Walk Home 2020

Finger post pointing in the direction of Cockermouth
Views over Cockermouth with the north western fells in the background. The Walk Home 2020 will take me over these mountains at the end of the route.
Views over Cockermouth with the north western fells in the background

Walk Home 2020 Adventure Intro


I’m excited to announce my new adventure – Walk Home 2020! Conceived in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, here’s a little bit of background to the project.

Cockermouth became my new home town this year.

Cockermouth Castle
Cockermouth Castle

Situated just outside the Lake District in the county of Cumbria, it’s far enough away to not feel too touristy but close enough for the fells to feel like they’re on my doorstep.

The River Derwent that runs through Cockermouth. I will walk close to the river at the end of my Walk Home 2020 route.
The River Derwent that runs through Cockermouth

But Sheffield was once my home. I lived and worked there for over 30 years and I still feel a strong connection to my roots.

Sheffield Wednesday football stadium
Sheffield Wednesday football stadium

During the winter of 2020 I should have been walking the length of New Zealand on Te Araroa – a 3,000km long distance trail from the tip of the north island to the tip of the south island. But as New Zealand’s borders remain closed to the UK at the time of writing, I have had to postpone this trip and pick up some part time work in the UK.

Feeling a bit lost, I thought up an adventure that I could do around my new job – a long distance journey that would mean a lot to me and the Walk Home 2020 project was born.

In October I’ll be starting my hike at the hospital I was born in 36 years ago in Sheffield. I’ll then walk over 300km (200 miles) home to Cockermouth, via a selection of national and local trails through South Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire and Cumbria.

Walk Home 2020 Q&A

Which route will you be taking?

You can see my planned route here –

Where does the route start?

The route starts at the site of the old Jessop Hospital for Women on Leavygreave Road, Sheffield. This was the place I was born in August 1984. Unfortunately the original building has since been demolished.

Sheffield is also known as the Steel City due to it’s history of steel-making.

Where does the route finish?

The route finishes at my home address in Cockermouth, Cumbria.

Cockermouth is also the birthplace of William Wordsworth and the town is twinned with Marvejols, France.

How did you decide on the Walk Home 2020 route?

The komoot app suggested the most efficient walking route between the start and finish points but I found it a lot of fun to plot my own route, tweaking the suggested tour to include places I really want to visit along the way. I have also adjusted the route to include national trails like the Pennine Way and local trails like the Dales High Way and the Coast to Coast route.

What’s the total distance?

The total distance is around 330km (200 miles) but it may fluctuate based on my mood on the trail.

Where will you sleep?

I plan on wild camping as much as possible along the route, but I may also decide to book accommodation or camp sites (particularly if the weather is poor).

Will you walk alone?

I plan to walk alone, but I won’t deter friends from joining me for sections if they’d like to (remaining respectful and compliant with current COVID guidelines).

How far will you walk each day?

I plan to walk in the region of 22km to 30km per day.

How long will the Walk Home 2020 route take you?

I have 2 weeks off work so I have to be finished within that window.

How will you re-supply food?

I’ll resupply along the way using shops. I’ll most likely carry between 1 and 4 days of food at any one time. I may leave one or two stash boxes along the way containing supplies like gas for my stove, expedition meals and a change of underwear!

What will you wear for the Walk Home 2020 adventure?

On my feet I’ll most likely wear the Hanwag Banks Lady GTX. If it was summer I’d most likely wear lightweight trail running shoes but autumn on the Pennine Way will be very wet and boggy so I’m taking the boots and gaiters approach for this section of the walk.

I’ll take a set of waterproofs, a down jacket, a set of thermal (merino) base layers to sleep in. I’ll most likely hike in a pair of technical hiking leggings, t-shirt and a mid layer.

I plan to take a hat, gloves and a buff (which will double as a face covering in shops).

What other kit will you take?

In my rucksack I’ll also carry a first aid kit, one-person tent, sleeping mat, camping quilt, sleeping bag liner, lightweight stove, titanium pot, spork, water filter, personal locator beacon (PLB), a waterproof cover for my phone, a multi-tool, a set of dry bags, my hiking poles, a compass, water bottles, a trowel for when nature calls, a head torch, a sit mat, a small microfibre towel, minimal toiletries, ear plugs, sunglasses, a power bank, a note book and pen, my bank card and a small amount of cash.

My luxury item is a light-weight cotton pillow case, which I’ll put my down jacket in at night and use as a pillow. I always sleep so much better if I’ve got a cotton pillow on my cheek.

Can I do the same?

Yes you can! Unless you live a sea or ocean away from your birthplace, you can plot and consider walking or cycling from your own birthplace to your current home address, either as one full walk or in sections. It’s a great way to do an adventure unique to you and everyone’s walk will be different! If you do decide to do it, please tag #WalkHome2020 on social media so I can see and share your journey.

Will you update social media along the way?

I’ll be using the hashtag #WalkHome2020 – give it a follow on Instagram if you’d like to track my progress.

Here are a selection of Instagram posts which explain more about my Walk Home 2020 adventure –

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Nic 🇬🇧 ➡️ 🌍⛰⛺📸 (@adventurer.nic) on

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Nic 🇬🇧 ➡️ 🌍⛰⛺📸 (@adventurer.nic) on

About the Author

Photo of Adventurer Nic on a Loch in the Scottish Highlands

Adventurer Nic is a peak bagger. She has stood on the summit of the 282 Munro mountains of Scotland, the 214 Wainwright Fells of the Lake District and has recently been hiking the Outlying Fells of Lakeland. Let her know what you thought of this post by dropping her a comment.

Walna Scar

Adventurer Nic descending Green Pikes before heading to Walna Scar

…Caw, Stickle Pike and more!

Adventurer Nic and her friend Laura heading to Stickle Pike
Adventurer Nic and her friend Laura heading to Stickle Pike

Walna Scar, Caw, Stickle Pike and More – Route Introduction

Walna Scar is the highest of all of Alfred Wainwright’s Outlying Fells of Lakeland. This hike links Walna Scar to 9 other outlying fells in the south of the Lake District National Park over a distance of 26km. This route card is a fantastic option for someone peak bagging the Outlying Fells of Lakeland.

Adventurer Nic walked this route on Wednesday 24th June 2020. These were Outlier numbers 39 to 48 of 116 for Nic. Here, she explains how you can bag these outlying fells too.

Walna Scar, Caw, Stickle Pike and More – Route Stats

The trig pillar on Great Stickle
The trig pillar on Great Stickle

Fells: Great Stickle (305m), Dunnerdale Fells (280m), Tarn Hill (313m), Stickle Pike (375m), a nameless summit 1183′ (361m), The Knott (284m), Caw (529m), Pikes (469m), Green Pikes (420m) and Walna Scar (621m)

Total Distance: 26.1km / 16.22miles

Total Ascent: 1,090m / 3,576ft

Approx Walk Time: 10 hours

Grid Reference Start: SD 201917

Walna Scar, Caw, Stickle Pike and More – Route Report

The Lead Up

A few days earlier we’d hiked the Bannisdale Horseshoe and Knipescar Common, two great walks on the far eastern edge of the Lake District National Park. After a couple of days rest we headed to Ulpha to take on another big day in the hills.

James and I met our good friend Laura in the car park on the road between Ulpha and Stonestar. Laura is a postal worker in the Windermere post office but was making the most of her week off with some hiking.

The Ascent

The ascent was straight forward as there was a clear path which led through thick bracken right from the edge of the small car park virtually to the summit of our first Outlying Fell of the day – Great Stickle.

The ascent of Great Stickle through the bracken
The ascent of Great Stickle through the bracken

The ground was firm underfoot and the gradient wasn’t too steep. The view up to the crags ahead was beautiful.

Views from the ascent of Great Stickle
Views from the ascent of Great Stickle

I love the colour of bracken in June and there seemed to be a sea of green in every direction we turned.

Looking back on the ascent of Great Stickle towards Whitfell
Looking back on the ascent of Great Stickle towards Whitfell

We looked back and could pick out the summit of Whitfell quite clearly as we’d hiked that as part of our extended circuit of Devoke Water previously.

Continuing up towards Great Stickle
Continuing up towards Great Stickle

As the trail zigzagged gently through the ferns towards Great Stickle, we were chatting away intently. It was one of those ascents that passed quickly due to great conversation.

The Summit – Great Stickle

The summit cairn of Great Stickle
The summit cairn of Great Stickle

A large cairn marked the summit of great Stickle, five metres south-west of a trig pillar. From here we were treated to an excellent, albeit hazy, view down to Duddon Sands.

The summit cairn of Great Stickle and Stickle Pike in the background
The summit cairn of Great Stickle and Stickle Pike in the background

I also loved the view to the other side, which featured Stickle Pike with a backdrop of higher Lake District mountains. I had the feeling this was going to be a great hill day.

The Summit – Dunnerdale Fells

From Great Stickle we pondered over which route to take to Dunnerdale Fells. We followed a series of small interconnecting paths through the bracken to the edge of this pretty tarn which was teeming with wildlife.

Tarn between Great Stickle and Dunnerdale Fells
Tarn between Great Stickle and Dunnerdale Fells

The ground was firm enough as we were in the midst of a heatwave, but I would imagine this area could be very slushy in poor weather.

Adventurer Nic on the summit of Dunnerdale Fells
Adventurer Nic on the summit of Dunnerdale Fells

A very modest cairn of two rocks marked the summit of Dunnerdale Fells.

The Summit – Tarn Hill

From Dunnerdale Fells we headed towards Tarn Hill, weaving around ponds and through bracken, avoiding the crags.

Looking up on the route to Dunnerdale Fells and Tarn Hill
Looking up on the route to Dunnerdale Fells and Tarn Hill

I’m sure the size of the cairn on Tarn Hill made the two stones on Dunnerdale Fells feel woefully inadequate.

The view from here, overlooking a tarn (no surprises there) towards Buck Barrow and Whitefell was stunning.

View from Tarn Hill towards Buck Barrow and Whitfell
View from Tarn Hill towards Buck Barrow and Whitfell

But it couldn’t compete with the view to the other side. Stickle Pike looked so grand up ahead. We were keen to press on.

Laura looking from Tarn Hill towards Stickle Pike
Laura looking from Tarn Hill towards Stickle Pike

The Summit – Stickle Pike

We left the summit of Tarn Hill to the north, all the while Stickle Pike was getting closer and closer. It looked far bigger than its lowly 375m height tag!

Adventurer Nic and Laura en route to Stickle Pike
Adventurer Nic and Laura en route to Stickle Pike

We aimed for the col between the two fells and followed another path through bracken which wound up and over steeper, rockier ground to the summit. And boy was it a handsome summit.

Approaching the summit of Stickle Pike
Approaching the summit of Stickle Pike

Hiking fells like this is one of the reasons I love being a peak bagger. I’d never heard of Stickle Pike prior to walking the Outlying Fells of Lakeland but it’s such a fantastic hill and an absolute must for lovers of Lakeland.

Adventurer Nic on the summit of Stickle Pike
Adventurer Nic on the summit of Stickle Pike

We settled down to eat an early lunch at 11:30 am. Laura put us both to shame with her lovely, fresh prawn salad while James and I picked the mould off the bread of our peanut butter sandwiches!

Lunch on Stickle Pike whilst looking over the rest of the route
Lunch on Stickle Pike whilst looking over the rest of the route

At this point in the walk we were so happy. We already had four of the ten fells under our belts but Walna Scar seemed a long way away. We were under no illusions we would be back at the car at tea time. Thank goodness for the late sunsets at this time of year!

Looking to Caw from Stickle Pike
Looking to Caw from Stickle Pike

From our summit vantage point we took the opportunity to scout out the route ahead, looking across Stickle Tarn to the junction at Kiln Bank Cross and on to our next Outlying Fells.

The Nameless Summit – 1183′

We descended to the car park at Kiln Bank Cross and followed the trail to the east, passing a cave in the crag.

Cave in the crag to the left of the trail
Cave in the crag to the left of the trail

From there we took a left fork in the trail, which traversed up the western side of Raven’s Crag.

The trail up the side of Raven's Crag
The trail up the side of Raven’s Crag

This trail led us straight to the nameless summit which Alfred Wainwright, in his book The Outlying Fells of Lakeland, fondly referred to as – nameless summit 1183′.

Looking from the nameless summit towards Caw
Looking from the nameless summit towards Caw

This fell reminded me how must I enjoy bagging the hills that are close to the sea. You get a completely different perspective to the land locked fells in the centre of the Lake District. On a hot day like this was it almost felt like we were abroad!

View to Duddon Sands from Raven's Crag
View to Duddon Sands from Raven’s Crag

It felt unnatural to be walking away from Caw, the 529m hill looming behind me in the photo below, but first we needed to lose some height to bag The Knott, at 284m.

Adventurer Nic on the Nameless Fell with Caw in the background
Adventurer Nic on the Nameless Fell with Caw in the background

The Summit – The Knott

So we continued south along the ridge.

James and Laura heading towards The Knott
James and Laura heading towards The Knott

It was an undulating route, passing over a couple of other tops. Whitfell and Buck Barrow made for an awesome backdrop.

Adventurer Nic on the approach to The Knott
Adventurer Nic on the approach to The Knott

We made it to the top of The Knott and admired our next objective, Caw.

View to Caw and Pikes from The Knott
View to Caw and Pikes from The Knott

The Coniston Fells looked fearsome from this angle. We knew we’d later have to ascend a good chunk of that to reach Walna Scar.

View to the bigger Coniston fells and the direction of Walna Scar, which would be our final Outlier of the day
View to the bigger Coniston fells and the direction of Walna Scar, which would be our final Outlier of the day

The view to Great Stickle, our first Outlier of the day was also stunning.

Looking towards Great Stickle from The Knott
Looking towards Great Stickle from The Knott

And of course we were even closer to the sea.

Duddon Sands from The Knott
Duddon Sands from The Knott

Re-fuelling once more, we had a good giggle during a well earned rest by the summit cairn of The Knott.

Snack and giggles on The Knott
Snack and giggles on The Knott

The Summit – Caw

We retraced our steps for 300m before turning right along the trail, heading north-east towards Jackson Ground on the map.

The path to Caw from The Knott. Walna Scar seemed a long way away at this point
The path to Caw from The Knott. Walna Scar seemed a long way away at this point

This part of the trail was really good underfoot so we made quick progress. We crossed Long Mire Beck and followed the path up to the highest point of the pass before noticing some cairns to the right of the trail. We peeled off the trail and followed the cairns to the foot of Caw, where a steep ascent up the south face was required for 150m.

Around 20m from the summit, an older gentleman passed us with remarkable pace and flexibility. We caught up with him on the summit.

Solo hiker on the summit of Caw
Solo hiker on the summit of Caw

He was a local to south Cumbria, living in Barrow-in-Furness, and after a short chat he ventured off towards his next hill of the day – White Maiden.

The views were simply incredible.

Touching the trig point on Caw
Touching the trig point on Caw

A few friends had recommended Caw as their favourite Outlying Fell of Lakeland so my expectations were high and the views certainly didn’t disappoint!

Views from the trig point of Caw
Views from the trig point of Caw

There were OUTSTANDING views to the highest peaks of the Lake District including Scafell Pike, Pillar, Great End and on to Esk Pike, Bow Fell, Crinkle Crags, Pike O’Blisco and all the Coniston fells – Great Carrs, Swirl How, Dow Crag, Coniston Old Man. In the foreground – Harter Fell and Hard Knott also stood out.

View to Duddon Sands from the trig point of Caw
View to Duddon Sands from the trig point of Caw

The views off to the other side were striking for different reasons. A sea view and then Black Combe and a number of other familiar outliers from trips gone by. What a treat.

The Summit – Pikes

Laura decided to leave us at this point, so made her own way back to the car from Caw. James and I continued on, heading north-east towards Pikes.

The uninterrupted views of the Lake District giants were heavenly.

Leaving Caw in the direction of Pikes
Leaving Caw in the direction of Pikes

It seemed like it was mostly downhill towards Pikes, and there were now only two summits between us and Walna Scar.

The summit of Pikes
The summit of Pikes

A rocky outcrop marked the summit of Pikes.

Adventurer Nic on the summit of Pikes, looking towards Walna Scar
Adventurer Nic on the summit of Pikes, looking towards Walna Scar

The Summit – Green Pikes

The amble across to Green Pikes was trouble-free and joyous.

Adventurer Nic on the hike towards Green Pikes
Adventurer Nic on the hike towards Green Pikes

We were now heading directly towards the big mountains in distance and it was difficult to concentrate on where we were putting our feet because of the distraction of the awesome scenery.

