Sgurr nan Coireachan

The Corryhully Horseshoe had long been on our list of very desirable hill walks in Alba. Maybe not as grandiose as the Ring of Steall or Sgurr na Ciche but nonetheless some tour to look forward to very much. 12 June 2016 saw us go about fulfilling that plan. It was a warm day and the midges were already showing us some attention when we prepared our kick-off for the day at the parking beside the River Finnan in Glenfinnan Village. Off we went and quickly reached the viaduct which I had last seen, when Birgit, Stephanie and I had visited the eastern Munro of the Horseshoe in 1998. Harry Potter films had then not been known and the viaduct had not acquired its present notoriety.

Of course progress was swift and easy. The glen is beautiful and so is the meandering River Finnan. After 45 minutes we crossed the Allt a Caol Ghleann and passed Corryhully Bothy. There the Landover track becomes a little steeper and we gained some height as we progressed another kilometre. Then, however, the cairn indicating the start of the ascent of Sgurr nan Coireachan’s steep and rocky southeast ridge appeared to the left. We deposited a bottle of water for the return leg of the hike and commenced the long climb towards the Sgurr.

The path is rather well-engineered and there was some material left beside it which indicated that maintenance work had been done. Somebody had even left a wheel barrow there. Rising first gently and then after a major bend more pronouncedly the path climbed over several rocky steps in the ridge which took turns with slightly more level grassy sections. Soon the terrain got more and more rocky. At a spot where the path leaves the crest of the ridge to climb a few dozen metres to the west of Sgurr a’Choire Riabhaich some slightly exposed minor scrambling was called for and the very steep section of the path called for more attention as to where you put your boots. All this ended … [Read More]

2017-09-19T14:14:58+02:00June 12th, 2016|2016, 2019 - 2010, Loch Eil to Glen Shiel|

Sgurr Thuilm

The Corryhully Horseshoe had long been on our list of very desirable hill walks in Alba. Maybe not as grandiose as the Ring of Steall or Sgurr na Ciche but nonetheless some tour to look forward to very much. 12 June 2016 saw us go about fulfilling that plan. It was a warm day and the midges were already showing us some attention when we prepared our kick-off for the day at the parking beside the River Finnan in Glenfinnan Village. Off we went and quickly reached the viaduct which I had last seen, when Birgit, Stephanie and I had visited the eastern Munro of the Horseshoe in 1998. Harry Potter films had then not been known and the viaduct had not acquired its present notoriety.

Of course progress was swift and easy. The glen is beautiful and so is the meandering River Finnan. After 45 minutes we crossed the Allt a Caol Ghleann and passed Corryhully Bothy. There the Landover track becomes a little steeper and we gained some height as we progressed another kilometre. Then, however, the cairn indicating the start of the ascent of Sgurr nan Coireachan’s steep and rocky southeast ridge appeared to the left. We deposited a bottle of water for the return leg of the hike and commenced the long climb towards the Sgurr.

The path is rather well-engineered and there was some material left beside it which indicated that maintenance work had been done. Somebody had even left a wheel barrow there. Rising first gently and then after a major bend more pronouncedly the path climbed over several rocky steps in the ridge which took turns with slightly more level grassy sections. Soon the terrain got more and more rocky. At a spot where the path leaves the crest of the ridge to climb a few dozen metres to the west of Sgurr a’Choire Riabhaich some slightly exposed minor scrambling was called for and the very steep section of the path called for more attention as to where you put your boots. All this ended … [Read More]

2017-09-19T14:14:58+02:00June 12th, 2016|1998, 2016, 2019 - 2010, Loch Eil to Glen Shiel|

Sron a’Choire Ghairbh

The second hike of 2016 was scheduled for a set of two Munros which I had visited twice before on each occasion bagging one of them. I had climbed one with Alex (Sron) and the other one with Mike (Meall). Today Frank and I were to combine them in one hike from the Cam Bealach (or at least Frank had to combine them since he still needed the ticks in his list).

From the parking just before the farm in Kilfinnan we followed the usual approach on the forest road, passing a few holiday homes or huts and then took the upper branch of the road through the dense fir plantation. It was an overcast day and occasionally a few drops of rain fell from the clouds. When three or three and a half kilometres were behind us we left the road took the good path branching off to the right and started the climb beside the Allt Glas-Dhoire. This path is steep at first but soon after you leave the forest the gradient eases. The continuation up the Cam Bhealach is quite scenic since both Sean Mheall to the north and Beall Dubh to the south of the glen hold interest for the wandering eye with their rocky faces and gullies. We made good progress and after maybe six kilometres were covered we reached the bealach between the two hills.

