealach. Here the cloud lifted slightly and we saw the tiered Torridonian sandstone of Tom na Gruagaich. A short climb from this bealach took us to a knoll on Sgurr Mor's west ridge, which for some reason is marked by a cairn. I hope that in bad weather walkers aren't considering this knoll to be the summit as it is a further 600 metres further on. From this knoll there was a short drop before the final ascent of Sgurr Mhor on worn paths which in places had some fresh snow lying.

There was no visibility from this summit and it was cold and windy so we commenced the descent of Sgurr Mhor's east ridge. Here there was a lot more fresh snow with even more on the north face. Care was required on this descent and lower down we eventually found some shelter for lunch in the clouds. At least we were out of the snow.

After lunch we commenced the crossing of Na Rathanan, the Horns of Alligin. There are three tops to cross and it involved some relatively easy scrambling although there was some loose rock to lookout for. I don't think my clients found the scrambling too much of an ordeal and we eventually reached the south-east ridge where the descent was rather steep through some rock. Once over this section we joined the path that took us to the Abhainn Coire Mhic Nobuil and a pleasant walk down Coire Mhic Nobuil to the start.

Tom na Gruagaich Munro fourth ascent 922 metres
Sgurr Mor Munro fourth ascent 986 metres

main mountain index top of page


Beinn Bhan

18 July 2005

photos taken on walk

On my previous visit to climb this Corbett I approached it from the Bealach na Ba with the advantage of a high level start. On this occasion I was to start from sea level.

The starting point was the bridge over the River Kishorn just west of Tornapress on the Shieldaig to Lochcarron Road. At this time it was dry with low cloud.

We walked north along the path that leads towards Loch Gaineamhach. Not long after the commencement of this walk it started to rain and that continued off and on for a couple of hours.

On reaching the stream that flowed out of Coire na Feola we followed traces of a path on its south bank. Higher up the path, which disappeared in places, cut across the hillside to the next stream which came out of Lochan Coire na Poite. There was a rocky approach to this Lochan which was set in magnificent surroundings.

We took a break here taking in the views of the A'Chioch and A'Phoit ridges. The low cloud made the area seem more intimidating. During our break the cloud started to lift slightly giving us more tempting views.

The next section of the walk saw us being forced to head into Coire na Poite as the stream flowing from the Coire into Lochan Coire na Poite was in spate due to overnight rain.

Once over the stream we headed round the east side of A'Phoit, over some rough ground and into Coir an Fhamair where the walking was easier. The rain had ceased and the cloud lifted to reveal a grassy flank that led onto the ridge. We climbed this grassy area and reached the ridge as the cloud started to break up with come glimpses of the sun.

Through the cloud we had views of the Islands of Raasay and Rona before we followed the rim of the ridge to the summit trig point. Here we had good views of the Torridon mountains.

We took shelter beside the trig point from the cold wind while we ate lunch before continuing along the edge of the ridge.

The cloud descended and it felt like winter in the cold wind. Shortly thereafter we were hit by a hail shower before it turned to rain. This spoilt the descent but we still manage some glimpses down steep narrow gullies into the corries.

Once beyond the rocks we descended towards the start of the days walk and the sun tried to make an appearance as we approached the bridge of the River Kishorn.

This approach to Beinn Bhan is far superior than the approach from the head of the Bealach na Ba with its magnificent east facing corries.

previous ascent

Beinn Bhan Corbett second ascent 896 metres

main mountain index top of page


Beinn Dearg

17 July 2005

I met the person booking this walk in Inverness and we drove to Torridon to team up with a new client whom I hadn't met before. We then headed to the car park at the foot of Coire Mhic Nobuil on the Torridon to Diabeg road.

During this short journey I learned from my new client that she was registered blind, information she hadn't divulged to me before.

The car park, which is sheltered and surrounded by trees was midge infested so after a quick change of gear we set off up the path in Coire Mhic Nobuil. Just over a kilometre and a half later we reached a foot bridge which we crossed and followed the path up the north side of the Allt a'Bhealaich.

It was cloudy and windy and we were soon engulfed in the cloud with some frequent rain showers.

The path goes further than shown on the map and in fact there are traces of a path as far as the bealach above and on the west side of the lochans, of which there are numerous, not all shown on the map.