Adventurer Nic in awe of the scene between Pikes and Green Pikes
Adventurer Nic in awe of the scene between Pikes and Green Pikes

Green Pikes was my favourite place to photograph of the day. There is no cairn on the summit but the views are out of this world.

Adventurer Nic showing her love for Green Pikes. One more fell to go, Walna Scar
Adventurer Nic showing her love for Green Pikes. One more fell to go, Walna Scar

The Summit – Walna Scar

And just like that we had one Outlying Fell remaining! Walna Scar here we come.

Ruins of quarry buildings on the way to Walna Scar
Ruins of quarry buildings on the way to Walna Scar

We descended off Green Pikes and headed for the wide track known as Walna Scar Road. The path led us past a series of old ruined quarry buildings. What awesome views they’d have if you could stay in them I pondered.

Ascending Walna Scar Road
Ascending Walna Scar Road

The track wound its way up Walna Scar Side and to a crossroads at the col between Walna Scar and Brown Pike. We turned right to head south up and onto the summit.

Approaching the summit of Walna Scar, our last Outlying Fell of the day
Approaching the summit of Walna Scar, our last Outlying Fell of the day

The top was marked by a cairn and overlooked what appeared to be the full length of Coniston Water.

Views from Walna Scar over Coniston Water
Views from Walna Scar over Coniston Water

Looking back, the zigzag path up Brown Pike and on to Dow Crag was so clear as visibility was great.

The summit of Walna Scar looking to Brown Pike
The summit of Walna Scar looking to Brown Pike

We celebrated the milestone, as we were now 40% through Wainwright’s Outlying Fells of Lakeland and we’d already ticked off the two highest fells – Walna Scar and Black Combe.

Adventurer Nic celebrating hiking the highest of the Outlying Fells of Lakeland - Walna Scar
Adventurer Nic celebrating hiking the highest of the Outlying Fells of Lakeland – Walna Scar

The Long Descent of Walna Scar

Thinking about the long walk back to the car, we left the summit and retraced our steps back to the ruined quarry buildings, before continuing through a gate down Walna Scar Road, heading north-west towards the base of the valley, which contained the Tarn Beck and the village of Seathwaite. We filled our water bottles from the stream and couldn’t quite quench our thirst on what felt like the hottest day of the year so far.

Views to Harter Fell from the long walk back to the car after Walna Scar
Views to Harter Fell from the long walk back to the car after Walna Scar

We reached the road at the bottom and walked along it for almost 2km under the blissful shade of the large trees that lined the street. The view to Harter Fell from the valley was beautiful, surrounded by woodland and quintessentially English dry stone walls.

Another Ascent Before Finishing the Walk

We joined a path which led gently uphill back towards the Kiln Bank Cross car park for around 3.5km.

Looking back over stunning views of Lakeland
Looking back over stunning views of Lakeland

As we regained 200m of height the views opened up behind us once more.

Heading back towards the foot of Stickle Pike
Heading back towards the foot of Stickle Pike

By this point we were very tired and a bit low on energy so some high calorie sugary snacks were on the menu to perk us up.

We made it back to Kiln Bank Cross car park and made a beeline for Stickle Tarn. From there we followed the trail beside Hare Hall Beck, laughing as we spotted two Herdwick sheep in the middle of a swampy tarn having a cool down.

Two sheep swimming in the middle of this swampy tarn
Two sheep swimming in the middle of this swampy tarn

We were back on the bracken lined trails for the remainder of the walk, bypassing Great Stickle and picking up the original route of ascent which led these two weary hikers back to the car.

James Forrest following the trails through bracken back to the car
James Forrest following the trails through bracken back to the car

Wrapping Up our hike up Walna Scar, Caw, Stickle Pike and Friends

What a day! 26km and over 1,000m of ascent on the hottest day of the year probably wasn’t the best idea but the views certainly warranted completing this walk on a clear day.

Our next outing would be Cold Fell and Ponsonby Fell in the western Lake District.

About the Author

Photo of Adventurer Nic on a Loch in the Scottish Highlands

Adventurer Nic is a Munroist, Wainwright ‘Compleator’ and is hiking her local Outlying Fells of Lakeland in the wake of the corona virus pandemic. Let her know what you thought of this post by dropping her a comment.

Camban Bothy Munro Route

Adventurer Nic walking down from the summit of Ciste Dhubh down the north west ridge at sunset
Hiking over the Three Brothers on the three-day Camban Bothy Munro Route
Hiking over the Three Brothers on the three-day Camban Bothy Munro Route

Camban Bothy Munro Route Introduction

This is a multi-day Munro bagging route using Camban Bothy as a base for 12 mountains in the areas north of Glen Shiel and Glen Affric, including the Five Sisters of Kintail and the Three Brothers.

The 12 Munros featured in this route are – Sgurr Fhuaran, Sgurr na Carnach, Sgurr na Ciste Duibhe, Saileag, Sgurr a’ Bhealaich Dheirg, Aonach Meadhoin, Ciste Dhubh, Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan, Mullach na Dheiragain, An Socach, Mullach Fraoch-choire and A’ Chralaig. This route card explains the quickest way of getting to all 12 summits for a peak bagger in a single outing of 3 days.

Adventurer Nic walked this route on Sunday 7th July 2019 as part of her Munro Bagging Challenge. These were Munro numbers 132 to 143 for Nic. Here, she explains how you can bag these Munros too.

Camban Bothy Munro Route Stats

Mountains: Sgurr Fhuaran (1,067 m), Sgurr na Carnach (1,002 m), Sgurr na Ciste Duibhe (1,027 m), Saileag (956 m), Sgurr a’ Bhealaich Dheirg (1,036 m), Aonach Meadhoin (1,001 m), Ciste Dhubh (979 m), Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan (1,151 m), Mullach na Dheiragain (982 m), An Socach (921 m), Mullach Fraoch-choire (1,102 m) and A’ Chralaig (1,120 m)

Total Distance: 62.4km / 38.77miles

Total Ascent: 3,800m / 12,467ft

Approx Walk Time: 3 days

Grid Reference Start: NG 945202

Grid Reference End: NH 091121

Camban Bothy Munro Route Report

The Lead Up

We woke up on the campsite of Faichemard Farm Touring, Caravan and Camping Site for the fifth and final time. It had been a good place for us to base our tent for the week and we’d hiked a total of 11 Munros whilst there.

We decamped in one of the biggest midge swarms we’d experienced on the challenge so far. I waited in the car while James took the tent down. He then got in with midges clinging to his entire body. It was a nightmare! I sped off the campsite with the windows down to try and get rid of them all, while James slapped himself repeatedly. If it wasn’t for the midges it would have been the perfect site, really quiet and great facilities. It’s a shame the midges liked to make us a prisoner of our tent.

We arrived in Morvich and parked in a small visitors car park. We didn’t plan on returning to the car for four days.

Day 1 Getting Going

It was 10:40am and we’d left the car a bit later than planned. We knew we’d have a big day ahead, with seven Munros on the agenda. It was only yesterday when we were on the opposite side of they valley bagging the seven Munros on the South Glen Shiel Ridge!

Loch Duich from the initial ascent, with the reflection of clouds and sky in the still water
Loch Duich from the initial ascent, with the reflection of clouds and sky in the still water

14 Munros in two days was quite an ask, but we were feeling strong and the conditions were perfect. Loch Duich was so still it acted as a mirror for the fluffy white clouds and blue sky above.

Day 1 Ascent

Adventurer Nic on the ascent of Sgurr Fhuaran with Loch Duich behind her
Adventurer Nic on the ascent of Sgurr Fhuaran with Loch Duich behind her

We started the ascent on a clear path that cut steeply up the hill side, ultimately emerging at the start of a magnificent ridge.

James Forrest overlooking Coire na h-Uaighe on the ascent to Sgurr Fhuaran
James Forrest overlooking Coire na h-Uaighe on the ascent to Sgurr Fhuaran

The Coire na h-Uaighe was vast and framed by a rocky ridge, it was a dramatic setting and we were excited for the walk ahead.

Lunch on Beinn Bhuidhe en route to Sgurr Fhuaran

We headed south and continued uphill to the summit of Beinn Bhuidhe.

Beinn Bhuidhe is not a Munro, Corbett or any other classification and yet it had awesome views of the ridge ahead.

The perfect place to stop and enjoy lunch.

The bulk of Sgurr Fhuaran, our first Munro on the Camban Bothy Munro Route, looked really imposing from this angle.

Lunch consisted of wraps with a Nutella filling, plus sprinkled coconut bites.

We’d purchased a 1kg bag of crunchy coconut bites from Costco and they were so versatile!

We added them to wraps but also ate them loose as a snack.

The ridge wasn’t challenging, it was just fun! It often looked dicey but never actually was.

James Forrest descending Beinn Bhuidhe towards Sgurr Fhuaran
James Forrest descending Beinn Bhuidhe towards Sgurr Fhuaran

From this early vantage point we could enjoy views of the Cuillin ridge on Skye to the west as well as the Torridon hills to the north.

Views over to Loch Duich and the distant Cuillin Munros
Views over to Loch Duich and the distant Cuillin Munros

Given the fact we’d eaten lunch before even getting close to the first Munro of seven meant that we knew at this point that we were in for a late finish. It helped that we knew a welcoming bothy awaited us.

Camban Bothy Munro Route: Day 1 Summits

Sgurr Fhuaran

Those wanting to hike the traditional Five Sisters of Kintail route will first summit Sgurr nan Saighead, but we skirted around the edge of this Corbett and headed straight for the first Munro of the route, Sgurr Fhuaran.

On the summit of Sgurr Fhuaran we met a really friendly woman called Anne Marie. She was from Inverness and out hiking with her friend. Anne Marie took the below photo of us on the summit of Sgurr Fhuaran and we chatted for a good twenty minutes. I was astounded to discover that she was on 281 of 282 Munros! She was in no rush to ‘compleat’ though.

Adventurer Nic and James Forrest on the summit of Sgurr Fhuaran, the first of the Camban Bothy Munros
Adventurer Nic and James Forrest on the summit of Sgurr Fhuaran, the first of the Camban Bothy Munros

I asked which Munro she had left and it was Ben More on the Isle of Mull (which had been our first)! She said that one day she’d make it over to Mull to finish her Munro round but it had never felt like the right time.

Instead, she was content hiking her favourite Munros again and again, and that was what she was doing on the Five Sisters of Kintail that day.

Anne Marie insisted that I take her number and said to call if ever we needed a bed, a shower and a meal in the Inverness area during our challenge. A gem of a woman! We now follow each other on Instagram and (to date) she’s still content on 281.

Sgurr na Carnach

Adventurer Nic on the summit of Sgurr na Carnach, the second of the Camban Bothy Munros

By now we were seriously behind schedule and we were certain to finish with head torches in the darkness.

I did love meeting people and hearing their stories during our Munro round though so I don’t regret taking the time to get to know Anne Marie.

We didn’t need to take her up on her offer in the end but she reminded me of it multiple times in the following months.

From Sgurr Fhuaran we headed south down the ridge towards Sgurr na Carnach. The second peak of the Camban Bothy Munro Route.

With the col between them being over 850m it didn’t feel like too much work to get to the second Munro summit.

Sgurr na Ciste Duibhe

We realised that once we were high on the ridge, the summits seemed to come thick and fast. Sgurr na Ciste Duibhe was next. From Sgurr na Canarch we descended south to Bealach na Craoibhe, before turning east up to the summit of Sgurr na Ciste Duibhe.

Adventurer Nic and James Forrest in a selfie on the summit of Sgurr na Ciste Duibhe, the third of the Camban Bothy Munros
Adventurer Nic and James Forrest in a selfie on the summit of Sgurr na Ciste Duibhe, the third of the Camban Bothy Munros

Saileag

After posing for a selfie we left Sgurr na Ciste Duibhe and continued along the ridge.

The cairn marking the summit of Saileag, a Munro in the Scottish Highlands

We continued east to Sgurr nan Spainteach, over Beinn Odhar and down to Bealach an Lapain.

If you were just walking the Five Sisters of Kintail, you’d most likely make your way down to the road at this point, but we needed to continue to the Three Brothers.

At 725m, the bealach was the lowest we’d been since before the first Munro.

But luckily Saileag was the smallest Munro of the day so far so the pull up to the summit didn’t feel too taxing.

Saileag had a very unique summit cairn, featuring long rocks balanced on each other, defying gravity.

We took the opportunity to have a short rest on the summit. The views were simply magnificent. There was something about the light that day that made the landscape look so dreamy and inviting.

James Forrest relaxing on the summit of Saileag, our fourth Munro of the day
James Forrest relaxing on the summit of Saileag, our fourth Munro of the day

James admired the view over Sgurr na Sgine and The Saddle, with Ladhar Bheinn and even the hills on the distant Isle of Rum visible in the distance. The Cuillin ridge can be seen on the right of the above picture.

Sgurr a’ Bhealaich Dheirg

Views as we descended Saileag
Views as we descended Saileag

We admired the Munros on the south side of Glen Shiel as we left the summit of Saileag and headed to Sgurr a’ Bhealaich Dheirg.

James Forrest on the summit of Sgurr a' Bhealaich Dheirg, our fifth of the Camban Bothy Munros
James Forrest on the summit of Sgurr a’ Bhealaich Dheirg, our fifth of the Camban Bothy Munros

To reach the summit of this Munro, you must leave the main ridge, and head northeast along a short, sharp ridge. A large, impressive cairn marks the summit.

James knelt down in the shelter of some larger rocks to boil the water for our freeze dried meals on the stove while I walked on ahead.

Adventurer Nic starting the descent from Sgurr a' Bhealaich Dheirg en route to Aonach Meadhoin - the day was coming to a close and we planned to descend to Camban Bothy
Adventurer Nic starting the descent from Sgurr a’ Bhealaich Dheirg en route to Aonach Meadhoin – the day was coming to a close

I headed south east along the main ridge towards the col between Sgurr a’ Bhealaich Dheirg and Aonach Meadhoin.

James poured the boiling water into the food pouches, tucked them into his jacket and walked back along the ridge and down to join me.

James Forrest descending Sgurr a' Bhealaich Dheirg towards Aonach Meadhoin
James Forrest descending Sgurr a’ Bhealaich Dheirg towards Aonach Meadhoin

Aonach Meadhoin

We admired the views down into Coire nan Eun. This really was a stunning ridge walk and we were blessed with near perfect conditions for it.

Summit to Eat freeze dried meals on the approach to Aonach Meadhoin
Summit to Eat freeze dried meals on the approach to Aonach Meadhoin
Adventurer Nic on the summit of Aonach Meadhoin, the sixth of our Camban Munro summits

We sat on a rock to eat our respective Pasta Bolognaise and Chicken Fried Rice meals, before setting off to summit Aonach Meadhoin.

Within half an hour we were on the summit plateau of Aonach Meadhoin, which was fairly flat and marked with a jumbled cairn.

The sun was sinking lower in the sky and our shadows were getting longer.

With food in our bellies we were re-energised and ready for the final push of the day.

Ciste Dhubh was all that stood between us and a night on the benches of Camban Bothy.

Oh, that and a pesky river crossing… it dawned on me that we’d be crossing the river in the dark.

From the summit of Aonach Meadhoin, the Camban Munro Bothy Route became pathless for the first time.

Ciste Dhubh

View of the setting sun over the mountains from the ascent of Ciste Dhubh in the Scottish Highlands

We headed down into the Bealach a’ Choinich (591m) and the area was teeming with deer.

There were more deer than I’d ever seen in a herd, close to one hundred I’d guess. All enjoying the wet bealach.

Watching them disperse as we neared the bealach was mesmerising. They moved so fluidly over the landscape.

We reached the bottom of the col and started the climb up the final Munro of the day – Ciste Dhubh.

The sun was casting a wonderful glow over the surrounding peaks.

We took an incorrect angle on the initial ascent (the low light impeding our ability to pick up the faint path up the south ridge) so we recovered the situation with a steep grassy pull onto the ridge from the west side.

Adventurer Nic and James Forrest pause for a selfie on the summit of Ciste Dhubh
Adventurer Nic and James Forrest pause for a selfie on the summit of Ciste Dhubh

After walking up along the ridge, we made it to the summit of Ciste Dhubh in the most beautiful light.

View from the summit of Ciste Dhubh down the north west ridge at sunset
View from the summit of Ciste Dhubh down the north west ridge at sunset

As we walked from the summit, the sun was setting directly in front of us, with the bulk of Beinn Fhada silhouetted. It was a sight I’ll never forget.

James Forrest descending Ciste Dhubh, silhouetted by the setting sun
James Forrest descending Ciste Dhubh, silhouetted by the setting sun

Over to the left were the series of sharp summits that we’d walked over earlier that day. The obvious peaks of the Five Sisters of Kintail, piercing up and interrupting the hazy, dusky hues of the sky.