Here I decided that one Munro would be enough for today (no summit views) and Frank set of towards Sron aíChoire Ghairbh climbing the very well-engineered stalkers (?) path which leads almost all the way to the summit ridge and level summit of the Munro. I lay down in a comfortable spot close to the bealach and dozed for maybe 40 minutes. Then another walker reached the bealach also from the Loch Lochy side and we chatted a bit.

Soon Frank was back, we took a short break and then left our rucksacks in the vicinity of the bealach. The continuation to Meall na Teanga involved a steepish climb up the northwest … [Read More]

2017-09-19T14:14:58+02:00June 11th, 2016|2005, 2016, 2019 - 2010, Loch Eil to Glen Shiel|

Meall na Teanga

The second hike of 2016 was scheduled for a set of two Munros which I had visited twice before on each occasion bagging one of them. I had climbed one with Alex (Sron) and the other one with Mike (Meall). Today Frank and I were to combine them in one hike from the Cam Bealach (or at least Frank had to combine them since he still needed the ticks in his list).

From the parking just before the farm in Kilfinnan we followed the usual approach on the forest road, passing a few holiday homes or huts and then took the upper branch of the road through the dense fir plantation. It was an overcast day and occasionally a few drops of rain fell from the clouds. When three or three and a half kilometres were behind us we left the road took the good path branching off to the right and started the climb beside the Allt Glas-Dhoire. This path is steep at first but soon after you leave the forest the gradient eases. The continuation up the Cam Bhealach is quite scenic since both Sean Mheall to the north and Beall Dubh to the south of the glen hold interest for the wandering eye with their rocky faces and gullies. We made good progress and after maybe six kilometres were covered we reached the bealach between the two hills.

Here I decided that one Munro would be enough for today (no summit views) and Frank set of towards Sron aíChoire Ghairbh climbing the very well-engineered stalkers (?) path which leads almost all the way to the summit ridge and level summit of the Munro. I lay down in a comfortable spot close to the bealach and dozed for maybe 40 minutes. Then another walker reached the bealach also from the Loch Lochy side and we chatted a bit.

Soon Frank was back, we took a short break and then left our rucksacks in the vicinity of the bealach. The continuation to Meall na Teanga involved a steepish climb up the northwest … [Read More]

2017-09-19T14:14:58+02:00June 11th, 2016|2002, 2016, 2019 - 2010, Loch Eil to Glen Shiel|

Ciste Dhubh

We started the first hike of 2016 basically from the Cluanie Inn where we had spent the night. The day before we had arrived in Scotland at Edinburghís Turnhouse Airport and had driven up to Loch Cluanie in a leisurely fashion. Having arrived early enough meant we could even take a pint at a picnic table in front of the Inn before lunch. A relaxed start to the “nine days nine hikes”-holiday.

We started the climb of A’Chralaig from the parking on the north side of the A 87 which is close to the bridge over the Allt a’Chaorainn Mhoir. A few metres on the public footpath to Alltbeithe Youth Hospital in Glen Affric were enough: We immediately found the small cairn that marks the path leading up to the southeast ridge of A’Chralaig. This path climbed steeply beside a burn up to the high ridge above. The going was easy enough, the ground being relatively dry. Steadily we climbed along the burn. Once on the ridge proper the terrain became more and more stony. Much of the ascent was spent in clouds and fog but very occasionally views of Loch Cluanie, Am Bathach and (higher up on the ridge) of the Munros further to the east could be had. Then, after some considerable exertion at least on my part, the *massive* cairn of A’Chralaig came into view. Visions of my first climb of this Munro almost 20 years ago in late December 1998 sprang up from my memory. It had been a snowy and icy affair which I only managed to complete thanks to a pair of crampons I had packed. That had been my first solo Munro and my first solo Munro in winter at the same time!

We faced no such challenges this day. After five minutes at the summit (no views) we continued along the ridge towards Stob Choire na Chralaig. The ridge was very well-defined and some nice and narrow sections requiring very moderate hand work were fun. Then we descended from Stob Choire na Chralaig towards … [Read More]

2017-09-19T14:14:58+02:00June 10th, 2016|2002, 2016, 2019 - 2010, Glen Affric and Kintail|

Mullach Fraoch-choire

We started the first hike of 2016 basically from the Cluanie Inn where we had spent the night. The day before we had arrived in Scotland at Edinburghís Turnhouse Airport and had driven up to Loch Cluanie in a leisurely fashion. Having arrived early enough meant we could even take a pint at a picnic table in front of the Inn before lunch. A relaxed start to the “nine days nine hikes”-holiday.