We descended to the lochans and then commenced the steep climb to Stuc Loch na Cabhaig. There were traces of a path in places but I had to find a route avoiding boulders and rocks to make it easier for my new client and this wasn't particular easy in poor visibility. However we eventually reached the summit of this Corbett Top.

It was rather wet and windy here and we lost a bit of height as we dropped to the bealach before trying to find the easiest route to the summit of Beinn Dearg. This Corbett is shown as 914 metres, which is less than a metre short of the height required to make it a Munro.

Once the summit was reached the next section was very difficult for my new client. There are three areas of rock to descend and she was unable to see where the foot and hand holds were so it took some time to coax her down.

These obstacles were subsequently overcome and we found a sheltered area for lunch before continuing to the bealach west of Carn na Feola. From this point we started the descent to the path beside the Abhainn Coire Mhic Nobuil. This area is treacherous in sections due to hidden rock slabs so great care was required to find the safest and easiest route. This caused my new client more problems as she frequently fell into holes which she was unable to see. However after a struggle we made it to the path and returned to the bridge and to the car park at the end of Coire Mhic Nobuil.

previous ascent

Beinn Dearg Corbett second ascent 914 metres

main mountain index top of page


Torridon Weekend

27 - 29 May 2005

I met my clients, Frances, Noreen and Alison in Inverness and we drove to Glen Torridon. They wanted to climb the Munros on Liathach, Beinn Alligin and Beinn Eighe over the weekend. I decided that as the weather forecast was mainly to be fair for that Friday we should tackle Liathach first.

We parked a car near the finish of the day's walk to avoid the stroll up the the Glen at the end of the day and then headed for the parking area near the Allt an Doire Ghairbh. There were already several cars there and we spotted some fellow walkers climbing up towards the ridge.

Once we were ready we walked up the side of the Allt an Doire Ghairbh which is a steady climb with some easy scrambling but height was gained fairly quickly. The cloud base was well above the summits with a cool breeze but I hoped that the rain that was forecast for later in the day would hold off.

The path later leaves the stream and heads north-east up onto the ridge where we had good views of Beinn Eighe, the Fisherfield and Letterewe hills together with the Fannaichs and Beinn Dearg group of mountains.

We walked west along the ridge over the Munro Top, Stob Coire Liath Mhor, before a final climb to the first Munro Spidean a'Choire Leith. A short break was taken here with views along the ridge, which gave my clients an idea of what to expect. We also saw the Islands of Eigg and Rum.

A rocky descent followed before we reached the start of the Pinnacle Ridge and a scramble over the first pinnacle. However my clients decided that they preferred the narrow path on the south side of the pinnacles instead.

We were followed by a group of about seven walkers from south of the border who had also initially tackled the first pinnacle but had decided that the path was an easier option. This was with the exception of the oldest member of their party who stayed on the ridge.

The path was narrow and in places slippery so great care was needed and despite some apprehension by my clients we successfully negotiated the path and reached the coll.

The next section of the ridge was a lot easier as we climbed to the second Munro of the day, Mullach an Rathain where we took another break after our exploits on the ridge.

The descent was initially down the south-east ridge before dropping down into the gully. Other walkers took a more direct route into the gully. From the gully a path followed the Allt an Tuill Bhain and lower down it had been upgraded since my last visit.

Once back in Glen Torridon it was a delight to get a lift back up the Glen to my car thus avoiding the walk up a tarred road at the end of a hard day which had remained dry despite the obvious front coming in from the south.

The next day the plan was to climb Beinn Alligin. However it was a wet and very windy morning as we drove down Glen Torridon from our base in Kinlochewe. There were no cars parked in the area of Liathach and only a couple at the start of the Beinn Eighe walk.

From the village of Torridon we took the minor road to Diabeg but just beyond a series of double bends we were brought to an abrupt halt by a tree lying across the road. We got out of the car to inspect the tree but there was no way we could move it. As the rain lashed us we returned to the car but a short time later someone arrived with a power saw and removed the tree allowing us to continue our journey to the car park beside the Abhhainn Coire Mhic Nobuil.

Once dressed in our waterproof gear we set off from the car park on a footpath that headed towards Coir nan Laogh. The path had a few boulders strategically placed to avoid some of the bog.