James Forrest descending Ciste Dhubh with the setting sun in the distance
James Forrest descending Ciste Dhubh with the setting sun in the distance

As sickening as it sounds, ‘magical’ would be the word I’d use to describe the scene. All the hard times, stresses and strains of life just fall away when you’re faced with such beauty.

Day 1 Descent

Reluctantly, we started the descent towards Camban Bothy, which we knew sat between Glen Lichd and Glen Affric at the foot of Ciste Dhubh.

The route was steep and pathless as we headed off down the north west shoulder of Ciste Dhubh.

James Forrest looking up at the mountains from the descent of Ciste Dhubh in the Scottish Highlands
James Forrest looking up at the mountains from the descent of Ciste Dhubh in the Scottish Highlands

A lone stag eyeballed us for half an hour as we zig-zagged to the valley bottom. Luckily the dusk light lasted for most of the descent before we needed to dig our head torches out of our packs.

Then came the river crossing. Fortunately we’d had two rain-free days and we found a place to cross where there were boulders. Mission accomplished!

First Night in Camban Bothy

We arrived at the bothy at 10:50pm and were greeted by Matt and John (friends from Devon and Norfolk).

A hanging bunny rabbit in Camban Bothy - quite a disturbing sight!

Camban Bothy has two rooms, one to the left and one to the right.

Matt and John quickly made room for us to sleep on the top bunk of the room to the left.

A couple were already settled for the night into the right-hand room.

We chatted to the guys, scoffed some more food and retired to bed, exhausted. 14 Munros in two days had taken it out of us.

Disturbingly, there was a stuffed toy bunny rabbit hanging from the roof of the bothy, which struck me as very macabre!

We fell asleep with the pungent scent of marijuana seeping into the bothy from outside.

Day 2: Morning in Camban Bothy

Door of Camban Bothy, photographed before setting off on our Munro bagging Route for the day
Door of Camban Bothy, photographed before setting off on our Munro bagging Route for the day

Our second day started at Camban Bothy with breakfast outside, accompanied by the other occupants.

We met Nikki and Euan, who slept in the room next door. Nikki was from Nelson, New Zealand and Euan was from Thurso in the far north of Scotland near John O’Groats. Nikki was over here on holiday and they were walking the Affric Kintail Way from Drumnadrochit to Morvich.

We debated the pros and cons of small town life vs city life and hearing of my plans to walk Te Araroa – New Zealand’s long distance trail, Nikki kindly gave me her email address in case she could help with anything.

Camban Bothy on the path that links Glen Lichd with Glen Affric, part of the Affric Kintail Way
Camban Bothy on the path that links Glen Lichd with Glen Affric, part of the Affric Kintail Way

John explained that he’d walked from the North East to the South West of Senja in Norway, bypassing Segla – a mountain that James and I had hiked earlier that year. I mentally added another ‘must do’ to my bucket list!

Delaying our departure (yet again) for the three Munros on our list for the day, we wiled away another half hour discussing kit – notably space and weight saving ideas, plus water filters like the Sawyer Squeeze.

Day 2 Ascent

We finally peeled ourselves away from the conversation. It’s always difficult when you find kind and chatty like-minded people in bothies. You know you’ll never see them again and yet you really value the conversation so you delay leaving as much as possible!

It was a nice day as we followed the Affric Kintail Way north east towards Glen Affric. We reached the youth hostel – Alltbeithe after about 40 minutes.

Nikki had told us to look out for the temporary Hostel Manager, Graham. A lovely ‘live in’ custodian of this remote hostel. A sign told us he was out enjoying the hills and he’d be back later.

For some reason neither James nor I could quench our thirst so we spent a good 20 minutes sitting by the stream, filtering litres of water for the walk ahead.

We ascended following a path which ran alongside the Allt na Faing. We passed a tall blonde-haired man descending with a big pack. I remember I accidentally said “Good morning”, despite it being 12:40pm already. I had no idea where the time had gone!

We ate lunch at the col under Stob Coire na Cloiche, before ascending west, en route to our first Munro of the day – Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan.

We passed two solo, male hill walkers on their way down, the first was a nice chap who stopped to talk for a while. The second was the famous Graham! He promised to chill a couple of cans of fizzy pop in readiness for our return to the hostel after our walk.

Camban Bothy Munro Route: Day 2 Summits

Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan

Adventurer Nic and James Forrest on the summit of Sgurr nan Ceathramhnan in the Scottish Highlands
Adventurer Nic and James Forrest on the summit of Sgurr nan Ceathramhnan in the Scottish Highlands

At the summit of Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan we met another lovely chap who took a photo of us.

I can see how thin I was getting in the above photograph and it scared me a little. I really needed to eat more.

Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan is the 22nd highest Munro on the list.

View from Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan towards the Cuillin Ridge on Skye
View from Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan towards the Cuillin Ridge on Skye

We admired the view to the west, with the Cuillin’s on Skye just visible in the distance.

Mullach na Dheiragain

Adventurer Nic and James Forrest take a selfie on Mullach na Dheiragain
Adventurer Nic and James Forrest take a selfie on Mullach na Dheiragain

We descended together down the north-east ridge to Bealach nan Daoine, accompanied by the lovely man we’d met on the summit of Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan, who I think was called Steve.

It was a very long and undulating ridge to the summit of the second Munro – Mullach na Dheiragain. It was necessary for us to go up and over Carn na Con Dhu en route.

We were in high spirits as we said goodbye to Steve (who was continuing north).

We retraced our steps along the ridge before hitting the lowest point at Bealach nan Daoine. From here we headed down into Coire nan Dearcag.

This was part of the walk was a pathless trudge over peaty terrain. An intense heel pain had flared up by this point in the walk and I wasn’t sure why. It had started as an ache but had developed into a shooting pain as the day had progressed. My energy was sapping and all of a sudden I felt really weak and in desperate need of a rest.

An Socach

James picked up the faint path that got us back to the col between Stob Coire na Cloiche and our final Munro of the day – An Socach.

It was a final push of around 100 metres to the summit and we’d reached our half way Munro! Number 141 of 282!

James Forrest and Adventurer Nic celebrating on the summit of An Socach, which marked the half way point in their Munro round
James Forrest and Adventurer Nic celebrating on the summit of An Socach, which marked the half way point in their Munro round

I collapsed into a seated position on the summit and opened my red dry sack – my snack bag. It was at this point that I noticed a red shiny disc. Could it be? A Babybel! I didn’t realise I had any cheese treats left. Cheese had become my absolute favourite mountain snack. This was just the boost I needed to finish the hike.

James knew that whenever anything miraculous happened, I liked to comfort myself by saying that my Pop (maternal grandfather who’d passed away two years ago) had a hand in it. So James said “Maybe your Pop put it there because he knew you’d need it today?” Well that was it, I sobbed my heart out as I ate it, tears rolling down my cheeks. I think James was genuinely worried I’d completely lost the plot by this point.

James Forrest consoling Adventurer Nic on the summit of An Socach, which marked the half way point in their Munro round
James Forrest consoling Adventurer Nic on the summit of An Socach, which marked the half way point in their Munro round

Day 2 Descent

Composing myself, we descended An Socach back to the col. The route was mostly following a clear path which helped me progress despite the soreness.

James dived into the hostel at Alltbeithe and grabbed the fizzy drinks from Graham, which buoyed us for the final stretch of the walk back to Camban (where we’d stowed our sleeping gear and food supplies for tomorrow).

The next day should have been hiking the Munros Beinn Fhada and A’ Ghlas-bheinn, followed by a third night in Camban bothy and then Mullach Fraoch-choire and A’ Chralaig the day after that, but I think we both knew that I wasn’t capable of another two days of hard hill walking.

We discussed the options –

  1. Me to rest in the bothy all day while James did the 21km Beinn Fhada route as planned
  2. Skip the Beinn Fhada route and do the final day over Mullach Fraoch-choire and A’ Chralaig a day early
  3. Skip both peak bagging days and walk back to the road along the valley.

Jointly, we decided on option 2. Hoping that a good night’s sleep would be just the tonic I needed to get over two more Munros. We would return to Morvich to hike the Beinn Fhada route another day (and it would be the same distance as the route from Camban bothy so we wouldn’t have really lost anything).

Second Night in Camban Bothy

Back at the bothy we found a large group of Belgians in the right hand room, and the tall, blonde guy in the left hand room (the one I’d made the ‘good morning’ faux pas to earlier that afternoon). He turned out to be a lovely Danish guy, travelling alone. The night before he’d wild camped high in the mountains.

We found the bothy register entry from our friend Emily Scott (fellow Munroist who hiked the Munros in 2018 whilst cycling between them) and signed it ourselves before bedding down on the top bunk.

Day 3: Morning in Camban Bothy

Adventurer Nic in the doorway of Camban Bothy in the Scottish Highlands with the shovel for human waste looking very sorry for herself before we continued the Munro Route

We woke in the Camban Bothy to the sounds of the Danish guy quietly packing up his kit to continue along the Affric Kintail Way.

We slowly got our own kit together.

I ate as much breakfast as possible in order to strengthen me for the tough route ahead.

It would only be an 11km day (in comparison to the 27km previous day) and I’d had a good sleep, but it was raining hard and it would be a tough pathless ascent.

I went out with the shovel to do ‘my business’ and James took what could be the most pathetic looking photograph of me ever taken.

Hobbling like an old woman, I was still dealing with the intense pain in my heels. I toyed with just walking out through the valley once more but I decided to go for it. If this was a holiday I would have retreated, but it was a challenge. It was sometimes going to hurt and if it didn’t hurt every now and then, everyone would do it. I popped two Paracetamol and two Ibruprofen, put on my big girl pants and we set of.

Fully waterproofed to the eyeballs, we steeled ourselves for the two 1,100m+ Munros that separated us from the main road.

Day 3 Leaving Camban Bothy to Finish the Munro Route

We set off in drizzle and we had a key navigational choice to make. We either stayed on the Affric Kintail Way to the hostel and then over a bridge to hit the mountainside at its steepest point. Or we took our chances crossing the river earlier and approach the mountainside where it wasn’t as steep. Option two was the more direct route. Either way it would be pathless after the river because these two Munros are seldom climbed from this angle.

I preferred the direct approach, as it would limit the number of kilometres I had to walk on bad feet. So that’s what we did.

We tramped through tall wet grass until we met the river, at the point where the River Affric, the Allt Cam-ban and the Allt a’ Chomhlain all came together. Gulp.

It was obvious there would be no crossing point that didn’t involve getting our feet wet (most likely up to the knees). I knew that if I got my feet wet the climb would be so much harder, probably three times as much.

James said “I could carry you over that” and I laughed out loud. It seemed impossible that James would be able to carry me across the wide river. In order to do so, James himself would have to cross three times – once with the two big rucksacks, once back for me and then again with me on his back!

I was reluctant but James insisted. He walked us across slowly, using his poles for balance and I stayed dry, my hero!

It’s worth noting that this is NOT a recommended method for river crossing. It was a last resort given the state of my feet (fuelled by James’s desire for me to get up the hillside as quickly as possible!)

Day 3 Ascent

The ascent up Mullach Fraoch-choire was slow and arduous both for me and my feet, but also for James who was finding it hard going so slow. I felt a pang of guilt, as I often did at the times when James was clearly stronger than me. I never wanted for him to feel like I was a burden or annoyance. Our challenge was supposed to be fun.

We got to the spine of the wide ridge and stopped for some peanut butter crackers. There was a nice (albeit misty/cloudy) view down Glen Affric.

Using the first scrap of 4G we’d had since two days earlier, James booked a hotel for the next 2 nights. It was a relief to know we’d be sleeping in the first proper bed for the first night in over a week that night. With the biggest part of the ascent behind us, I found it easier going up the ridge onto the summit of the first Munro of the day – Mullach Fraoch-choire.

Camban Bothy Munro Route: Day 3 Summits

Mullach Fraoch-choire

Adventurer Nic and James Forrest take a selfie in wet weather on the summit of Mullach Fraoch Choire in the Scottish Highlands

We paused briefly on the summit and then progressed down and onto the narrower ridge which linked Mullach Fraoch-choire and A’ Chralaig.

It was completely non-technical but I do remember the ridge had a smidgen of exposure, and the swirling mist added drama to the scene.

The Na Geurdain pinnacles were sharp and angular.

I made a mental note to return on a sunny dry day to experience the beauty of the ridge properly.

We went over the summit of Stob Coire na Craileig before progressing south down the ridge to A’ Chraliag – our final mountain of the Camban Bothy Munro Route.

A’ Chralaig

Adventurer Nic and James Forrest take a selfie in wet weather on the summit of A' Chralaig in the Scottish Highlands

I was unbelievably proud of myself for making it to the final summit of A’ Chralaig (sometimes referred to as A’ Chraileag).

It was all downhill from here. Downhill to the Cluanie Inn where I was already planning on ordering huge pizza.

We rested in the thick mist by the summit cairn and planned our descent.

Our car was parked in Morvich and retrieving it had to be our first priority.

We therefore agreed that James would go on ahead of me as soon as we were outside of the ‘death zone’ (i.e. under 1,000m). I’ve no idea why we called it the death zone, it was nothing like being at 8,000m in the Himilayas but the terminology worked for us!

The purpose of James going ahead was to optimising the chances of getting a hitchhike back to the car.

Day 3 Descent

Adventurer Nic finds James's crisp packet that had fallen out of his pocket on the descent of A' Chralaig during our Camban Bothy Munro Route multi-day adventure

It was approximately a twenty minute drive along the A87 to Morvich from the foot of A’ Chralaig.

I was inevitably going to be quite a bit slower than James so it was in both our interests to separate.

After dropping out of the clouds, I could see the main road down in the glen.

The ground was wet and sloppy but there was a path which guided me down.

I found a crisp packet that James had accidentally dropped on the way down so I knew I was on the right path! He’d dislodged it by mistake out of a side pocket, so of course I picked it up for him.

It was actually quite fun because I had a birds eye view of James catching his hitch which was exhilarating!

Every time a car approached I would will it to stop! But it was probably the twentieth car. I saw the little ant shaped character than I knew to be James get in the car and drive away.

In the end I was 45 minutes slower than James in getting down the mountain so I didn’t have to wait long for him to pick me up in a layby on the A87.

Wrapping Up

We drove immediately to the Cluanie Inn and ordered two caesar salads and two pizzas. For some reason we were craving fresh ingredients (and cheese of course).

We scoffed our meals whilst James told me about the chap who picked him up. He was a resident of Skye who’d driven to the mainland for a hospital appointment. He was lonely on the journey so was happy to have James’s company. We then drove to Foyers to check into the hotel.

Our hotel room was called Ness and it overlooked Loch Ness. We each had a hot shower and started the recovery process. There’s nothing quite like laying in a proper bed after over a week of intensive exercise and sleeping on a camping mat.

We nicknamed the Camban Bothy Munros:

  • Grrrrr Fury! – Sgurr Fhuaran
  • Scary Carcrash – Sgurr na Carnach
  • Scare My Sister’s Dumbo – Sgurr na Ciste Duibhe
  • Sale Egg – Saileag
  • Scared I’ll Be Late Doc – Sgurr a’ Bhealaich Dheirg
  • Annie’s Meaty Groin – Aonach Meadhoin
  • Sister Dubstep – Ciste Dhubh
  • Scorpion Cameraman – Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan
  • Mouldy Dragon Again – Mullach na Dheiragain
  • Answer = Ache – An Socach
  • Musical Frog Choir – Mullach Fraoch-choire
  • Achey Leg – A’ Chralaig

Find out why we nicknamed all 282 Munros here.

About the Author

Photo of Adventurer Nic on a Loch in the Scottish Highlands

Adventurer Nic is a Munroist and ‘compleated’ the list over a six month period in 2019. She stood atop each of the 282 Munro summits with her peak bagging partner in adventure – James Forrest. Let her know what you thought of this post by dropping her a comment.

Knoydart Munros

Ladhar Bheinn from the top of Stob a’ Chearcaill

…Six Munros and Two Nights in Sourlies Bothy

Adventurer Nic waiting for James Forrest on the descent of Ladhar Bheinn overlooking Barrisdale Bay
Adventurer Nic waiting for James Forrest on the descent of Ladhar Bheinn overlooking Barrisdale Bay

Knoydart Munros – Route Introduction

The Knoydart Munros are some of the most wild and remote mountains in the UK. The six Munros featured in this route are – Meall Buidhe, Luinne Bheinn, Ladhar Bheinn, Sgurr na Ciche, Garbh Chioch Mhor and Sgurr nan Coireachan. This route card explains the quickest way of getting to all six summits for a peak bagger in a single outing of 2.5 days.

