Sgurr a’Bhealaich Dheirg

A weekend in October 2012 served as Frank’s and my getaway from work in Germany. But unfortunately the three days in the area north of Glen Shiel were both somewhat rainy and stricken by the mishap of a broken-down car. The malfunctioning of the Ford Focus necessitated a trip to Inverness to pick up a replacement car and meant one day less of hillwalking. What can you do?

So our second and last day in the hills was to be the tour of the eastern three Munros of the North Glen Shiel ridge: Saileag, Sgurr a´’Bhealaich Dheirg and Aonach Mheadhoin. As seven years before when we had done the Five Sisters of Kintail we left our car at the parking where the steep path up to the Bealach an Lapain starts. The path had not changed much since 2005: Well-defined, zigzaggy and steep through grass on the lower slopes. More rocky and eroded further up. But nonetheless a good and straight-forward way to cover the 500m or so to the ridge. We got there after about one hour and turned due east, climbed the grassy ridge to Saileag and touched the cairn.

Clouds clung to the craggy ridges and flanks of Sgurr nan Spainteach and the closest three of the Five Sisters. Rain kept coming and going all the time. A somewhat wild feeling of being alone on this remarkable mountain range. I was satisfied with having completed the North Glen Shiel ridge by bagging Saileag. I was also sick that weekend and decided to return to the glen and the car right away by way of the ascent taken. Not very romantic but probably the best solution for me.

Frank, however, still had Sgurr a’Bhealaich Dheirg and Aonach Mheadhoin to bag. So we split up our little party of two at Saileag’s summit. I was back at the car 2 hour and 45 minutes after the start of our walk. Frank carried on to the east over the two other Munros. On Sgurr a’Bhealaich Dheirg … [Read More]

2017-09-19T14:15:04+02:00October 2nd, 2012|1997, 2012, 2018 - 2010, Glen Affric and Kintail|

Mullach na Dheiragain

An old scar that had kept itching for more than six years: That is what Mullach na Dheiragain meant for Frank and me. When we climbed An Socach and Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan in 2006 we had skipped this remote outlier since at least one of us had been too exhausted to add another 8-10 km from the summit of M22 just to bag this minor Munro. This had left us the task of reaching this remote Munro from somewhere else.

So in October 2012 we had rented a cottage in Camas-liunie at the end of the single track road which runs all the way from Ardelve along the shore of Loch Long. Camas-liunie is a really remote spot only a few kilometres from the A87. Great setting but only little sunshine in the northern fangs of Carn Loch nan Eun. From the cottage we cycled and pushed our old and worn-out bicycles along a rough track to the cottage in Glen Elchaig. There we joined the tarmac single-track going moderately uphill into Glen Elchaig. Soon Loch Elchaig was reached. Frank and me continued on the road along the bank of the loch, passed Carnach House and then finally arrived at Iron Lodge.

We left our bikes near Iron Lodge and climbed steeply on the rough track that heads in an easterly direction towards Loch Mullardoch. When this path/track had levelled off beside Loch an Droma we left it at a cairn and set out to cross the open, hillocky terrain that stretches towards the north ridge of Mullach na Dheiragain. There were traces of several tracks and/or paths to be followed. We headed towards the very steep crags of Creag a’ Choir Aird. We weaved our path through the broken bands of rocks and finally reached the ridge above. The ridge climbs moderately steeply over one or two rises to the pre-summit of Mullach na Dheiragain called Mullach Sithidh. From there it is another dip to cross and then the final rise to the summit … [Read More]

2017-09-19T14:16:13+02:00October 1st, 2012|2012, 2018 - 2010, Glen Affric and Kintail|

An Socach

This tour to the remote hills at the western end of Glen Affric was one that gave us many interesting impressions. The beautiful woods in the eastern part of the glen, the marvellous loch and the lonely upper reaches around Alltbeithe Youth Hostel. We started our hike from the parking at the east end of Loch Affric where the two routes along the north and south side of the loch commence. We chose the southern approach since we used bicycles in order to make quicker progress on the long way to the foot of the hills. The land-rover track undulates about 50m above Loch Affric and the heavy rucksacks on our backs made themselves felt on every rise of the track. Driving downhill on the good track was fun, though.