The walk was very difficult as we were being buffeted by the strong wind coming down Coire Mhic Nobuil. Despite the difficulties the decision was to continue to the foot of the corrie to ascertain if it was more sheltered and also in the hope that the wind would subside a bit.

Progress was fairly slow and when we reached the entrance to the Coire there was no change in the wind strength. It was decided to take a short refreshment break as we watched the water in the stream coming down the Corrie being blown back up the hill in a couple of exposed sections. The coffee was being blown out of my cup so it was decided that for the sake of everyones safety that the walk should be abandoned.

We returned to the car still being buffeted by the wind. This was a consolation in that we at least had made the correct decision and that the wind speed had not decreased after we had turned about.

In the afternoon we made a visit to the small village of Shieldaig.

The final day the intention was to climb the two Munros on Beinn Eighe. The weather had improved slightly, it wasn't as wet and was definitely not as windy.

We parked the car in the Coire Dubh Mor car park along with numerous other walkers obviously trying to take advantage of the better weather conditions. As we got ready a group of about twenty walkers arrived so I tried to get my clients to hurry a bit so that we weren't walking up the hill with such a large group. Other walkers seemed to have the same idea as we set off in the rain up the path into Coire Dubh Mor.

The pace was fairly fast and my clients were starting to overheat. It appeared that everyone was in a rush as even the large group were walking fairly fast although their party was breaking up into smaller groups. We later learned that this large group were from the Open University.

At the junction of paths we took the right hand path that swung round under the west side of Sail Mhor before climbing into Coire Mhic Fhearchar. Several deer were feeding just above the path but gave us little attention and continued eating.

The cloud was well down as we entered the Coire, allegedly one of the finest corries in Britain. However my clients will just have to believe me as they couldn't see very much due to the low cloud. We stopped here for something to eat and were joined by those from the Open University making the area surrounding Loch Coire Mhic Fhearchar very busy.

We left them re-grouping and we walked round the east side of the Loch. My intention was to climb directly up onto the first Munro, Ruadh-stac Mor, on the advice of an ex-mountain rescue member, but due to the low cloud I opted for the route I knew.

In the low cloud we followed the path up passed several small lochans before we reached the head of the corrie and a scree climb. Progress was slow up the lower section but higher up we were able to make use of rocks on the east side which made walking easier.

At the top of the corrie we ventured out onto the ridge and followed it round as we commenced the climb to the summit cairn on Ruadh-stac Mor. It was a bit windy up on the ridge with occasional showers and no views due to the low cloud.

On reaching the summit of Ruadh-stac Mor a few photographs were taken as this was Frances's 200th Munro. We returned towards the top of the corrie and met several of the Open University Group but their numbers were considerably reduced, probably due to the inclement weather or the climb up through the head of the corrie.

From the head of the corrie we started to climb towards Coinneach Mhor but when it was suitable we cut across under its east ridge before descending to the col. It was still a bit windy and wet at times.

We commenced the climb towards Spidean Coire nan Clach but stopped for lunch in a sheltered area of the ridge. However the rain commenced again so lunch was only a short break before we continued to the trig point on the ridge.

After the trig point the ridge steepens and narrows and involved some easy scrambling as we approached the summit of the second Munro Spidean Coire nan Clach. Once we reached the summit cairn we retraced our steps to the trig point and descended down the zig zag path on the south ridge.

Lower down the path became fairly eroded but any problems were easily overcome. We then ventured out of the cloud and it then became a bit warmer as we headed to the small plantation in Glen Torridon where we had earlier left a car. It was then a short drive along the road to the start of the walk and where one of my clients had left her car and the end of a difficult weekend in Torridon for my clients.

previous ascent Spidean a'Choire Leith

Spidean a'Choire Leith Munro fifth ascent 1055 metres
Mullach an Rathain Munro fourth ascent 1023 metres
Ruadh-stac Mor Munro fourth ascent 1010 meters
Spidean Coire nan Clach Munro fourth ascent 993 metres

main mountain index top of page


Glen Carron Grahams

17 March 2005

The starting point for this walk was the A890 Auchnasheen to Lochcarron Road at the west end of Loch Sgamhain where a track runs up the side of the Allt Coire Crubaidh.