Adventurer Nic walked this route on Sunday 13th October 2019 as part of her Munro Bagging Challenge. These were Munro numbers 275 to 280 for Nic. Here, she explains how you can bag these Munros too.

Knoydart Munros – Route Stats

Mountains: Meall Buidhe (946m), Luinne Bheinn (939m), Ladhar Bheinn (1,020m), Sgurr na Ciche (1,040m), Garbh Chioch Mhor (1,013m) and Sgurr nan Coireachan (953m)

Total Distance: 73.8km / 45.86miles

Total Ascent: 3,700m / 12,139ft

Approx Walk Time: 2.5 days

Grid Reference Start: NM 988916

Knoydart Munros – Route Report

Nic and James 0 – 1 Knoydart Munros

We initially attempted this walk the previous week. We drove to Loch Arkaig from Drumnadrochit, but a flooded road at the eastern end of the loch stopped us in our tracks.

A flooded road at the eastern end of Loch Arkaig temporarily stops Adventurer Nic and James Forrest from hiking the Knoydart Munros
A flooded road at the eastern end of Loch Arkaig temporarily stops Adventurer Nic and James Forrest from hiking the Knoydart Munros

There was a German traveller parked on the edge of the flood. We pulled up alongside him and he explained that he’d walked down the road in his wellies and returned when the water was about to go over his boots at the knee. He said he’d risk it in his car, but only if we went and tried it first. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud!

We immediately initiated Plan B, I didn’t fancy being a guinea pig for this random dude! At this point in the challenge we only had 11 Munros remaining out of the 282. I didn’t even entertain the thought of risking it when we were so close to the finish line.

Instead we headed to Dalwhinnie to complete the Ben Alder Munros first.

Reassessing our Approach to the Knoydart Munros

Two days later, after walking the Ben Alder Munros, we drove to Fort William and considered our options. We could –

a) Try driving the same road to the end of Loch Arkaig and take our chances on the flooding having receded

b) Book the ferry from Mallaig to Inverie and re-plot our walking route

c) Drive to Arnisdale and attempt to get a boat from there across to Barrisdale and re-plot our walking route

d) Drive to Kinloch Hourn and walk in from that side instead (but that would also involve re-plotting our full route)

Not only would options B-D involve route revisions, they would also be longer outings. We’d left the Munros in that area as such that we could walk in through the valley, do the furthest three Munros west in a day, then return to the car over the ridge picking up the remaining Munros. This wouldn’t be possible if we didn’t start at Loch Arkaig.

In addition, options B and C carried a cost and we were trying to keep our overall expedition costs to a minimum.

Given the recent weather and up coming forecast, we decided to stick to plan A and re-attempt the original approach to the Rough Bounds of Knoydart.

That meant getting food supplies from Lidl and getting on our way ASAP, otherwise we’d be finishing our day in the dark.

Adventurer Nic, Neil Irwin, Janey McGill and James Forrest - a chance meeting in Lidl Fort William
Adventurer Nic, Neil Irwin, Janey McGill and James Forrest – a chance meeting in Lidl Fort William

By pure fluke, we stumbled across our friend Neil and his friend Janey in Lidl. They were there to buy supplies for their long distance walk of The Skye Trail. We chatted for a while before grabbing our food and getting on the road.

En Route to the Knoydart Munros

My worst nightmare then happened. A small, white, scruffy-looking dog ran out into the road right in front of the car. I slammed on the brakes in an emergency stop just as a blonde Labrador came into view, chasing the dog in front.

I didn’t hit either of them but my heart was in my mouth and my stomach was churning as I watched them continue running into the woods to my right.

With both dogs long gone and still no sign of any owners, I meticulously checked the front of the car for any sign that I’d hit anything and there was nothing.

It was a very close shave and it took a good hour for me to calm down. When I close my eyes I can re-live the whole event as if it was yesterday.

View across Loch Arkaig from the road
View across Loch Arkaig from the road

With no sign of the earlier flood, we continued down the long, windy and undulating narrow road to the end of Loch Arkaig.

We parked up and got our stuff together. I asked James “Are you going to have a wee before we go?” and he asked “Are you going to drink a lot of water before we set off?” I realised we now routinely spoke to each other like parent and toddler. That’s what over a hundred days together on an endurance challenge does to a couple!

Walking through Glen Dessary

View of the western end of Loch Arkaig of some wild campers
View of the western end of Loch Arkaig of some wild campers
Adventurer Nic shows off her bright coloured outfit, complete with luminous pack cover as a deterrent to being accidentally shot by a deer stalker

We set off in dry but cloudy weather conditions.

It was a 16km walk into Sourlies bothy and it started off well, on a nice wide track.

Conversation flowed freely and we were feeling positive that we felt well rested and strong despite it being the last few days of the challenge.

I showed my bright outfit off for the camera, complete with luminous pack cover. This was my deterrent to being accidentally shot by a deer stalker.

Moss covers the trees in this eerie part of the wood in Glen Dessary

We walked through a very eerie section of woodland, where the trees were absolutely covered in pale moss.

We then walked through a section of the trail which was covered in raised slippery tree roots.

It felt very much like the natural environment was trying to reclaim the trails.

These paths certainly aren’t frequented as often as other areas of the Scottish Highlands.

A series of easy stream crossings later and we were back out onto more open ground.

Adventurer Nic walking towards Sourlies bothy and the Knoydart Munros

A cyclist passed us, heading towards Loch Arkaig where we’d started.

We nodded a greeting, but little did we know he was going to be the last person we’d see for three days.

At the time we didn’t realise just how quiet this area would be.

This was probably amplified as we were entering the area late on a Sunday afternoon just as any weekend explorers were heading home to get ready to return to work.

The woodland path of Glen Dessary
The woodland path of Glen Dessary

From Glen Dessary to Sourlies Bothy

Bealach an Lagain Duibh

The path became rough and it was very sloppy underfoot from the recent heavy rain.

There were also sections of bog to avoid which started to slow us down.

We walked through a valley of mountains that looked like giant versions of the Langdale fells in the Lake District.

From Bealach an Lagain Duibh we could see Lochan a Mhaim in the distance. Another milestone of the route.

We both started to worry about the next day.

Lochan a' Mhaim in the Scottish Highlands
Lochan a’ Mhaim in the Scottish Highlands

It was shaping up to be the longest and most pathless route of the whole challenge with a great deal of ascent. 

Adventurer Nic walking towards Sourlies bothy and the Knoydart Munros
Adventurer Nic walking towards Sourlies bothy and the Knoydart Munros

Darkness fell quickly and James got angry with himself for getting his walking pole stuck in a bog. He really wanted to make it to the bothy before dark and we’d failed to do that.

As we took out our head torches I sighed with the realisation that our earlier positivity had somehow morphed into angst.

We passed a ruin before stumbling across Sourlies bothy just beyond it.

Sourlies Bothy

Stag antlers in Sourlies Bothy above the fireplace

Sourlies bothy was empty which was a relief. Neither of us fancied the pressure of having to socialise in our respective moods.

The bothy had antlers above the fireplace and a couple of large sleeping platforms.

We organised our gear and settled down to a freeze dried meal. For dessert we added Haribo Goldenbears into a Summit To Eat Chocolate Mousse. Delicious!

Food was clearly what we needed as our moods lifted exponentially after this.

Over a hot chocolate, we reassured ourselves of the route for tomorrow (and the various escape options, should we need them). We set an early alarm and bedded down.

Day 1 Ascent

Looking out across Loch Nevis from Sourlies at 5am under the light of the moon

5am in Sourlies bothy – time to get our game faces on!

It was pitch black outside.

We left a bit of our gear and some food in the bothy, ensuring to hang the food from a dry bag on the rafters to ensure Angus (the resident mouse at Sourlies) didn’t deplete our supplies in our absence!

We stepped outside the bothy and looked out across Loch Nevis from Sourlies under the light of the moon.

It was so still and beautiful.

We made a navigational error immediately after leaving the bothy. This caused a lot of frustration and debate between us as to which way was the correct one. Luckily the komoot app came to the rescue – revealing a faint path that was not on either OS Maps or Viewranger.

The route took us up and over the crags above the beach at the far east of Loch Nevis before dropping steeply into what I can only describe as a swamp land! We hopped, skipped and jumped over saturated ground, desperately trying (but failing) to keep our boots dry.

We reached the bridge over the River Carnach. Luckily the new bridge had opened less than two months prior to our trip. The previous bridge had washed away in 2017 and hikers had been making crazy detours in the meantime.

Passing a ruin, we found a good path that took us up to the col between Meall Bhasiter and Sgurr Sgeithe.

Adventurer Nic pauses on the ascent of Meall Buidhe to admire the view out to the Sound of Sleat
Adventurer Nic pauses on the ascent of Meall Buidhe to admire the view out to the Sound of Sleat

From there we peeled off and made a steep grassy ascent, dodging the crags up to 780m where we gained the south east ridge of Meall Buidhe.

Sgurr na Ciche pierces through the cloud in dramatic fashion
Sgurr na Ciche pierces through the cloud in dramatic fashion

The Knoydart Munros: Day 1 Summits

Meall Buidhe

Adventurer Nic and James Forrest on the summit of Meall Buidhe - the first of the Knoydart Munros

Unfortunately the summit of Meall Buidhe was completely clouded over.

This meant we didn’t linger at the summit to celebrate reaching our first of the Knoydart Munros and instead we got straight on with the walk.

We were soon back below the cloud, heading northeast along the ridge towards Meall Coire na Gaoithe’n Ear.

To the left, we spotted Beinn Sgritheall in the distance, as we marched on in the direction of our second of the Knoydart Munros – Luinne Bheinn.

Views to Beinn Sgritheall on the ridge between Meall Buidhe and Luinne Bheinn
Views to Beinn Sgritheall on the ridge between Meall Buidhe and Luinne Bheinn

We continued past Meall Coire na Gaoithe’n Ear along the ridge to Bealach a’ Choire Odhair. From there we approached the ascent of Luinne Bheinn to the north west.

Despite the low cloud, we were in for a treat close to the summit of Luinne Bheinn, a brocken spectre!

Brocken Spectre on Luinne Bheinn
Brocken Spectre on Luinne Bheinn

This is a phenomenon that occurs when the sun is behind you and cloud in front of you. You see your own shadow with a rainbow coloured halo effect cast onto the cloud.

This was the second time on the challenge we’d been lucky enough to see a brocken spectre, the first being when we were climbing the Inaccessible Pinnacle on the Cuillin ridge on the Isle of Skye.

Luinne Bheinn

From the summit of Luinne Bheinn, we walked a short distance, immediately dropping out of the cloud, just as we had done with Meall Buidhe.

Adventurer Nic descending Luinne Bheinn, looking down over Lochan an Dubh - Lochain, with Inverie just in view
Adventurer Nic descending Luinne Bheinn, looking down over Lochan an Dubh – Lochain, with Inverie just in view

Luinne Bheinn offered cracking views down over Lochan an Dubh-Lochain and over towards Inverie.

We decided to stop for lunch looking over Loch Hourn with Beinn Sgritheall towering in the distance. We reflected on our progress with a smile.

Lunch spot overlooking Loch Hourn with Beinn Sgritheall in the distance
Lunch spot overlooking Loch Hourn with Beinn Sgritheall in the distance

After a short break, we dropped down over Bachd Mhic an Tosaich to the Mam Barrisdale pass, before heading over on pathless, rough terrain to the foot of Stob a’ Chearcaill.

An eagle soared above our heads as we looked up at the steep scramble section onto Stob a’ Chearcaill. From here there are a few ascent options, the safest of which is to head for a grassy ramp. We found it difficult to scout out the best way initially but just followed our noses, picking our way through grassy tufts and rocks to reach the top.

As we descended to the next col – Bealach Coire Dhorrcail – we were presented with this view of Ladhar Bheinn. A really stunning mountain from all angles.

Ladhar Bheinn from the top of Stob a’ Chearcaill
Ladhar Bheinn from the top of Stob a’ Chearcaill

Ladhar Bheinn

The northeast ridge from the summit of Ladhar Bheinn

There was one final push of ascent required to reach the summit of our third of the Knoydart Munros.

At one point on a small scramble section, I really struggled to hoist myself up a gap between two large rocks.

I was probably exhausted and in need of something to eat, but James spotted me from below as I managed to scramble up.

It was because of this small struggle – which seemed bizarre as I’d scrambled over all of the more technical Skye Munros, Aonach Eagach and countless other graded scrambles in the lead up this one – that I was so emotional upon reaching the summit of Ladhar Bheinn.

Adventurer Nic and James Forrest on the summit of Ladhar Bheinn - the third of the Knoydart Munros
Adventurer Nic and James Forrest on the summit of Ladhar Bheinn – the third of the Knoydart Munros

I actually cried on the summit. It finally hit me that we were coming to the end of the challenge and I was so proud of myself for overcoming the tough times.

I knew that in time, the pain would seep away and I’d just be left with the awesome memories of the rugged mountain scenery and I’d no doubt feel a sense of sadness that it was all over.

Pausing for a moment, I sat and breathed in the magic of the west coast of Scotland. I wanted to stay.

The islands of Rum and Eigg from Ladhar Bheinn
The islands of Rum and Eigg from Ladhar Bheinn

From the summit of Ladhar Bheinn, I admired the Isle of Rum (centre) and Eigg (left) before we discussed the descent.

Day 1 Descent

We had two options for the descent of Ladhar Bheinn. Either to retrace our steps or to descend north east to Barrisdale and follow the section of the Cape Wrath Trail back to Sourlies from there. Both would involve a great deal of walking and further ascent.

As the crow flies, the distance was 10km but unfortunately we’re not crows.

James Forrest on Ladhar Bheinn, overlooking the eastern end of Loch Hourn
James Forrest on Ladhar Bheinn, overlooking the eastern end of Loch Hourn

We chose to descend into Barrisdale and pick up the Cape Wrath Trail. The views were out of this world as we picked up the northeast ridge. Knoydart really is one of the most beautiful places I’ve been, even on a dull day!

It was 3km of walking down the ridge until we reached and crossed the Allt Coire Dhorrcail. From there we followed a path that took us around the spur of Creag Bheithe and down a zig zag path to the Barrisdale bothy and campsite.

We were back at sea level, and a walk of 14km and a climb of nearly 500m still stood between us and Sourlies bothy. What remained of the walk was the kind of thing most people would stretch out to last all day on a nice Sunday. By contrast we’d already walked 26km and climbed over 2,000m and still needed to squeeze in the additional 14km. This was going to take all the strength we had.

The Last Push Uphill

It was getting late in the day and we set ourselves the target of reaching the highest point on the pass by dusk (at approximately 7pm).

We made good progress on the flat wide track, before picking up the stalkers path up Gleann Unndalain.

We got to the highest point of the pass, just as it was getting too dark to continue without head torches. Under the light of our torches, at 7pm, we ate our dinner. Hopeful that it would give us enough energy to complete the long descent back to Sourlies bothy.

It started drizzling and we quickly scoffed our dinner and continued walking. At least it was all downhill (ish) from here. We came off the path before it met the Allt Coire an Lochain and headed south over the pathless hillside towards the banks of the River Carnach.

Our concentration levels were high as we made our way over wet, steep ground in the pitch black. There were a few scattered crags to avoid.

The Long Dark Valley

Once we reached the river, we simply had to keep it on our left until we reached the bridge that we’d crossed earlier that morning. It felt like a lifetime ago!

Following the river seemed like a simple approach but it was far from it. There was bog, slick large slabs, dense woodland, bogus faint paths, countless stream crossings and it felt like an obstacle course. We were sure it was ten times harder in the dark than it would have been in daylight.

Our progress was painfully slow, often less than 2km per hour. At this rate we’d be getting back to Sourlies after midnight.

After hours of slow route finding, the main track appeared and we were finally making progress again. We saw a bright light up ahead, more powerful than any torch we’d ever seen. It seemed to be illuminating the hillside in waves. James wondered if it was a lighthouse but I knew there were no lighthouses around here. We were far too deep inland.

Eventually we made out a six wheeled vehicle and surmised it was a farmer or land owner lamping against the fell side. What for, we had no idea! They probably thought our presence was as bizarre as we thought theirs was, although we never got close enough to see them properly.

We crossed the bridge, relived to be back on familiar ground and we navigated our way across the swamp that we’d danced across earlier that morning. It also took us a while to pick out the route around the crags to Sourlies but we made it.