Soon we reached the crossing of the River Affric at Athnamulloch. We pushed our bikes over the bridge and continued our bicycle tour. The surface of the track deteriorated considerably being now composed of gravel and small boulders which made things more exhausting. Then, when the Glen opened up and its floor became flatter, we saw the youth hostel in the distance. Once there, we paused for some sandwiches. We left our bicycles by the hostel and climbed the path beside the Allt na Faing into Coire na Cloiche. This was a very steady climb in a grassy corrie. Higher up in the corrie a steeper section followed but the going was easy. Soon the path delivered us on the beallach between the two munros. The views of Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan and Mullach na Dheiragain were impressive. But first we turned east and climbed the rigde to An Socach. The summit of this hill is only 30 minutes from the beallach and is easily gained. From the summit we retraced our steps and soon started the much more interesting climb of the east ridge of Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan.

This graceful, curving ridge has several stony sections which make climbing it quite entertaining. Higher … [Read More]

2017-09-19T14:17:51+02:00May 11th, 2006|2006, 2009 - 2000, Glen Affric and Kintail|

Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan

This tour to the remote hills at the western end of Glen Affric was one that gave us many interesting impressions. The beautiful woods in the eastern part of the glen, the marvellous loch and the lonely upper reaches around Alltbeithe Youth Hostel. We started our hike from the parking at the east end of Loch Affric where the two routes along the north and south side of the loch commence. We chose the southern approach since we used bicycles in order to make quicker progress on the long way to the foot of the hills. The land-rover track undulates about 50m above Loch Affric and the heavy rucksacks on our backs made themselves felt on every rise of the track. Driving downhill on the good track was fun, though.

Soon we reached the crossing of the River Affric at Athnamulloch. We pushed our bikes over the bridge and continued our bicycle tour. The surface of the track deteriorated considerably being now composed of gravel and small boulders which made things more exhausting. Then, when the Glen opened up and its floor became flatter, we saw the youth hostel in the distance. Once there, we paused for some sandwiches. We left our bicycles by the hostel and climbed the path beside the Allt na Faing into Coire na Cloiche. This was a very steady climb in a grassy corrie. Higher up in the corrie a steeper section followed but the going was easy. Soon the path delivered us on the beallach between the two munros. The views of Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan and Mullach na Dheiragain were impressive. But first we turned east and climbed the rigde to An Socach. The summit of this hill is only 30 minutes from the beallach and is easily gained. From the summit we retraced our steps and soon started the much more interesting climb of the east ridge of Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan.

This graceful, curving ridge has several stony sections which make climbing it quite entertaining. Higher … [Read More]

2017-09-19T14:17:51+02:00May 11th, 2006|2006, 2009 - 2000, Glen Affric and Kintail|

Tom a’Choinich

The day after our major tour of the Mullardoch Four (Oh, praise Alba for such marvellous days) we needed some rest. Starting late in the morming we set our sights on a moderate 16 kilometre hike of the two most eastern Glen Affric Munros, Toll Creagach and Tom a’ Choinich. From the parking on the north shore of Loch Bheinn a’ Mheadhoin we walked up the landrover track in Gleann nam Fiadh. The air was warm and the forrest on both sides of the track was interestingly diverse as regards the variety of different sorts of trees. There even was a wooden panel explaining the afforestation efforts of the Forrestry Commission (?).

After passing a gate we left the enclosed woodland and got into rather more open terrain. Once we reached the Allt Toll Easa we climbed the path on its right side for about 250m until we reached the upper corrie and the start of the southeast ridge of Tom a’ Choinich. This ridge proved to be quite rocky and entertaining being interspersed with surviving patches of last winter’s snow on some of the upper sections. Above the 1000m contour the slope levelled off and we strolled to the 1112m summit of the Tom. There we took a good long break and rested our aching bones. Then we proceeded in an easterly direction to the Bealach Toll Easa. The ridge leading to this coll again was narrow in places and rocky. Fine stuff. From the bealach we climbed a much broader ridge first to the west top of Toll Creagach and further on over a plateau-ish section to the final steepening before the stony summit of Toll Creagach.