This track ends at a gate at the top end of the forest, where a sign, posted on the gate, warns walkers that stalking is in progress. It is obviously inaccurate as the stalking season finished the previous month and is there to deter walkers from proceeding further.

Beyond the forest the path is difficult to trace due to the wet and boggy terrain and vehicle tracks so progress was slow. I reached some old ruins, which are not shown on the map, where I had a short refreshment stop.

Once fed and watered I headed uphill towards the bealach between Meallan Mhic Iamhair and Carn Breac. A path is shown on the map but it wasn't till higher up that I came across it. It is overgrown and obviously little used.

The bealach consisted of peat hags and I headed up the north-east ridge of Carn Breac where I saw some ptarmigan. They were a bit obvious in their white plumage now that the snow had gone. As I gained height the cloud lowered and it became a bit windy before I reached the summit trig point, which is surrounded by a stone wall on three sides. Apparently you can get good views from this location but I am afraid I was out of luck.

I returned down the north-east ridge of Carn Breac to the bealach and made my way through the peat hags before ascending Meallan Mhic Iamhair. This was followed by a further descent to the south of Lochan Meallan Mhic Iamhair where I disturbed deer as I negotiated some more peat hags.

Finally a climb to the summit of Beinn na Feusaige took me to a small lochan. According to the 'Graham's Book, the summit cairn is located 200 metres east of this lochan. However my altimeter showed that the cairn beside the small lochan was higher. In any case I went to both cairns.

The return, in the rain, was back down the west ridge of Beinn na Feusaige for a short distance before a steep descent through heather to meet the track at the edge of the forest and the short walk back to the start.

Carn Breac Graham first ascent 678 metres
Beinn na Feusaige Graham first ascent 625 metres

main mountain index top of page


Superb Winter Day on Ben Damh

14 March 2005

The group wanted to tackle the Corbett Ben Damh, which is just under Munro height, so that morning we set off from the lay-by on the A896 near the Torridon Hotel.

A fairly well maintained path, which was covered in snow, climbs up through the forest and onto the open hillside. We followed this path but had to make a short deviation round a number of trees that had been blown down in the previous month's severe gales.

Once out onto open ground the path split and we followed the one heading towards the Toll Ban. The weather was reasonably warm but the tops at this time had a covering of cloud. However as we climbed up the path the weather improved and the cloud started to lift.

We reached the bealach between Meall Gorm and Creagan Dubh Tool nam Biast, a Corbett Top. Here we had fantastic views across to the Applecross hills and the rugged coastline around Loch Torridon.

The continuation of this walk was an easy climb up towards the Corbett Top. The snow was firmer with small sections of ice so we donned crampons before continuing to the summit of Creagan Dubh Tool nam Biast. The cloud was coming and going a bit and at his point of the walk we were unable to see the summit of Beinn Damh.

A compass bearing was taken and we descended slightly as the cloud lifted and we could see the north-west ridge, which narrows as it approaches the summit of Beinn Damh. The ridge was quite exciting to climb with crampons on as it consisted of some hard packed blown snow and we had to use our winter skills to reach the summit.

Here it was clear and calm so we sat there, had lunch, and took photographs of the surrounding mountain scenery. We spotted two chaps climbing up the harder north-east ridge towards us.

Once we had our fill of views, if that is actually possible, we retraced our steps, with care, down the north-east ridge and walked round the west side of Creagan Dubh Tool nam Biast to join our upward route.

Some of the snow on the lower ground had melted by the time we returned to our car.

I think everyone enjoyed their day especially the views and the good winter walking conditions.

Beinn Damh Corbett second ascent 903 metres

main mountain index top of page


Torridon

5 - 6 February 2005

Torridon is famous for its Munros on Liathach, Beinn Eighe and Beinn Alligin but there are several other options. These include the Corbetts, which if climbed on a fine day, allow fantastic views of their higher neighbours.

The weekend was booked by Janice, who has completed all the Munros and is now climbing the Corbetts. A lot of people consider the Corbetts harder, as they have a different classification from the Munros in that they must have at least 500 feet of re-ascent between them, while there is no such criteria with the Munros.