We started the climb of A’Chralaig from the parking on the north side of the A 87 which is close to the bridge over the Allt a’Chaorainn Mhoir. A few metres on the public footpath to Alltbeithe Youth Hospital in Glen Affric were enough: We immediately found the small cairn that marks the path leading up to the southeast ridge of A’Chralaig. This path climbed steeply beside a burn up to the high ridge above. The going was easy enough, the ground being relatively dry. Steadily we climbed along the burn. Once on the ridge proper the terrain became more and more stony. Much of the ascent was spent in clouds and fog but very occasionally views of Loch Cluanie, Am Bathach and (higher up on the ridge) of the Munros further to the east could be had. Then, after some considerable exertion at least on my part, the *massive* cairn of A’Chralaig came into view. Visions of my first climb of this Munro almost 20 years ago in late December 1998 sprang up from my memory. It had been a snowy and icy affair which I only managed to complete thanks to a pair of crampons I had packed. That had been my first solo Munro and my first solo Munro in winter at the same time!

We faced no such challenges this day. After five minutes at the summit (no views) we continued along the ridge towards Stob Choire na Chralaig. The ridge was very well-defined and some nice and narrow sections requiring very moderate hand work were fun. Then we descended from Stob Choire na Chralaig towards … [Read More]

2017-09-19T14:14:58+02:00June 10th, 2016|2016, 2019 - 2010, Glen Affric and Kintail|

A’Chralaig

We started the first hike of 2016 basically from the Cluanie Inn where we had spent the night. The day before we had arrived in Scotland at Edinburghís Turnhouse Airport and had driven up to Loch Cluanie in a leisurely fashion. Having arrived early enough meant we could even take a pint at a picnic table in front of the Inn before lunch. A relaxed start to the “nine days nine hikes”-holiday.

We started the climb of A’Chralaig from the parking on the north side of the A 87 which is close to the bridge over the Allt a’Chaorainn Mhoir. A few metres on the public footpath to Alltbeithe Youth Hospital in Glen Affric were enough: We immediately found the small cairn that marks the path leading up to the southeast ridge of A’Chralaig. This path climbed steeply beside a burn up to the high ridge above. The going was easy enough, the ground being relatively dry. Steadily we climbed along the burn. Once on the ridge proper the terrain became more and more stony. Much of the ascent was spent in clouds and fog but very occasionally views of Loch Cluanie, Am Bathach and (higher up on the ridge) of the Munros further to the east could be had. Then, after some considerable exertion at least on my part, the *massive* cairn of A’Chralaig came into view. Visions of my first climb of this Munro almost 20 years ago in late December 1998 sprang up from my memory. It had been a snowy and icy affair which I only managed to complete thanks to a pair of crampons I had packed. That had been my first solo Munro and my first solo Munro in winter at the same time!

We faced no such challenges this day. After five minutes at the summit (no views) we continued along the ridge towards Stob Choire na Chralaig. The ridge was very well-defined and some nice and narrow sections requiring very moderate hand work were fun. Then we descended from Stob Choire na Chralaig towards … [Read More]

2017-09-19T14:14:58+02:00June 10th, 2016|1998, 2016, 2019 - 2010, Glen Affric and Kintail|

Maol Chean-dearg

The last hill tour of the 2015 “campaign” was the bare red headed hill of the Ben Damph / Coulin Forrest. Frank and I parked the Volvo at the lochside layby in Annat. While getting our things together we were joined by a mountain biker who also wanted to head for Maol Chean-dearg. We chatted a bit and after some “see you later” we set off behind him.

I (Cord) had already climbed Maol Chean-dearg from Annat in 2000 so the good path on gravel and over slabby terrain was kind of familiar. It climbs to an altitude of about 300m and then levels off when it reaches the flat terrain characterized by slabs, sand and two or three small lochans lying between Beinn na h-Eaglaise and Meall Dearg. Having passed Lochan Domhain we soon came to the banks of Loch an Eion. From there the north face of Maol Chean-dearg was quite an impressive view both ahead and also as reflected in the loch.

Again as I had done in 2000 we took the right-hand fork and followed the path around the west and later south flank of the hill towards the beallach between Maol Chean-dearg and An Ruadh Stac. This path rises steadily and more or less gently towards Loch Coire an Ruadh Stac and further on to a small round lochan with whitish quartzite walls that nestles nicely between the two hills. Here we again met “our” mountain biker who had embarked on the trip back to the car.