Having enjoyed another pause at this second summit we walked due south over open grassy terrain to reach Beinn Eun. We passed this outlier of Toll Creagach and its craggy slopes above Gleann nam Fiadh by bearing south-west and descending very steep heather slopes to the landrover track in the floor of the glen. … [Read More]

2017-09-19T14:17:51+02:00May 10th, 2006|2006, 2009 - 2000, Glen Affric and Kintail|

Toll Creagach

The day after our major tour of the Mullardoch Four (Oh, praise Alba for such marvellous days) we needed some rest. Starting late in the morming we set our sights on a moderate 16 kilometre hike of the two most eastern Glen Affric Munros, Toll Creagach and Tom a’ Choinich. From the parking on the north shore of Loch Bheinn a’ Mheadhoin we walked up the landrover track in Gleann nam Fiadh. The air was warm and the forrest on both sides of the track was interestingly diverse as regards the variety of different sorts of trees. There even was a wooden panel explaining the afforestation efforts of the Forrestry Commission (?). After passing a gate we left the enclosed woodland and got into rather more open terrain. Once we reached the Allt Toll Easa we climbed the path on its right side for about 250m until we reached the upper corrie and the start of the southeast ridge of Tom a’ Choinich. This ridge proved to be quite rocky and entertaining being interspersed with surviving patches of last winter’s snow on some of the upper sections. Above the 1000m contour the slope levelled off and we strolled to the 1112m summit of the Tom. There we took a good long break and rested our aching bones. Then we proceeded in an easterly direction to the Bealach Toll Easa. The ridge leading to this coll again was narrow in places and rocky. Fine stuff. From the bealach we climbed a much broader ridge first to the west top of Toll Creagach and further on over a plateau-ish section to the final steepening before the stony summit of Toll Creagach. Having enjoyed another pause at this second summit we walked due south over open grassy terrain to reach Beinn Eun. We passed this outlier of Toll Creagach and its craggy slopes above Gleann nam Fiadh by bearing south-west and descending very steep heather slopes to the landrover track in the floor of the glen. … [Read More]

2017-09-19T14:17:51+02:00May 10th, 2006|2006, 2009 - 2000, Glen Affric and Kintail|

Sgurr nan Conbhairean

This group of three Munros is easily accessible from the A87 and the hills are not too far away from Inverness where Alex had to catch a train in the evening. On a sunny morning we drove from Glen Strathfarrar to Loch Cluanie and left our car at the big parking near Lundie. From there Alex, Frank and me walked along a Landrover track which once was part of the Old Military Road. Soon a path branched off to the right, skirted An Cruachan and reached a stretch of flatter terrain. We headed towards the western ridge of Carn Ghluasaid and climbed up the steep rocky side of the ridge where good views of the hills in the south and west added to fun of walking.

The path finally peters out on the plateau-ish summit area of the hill and soon afterwards we touched the cairn. From there we continued along the corrie rim for some time, then by-passed point 998m and started the final 150 m climb to Sgurr nan Conbhairean from the Glas Bhealach. At the summit of our second munro of the day we rested. A jolly good viewpoint for the hills close by. A’Chralaig, Mullach Fraoch-choire, South and North Glen Shiel ridge and Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan to mention a few. The wind had picked up considerably since we had started our hike and it made walking a little difficult at times. The weather was fine, though. On our continuation down the north ridge of Sgurr nan Conbhairean the wind bombarded us with bits of icy snow dislodged from the remains of snow-fields and cornices from time to time. Funny. It did not take very long to reach the third summit of the day, Sail Chaorainn. Another little break and then we retraced our steps back to Sgurr nan Conbhairean. We did not climb back to the summit of this hill but traversed 100m below summit height on the western slopes. This delivered us on the south-west ridge and the … [Read More]

2017-09-19T14:17:52+02:00May 8th, 2006|2006, 2009 - 2000, Glen Affric and Kintail|