We were booked into a bed and breakfast establishment at Cromasaig in Kinlochewe. Tom, who runs the property with his wife Liz, became newspaper headlines last year after refusing certain individuals use of one of the bedrooms. The discussion still appears to be on going, so as the saying goes any publicity is good publicity. Proof being that his accommodation was full on a very quiet weekend in February.

The first day of guiding I had decided, with Janice's agreement, to take her up the Corbetts Meall a'Ghiuthais and Ruadh-stac Beag. The starting point being the Beinn Eighe Visitor Centre, about a mile north of Kinlochewe, so we didn't have far to travel before setting off in damp conditions, with cloud covering the summits.

From the Visitor Centre we picked up the Pony Track that climbs between the two hills of our choice. Once we neared the highest point of the track we crossed over wet ground and reached the snow line, before commencing the climb of Meall a'Ghiuthais's east ridge. Higher up the ridge became steeper and we managed some brief glimpses through the cloud of the surrounding hills.

We reached the snow and cloud covered north summit and thereafter headed across to the true summit which is a short distance to the south-west. Here we took shelter behind the cairn and had something to eat before retracing our steps back towards the Pony Track.

We crossed rough terrain to the bealach and to the Allt Toll a'Ghiuthais which we used to navigate to the other, south, side of Ruadh-stac Beag as this Corbett is surrounded by steep rock, except on its south side.

Once below the south ridge of Ruadh-stac Beag we had a late lunch before commencing the arduous climb of the south ridge through a mass of boulders made more difficult by the soft snow filling the gaps. The climb was tortuously slow as we needed great care so it took a long time to reach the plateau and subsequently locating the highest point in poor visibility. In these conditions everything roundabout looked higher.

On locating the summit cairn we re-traced our route down through the boulders, which was, as is normal, harder than ascending but we subsequently reached the Allt Toll a'Ghiuthais and followed it back towards the Pony Track. The last section over rough ground was difficult in the fading light but we eventually reached the Track.

The descent on the Track was made with the use of torches and it wasn't until nearly ten hours after we had set out that we returned to the car. Fortunately a few minutes later we were back at our accommodation for a hot shower.

The evening was spent round the dinner table with Tom and Liz and the other guests listening to 'Tom's Tales'.

The following day Janice had the choice of climbing Beinn Damh or Sgorr nan Lochan Uaine and Sgurr Dubh, the area between these two Corbetts being classed as a navigational nightmare. She chose the latter.

We therefore set off from the car park at the foot of Coire Dubh in Glen Torridon and headed for the Ling Hut. Here we got very close to two stags and Janice was able to get a close up photograph of them. The stags didn't run off as normal so maybe they were hoping to be fed.

Once beyond the hut we followed the path into Coire a'Cheud-Chnoic and unfortunately at one of the stream crossings I managed to slip off one of the boulders and got my feet wet. Thereafter there was no need to worry about crossing any of the other streams.

Higher up on this path we stopped for a coffee break and at this point we were overtaken by some walkers heading for the Munros Beinn Liath Mhor and Sgorr Ruadh. These were the first walkers we had encountered that weekend.

After our break we headed up towards Lochan Uaine and reached the snow line around 500 meters. Before coming to these lochans we headed up onto Sgorr nan Lochan Uaine through some rocky sections.

On reaching the summit we had terrific views of the surrounding mountains, most of them being clear of cloud. Several pictures were taken before we descended Sgorr nan Lochan Uaine's north ridge in sunlight. Once lower down we stopped for lunch in the sun and rather than put on my jacket I had to remove it as it was warm in the sun and surrounded by snow.

Lunch over we continued on our descent trying to select the easiest route round numerous lochans, boulders and areas of rock. Even in clear conditions finding the best route was difficult. However after a torturous but interesting walk we commenced the final climb onto the summit of Sgurr Dubh with some more fine views. However the tops of Liathach and Beinn Eighe were still covered in cloud. Later the cloud did in fact clear off these Munros to give us our first view that weekend of their summits.

The north end of Sgurr Dubh is rather rocky and snow covered so we returned by our route of ascent until lower down when we descended round numerous rocky outcrops into Coire a'Cheud-Chnoic and picked up the path just above the Ling Hut. The last section over heather was a bit awkward in the semi-dark but it was slightly easier when we hit the path. Just beyond the Ling Hut we could see the faint outline of some deer but again they didn't appear that concerned about our presence. The sky was clear and we saw hundreds of stars. A fine finish to a good day out.

