…and Friends – a Linear Route
Lurg Mhor Route Introduction
Lurg Mhor is a Munro in the Scottish Highlands, situated to the west of Loch Monar. The mountain is considered one of the more awkward Munros for a peak bagger to access. This route links Lurg Mhor with Bidein a’ Choire Sheasgaich, Sgurr Choinnich, Sgurr a’ Chaorachain, Maoile Lunndaidh and Moruisg. The route card below explains how these six Munros can be walked over two days, incorporating a bothy stay or wild camp.
Adventurer Nic walked this route on Saturday 5th October 2019 as part of her Munro Bagging Challenge. These were Munro numbers 266 to 271 for Nic. Here, she explains how you can bag these Munros too.
Lurg Mhor Route Stats
Mountains: Moruisg (928m), Maoile Lunndaidh (1,007m), Sgurr a’ Chaorachain (1,053), Sgurr Choinnich (999m), Bidein a’ Choire Sheasgaich (945m) and Lurg Mhor (986m)
Total Distance: 43.4km / 27miles
Total Ascent: 2,970m / 9,744ft
Approx Walk Time: 1.5 days
Grid Reference Start: NH 080520
Grid Reference End: NH 039493
Lurg Mhor Route Report
The Lead Up
We woke in the school house bothy after hiking Seana Bhraigh the previous day. The cumulative effect of week after week of Munro bagging in poor weather was taking its toll. James actually had double eye bags, an eye bag on an eye bag, who knew that was possible?!
We packed up and got on the road, stocking up on food supplies at the Tesco in Ullapool. We parked in a woodland car park off the A890. An early lunch consisted of Nutella on crackers before we walked down to the main road to get a hitch hike.
It always feels better to be walking back in the direction of the car. The alternative is to walk in the knowledge you have to get a lift at the end of the walk. Yet this is when you’re at your most dishevelled, wet and stinky. Desperation kicks in and it’s a real kick to your confidence when car after car rejects you.
Predictably, the first few cars ignored us. But a chap kindly picked us up after a short while. Bruce told us he was originally from the Lake District but based in Somerset. He was on his way back from a hunting trip and travelling home via his son’s house in Edinburgh.
Bruce regaled us with tales of his hunts. Conversely we told him of our plans to climb 6 Munros – from Moruisg to Lurg Mhor. Bruce dropped us off further down the road at our walk start point. But not before offering us extra snacks for the trip. James joked that we’d take a leg of venison with us. We thanked him and got on our way.
We set off walking just after 12pm. Our aim was to be at the Glenauig bothy for 6pm when the heavy rain was forecast – but not before bagging Moruisg and Maoile Lunndaidh. The grass was wet as we walked towards a rickety tunnel under the railway to hit the hillside. We expected it to be pathless but we did find a faint path to follow. The path led us through two kissing gates on the ascent. We stopped for our traditional teenage-esque snog at each of them.
It wasn’t until we were quite a way up that we realised that incredible views of the Torridon and Fisherfield hills had opened up behind us.
All in all Moruisg was a pretty boring ascent, just a continuous push straight up without much variety in terrain or gradient, but it offered amazing summit views.
We turned right along the summit, first fooled by a large cairn, before hitting the true summit, a smaller cairn to the southwest.
We went from the summit of Moruisg down to meet a stalkers path which zigzagged helpfully down to Glenuaig Lodge in the valley below.
Glenuaig shelter is a non-MBA bothy (meaning it is not managed by the Mountain Bothy Association but it’s offered by the landowner for use by hill walkers who require overnight shelter).
Bothy is probably the wrong word to describe the shelter at Glenuaig Lodge. It’s effectively just a bog standard garden shed. Inside there is a bunk bed and a fold down table. Very simple but effective.
When we arrived there was nobody there so we stowed some of our overnight gear and set off with minimum supplies to bag Maoile Lunndaidh.
We headed down to the river which we crossed easily and then walked up and onto the open hillside. we picked up a faint path and followed it up the side of a ravine. At one point we had to cross a burn on a large slippery rock and I did what I can only describe as a moonwalk as both feet slipped dangerously. Digging my walking poles into the ground saved me from face-planting the riverbed.
We followed the path higher up the hillside until it disappeared and the only option was to keep trudging uphill. Without our heavy packs, we were powering forward as quickly as possible as the weather was now soaking us.
We made it to the summit of Maoile Lunndaidh looking wet and wind battered. At this point, the summit of Lurg Mhor (our sixth and last Munro of the two day trip) seemed a long way away.
We paused briefly at the top but there was no reason to hang around in such horrid conditions so we headed back via the route of ascent at first.
We ultimately picked up a different, and slightly better path down the other side of the ravine.
It made the return route to the Glenuaig shelter a little longer but it was easier terrain underfoot.
The last 20 minutes of the walk was actually dry which was helpful.
A Night in Glenuaig Shelter
As we approached the shelter, the roaring stags reminded us that it was rutting season.
The guttural moans from the competing stags were deafening and it often felt like they were so close to us.
We entered the shed to find our belongings where we’d left them and we got our dinner going on the camping stove straight away.
We cooked beef stew with a side of garlic mashed potato. During the Munro challenge we wolfed down our meals, barely allowing the food to touch the sides! I never made an assessment of what our calorie intake must have been but despite all the scoffing by this point in the challenge I was a stone lighter than I was five months earlier.
As an addition to the meal in Glenuaig shelter I enjoyed a salty hard boiled egg. It’s hard to explain how satisfying this was. A boiled egg had become a popular treat of mine during the challenge. I’m pleased this photo exists because I can see the joy in my face!