Back at Sourlies Bothy

I prayed there would be nobody sound asleep in the bothy. It was just after 11:30pm and I didn’t want to disturb anyone. But our luck was in – it was empty. We could spread out, stuff our faces with recovery food, cry about how much it hurt and laugh about how broken we we made ourselves all in the name of fun. We stretched out our tired muscles. I was amazed by how much strain I was able to put my body under without it giving up on me.

Adventurer Nic's zombie feet after hiking the most westerly Knoydart Munros over wet terrain for 17 hours and 40 minutes

I got the shock of my life when I removed by boots and socks. My feet looked like zombie feet!

We’d been hiking over 40km for a total of 17 hours and 42 minutes and my feet had been wet within the first hour of the walk. I likened it to getting ‘prune’ fingers in a 17 hour bath!

Don’t even get me started on the smell. They were putrid. It was as if the flesh had actually died.

I started panicking that I’d never be able to walk out the next day. Surely the bottoms of my feet were going to totally peel off. Just at the point when I only had 5 Munros left to climb out of 282.

I aired them the best I could. Hanging my bare feet over the edge of the bench, trying desperately to dry them out.

We settled down to sleep just after 1am. I reluctantly covered my pathetic feet in dry socks and nestled into my sleeping bag, but I really struggled to nod off. My hips were so sore and my legs were in pain – the spasms came on and off throughout the night.

Morning in Sourlies Bothy

Morning at Sourlies Bothy in the Scottish Highlands
Morning at Sourlies Bothy in the Scottish Highlands

We woke in Sourlies bothy after a fitful sleep. My body was screaming at me. But laying down hurt, sitting up hurt and standing up hurt. I couldn’t win!

Adventurer Nic painfully contemplating putting her dry feet into wet boots in Sourlies Bothy

There was one thing I was keen to check….my feet!

I gingerly removed my socks and was absolutely astounded to see that the soles had gone back to normal overnight.

No blistering, no peeling skin, no white or red patches.

They were as good as new! Remarkable!

But now for the worst bit….putting my dry feet into yesterdays wet boots. James captured this photograph of me whilst I was geeing myself up to put them on.

After all the hardships of yesterday, this somehow felt like a bigger challenge!

We had four Munros on the agenda before getting back to the car – Sgurr na Ciche, Garbh Chioch Mhor, Sgurr nan Coireachan and Sgurr Mor. But we took the difficult decision to leave out Sgurr Mor. It would certainly require another head torch finish plus we didn’t have enough food to still be walking after dinner. Our energy reserves were heavily depleted and it felt like Sgurr Mor would be one Munro too far.

Nice little touches at the entrance to Sourlies Bothy - Knoydart
Nice little touches at the entrance to Sourlies Bothy – Knoydart

We read the signs in the bothy that gave us the acceptable lines to take to avoid deer stalking and we set off.

Day 2 Getting Going

Views over Loch Nevis from the ascent of Sgurr Na Ciche, our 4th of the Knoydart Munros
Views over Loch Nevis from the ascent of Sgurr Na Ciche, our 4th of the Knoydart Munros

As we ascended away from the bothy, we were feeling warm in the morning sun. I said to James that it was a shame we hadn’t seen Angus the bothy mouse. He smiled and said “Actually, I did”. Aghast, I asked him why he didn’t tell me, and he said that Angus was chilling just above the food preparation bench and he didn’t want to freak me out.

It was at this point that I realised James didn’t know me well at all. I would have LOVED to have seen the famous resident rodent of Sourlies!

Day 2 The Ascent

Adventurer Nic resting on her walking poles during the ascent of Sgurr na Ciche - the 4th of the Knoydart Munros

The ascent of the first Munro was tough, it was almost wholly pathless.

We marched up through primarily tufty grass which was rocky in parts.

I can best describe that we hauled our broken bodies upwards in any way we could.

I was thankful for the help of my walking poles.

We stopped for breaks to take on food and it didn’t matter how much we ate, we were never full.

We must have been running a huge calorie deficit at this stage in the route, especially after such a big day yesterday.

James hit the wall half way up the ascent, which was brutally steep. It was one of the only times on the challenge that I saw him really struggle. The best I could do was force him to eat more food and get him to focus on the stunning surroundings and how lucky we were to call this place home for a few days.

James Forrest looks up at Sgurr na Ciche on the ascent
James Forrest looks up at Sgurr na Ciche on the ascent

With revised motivation, we soon reached the rocky undulating ridge, the summit looked impenetrable from this angle and we were thankful for the excellent visibility.

Behind us were fantastic views over Loch Nevis, including each of the three Knoydart Munros we’d hiked the previous day.

Due to our low energy, we stopped to eat lunch really early and the marvellous views across the Rough Bounds of Knoydart ensured we stayed positive. We’d made it to just below the ‘nipple’ of Sgurr na Ciche. But instead of hitting the steep face head on, we traversed to the right along the 900m contour until we found the main path up Sgurr na Ciche which cut into the north face.

Views of Loch Nevis and the River Carnach from Sgurr na Ciche, Knoydart
Views of Loch Nevis and the River Carnach from Sgurr na Ciche, Knoydart

The Knoydart Munros: Day 2 Summits

Sgurr na Ciche

Adventurer Nic on the summit of Sgurr na Ciche, thanking the weather gods for the blessing of seeing Knoydart in all it's glory

The path wound it’s way up through the crags and we topped out on the summit next to a large cairn.

We’d made it. Number four of the Knoydart Munros in the bag.

With the main ascent out of the way, we were psyched to continue on. We knew the hardest bit was behind us and it was such a relief.

We took some time to really enjoy the Sgurr na Ciche summit views. I think Sgurr na Ciche has to be up there in my top 5 Munro summit vistas.

I needed a bit of first aid first though, I’d somehow scratched the back of my finger on a boulder when scrambling to reach the path up Sgurr na Ciche. It was one of those annoying tiny cuts that just wouldn’t stop bleeding.

View from the summit of Sgurr na Ciche of the distant Cuillin ridge on the Isle of Skye, Ladhar Bheinn and Beinn Sgritheall
View from the summit of Sgurr na Ciche of the distant Cuillin ridge on the Isle of Skye, Ladhar Bheinn and Beinn Sgritheall

We could see as far as the Cuillin ridge from here. It was cloud free and it made us think that our Cuillin guide Adrian would probably be having a whale of a time up there today with some lucky clients. The conditions were perfect for climbing.

View down to Loch Cuaich from the summit of Sgurr na Ciche, our 4th of the Knoydart Munros
View down to Loch Cuaich from the summit of Sgurr na Ciche, our 4th of the Knoydart Munros

We took a big gulp of water and swung around to admire the view in the other direction, down towards Loch Cuaich.

Garbh Chioch Mhor

From Sgurr na Ciche, we descended steeply to the col between this and the next Munro -Garbh Chioch Mhor.

We followed a path that ran alongside a wall and up to the summit of Garbh Chioch Mhor and rejoiced in the fact that it seemed these two Munros were in spitting distance of one another!

Adventurer Nic and James Forrest on the summit of Garbh Chioch Mhor, our 5th of the Knoydart Munros
Adventurer Nic and James Forrest on the summit of Garbh Chioch Mhor, our 5th of the Knoydart Munros

The wind had picked up a little by this point, but we were loving the sunshine.

Sgurr nan Coireachan

From Garbh Chioch Mhor, we descended onto the ridge which would lead to our final Munro of the day, in fact, the last of our Knoydart Munros of the route – Sgurr nan Coireachan.

Adventurer Nic descending Garbh Chioch Mhor, the 5th of the Knoydart Munros
Adventurer Nic descending Garbh Chioch Mhor, the 5th of the Knoydart Munros

It was a rugged looking ridge, full of lumps and bumps, with the old wall running down its spine.

A faint path meant that navigation was straight forward. Plus, there weren’t many other options than to stick to the crest of the ridge.

Whilst undulating up and down along the ridge, we looked down to the right and we could see the route that we’d taken two days ago on the evening walk in to Sourlies bothy.

I was much happier up on the dry rock of the ridge than I was on the sloppy valley floor.

The view as we got closer to Sgurr nan Coireachan
The view as we got closer to Sgurr nan Coireachan

At 953m, Sgurr nan Coireachan was quite a bit smaller in height than the earlier two Knoydart Munros which was a bonus.

We made the final bit of ascent onto the summit and looked back along the ridge. What an achievement!

Summit view from Sgurr nan Coireachan - our 6th of the Knoydart Munros
Summit view from Sgurr nan Coireachan – our 6th of the Knoydart Munros

Day 2 Descent

With just the descent to go, we took one last glance down the valley and headed off Sgurr nan Coireachan to the south, into Glen Dessary.

James Forrest descending Sgurr nan Coireachan
James Forrest descending Sgurr nan Coireachan

The route was easy to follow, using stepped grassy shelves in the hillside.

We made it down to the main path in the valley and paused by a stile to eat the last of our food supplies, a Dairy Milk chocolate bar.

We hit the main track and fast marched back to the car. Concluding that the Rough Bounds of Knoydart really had lived up to their name!

Wrapping Up

We made it to car just as it was going dark. We ate a huge amount of food that night, including freeze dried meals, cous cous, tinned tuna, rice, noodles, cereal, crisps, chocolate, dried fruit, anything we could get our hands on! Our stomachs were bottomless pits.

I’m ashamed of what came next. Generally, in these circumstances, we made the effort to wild camp away from the car and it would be easy for me to pretend that we hiked back into the wild that night to pitch our tent. But this is an honest article so I’ll share, warts and all! We still needed to walk from here to Sgurr Mor the next day and we were miles from anybody so we crudely pitched the tent right next to the car in the car park. By far our cheekiest wild camp.

We nicknamed the Knoydart Munros:

  • Meal of Bird – Meall Buidhe
  • Lunar Being – Luinne Bheinn
  • Ladder Begin – Ladhar Bheinn
  • Scoffed A Shish (kebab) – Sgurr na Ciche
  • Garbled Choc Whore – Garbh Chioch Mhor
  • Scupper Nan’s Curry Eating – Sgurr nan Coireachan

Find out why we nicknamed all 282 Munros here.

About the Author

Photo of Adventurer Nic on a Loch in the Scottish Highlands

Adventurer Nic is a Munroist and ‘compleated’ the list over a six month period in 2019. She stood atop each of the 282 Munro summits with her peak bagging partner in adventure – James Forrest. Let her know what you thought of this post by dropping her a comment.

Fisherfield

Adventurer Nic zipping down her tent in front of Shenavall Bothy in the Scottish Highlands before setting off to climb the Fisherfield Munros

…Five Munros and a Night in Shenavall Bothy

James Forrest leaving Beinn Tarsuinn - one of the Fisherfield Munros
James Forrest leaving Beinn Tarsuinn – one of the Fisherfield Munros

Fisherfield Route Introduction

The Fisherfield Round comprises of five Munros in the Scottish Highlands. The five Munros are – Sgurr Ban, Mullach Choire Mhic Fhearchair, Beinn Tarsuinn, A’ Mhaighdean and Ruadh Stac Mor. This route card explains the quickest and easiest way of getting to all five summits for a peak bagger.

Adventurer Nic walked this route on Saturday 21st September 2019 as part of her Munro Bagging Challenge. These were Munro numbers 230 to 234 for Nic. Here, she explains how you can bag these Munros too.

Fisherfield Route Stats

Mountains: Sgurr Ban (989m), Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair (1,019m), Beinn Tarsuinn (937m), A’ Mhaighdean (967m) and Ruadh Stac Mor (918m)

Total Distance: 43.9km / 27.28miles

Total Ascent: 2,040m / 6,693ft

Approx Walk Time: 1.5 days

Grid Reference Start: NH 115848

Fisherfield Route Report

The Lead Up

Adventurer Nic walking in towards Shenavall bothy after sunset

We spent the morning walking up An Teallach in glorious sunshine. It was definitely one of the best weather days of the year.

After making it down to the car at Corrie Hallie that afternoon, we switched out our day packs for our overnight packs, scoffed dinner by the car and set straight back out.

Once again we found ourselves on the same stretch of the Cape Wrath Trail that we’d started on earlier that morning, along the Gleann Chaorachain.

We pondered numerous times whether or not we should have stowed gear that morning and somehow linked the seven Munros.

It had seemed like too hard to do at the time…. but now we weren’t so sure!

Adventurer Nic looking down at her feet, illuminated by her head torch whilst hiking at night

We passed the point on the trail where we’d turned off for An Teallach earlier that morning and continued on towards Shenavall bothy. Darkness fell quickly so we continued under the light of our head torches.

As we got closer to the Mountain Bothies Association shelter, the path thinned out and the trail to Shenavall became less obvious. Battling the disorientation that nightfall brings, it constantly felt like we were headed in the wrong direction but we persevered.

It was comforting that we were not alone in the dark that night though. We saw lots of head torches in the distance, possibly from other hikers finishing the Fisherfield circuit in the dark. Shenavall bothy eventually came into view and we descended to it, relieved the night walking was coming to an end.

There was already a large group settled in the bothy so we favoured setting up camp on the grass outside in our tent. We bedded down straight away and set an early alarm for the morning.

Terra Nova Laser Compact 2 tent beside Shenavall bothy at sunrise
Terra Nova Laser Compact 2 tent beside Shenavall bothy at sunrise

Setting Off

Adventurer Nic set off hiking at sunrise towards the Fisherfield Munros

6:50am – our departure time for the long walk of the Fisherfield Munros.

As we were not what you’d consider ‘morning people’, any day we set off walking prior to 8am was something to celebrate!

The beautiful orange, pink and purple hues in the skies helped lure us out of our grogginess.

So many factors could influence how long the walk would take us – the weather, meeting other hikers, number of breaks and so on, but we made a rough estimate that it would take around 12 hours. So an early start was imperative.

We walked alongside the river for well over 5km, passing a derelict house and a woodland area with at least seven tents and bivvy bags set up, with their occupants either still snoozing or just waking up.

Celebration balloon in one of the most remote areas of countryside in the UK

At the river’s edge, we stopped to eat a scrambled egg freeze-dried breakfast meal with coffee, but the midges were out in force so we didn’t stay long.

We carried on and soon stumbled across a foil helium balloon in the middle of the trail.

It was a sad reminder of how far waste can travel if not disposed of properly.

These were the most remote Munros in all of Scotland and I wondered how far the balloon must have drifted to get there.

We picked it up and packed it out of course.

We carried on beside the river until we found a suitable suitable crossing point. Ironically, our guidebook had made specific reference to the fact that wet feet were an inevitability on this section but we made it across successfully on stepping stones.

The dry weather of the previous two days had helped us greatly.

View across the Abhainn Loch an Nid
View across the Abhainn Loch an Nid

The Fisherfield Ascent

We walked across terrain which was a mix of heather and grass up to a boulder strewn ridge. Describing it as ‘boulder strewn’ is probably the understatement of the century. It’s most likely the longest stretch of boulders I’ve ever hiked across – over 2km of quartzite blocks and large stones.

Up to the right was Beinn a’ Chlaidheimh. If I had been walking the Munros back in 2011, I’d have been heading up there but Beinn a’ Chlaidheimh was actually relegated from Munro status after being remeasured and found to fall short of 3,000ft.

The original name for this route was the Fisherfield Six, referring to Beinn a’ Chlaidheimh as one of the six Munros along the route.

Adventurer Nic ascending Sgurr Ban over rocky terrain
Adventurer Nic ascending Sgurr Ban over rocky terrain

Continuing on, we headed up to the left towards the summit of Sgurr Ban.

Our decision to tackle the route clockwise was one I didn’t regret. Reversing the route would involve descending over the sea of rocks. I could foresee lots of accidents here as tired and weary legs made their way down.

Views from the boulder strewn slopes of Sgurr Ban in Scotland
Views from the boulder strewn slopes of Sgurr Ban in Scotland

Ironically, four walkers descended past us just as I’d had that thought. As it was still quite early, they must have wild camped up on the tops.

The Summits

Sgurr Ban

Adventurer Nic with James Forrest eating a bar of Cadbury's Dairy Milk Chocolate on the summit of Sgurr Ban, the first of five Fisherfield Munro mountains

Out of nowhere, the wind picked up a great deal of strength on the big, flat summit top of Sgurr Ban.

James tucked into a big slab of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate as we appreciated views across the Fisherfield forest and to An Teallach in the north.

Unlike the previous day there was no sun in the sky but the cloud base was high and we rested for a short while by the large summit cairn, which provided a small amount of protection from the wind.

We crossed the large plateau summit of Sgurr Ban across yet more boulders and descended in a southwesterly direction towards the col between this and the next Munro – Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair.

Descent to the col between Sgurr Ban and Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair

As was often the case, James descended faster than I did, but I caught up with him down at the col.