Shortly thereafter we reached the main road in Glen Torridon and returned to our respective vehicles before the long drive home. Janice had collected four new Corbetts for her weekend's efforts.

previous ascent Meall a'Ghiubhais and Ruadh-stac Beag

Meall a'Ghiuthais Corbett second ascent 887 metres
Ruadh-stac Beag Corbett second ascent 896 metres
Sgorr nan Lochan Uaine Corbett second ascent 871 metres
Sgurr Dubh Corbett second ascent 782 metres

main mountain index top of page


Winter in Mid-Summer

19 June 2004

The 'Red Barn' on the A832 near Gairloch, which is actually green, was the starting point for this walk. The forecast was for heavy showers with strong winds and a chance on snow on the higher mountains.

I walked along the track through the Bad an Sgalaig Pinewood, where thousands of conifers have been planted, and on beyond the Abhaim Loch na h-Oidhche where the stepping stones were submerged due to the volume of water in the stream. I then headed across wet ground to the north-west ridge of Beinn an Eoin and commenced its ascent. There was a wind chill element to the weather so I had to don some winter clothing before continuing up the ridge.

Once there the cloud started to break up and I had views of Slioch, Beinn Dearg, the Horns of Alligin and my second hill for the day, Baosbheinn, although the tops weren't clear. However after about ten minutes I was shrouded in cloud again as I commenced the final climb to the summit. It also became a lot darker and as I walked along the narrow ridge to the summit of Beinn an Eoin it started to snow and it was only three days till mid-summer.

The summit was duly reached and there was evidence that a trig point existed there but had been removed. I continued along the ridge and started my descent. The snow had turned to sleet which was being blown in the strong wind. The steep descent was difficult due to the waterlogged ground and the numerous outcrops of rock which had to be surmounted and this was made more difficult by the driving sleet and poor visibility.

After a slow and careful descent I subsequently reached Poca Buidhe bothy and was interested to ascertain its accessibility as I had received various reports so I went to investigate. I found the bothy was occupied by five fishermen who had rented the bothy from the estate owner for a weekend loch fishing. However they were very disappointed not just because it was wet outside but it was cold and this apparently makes the fish go deeper and harder to catch.

The fisherman had the stove going and the bothy was very warm compared to the conditions I was experiencing outside. They obviously felt sorry for me and offered me a cup of coffee which I accepted and we had a chat before I set off again in the rain across very wet ground to the south-east ridge of Baosbheinn. Once on the twisting ridge it was just the sake of accepting the poor weather and visibility and heading for the summit.

Once I reached the summit the descent was out towards Creag an Fhithich but before reaching this point I dropped to the Abhainn a'Gharbh Choire and out of the cloud. On this descent a female Wheatear rose suddenly and quietly a few feet in front of me and after a search I found its nest containing five eggs. After crossing the stream, which was in spate, I headed over to the track I used in the morning and back to the start.

It had been a long day in unpleasant conditions but at least I had bagged two new Corbetts.

Beinn an Eoin Corbett first ascent 855 metres
Baosbheinn Corbett first ascent 875 metres

main mountain index top of page


Torridon

1 June 2004

I travelled to Kinlochewe to meet Drew and Gill, who I first met in Sikkim on a trek of the Indian Himalayas. Drew is originally from Edinburgh and was one of four Scots on the trek.

It was a rather dull and damp morning in Kinlochewe but we decided to go to Liathach and drove the short distance along Glen Torridon. On our arrival at the car park the sky was very dark so we waited in the vehicle to see what materialised. A few minutes later we encountered a thunder and lightening storm. We later learned that the storm had knocked out the power supply in the area.

Once the storm cleared we set off up the path at the side of the Allt an Doire Ghairbh into Toll a'Meitheach with Gill, from near London, complaining about the Scottish weather.

A hard pull up this path took us onto the ridge where the low cloud began to break. On the ridge we came across a small dog. The dog and its owner had overtaken us earlier in the morning but there was no sign of the man now. The whimpering dog followed us along the ridge until we met its owner who was returning from the summit and man and dog were re-united.