At the 590m beallach we had our second break of the walk and ate sandwiches basking in the sunshine. We left our rucksacks at the beallach and started the stiff climb up the steep 150m of the ridge consisting of quartzite and quartzite scree. From my memory I knew that a more level section would follow that also has a lot of quartzite slabs standing upright due to folding. Here snow covered the ground in some spots.

Then the terrain became grassy underfoot for a few hundred metres before the final steep … [Read More]

2019-09-11T03:58:51+02:00May 1st, 2015|2000, 2015, 2019 - 2010, Strath Orchy to Loch Leven|

Beinn Tarsuinn

Finally. The Wilderness.

Splendid morning sunshine had greeted us when we left our house on the Coulin Estate to drive up to the road in Glen Torridon and further on to Kinlochewe and Incheril. At the parking in Incheril, we unloaded the bicycles, checked our equipment shouldered our rucksacks and set off in the direction of the heights of Kinlochewe. Cycling on this very flat and easy dirt road beside the Abhainn Bruachaig was a nice start to the long day we intended to spend in the Great Wilderness bagging Beinn Tarsuinn, Mullach Choire Mhic Fhearchair and Sgurr Ban. The Heights of Kinlochewe came into sight very soon. We left out bicycles at the spot where a rough Landrover track branches off to the left and steadily climbs the hillside. Vehicular access was barred anyway by a high gate.

Thus we continued the tour on foot. The hiking was pleasant and we gained height quickly enough. We walked high above the Abhainn Gleann na Muice and then switched over to the other side of the glen as the track crossed the Abhainn. The continuation saw us climbing up the in places steepish Landrover track to a point where the glen gives way to the flat moorland at between Gleann na Muice and Loachan Fhada. The weather being good this was a great hike since ahead the silhouettes of Slioch, A’Mhaighdean and Beinn Tarsuinn beckoned. The path is extremely well-maintained here there was no threat of wet feet or stumbling over rocks. The path passed a ruined building and after maybe six kilometres since we had crossed the Abhainn Gleann na Muice we finally reached fabled Lochan Fhada which indeed lies in a lonely, remote and forgotten stretch of Highland wilderness. An enchanting spot where the water of the Lochan lapped sandy “beaches”.

We spent a few minutes at the Lochan and then turned our attention to finding the path mentioned in the books which should get us started on our way to the Munros. We finally made out a faint path and started … [Read More]

2017-09-19T14:14:59+02:00April 30th, 2015|2015, 2019 - 2010, Loch Marree to Loch Broom|

Maoile Lunndaidh

Craig in Glen Carron. Today this place was to be the starting point for another hike high above the bank of the Allt a’Chonais and later in Gleann Fhiodhaig. We had started walks here in 2008 (Sgurr Choinnch and Sgurr a’Chaorachain) and in 2009 (Sgurr nan Ceannaichean before the SMC stole this Munro from our list).

We used bicycles for the approach to Maoile Lunndaidh and rode/pushed them up the Landrover track for almost 10 km until we reached the small fir plantation in Gleann Fhiodhaig which can be found 1 km before the track reaches Glenuaig Lodge. There we left the bicycles and started a gently rising traverse across the grassy hillside towards the north ridge of Maoile Lunndaidh. On the way we crossed the An Crom allt and headed towards the outflow of the lochans nestled in the narrow corrie (Fuar tholl Mor) between the Munro of the day and the north ridge of Carn nam Fiaclan. It was a wet and overcast day. Visibility was moderate at first.

At an altitude of about 500 m the grass began to be sprinkled with snow and as soon as we reached the level floor of the quite impressive Fuar tholl Mor snow covered the ground completely. From the corrie we climbed up a rocky spur covered in heather making good use of a faint path. Then all that was left was to climb the very broad and open north ridge of Maoile Lunndaidh, which was quite steep initially and progress over (or through) the knee-deep snow was a real effort. We zigzagged our way up the ridge making good use of grass and stones which barely peeked out from the deep snow.

Then the ridge levelled off and the visibility became much better. We even enjoyed a spot of sunshine when we arrived at the summit cairn. Due to the round nature of the summit this is a moderately good viewing spot only but it sufficed to walk a few dozen metres towards the narrow stretch linking Maoile Lunndaidh and … [Read More]

2017-09-19T14:14:59+02:00April 29th, 2015|2015, 2019 - 2010, Glen Cannich to Glen Carron|