We looked ahead and could see the steep line of ascent of Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair.

It looked rather intimidating but there was a clear path up and the weather was certainly improving.

As we hit the ascent, it was remarkable how much sand there was underfoot. At times it was so soft it was like walking up a sand dune!

The distance between these two Munros felt negligible, but I guess that’s in comparison to the really long walk in to the first Munro.

Mullach Choire Mhic Fhearchair

Adventurer Nic on the summit of Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair - one of the Munro mountains in the Fisherfield circuit

We needed to keep an average pace of 2.5km per hour (including breaks) in order to finish the remainder of the walk within the 12 hour target.

This kind of goal setting motivated me to keep going as the hike of the Fisherfield Five got tougher.

From the summit of Mullach Choire Mhic Fhearchair we looked at the route ahead. We would be able to skirt around the bulk of Meall Garbh before heading west towards Beinn Tarsuinn.

Heading south, we descended down to another col. We had lunch here and I checked my legs for ticks and found six of the little buggers!

Luckily they were all tiny and I removed them all easily and completely. The risk of contracting Lyme disease from one of these tiny ticks was low due to me spotting them and removing them quickly. But I stayed vigilant for symptoms throughout my challenge.

A friend later suggested that maybe I’d walked through tick eggs just as they were hatching and maybe that’s why so many tiny ticks (larva) where found on me at one time. As getting so many ticks in one sitting is fairly rare.

Lunch spot between Mullach Choire Mhic Fhearchair and Beinn Tarsuinn
Lunch spot between Mullach Choire Mhic Fhearchair and Beinn Tarsuinn

Beinn Tarsuinn

Adventurer Nic on the summit of Beinn Tarsuinn - one of the Fisherfield Munros

We used the bypass path around Meall Garbh before ascending over terrain which was less sandy and more grassy with small rocks up Beinn Tarsuinn.

The summit of Beinn Tarsuinn marked the ‘halfway point’ of the hike. We’d been moving for exactly six hours.

The weather was now really nice.

It was still breezy but the views were simply incredible and the blue skies made everything look less foreboding and more inviting.

I particularly enjoyed looking at the shape of the river as it flowed into the valley with the jagged pinnacles of An Teallach noticeable in the distance.

Adventurer Nic looking across to An Teallach from Beinn Tarsuinn - one of the Fisherfield Munros
Adventurer Nic looking across to An Teallach from Beinn Tarsuinn – one of the Fisherfield Munros

To the other side sat Slioch, a Munro which we’d hiked the previous month.

But I was the most enthralled by the tennis court shaped flat plateau of rock part way along the ridge in the direction of A’ Mhaighdean. It was a geological phenomenon. A slightly slanted shelf of rock suspended along the ridge.

View from Beinn Tarsuinn of the Tennis Court shaped rock part way along the ridge
View from Beinn Tarsuinn of the Tennis Court shaped rock part way along the ridge

We descended steeply from the summit of Beinn Tarsuinn to see that the ridge wasn’t quite as razor sharp as it looked initially.

James Forrest descending from Beinn Tarsuinn on the Fisherfield walk
James Forrest descending from Beinn Tarsuinn on the Fisherfield walk

As I walked along the ridge, I was beginning to understand why this area had been given the nickname – the Great Wilderness.

There were no buildings in sight, no signs of civilisation, it was just an expanse of mountains, valleys and lochs as far as the eye could see, in every direction.

Adventurer Nic walk along the west ridge of Beinn Tarsuinn
Adventurer Nic walk along the west ridge of Beinn Tarsuinn

A’ Mhaighdean

Adventurer Nic and James Forrest on the summit of A' Mhaighdean

We descended steeply, following a faint path into a boggy peaty section between Beinn Tarsuinn and A’ Mhaighdean.

In our guidebook, we’d read that it could be wet here but the ground was firm and dry in the main.

This was a relief and we made decent progress.

We headed uphill, following a faint path most of the way, whilst bypassing crags.

After seeing nobody since the ascent on Sgurr Ban we were surprised to summit A’ Mhaighdean at the exact same time as another hiker. He approached from the northeast as we arrived from the southeast.

View from A' Mhaighdean to the southwest with the Torridon Munros in the far distance
View from A’ Mhaighdean to the southwest with the Torridon Munros in the far distance

We were now stood on (what’s widely reported to be) the most remote Munro on the whole list of 282. Another Munro bagging milestone achieved. It felt great!

Ruadh Stac Mor

Adventurer Nic, celebrating on the summit of Ruadh Stac Mor - 5 Munros in the bag

As we left the summit of A’ Mhaighdean, we put our waterproofs on as it started to rain lightly.

Luckily, a clear path led us to the col between A’ Mhaighdean and Ruadh Stac Mor – our fifth and final Munro of the day.

Next came the scramble up red stone scree. This was such a stark difference in terrain from the soft sandy approach to Mullach Choire Mhic Fhearchair and the grey blocks of Sgurr Ban. It was amazing to think these peaks were all part of the same walk!

There were a few awkward big red blocks to scramble over before we reached the summit of Munro number 5 – Ruadh Stac Mor.

The Fisherfield Descent

With all five Munros now in the bag we readied ourselves for the long descent. We started down a short bouldery section, taking our time on the slick rock, before aiming for the gap between two lochans – marked on the map as Lochan a Bhraghad.

The groans of the rutting stags were echoing all around us.

Keeping Ruadh Stac Beag on our right, we dropped downhill following a burn to the north west.

The rain kept coming and going but luckily it was never too heavy.

We crossed some lumpy bumpy ground to join the stalkers path which would lead us along Gleann na Muice Beag. Our average hiking pace was up to 5km as we enjoyed a gentle descent deeper into the valley. The path then ran alongside the western bank of the Abhainn Gleann na Muice.

We crossed the river just before Larachantivore. We managed to get half way across on stepping stones before realising we couldn’t complete the crossing with dry feet. So we sat on a large rock in the middle of the river while we removed our boots and paddled the second half barefoot.

This worked quite well as it was refreshing for our tired feet but kept our boots dry.

Then came the notoriously boggy section. People have been known to fall into waist high bogs here. We avoided the worst parts by testing the ground with our hiking poles. Prodding to test the depth of each section of ground.

We finally reached the river opposite Shenavall bothy and we removed our boots again to wade across.

Shenavall Bothy

Adventurer Nic standing outside Shenavall Bothy
Adventurer Nic standing outside Shenavall Bothy

We met a Belgian couple in the bothy who were walking a section of the Cape Wrath Trail from Fort William to Ullapool. They’d originally intended on walking the whole trail but had been caught in a bad storm in Knoydart and Iris had an accident during a river crossing which almost saw her swept away. We swapped adventure stories for a while before going to bed early.

This time we slept in the bothy itself rather than the tent. I found a total of two more ticks – bringing my total for the day to eight. And then found an additional one on James. I removed them all before settling down to sleep (removing ticks was certainly becoming second nature!)

Wrapping Up

In the morning, we got up leisurely and said goodbye to our two bothy-mates. It was a 2.5 hour walk back to the car, which was parked by the Dundonnell River.

Upon reaching the car, I immediately scoffed two bags of crisps back to back.

We then had one of those delirious moments, common during our Munro round, where we went a bit wappy. We put High Hopes (by Panic at the Disco) on high volume as we drove to Ullapool for food supplies, singing the lyrics at the top of our lungs.

Food, Shower and More Food

Post Fisherfield lunch - poached eggs and avocado on bagels

We bought food to last two days and drove on to Ledgowan Lodge in Achnasheen.

We dried the tent on the grass by the bunkhouse and prepared a massive lunch.

My portion alone consisted of two toasted bagels, three poached eggs and half a smashed avocado.

Doing a challenge like this means there is zero guilt associated with eating large meals. I certainly made the most of it!

Food came before showers on this occasion, as it often did on the challenge.

In the bunkhouse we were given rooms 1 and 2 (single rooms only) and we had the place to ourselves for the night.

Dinner after the Fisherfield Munros - sweet potato curry with a side of the IT Crowd

We caught up with family, friends and social media after a few days off-grid in the Fisherfield wilderness.

Before long our thoughts turned to food again. We cooked sweet potato, pepper, onion and spinach curry with naan bread, rice, poppadoms and dips. All washed down with a pint of Irn Bru and an episode of the IT Crowd.

My tick removal duties weren’t yet over as I found yet another two ticks on James’s foot before we went to the main hotel so that James could do some work on the WiFi.

At one point a man walked past us and said “so this is where the cool kids hang out” but I heard it as “so this is where the coke heads hang out” and looked at him horrified. The Fisherfield Munros had scrambled my ears!

We nicknamed the Fisherfield Munros:

  • Scary Bants – Sgurr Ban
  • Male Ache Covers My Fear Of Chairs – Mullach Choire Mhic Fhearchair
  • Beef Chop Suey – Beinn Tarsuinn
  • A Mega Deal – A’ Mhaighdean
  • Rude To Stack More – Ruadh Stac Mor

Find out why we nicknamed all 282 Munros here.

About the Author

Photo of Adventurer Nic on a Loch in the Scottish Highlands

Adventurer Nic is a Munroist and ‘compleated’ the list over a six month period in 2019. She stood atop each of the 282 Munro summits with her peak bagging partner in adventure – James Forrest. Let her know what you thought of this post by dropping her a comment.

Loch Mullardoch Munros

Adventurer Nic looking down over Loch Mhoicean and Loch na Leitreach from the slopes of An Socach
Low cloud over the south east ridge of An Socach - one of the Loch Mullardoch Munros
Low cloud over the south east ridge of An Socach – one of the Loch Mullardoch Munros

Loch Mullardoch Munros Route Introduction

There are nine Loch Mullardoch Munros – mountains which encircle Loch Mullardoch in the Scottish Highlands and they are rather awkward to access. This route links Carn nan Gobhar, Sgurr na Lapaich, An Riabhachan, An Socach, Beinn Fhionnlaidh, Mam Sodhail, Carn Eige, Tom a’ Choinich and Toll Creagach. The route card below explains how these nine Loch Mullardoch Munros can be walked over two days, incorporating a wild camp.

Adventurer Nic walked this route on Saturday 28th September 2019 as part of her Munro Bagging Challenge. These were Munro numbers 242 to 250 for Nic. Here, she explains how you can bag these Munros too.

Loch Mullardoch Munros Route Stats

Mountains: Carn nan Gobhar (992m), Sgurr na Lapaich (1,150), An Riabhachan (1,129m), An Socach (1,069m), Beinn Fhionnlaidh (1,005m), Mam Sodhail (1,181m), Carn Eige (1,183m), Tom a’ Choinich (1,112m) and Toll Creagach (1,054m)

Total Distance: 43.5km / 27miles

Total Ascent: 2,450m / 8,038ft

Approx Walk Time: 2 days

Grid Reference Start: NH 228315

Loch Mullardoch Munros Route Report

The Lead Up

The previous day we’d climbed the Munros north of Glen Strathfarrar. Our friend Sally had kindly offered to let us stay at her house so we woke there and drove to Mullardoch House through Glen Cannich from Drumnadrochit. The nine Loch Mullardoch Munros were now in our sights.

The Beginning (and almost a Premature End)

We parked just below the dam and walked uphill along the tarmac road when a tractor and a four wheel drive vehicle with a party of hunters passed us. I started to get anxious that our presence hill walking that day might be heavily discouraged. The convoy stopped up ahead to fire practice rounds with their shotguns just off the track. Eventually, we caught up with them and we greeted the tractor driver. He was an older gentleman dressed in hunting attire with a deerstalker style hat that reminded me of Sherlock Holmes. He asked us where we were headed in a very upper-middle class accent. My heart sank, I was certain we were about to be told that the mountains were a ‘no go’ area.

We replied with a description of our proposed route of the Loch Mullardoch Munros, starting with Carn nan Gobhar. “Well it’s a great day for a walk!” he guffawed, a broad smile stretching across his face. He explained that they were planning on taking a boat to the end of the loch but that they’d be finished deer stalking at 4:30pm. Sticking to the crest of the ridge would ensure that we’d be well away from their activity. With a ‘rather you than me’ chuckle, he added that he’d be drunk on whisky back at his cottage by the time we were done walking for the day.

The Ascent

The vehicles descended to the boat house by Loch Mullardoch to start their day, whilst we followed the track ahead. The track gradually became less clear as we yomped further up the hillside. A lone figure walked briskly up ahead but we never caught them. He/she was moving faster than us (most likely not carrying overnight gear).

We made it to main ridge and followed it up to the summit of the first of the Loch Mullardoch Munros – Carn nan Gobhar.

The Summits

Carn nan Gobhar

Adventurer Nic standing on the summit of Carn nan Gobhar - one of the Loch Mullardoch Munros

Next to the summit cairn which marked the top of Carn nan Gobhar, we had something to eat.

It felt quite early to be having lunch but the first ascent was always the toughest and we’d earned our lunch.

We looked back over to the north side and we could see down into Glen Strathfarrar and the mountains we’d climbed the previous day.

The summit of Carn nan Gobhar was covered in small rocks which were awkward to walk along but the sun was shining and I was happy have got the first summit in the bag.

Sgurr na Lapaich

Adventurer Nic and James Forrest on the summit of Sgurr na Lapaich - one of the Loch Mullardoch Munros

From the summit of Carn nan Gobhar, we descended west to a col before heading uphill again towards Munro number two – Sgurr na Lapaich.

The ascent began on a path but ended with a slippery scramble over boulder strewn ground. It was muggy and the rocks carried a light sheen.

The sun was long gone at the point we reached the summit but cloud was washing over the tops on and off, teasing us with occasional bright spells.

The weather couldn’t make up its mind whether or not it wanted to be sunny or dull.

An Riabhachan

We were making good progress as we descended from Sgurr na Lapaich in a southwesterly direction along the ridge.

Adventurer Nic approaching An Riabhachan in the Scottish Highlands
Adventurer Nic approaching An Riabhachan in the Scottish Highlands

We started to noticed how vocal the stags were. The rut was getting underway and we went on to see deer in huge herds throughout the afternoon and evening. I secretly celebrated the fact that they were managing to evade the hunters that day.

We ascended and approached An Riabhachan, over its long flat summit.

An Socach

Adventurer Nic sat atop the trig pillar on the summit of An Socach - one of the Loch Mullardoch Munros

From the summit of An Riabhachan we continued along a rocky ridge with many undulations before reaching the cylindrical summit trig pillar of An Socach (one of three Munros with the same name).

At 1,069m, An Socach wasn’t the highest mountain of the day but the views were the most spectactular due to the weather being back on our side.

We enjoyed stunning views down over Loch Mullardoch and An Socach’s long southeast ridge.

As much as I wanted to get down and settled for a the wild camp, I was happy to rest here momentarily and take in the beauty of the area.

Views of Loch Mullardoch from An Socach
Views of Loch Mullardoch from An Socach

An Socach Descent

We paused on the descent as the rays of sunlight cast a heavenly glow over Loch Mhoicean and Loch na Leitreach. We could see the westerly Munros of Glen Shiel in the distance. It was a beautiful scene.

Adventurer Nic looking down over Loch Mhoicean and Loch na Leitreach from the slopes of An Socach
Adventurer Nic looking down over Loch Mhoicean and Loch na Leitreach from the slopes of An Socach

Beauty aside, it was a pathless descent over grassy, mossy and wet ground – ankle twisting stuff. Large herds of deer surrounded us. They probably wondered what on earth we were doing there, descending into a remote valley so late in the day.

A herd of deer on the descent of An Socach
A herd of deer on the descent of An Socach

Weariness had set in and yet we were tiring ourselves out further by guessing the height of the river from above and fretting about it.

We knew we’d have to cross it in order to continue our route on the other side of the valley. Yes, we’d had many a thigh high crossing during our Munro challenge but getting all wet before a wild camp was never an appealing prospect.

We made it to the riverside and after all my whittling, the river was only ankle deep. I took my boots off and slowly ventured across barefoot. The water was cold but I tricked myself into believing it was a treat for my hot, tired and swollen feet.

Adventurer Nic crossing the river at the mouth of Loch Mullardoch
Adventurer Nic crossing the river at the mouth of Loch Mullardoch

Wild Camp by Loch Mullardoch

The area on the other side of the river was perfect for a wild camp. The sound of the river would hopefully drown out the moans of the nearby stags.

Settling down to wild camp by the river - our camping stove, meals, walking poles in the grass

We pitched the tent, content in the knowledge that the last of the midges had died off a week or so ago.

The camp meals went down a treat, but I managed to spill chicken bites into my sleeping bag.

After retrieving them all (or at least I hoped I had), we settled down to sleep at 8:15pm.