Sail Chaorainn

This group of three Munros is easily accessible from the A87 and the hills are not too far away from Inverness where Alex had to catch a train in the evening. On a sunny morning we drove from Glen Strathfarrar to Loch Cluanie and left our car at the big parking near Lundie. From there Alex, Frank and me walked along a Landrover track which once was part of the Old Military Road. Soon a path branched off to the right, skirted An Cruachan and reached a stretch of flatter terrain. We headed towards the western ridge of Carn Ghluasaid and climbed up the steep rocky side of the ridge where good views of the hills in the south and west added to fun of walking. The path finally peters out on the plateau-ish summit area of the hill and soon afterwards we touched the cairn. From there we continued along the corrie rim for some time, then by-passed point 998m and started the final 150 m climb to Sgurr nan Conbhairean from the Glas Bhealach. At the summt of our second munro of the day we rested. A jolly good viewpoint for the hills close by. A’Chralaig, Mullach Fraoch-choire, South and North Glen Shiel ridge and Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan to mention a few. The wind had picked up considerably since we had started our hike and it made walking a little difficult at times. The weather was fine, though. On our continuation down the north ridge of Sgurr nan Conbhairean the wind bombarded us with bits of icy snow dislodged from the remains of snow-fields and cornices from time to time. Funny. It did not take very long to reach the third summit of the day, Sail Chaorainn. Another little break and then we retraced our steps back to Sgurr nan Conbhairean. We did not climb back to the summit of this hill but traversed 100m below summit height on the western slopes. This delivered us on the south-west ridge and the … [Read More]

2017-09-19T14:17:52+02:00May 8th, 2006|2006, 2009 - 2000, Glen Affric and Kintail|

Carn Ghluasaid

This group of three Munros is easily accessible from the A87 and the hills are not too far away from Inverness where Alex had to catch a train in the evening. On a sunny morning we drove from Glen Strathfarrar to Loch Cluanie and left our car at the big parking near Lundie. From there Alex, Frank and me walked along a Landrover track which once was part of the Old Military Road. Soon a path branched off to the right, skirted An Cruachan and reached a stretch of flatter terrain. We headed towards the western ridge of Carn Ghluasaid and climbed up the steep rocky side of the ridge where good views of the hills in the south and west added to fun of walking. The path finally peters out on the plateauish summit area of the hill and soon afterwards we touched the cairn. From there we continued along the corrie rim for some time, then by-passed point 998m and started the final 150 m climb to Sgurr nan Conbhairean from the Glas Bhealach. At the summt of our second munro of the day we rested. A jolly good viewpoint for the hills close by. A’Chralaig, Mullach Fraoch-choire, South and North Glen Shiel ridge and Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan to mention a few. The wind had picked up considerably since we had started our hike and it made walking a little difficult at times. The weather was fine, though. On our continuation down the north ridge of Sgurr nan Conbhairean the wind bombarded us with bits of icy snow dislodged from the remains of snow-fields and cornices from time to time. Funny. It did not take very long to reach the third summit of the day, Sail Chaorainn. Another little break and then we retraced our steps back to Sgurr nan Conbhairean. We did not climb back to the summit of this hill but traversed 100m below summit height on the western slopes. This delivered us on the south-west ridge and the … [Read More]

2017-09-19T14:17:52+02:00May 8th, 2006|2006, 2009 - 2000, Glen Affric and Kintail|

Sgurr Fhuaran

The Five Sisters had been on our mind for more than ten years. Conditions had never allowed us to do the tramp of these hills but finally the day had arrived. We had two cars available so transport was no problem. We left one car in a lay-by at the A87 close to Loch Shiel where a footbridge facilitates the crossing of the River Shiel on returning from the walk. From there we drove back up the glen to the roadside parking where the path to the Bealach an Lapain commences. We parked the second car and headed up the steep path leading to the bealach 600m above. On the lower slopes the path has several branches which merge further up the hill.

Making good progress we reached the col after about an hour and ten minutes. The wind at the bealach was cold and we all donned our wind-proof gear. From Bealach an Lapain we headed west in thick clouds traversing the many knolls on the ridge to Sgurr nan Spainteach. It took us quite a while to get to this first top, but finally we reached the summit cairn. Just when we set off to continue to Sgurr na Ciste Duibhe the clouds broke and we could take in the whole North Glen Shiel Ridge including our three munros of today. After having taken off our raingear we continued onward to Sgurr na Ciste Duibhe. The ridge has a rocky section which makes for some light scrambling. The final rise to Sgurr na Ciste Duibhe was interesting since we crossed rests of winter snow fields and negotiated some rocks. At the summit we paused for a snack and drank some water.

Then the descent to the col below and the climb to the second munro, Sgurr na Carnach, followed. All this was done without problems but we stopped from time to time to marvel at the views of Beinn Fhada to the north and The Saddle to the south. At … [Read More]

2017-09-19T14:17:54+02:00May 2nd, 2005|2005, 2009 - 2000, Glen Affric and Kintail|