After we finally finished eating, we got changed for bed, doing the standard ‘tick check’ scouring each others naked bodies for signs of the tiny disease-carrying mites before I dressed in my trusty Icebreaker merino base layers (creature of habit).
We made up our beds for the night. I occupied the top bunk, with James on the bottom bunk.
Our belongings were hanging all around us on every hook in the shed.
We reminisced about all the bothies we’d stayed in during our Munro challenge. This had to be one of the smallest and most odd. But it was the perfect shelter and one of my favourite plays to hunker down out of the wind and rain.
We woke to our alarm at 5:30am in the garden shed after a good sleep. It was raining hard and it was so tempting just to snuggle back down into our sleeping bags and stay inside. Unfortunately some of our hanging clothes were a little damp (those hanging on the one side of the shed bearing the brunt of the wind and rain).
We ate breakfast, had a much needed coffee and started walking.
By some kind of miracle, a foot bridge (not marked on the map) appeared just at the point we approached the river bank in the low light of the morning. This was a miracle to me, so as with any of these fortunate surprise occurrences I thanked my Pop (maternal grandfather) for looking out for me in spirit.
Next came a pathless ascent of the long northeast ridge of Sgurr a’Chaorachain (our first and also the highest Munro of the day) in horrendous weather. We made it to the summit with rain was smashing into our left-hand sides in a vicious wind.
We descended onto a thin ridge to a col before ascending to the second Munro, Sgurr Choinnich.
I felt sick and dizzy and my heart was racing. It was a little bit frightening as I wasn’t sure why.
I soon found out my own body was conspiring against me, my menstrual cycle throwing an unexpected period (from hell) at me.
During this challenge I developed a great deal of empathy and respect for women in adventure who have persevered on long distance (sometimes record-breaking) multi-day challenges in spite of hormone fuelled mood swings, blood loss and cramps/nausea, all without the luxury of modern facilities.
The sickness passed as we touched the summit cairn of Sgurr Choinnich and I felt lucky that with the help of my partner James and copious amounts of chocolate (oh how clichéd), I felt strong enough to continue on to the two final Munros – Bidein a’ Choire Sheasgaich and Lurg Mhor.
Bidein a’ Choire Sheasgaich
We walked down to a col, navigating a few awkward steps in the slippery conditions. The rain was starting to abate as we reached the bealach. We ate lunch and stowed our overnight gear under a rock as we anticipated completing a loop of the next two Munros over the next four to five hours, returning to the same spot.
From Bealach Bhearnais we ascended Beinn Tharsuinn (not a Munro, yet an obstacle between us and Bidein a’ Choire Sheasgaich).
Frustratingly, we lost some height as we needed to dip down into Bealach an Sgoltaidh before ascending Bidein a’ Choire Sheasgaich.
The stone wall became our guide up the intimidating north face of Bidein a’ Choire Sheasgaich. A faint path was present, as was a series of helpful cairns. I thanked each one aloud as we passed as we were deep in the clag with very poor visibility.
The route was steep but manageable and by the time we reached the summit, the rain had stopped but cloud still robbed us of any views to our final summit of the day – Lurg Mhor.
From the summit of Bidein a’ Choire Sheasgaich, we dropped down to another col, from which we would later make our way back to Bealach Bhearnais. But first we had to summit Lurg Mhor, which was up to the east of our position.
As we scrambled up, we passed a man sitting alone with a pair of binoculars, looking out over to Loch Monar. It was only then that we realised we hadn’t seen another person all day until that point. We were grateful we now had at least a small amount of visibility. We got to the summit of Lurg Mhor and then headed back the way we’d come. The man with binoculars had vanished.
We headed down from the col in a northeasterly direction into the valley, navigating around some crags and into the basin next to Loch Monar. We then headed north, keeping left of the Allt Bealach Crudhain towards Bealach Bhearnais. It was a lumpy bumpy route and we saw a lot of deer and crossed what seemed to be endless small burns. It was tough going.
We made it back to our stowed gear at the bealach and re-packed our bags. Forlornly, we ate the last of our food supplies. We wished we’d packed more, or at least accepted the extra cereal bars offered by Bruce the hunter. We headed down an established path towards the road. A rough estimate told us that we still had around 9km of walking to do before reaching the car.
In spite of our weariness, we tried to keep the pace high for the duration so we could get back to the car before 7pm.
The Wire Bridge
Soon we came to a wire bridge – with wire for the feet and rope for the hands, walkers can shuffle across. James made it across and then filmed me coming along in his wake.
But after James stopped filming, I accidentally swung backwards, my heavy pack leading me down towards the water like a tortoise weighed down by her shell. My feet swung up over my head and my backpack hit the river bed in slow motion. I didn’t let go and was still clinging onto the rope with my hands even as James dropped his phone and waded in to help me, us both in fits of laughter. I got a bit of rope burn on my hands and a dent in my pride but I’m relieved nobody saw it except James.
The track got wider and more established as we continued and the sun started to set as we crossed the railway line and reached the car. It was just short of a 12 hour day of walking.
What a trip! We were very tired by the end of it. A lot of pathless walking and a long second day. We at dinner and then drove on to our good friend Sally’s house in Drumnadrochit for a bit of well-earned rest and recuperation before starting the last push to complete our Munro round.
We nicknamed these Munros:
- Morrissey – Moruisg
- Male Lunar Dad – Maoile Lunndaidh
- Scoffed A Chimichanga – Sgurr a’ Chaorachain
- Scratch Chin Itch – Sgurr Choinnich
- Been and Acquired A Cheesecake – Bidein a’ Choire Sheasgaich
- Look More – Lurg Mhor
Find out why we nicknamed all 282 Munros here.