Our bedtime was getting earlier and earlier as the challenge wore on.

Those early morning alarm calls didn’t get any easier as the challenge progressed. In the tent we were warm and cosy as light rain pitter-pattered on the tent fly sheet. We resisted the temptation to repeatedly snooze the alarm and turned our attentions to brewing coffee and eating breakfast. Leaving no trace of our wild camp, we began walking just after our 7am target.

We summised we had an ample weather window to get the remaining five Loch Mullardoch Munros bagged and back down to the car, before returning to Sally’s in time for a shower and meal out at the Loch Ness Inn in Drumnadrochit.

Beinn Fhionnlaidh

At this point in the walk, some might like to extend the route to take in Mullach na Dheiragain, Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan and An Socach, but we had already bagged those Munros from Camban bothy (in the southwest). So we proceeded towards Beinn Fhionnlaidh.

A rough path led us to another river, where we took our boots off to cross. I noticed two ticks on my feet. I removed them in the rain as James got a bit impatient waiting for me. Five months into our challenge and spending 24 hours a day with each other, we now knew not to let our tired snappy outbursts get the better of us. We chatted it out on the ascent of Beinn Fhionnlaidh, all was forgiven and we both got over it quickly.

Adventurer Nic finds James Forrest on the summit of Beinn Fhionnlaidh reading John Grisham

The ascent of Beinn Fhionnlaidh was pathless and long but we made it to the summit just as the rain had dissipated into a mist.

James strode ahead of me and by the time I reached the summit he was sat enjoying his John Grisham!

Heading south down the broad ridge, we marched on. We had a decision to make – either make a pathless traverse around the bulk of Carn Eige in the direction of Mam Sodhail, or summit Carn Eige twice. We chose the former.

Mam Sodhail

Adventurer Nic on the summit of Mam Sohail - one of the Loch Mullardoch Munros

Navigating over bouldery terrain to gain the col between Carn Eige and Mam Sodhail, we stopped for a break and stowed our heavy camping gear before walking up Mam Sodhail as an ‘out and back’.

The ascent seemed fairly quick and trouble free. The cloud had persisted but at least it wasn’t raining.

Mam Sodhail has a big storm shelter which offers full protection from the wind on all sides. We sat in it for a short while but the true summit was actually 45 metres further on, by a small cairn, so of course we visited that too.

Carn Eige

Adventurer Nic on the summit of Carn Eige next to the trig pillar

We returned to the col to retrieve our gear before starting the ascent up Carn Eige (sometimes spelt Carn Eighe).

The summit trig pillar marked the highest point of the entire Loch Mullardoch Munros route and is the bulk that separates Loch Mulladoch and Loch Affric.

Once again the cloud gave us a bit of a break and at the summit of Carn Eige we were treated to views back across to the long eastern ridge of Mam Sodhail.

Tom a’ Choinich

After leaving the summit of Carn Eige we looked in the direction of the next Munro – Tom A’Choinich. The route would take us over some dramatic looking pinnacles along the narrowing ridge. The route incorporates the Munro Tops of Stob a’ Choire Dhomhain, Sron Garbh, An Leth-chreag and Tom a’ Choinich Beag. A forboding moody atmosphere came as a result of the clouds coming and going over the ridge.

James Forrest looks along the ridge from Carn Eige in the direction of Tom a’Choinich on the Loch Mullardoch Munros circular walk
James Forrest looks along the ridge from Carn Eige in the direction of Tom a’Choinich on the Loch Mullardoch Munros circular walk
Adventurer Nic having a mini nap on the summit of Tom a’Choinich

There were a lot of ups and downs to the summit of the fourth Munro of the day – Tom a’Choinich.

I needed at least a couple of breaks for snacks and water as I felt really low on energy.

When we made it to the summit cairn I had a sit down and really struggled to get back up again!

Toll Creagach

It was a much more straightforward walk between Tom a Choinich and Toll Creagach. My pack had started to dig into my hip so we swapped packs for the last part of the walk. A great benefit of adventuring in a pair.

The Descent

We descended east from Toll Creagach to a col. Next we ventured in a northly direction, heading for the edge of Loch Mullardoch over a never ending sea of mushy ground with the occasional batch of heather, grass and rock thrown in for good measure. It was really tough going. We hit a section of ferns that were up to our shoulders.

Frustratingly, the dam seemed to be in our sights for the entire descent but it took us an age to reach it. When we saw a gate, we assumed (wrongly) that there may be a path on the other side of it but somehow it was worse on the other side. Another gate led us to a muddy path but that didn’t last either. We made our way into a small ravine and climbed up the other side and over a stile. But we couldn’t get down to the road becuase of a 5 metre drop over a small cliff.

It really did feel like we’d either made a series of bad navigational choices, or it was just that we were so exhausted that it would have been fine with fresh legs. We managed to swing around a fence on the edge of the cliff and made it down to the road from there, back to the car.

Wrapping Up

Back at Sally’s we put our meal reservation back to 8pm and had a hot shower (for Sally’s benefit as much as our own) before heading to the pub. Between us we devoured a burger, seafood pasta and a lamb dinner followed by sticky toffee pudding, toffee sundae and pannacotta. Scrummy!

We nicknamed these Munros:

  • Can Nan Gob Hard? – Carn nan Gobhar
  • Stir Nan’s L.A. Peach – Sgurr na Lapaich
  • I (need) Rehabilitation – An Riabhachan
  • Anne’s Sock Axe – An Socach
  • Ben and Fiona Got Laid – Beinn Fhionnlaidh
  • Mam’s Sodden Hair – Mam Sodhail
  • (Dale) Carnegie – Carn Eige
  • Tom is Chinese – Tom a’ Choinich
  • Tall Creature – Toll Creagach

Find out why we nicknamed all 282 Munros here.

About the Author

Photo of Adventurer Nic on a Loch in the Scottish Highlands

Adventurer Nic is a Munroist and ‘compleated’ the list over a six month period in 2019. She stood atop each of the 282 Munro summits with her peak bagging partner in adventure – James Forrest. Let her know what you thought of this post by dropping her a comment.

Lurg Mhor

Adventurer Nic ascending Moruisg, a Munro mountain in the Scottish Highlands with the Torridon hills in the distance

…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.

The Hitch

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.

The Ascent

Adventurer Nic ascending Moruisg, a Munro mountain in the Scottish Highlands with the Torridon hills in the distance
Adventurer Nic ascending Moruisg, a Munro mountain in the Scottish Highlands with the Torridon hills in the distance

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.

The Summits

Moruisg

Adventurer Nic on the summit of Moruisg, a Munro mountain in the Scottish Highlands with the Torridon hills in the distance
Adventurer Nic on the summit of Moruisg, a Munro mountain in the Scottish Highlands with the Torridon hills in the distance

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.

Linking the Munros

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 Bothy in the valley
Glenuaig Bothy in the valley

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).

Glenuaig Bothy Shelter Sign

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.

Maoile Lunndaidh

Adventurer Nic and James Forrest on the summit of Maoile Lunndaidh looking wet and tired

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

Gleuaig Bothy with Adventurer Nic peeking through the small window

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.

Adventurer Nic enjoying a boiled egg in Gleuaig bothy

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.

Sgurr a’Chaorachain

Gluaig Bothy - a shed held down by straps
Gluaig Bothy – a shed held down by straps

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.

Sgurr Choinnich

Adventurer Nic and James Forrest on the summit of Sgurr Choinnich looking and feeling like drowned rats

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.

Adventurer Nic and James Forrest on the summit of Bidein a' Choire Sheasgaich looking wet and exhausted

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.

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.

Adventurer Nic on the summit of Lurg Mhor Munro mountain
Adventurer Nic on the summit of Lurg Mhor Munro mountain

The Descent

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.

Adventurer Nic crossing the wire bridge over the Allt a' Chaonais after descending Lurg Mhor
Adventurer Nic crossing the wire bridge over the Allt a’ Chaonais after descending Lurg Mhor

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.

Wrapping Up

What a trip! We were very tired by the end of it. A lot of pathless walking and a long second day. We ate 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.

About the Author

Photo of Adventurer Nic on a Loch in the Scottish Highlands

Adventurer Nic is a Munroist and ‘compleated’ the list over a six month period in 2019. She stood atop each of the 282 Munro summits with her peak bagging partner in adventure – James Forrest. Let her know what you thought of this post by dropping her a comment.

Cairngorms Munros

Adventurer Nic walking on the summit of Ben Macdui above a fading cloud inversion

…a Multi Day Munro Bagging Hike with Wild Camping in the Cairngorms National Park

Route Introduction

Prepare for a whistle stop tour up and over the 14 central Cairngorms Munros! The Cairngorms National Park is a wild and dramatic place to explore. Ben Macdui (the UK’s second highest mountain) can be connected to Cairn Gorm, Carn a’Mhaim, The Devil’s Point, Cairn Toul, Sgor an Lochain Uaine, Braeriach, Monadh Mor, Beinn Bhrotain, Beinn Bhreac, Beinn a’Chaorainn, Derry Cairngorm, Beinn Mheadhoin and Bynack More. This is a Scottish Highlands multi day expedition of champions and an exciting way to approach these 14 Cairngorms Munros. This route card explains the quickest and easiest way of getting to all 14 summits for a peak bagger.

Adventurer Nic walked this route on Saturday 7th September to Tuesday 10th September 2019 as part of her Munro Bagging Challenge. These were Munro numbers 206 to 219 for Nic. Here, she explains how you can bag these Munros too.

Cairngorms Munros: Route Stats

Mountains: Cairn Gorm (1,244.8m), Ben Macdui (1,309m), Carn a’Mhaim (1,037m), The Devil’s Point (1,004m), Cairn Toul (1,291m), Sgor an Lochain Uaine (1,258m), Braeriach (1,296m), Monadh Mor (1,113m), Beinn Bhrotain (1,157m), Beinn Bhreac (931m), Beinn a’Chaorainn (1,083m), Derry Cairngorm (1,155m), Beinn Mheadhoin (1,182.9m), and Bynack More (1,090m).

Total Distance: 87.5km / 54.37miles

Total Ascent: 4,020m / 13,189ft

Approx Walk Time: 3.5 days

Grid Reference Start: NH 989061

Grid Reference End: NH 997074

Cairngorms Munros: Route Report

The Lead Up

A work trip to Norway interrupted our Munro bagging summer but we returned to the challenge in early September. We landed at Edinburgh airport, collected our car from our good friend Lorna‘s house and drove up to Perth. We used a Starbucks car park to layout all our gear from the Norway trip and integrate it all back in with our Scotland peak bagging gear. It looked such a mess and we got some very strange looks from people getting their coffee fix!

Food supplies for our multi day mountain hiking and camping trip across the Cairngorms Munros laid out

We were initially intending to drive up to Ben Wyvis to bag the lone peak at sunset, but just as we drove past Aviemore, we changed our minds. We’d been waiting for a good weather window to tackle the 14 Cairngorms Munros in the centre of the National Park and the forecast was promising 3 out of 4 days of good weather. It seemed to good an opportunity to pass up on.

Heading to Cairngorm ski resort, we exited the car to the biggest swarm of midges. Thank goodness for my midge jumper, a lifesaver!

We quickly put our meals and supplies together, anticipating up to four days in the mountains and set off.

The Ascent

Adventurer Nic ascending Cairn Gorm - one of the Cairngorms Munros

The weather was still warm when we set off from the ski centre but it was getting late into the evening.

This was the turning point in the challenge where I felt autumn was starting to loom, the days felt slightly shorter.

The paths between the ski centre and Cairn Gorm (our first Munro of the walk) are excellent.

We passed a series of disused ski buildings and lifts to reach the summit of Cairn Gorm at sunset.

Adventurer Nic pausing for a breath on the ascent of Cairn Gorm - a Munro in the Scottish Highlands
Adventurer Nic pausing for a breath on the ascent of Cairn Gorm – a Munro in the Scottish Highlands

The Summits – Each of the 14 Cairngorms Munros

Cairn Gorm

Adventurer Nic on the summit of Cairn Gorm at sunset in the Scottish Highlands
Adventurer Nic on the summit of Cairn Gorm at sunset in the Scottish Highlands

We took a great deal of photographs, enjoying the sunset summit views. It were as if the skies were burning. We were chuffed to have reached Cairn Gorm by sunset and felt like we’d kicked day 1 off to a good start. It was hard to believe we’d left our hotel on the western coast of Norway earlier that same morning!

Adventurer Nic walking along the summit of Cairn Gorm towards the next of the Cairngorms Munros
Adventurer Nic walking along the summit of Cairn Gorm

We headed off down to the col between Cairn Gorm and Stob Coire an t’Sheachda on a good path, towards Scotland’s second highest mountain, Ben Macdui.

Adventurer Nic descending Cairn Gorm - a Munro in the Cairngorms National Park, en route to Ben Macdui - the next of the Cairngorms Munros to be climbed
Adventurer Nic descending Cairn Gorm – a Munro in the Cairngorms National Park

Camp 1

Adventurer Nic with her face in her buff, feeling the cold, camping at 1,140m elevation in September

We hadn’t picked out a spot to camp in advance, so just as we were losing the last of the light we picked a flat spot off to the left of the path. This turned out to be the highest camp spot of the whole challenge – at 1,100m. And boy was it the coldest! My quilt is comfort rated down to -1°C and it was borderline too cold for that night.

I pulled my buff right over my face to get some warmth to my cold nose and we tried to get some rest.

The next morning, we packed up early and headed off on the clear path towards Ben Macdui. It wasn’t long before we were standing on the summit.

Ben Macdui

Adventurer Nic and James Forrest on the summit of Ben Macdui, Scotland's second highest mountain
Adventurer Nic and James Forrest on the summit of Ben Macdui, Scotland’s second highest mountain

To the south, cloud inversions were splintering in the warmth of the morning. It was a stunning sight. We took a slow, steady and steep line off the south side of the mountain. At the bottom, we leave our heavy loads by a stream and head to towards Carn a’ Mhaim. An ‘out and back’ is something that hill walkers do when they can’t incorporate a mountain into a circular. It feels so free and liberating to have an empty pack, as carrying food for up to four days is back breaking!

Carn a’ Mhaim

The ridge to the summit of Carn a’ Mhaim rose steadily in front of us.

Adventurer Nic ascending Carn a' Mhaim
Adventurer Nic ascending Carn a’ Mhaim

We hit the third summit on our peak bagging agenda just as the sun was beginning to kick out some heat. From this vantage point we enjoyed cloud-free views of the other nearby Cairngorms Munros.

Adventurer Nic and James Forrest on the summit of Carn a' Mhaim in the Cairngorms
Adventurer Nic and James Forrest on the summit of Carn a’ Mhaim in the Cairngorms

We returned via the route of ascent to retrieve our packs before continuing on.

The Devil’s Point

We followed the stream to a path that runs along the valley beside the River Dee. The footbridge enabled us to cross the river easily and we went on to enter Corrour Bothy for lunch. Corrour is one of the most popular bothies for hikers of the Cairngorms Munros, and it was no surprise to see two tents erected outside at 12pm. We ate peanut butter on crackers and debated the route ahead.

Corrour Bothy plate
Corrour Bothy plate

We left the bothy and joined a path leading up to the col between The Devil’s Point and Stob Coire an t-Saighdeir, replenishing our water supplies in a stream along the way.

Adventurer Nic ascending The Devil's Point from Corrour Bothy in the Cairngorms
Adventurer Nic ascending The Devil’s Point from Corrour Bothy in the Cairngorms
Adventurer Nic and James Forrest on the summit of The Devil's Point in the Cairngorms

Dropping our loads for the second time of the day, we headed up to The Devil’s Point summit.

I remember feeling grateful for the footpath which was laid here in 2002. It enabled us to truly enjoy the views without worrying too much about navigation on this part of the route.

It was still a clear, warm day and we paused momentarily to enjoy the views, which were stunning.

On the descent, we passed a runner who had also left his bag at the col.

Cairn Toul

We picked up our bags once more and headed up rocky boulder slopes to Cairn Toul via Stob Coire an t-Saighdeir. At this point, the cloud cover comes out of nowhere, the summit is shrouded and our views are gone.

Sgor an Lochain Uaine

We continued on to Sgor an Lochain Uaine (also known as The Angels’ Peak) and descended from there to a col where we could leave the bags for the third time of the day before heading along the ridge to Braeriach.

Braeriach

Adventurer Nic and James Forrest on the summit of Braeriach, a Munro in the Cairngorms

Braeriach would be the last of the top 10 highest Munros on our list of 282, so this summit felt special. There was no other mountain above 1,200m left on our list.

The clouds dispersed for a short while, revealing some dramatic views, but sadly they were short lived.