We continued along the ridge with the views improving as we headed west and after some climbing reached the summit of Spidean a'Choire Leith. Gill changed her mind and decided that she now liked Scotland as we dried out and took in the surrounding vista.

Drew and I couldn't convince Gill to continue along the ridge so we returned to the car by our ascent route.

We later went to the Kinlochewe Hotel and had a nice meal which Drew and Gill kindly paid for.

Despite Gill's dislike of the Scottish weather she has agreed to return to Scotland at the end of this month (June) to marry Drew so congratulations to you both and all the best in the future. Unfortunately they will be returning south of the border after the event despite Drew wishing he was staying in his homeland.

Spidean a'Choire Leith Munro fourth ascent 1055 metres

main mountain index top of page


Applecross

24 August 2003

I drove to the top of the Bealach na Ba (Pass of the Cattle) in Applecross. I first travelled on this road in 1965 using a Highland Omnibus while en route to the School of Adventure at Applecross. The trip then from Inverness to Applecross took four hours and at the hairpin bends on the bealach the bus had to do five point turns to get round the bends. This was before the new road round the coast was built. Signs at the start of the Bealach na Ba now warn drivers that it is not suitable for long vehicles and Learner Drivers.

My first hill of the day was Beinn Bhan and this entailed crossing some very rough terrain indeed. Large rock formations and boulders made walking slow with some large crevasses which if you fell into you may have great difficulty getting out of, so it was important to concentrate. On reaching the Bealach nan Arr I was now lower than when I left my car which is rather unusual. The climb up to Beinn Bhan was a lot easier and on reaching the summit cairn there were magnificent views of the terraced cliffs of the eastern corries and out towards Torridon.

The return was back towards the Beallach na Ba before I walked out to the other Applecross Corbett, Sgurr a’Chaorachain. Unfortunately it was busy with tourists and their dogs who had climbed up from the car park and spoilt the peace and tranquillity I had experienced on the previous mountain. However the views out to Skye, Rhum and Eigg made up for it. Once I had my fill of these awesome views it was a short walk back to the car and the end of an enjoyable but very hard day on the hills.

Beinn Bhan Corbett first ascent 896 metres
Sgurr a'Chaorachain Corbett first ascent 792 metres

main mountain index top of page


Torridon

23 August 2003

I decided that it was time to climb the Corbett Beinn Dearg having seen it several times from the Torridon Munros. In fact Beinn Dearg at 914 metres is only one metre short of being a Munro.

The walk in is fairly easy on a stalker’s path but on reaching the north-west ridge the climbing really started. A steep and rocky ascent was made even harder by thousands of midges in the very still conditions. A lot of them drowned in my sweat but that didn’t stop their pals from continuing the attack upon me.

Some easy scrambling took me to the summit with great views but even at 914 metres the midges still wanted to attack so I didn’t linger long. There was an interesting descent eastwards before dropping down to a stalker’s path and the walk back to the start.

Beinn Dearg Corbett first ascent 914 metres

main mountain index top of page


Lochcarron

17 July 2003

This day saw me near Lochcarron. From Coulags good stalkers paths led me to the foot of my intended Corbett An Ruadh-stac. The climb to the summit involved a bit of a scramble over rocks and some scree but once again it was worth all the effort for the views.

On the descent I met a couple of people heading for the Munro Maol Chean-dearg. These were the only people I met all week, so if you want to get away from the crowds and see a bit more of nature, try some of the Corbetts.

An Ruadh-stac Corbett first ascent 892 metres

main mountain index top of page


Torridon

13 July 2003

On this Sunday I ventured up the Corbetts to the east of Beinn Eighe in Torridon. The first one Meall a’Ghiuthais was a bit of a slog once I left the ‘Pony Track’ but when I reached the summit it was well worth the effort. The views across Loch Maree to Slioch, Fisherfield and An Teallach, where I was headed on Saturday, were terrific. In fact fabulous views were had all round.

My next hill, Ruadh-stac Beag, was a bit more problematic as it is surrounded on three sides by cliffs. This entailed a walk round to its west side and a climb up through some loose boulders and scree. On the summit I lay down on a small grassy meadow and could easily have fallen asleep in the idyllic surroundings.

Meall a'Ghiuthais Corbett first ascent 887 metres
Ruadh-stac Beag Corbett first ascent 896 metres

main mountain index top of page