It felt like a long ‘out and back’, especially in the clag, but we were packless and packless walking feels really freeing and light. A real treat! We returned to our bags just as the drizzle had begun.

Camp 2

We decided to camp earlier than planned on account of two things – the first being that the drizzle was forecast to turn into a night of non-stop rain, and we knew we would feel a whole lot better if we managed to keep our gear dry for the night.

The second was that James had just mildly twisted his ankle and it felt like a sign we were getting tired and making mistakes. We got the tent up on a small shelf on a downward slope and boiled up dinner. The rain properly set in and we were relieved we’d called it a day as we snuggled down for the night with our packs, contents and crucially ourselves, nice and dry. Six Munro peaks wasn’t a bad count for the day (seven cumulatively over the two days).

We dozed off at 9pm and caught up on the lost sleep from the night before. It felt much warmer.

Monadh Mor

We woke to the sound of heavy rain at 6.30am but we snoozed the alarm and slept until 7.15am in the hope it would get better. It didn’t. I lost my spork and threw a bit of a tantrum, but I found it soon after. We made breakfast and coffee in the tent vestibule and James said “when the big things are going wrong, it’s the little things you have to celebrate” as he sipped his warm drink.

Adventurer Nic and James Forrest pose for a wet summit selfie on Monadh Mor

Begrudgingly, we got all our stuff packed up and put in our packs before taking tent down, and we were careful to pack the inner and outer components separately. We would head to a bothy for the third night but as always, there wasn’t guaranteed to be space for us.

It was drizzling and we set off on pathless terrain until the land started rising towards our first peak of the day. There are lots of little eroded little paths in this part of the Cairngorms and you never know if you’re on a real path or not, so lots of directional checks are required.

Beinn Bhrotain

Adventurer Nic and James Forrest pose for a wet selfie on Beinn Bhrotain

We hit the summit and marched on to the next peak, Beinn Bhrotain, which was fairly closeby. Blissfully, not much descending and reascending was required between the two Munros.

From the summit trig pillar we then decided to take a shortcut on the original descent plan which actually worked out perfectly because a faint path appeared part of the way down, saving us valuable time.

At the valley bottom we had to cross the wide (and now raging) River Dee. We both got wet boots, but it didn’t matter because it turned out to be the first of many river crossings that day. Dry feet are overrated!

Beinn Bhreac

We joined a path for a while and then we did a bit of tough off piste walking through lumpy bumpy heather before hitting a more established track in the direction of Linn of Dee. We crossed a thigh high river and then headed through woodland with Derry Lodge as our destination.

Adventurer Nic amid a thigh high river crossing in the Cairngorms

By this time, it was dry in the valley, with the cloud only hugging the tops.

We paused to have lunch by Derry Lodge but the midges were atrocious. Pacing up and down whilst eating, we made a lame bid at creating some kind of breeze to keep the midges at bay.

Eventually, we continued on a track that led on to the foot of the next Munro. We turned off the path and hit a small faint path which led us through the heather. We reached the summit of Beinn Bhreac with views shrouded in the clag once more.

Beinn a’ Chaorainn

Adventurer Nic walking to Hutchinson Memorial Hut

We headed 5km to the final Munro of the day, across largely pathless, heathery and peaty terrain which kept rising and falling. It was tough going and felt never ending. We made it to the summit of Beinn a’ Chaorainn and started our descent just as the heavens reopened and soaked us again.

The descent was gradual at first but we then hit a steeper scree path. We decided on a shortcut to the bothy but abandoned it half way through when it was really hard going through thick heather with lots of additional ups and downs. Instead we headed for the Coire Etchachan Burn, crossed it and walked up onto a path which led straight to the bothy.

Camp 3

Roaring fire in Hutchinson Memorial Hut

We found the Hutchinson Memorial Hut to be empty, despite four visitors writing in the bothy register that day. The bothy comprised of an entrance room and a main room with one bench and a stove.

We had dinner and lit a fire. According to the bothy register, some wood was left by a chap called Oscar who had carried it in but then realised he’d forgotten his food supplies, so left the wood for the next person to enjoy and returned to his car. We were grateful for the ability to dry out some of our gear.

I slept on the bench and James slept on the floor. It was lovely to be inside a dry room.

James Forrest making breakfast on the floor of Hutchinson Memorial Hut
James Forrest making breakfast on the floor of Hutchinson Memorial Hut

Derry Cairngorm

We woke after a good sleep in the bothy and had breakfast before heading out. Miraculously, after the poor weather of the previous day, it was dry and visibility was good. There was some light cloud covering the tops but it looked like it was clearing. We hit the path leading up to Loch Etchachan. We passed a group of Duke of Edinburgh Award students, who looked surprisingly fresh faced after what must have been a wet night in tents on the hill. Soon, we passed their supervisor Ellie, who was following at a discreet distance and monitoring them remotely.

Loch Etchachan
Loch Etchachan
Adventurer Nic and James Forrest looking bleary eyed as they start their last day of peak bagging with Derry Cairngorm

We soon reached the col and ditched our packs to climb Derry Cairngorm.

We followed a path which became faint over the boulders every now and then. After pausing for a very tired selfie at the summit, we descended back to our packs, beside the loch.

Beinn Mheadhoin

Adventurer Nic nearing the summit of Beinn Mheadhoin

We then started ascending the second Munro of the day.

We passed some path laying tools but nobody was working that day.

It was a steep but rewarding climb over sandy terrain but the summit tors seemed to appear quickly.

James on Beinn Mheadhoin
James on Beinn Mheadhoin

We had to scramble to get on top of one of the rocky tors which jutted from the summit of Beinn Mheadohoin, but it was worth it for one of those ‘Queen of the World’ moments.

Nic on the summit tor of Beinn Mheadhoin
Nic on the summit tor of Beinn Mheadhoin
Adventurer Nic heading down to Loch Avon

We headed off towards the valley which separated this mountain from Bynack More – our final mountain of the day (and also the final mountain of the expedition).

We descended on a gravelly path, which seem common in this part of the Cairngorms and headed down the open hillside to a large loch called Loch Avon, where we stopped for lunch.

Loch Avon looked positively tropical! With beautifully clear water and even a small stretch of beach.

Adventurer Nic standing on the edge of Loch Avon in the Cairngorms National Park
Adventurer Nic standing on the edge of Loch Avon in the Cairngorms National Park

We then crossed the river before joining a rock strewn path heading uphill.

Bynack More

James Forrest ascending Bynack More Munro in the Cairngorms, Scottish Highlands
James Forrest ascending Bynack More Munro in the Cairngorms, Scottish Highlands

We peeled off the path and headed up the ridge of the final Munro. There was a disheartening false summit and a drop before the final ascent. Often the ground was saturated and slushy, other times it was gravelly, other times heathery and other times bouldery strewn. We really had it all on this expedition across the Cairngorms Munros.

Adventurer Nic ascending Bynack More Munro in the Cairngorms, Scottish Highlands
Adventurer Nic ascending Bynack More Munro in the Cairngorms, Scottish Highlands
Adventurer Nic and James Forrest celebrate reaching their 14th summit of their Cairngorms Munros expedition

We were delighted to hit the summit. The 14th of 14 Cairngorms Munros.

It was our longest multi-day expedition of the Munro bagging challenge and it felt great to stand on the summit of Bynack More.

The bonus was, we were ahead of time. We thought it would take four full days to complete the full route and in actual fact we were looking like doing it in less than three and a half days. This gave us a massive boost.

The Final Descent of the Cairngorms Munros

The descent was far from straight forward, we were nearly 5.5km away from the car park (as the crow files and we all know you can’t walk as the crow flies!) These Cairngorms Munros weren’t going to make it easy for us to escape.

We descended down a ridge over Bynack Beg in thick heather. Once we reached and crossed the River Nethy we had to climb nearly 300m again to get over the col to the north of the northern spur of Sron a’ Cha-no. It was still the path of least resistance to go up and over rather than around the obstacle. The route from there wasn’t hard to follow. The biggest obstacles were a couple of streams and a weird section of mangrove-like trees growing in a marsh.

I struggled with tiredness so James went ahead and retrieved the car from the upper car park while I gratefully waited at the lower car park. We hobbled into the McDonalds in Perth that evening, both affected by the mileage of the last three and a bit days hiking the wild and wonderful Cairngorms Munros.

Wrapping Up

We nicknamed these Cairngorms Munros:

  • Can’t be Gormy – Cairn Gorm
  • Ben Might Do a Wee – Ben Macdui
  • Call Ya Mam – Carn a’Mhaim
  • Cruella Deville’s Point – The Devil’s Point
  • Car Tool – Cairn Toul
  • Scary and Lucky You Aint – Sgor an Lochain Uaine
  • Basic B1tch – Braeriach
  • Moan (at) Dad More – Monadh Mor
  • Bling ‘Bro’ Chain – Beinn Bhrotain
  • Being Broken – Beinn Bhreac
  • Derry! Catch Him Derry! – Derry Cairngorm
  • Been Chillin’ In Rain – Beinn a’Chaorainn
  • Bring Meat and Ham – Beinn Mheadhoin
  • Bring Nic More (Haribo) – Bynack More

Find out why we nicknamed all 282 Munros here.

About the Author

Photo of Adventurer Nic on a Loch in the Scottish Highlands

Adventurer Nic is a Munroist and ‘compleated’ the list over a six month period in 2019. She stood atop each of the 282 Munro summits with her peak bagging partner in adventure – James Forrest. Let her know what you thought of this post by dropping her a comment.

An Teallach

Sgurr Fiona, viewed from the ascent. Sgurr Fiona is a Munro summit of An Teallach in the north west Scottish highlands

Route Introduction

An Teallach is a Scottish mountain with two Munro summits – Sgurr Fiona and Bidein a’Ghlas Thuill. Arguably the most dramatic and beautiful mountain on the UK mainland, An Teallach can be found south west of the village of Dundonnell in the far north west of the Highlands. This route card explains the quickest and easiest way of getting to both summits for a peak bagger.

Adventurer Nic walked this route on Saturday 21st September 2019 as part of her Munro Bagging Challenge. These were Munro numbers 228 and 229 of 282 for Nic. Here, she explains how you can bag these Munros too.

An Teallach Route Stats

Mountains: Sgurr Fiona (1,058m) and Bidein a’Ghlas Thuill (1,062m)

Total Distance: 16.5km / 10.3miles

Total Ascent: 1,090m / 3,576ft

Approx Walk Time: 6.5 hours

Grid Reference Start: NH 115848

An Teallach Route Report

The Lead Up

An Teallach as seen from the approach road
An Teallach as seen from the approach road

The day before my boyfriend James and I climbed An Teallach we were ‘compleating’ our Black Cuillin Munros on the Isle of Skye under the expert guiding of Adrian Trendall. We descended our final Cuillin Munro, Sgurr Alasdair, and said goodbye to Adrian.

We headed part way to An Teallach and camped in woodland, a quiet spot somewhere in Strathgarve Forest.

After a decent sleep, despite persistent flashbacks the thrilling (terrifying) experience of the Great Stone Chute on the Black Cuillin the previous day, we got dressed and drove to the start of the An Teallach walk. Initially, we aimed for the Corrie Hallie car park, but this was a sunny Saturday so it was already full. Instead, we secured one of the last spaces in a smaller car park slightly further south.

Setting Off

Adventurer Nic on the early part of the walk with Beinn Dearg (Ullapool) and surrounding Munros in the background
Adventurer Nic on the early part of the walk with Beinn Dearg (Ullapool) and surrounding Munros in the background

We walked for a short section on the road before setting off on a track. This track was in fact the Cape Wrath Trail. Many of our Munro walks happen to use parts of this iconic long distance route. The track was wide and we nervously shuffled past a field full of cows. We are always anxious passing cattle after a friend was trampled by a herd in North Wales only last year.

An Teallach from the Cape Wrath Trail in the north west Scottish highlands
An Teallach from the Cape Wrath Trail

We crossed on a bridge over the Allt Gleann Charachain before the trail rose to 300m in elevation and we took the right hand fork in the path. Behind us was Beinn Dearg (Ullapool) and over to the left were the Fannichs. We were treated to a lovely view of An Teallach as we glanced up to the right. Parallel to Lochan na Brathan, we peeled off the trail and hit the open hillside.

The Ascent

We followed intermittent faint paths and generally stuck to a north west bearing, leading onto the ridge – first walking over 954m Sail Liath and then 960m Stobh Cadha Gobhlach.

Adventurer Nic en route to Sgurr Fiona - a Munro summit of An Teallach in the north west Scottish highlands
Adventurer Nic en route to Sgurr Fiona

From here you have amazing views of the pinnacles of An Teallach and both Munro summits. We paused for a while here to appreciate the view. A gorgeous blue sky, a sunny late September day in Scotland with no midges! It really doesn’t get much better than this.

Adventurer Nic standing looking across to the pinnacles of An Teallach in North West Scotland
Adventurer Nic standing looking across to the pinnacles of An Teallach

We followed a path steeply down, before rising up again, bypassing to the left of another pinnacle. It was only right that we stopped to enjoy lunch on a grassy platform with stunning views. We had a great vantage point from which we could watch people descending the mountain in front of us. We had a much longer lunch break than we normally allowed ourselves. The pure beauty of the scene demanded it.

Adventurer Nic is a dot in this photo, standing on a rocky pinnacle on the ascent of An Teallach, a Munro mountain in the remote Scottish highlands
Adventurer Nic is a mere dot in this photo

The Walker’s Bypass

James Forrest making his way up An Teallach in the North West Scottish Highlands
James Forrest making his way up An Teallach

We continued, following a loose gravel path upwards. And when it forked we somewhat reluctantly took the left option. This is the bypass option which cuts out the grade 3 scrambling over the pinnacles. Two back-to-back days on the Black Cuillin had sent my legs to jelly and my shot my nerves, so tackling some grade 3 scrambling without a rope seemed a foolish option to take. The pinnacles of An Teallach require a lot of down climbing. It felt a step too far for our skill level.

Adventurer Nic sitting to admire the view over to the Fisherfields from the ascent of An Teallach in the north west Scottish highlands
Adventurer Nic sitting to admire the view over to the Fisherfields

The bypass runs to the left of the pinnacles and we enjoyed beautiful views of the Fisherfield Munros from the trail.

The Summits of An Teallach

Adventurer Nic on the summit of Sgurr Fiona. A Munro summit on An Teallach in the North West Scottish Highlands

We made our way up to the summit of Sgurr Fiona from the bypass path. Standing proud at 1,058m tall, the Munro summit of Sgurr Fiona is marked by a cairn.

After seeing multiple other hillwalkers all day, we were surprised to find ourselves alone on the summit.

Next, we followed the ridge down and onwards towards Bidein a’Ghlas Thuill.

The weather really was as close to perfect as it could get, with glorious visibility all day and a light breeze so it wasn’t too hot.

The ridge soon rose back up again and led us onto the second Munro summit – Bidein a’Ghlas Thuill – the bigger of the two Munros. The sun nicely silhouetted the route of ascent behind us, creating a dreamy atmosphere.

Adventurer Nic walking towards the summit of Bidein A'Ghlas Thuill. A Munro summit on An Teallach in the North West Scottish Highlands
Adventurer Nic walking towards the summit of Bidein A’Ghlas Thuill

The true summit of Bidein a’Ghlas Thuill is reportedly a rock 6 metres south of the trig pillar. So, as usual, I stood on all the likely contenders!

The Descent

Adventurer Nic on the summit of Bidein A'Ghlas Thuill. A Munro summit on An Teallach in the North West Scottish Highlands

From the summit of Bidein a’Ghlas Thuill, we headed off northwards to a col before turning eastwards and descending down an eroded path into the valley.

Once in the valley, we picked up another intermittent path, which ran alongside a stream.

It was deliciously shady in the bowl of the valley and it was such a relief after a warm day.

We made an error towards the end of the route as we lost the path, ending up in the grip of some crazily high rhododendron bushes which spat us out into a field and into more bushes. We were trapped somehow between the bushes and the river. And annoyingly, the sounds coming from the road seemed so close! We backtracked to the field and were able to get back onto the road without having to cross the river. In hindsight it might have been better to have crossed the river earlier and approached the road on the east side of the river. Something to consider if you decide to follow this route.

It was less than a kilometre to walk back to the car to finish.

Wrapping Up

Adventurer Nic walking towards the pinnacles of An Teallach in North West Scotland
An unforgettable day in the Scottish Hills

We nicknamed these Munros ‘Slurry Fiona’ and ‘Bidding on a Glass of Fuel’. Find out why we nicknamed all 282 Munros here.

We re-fuelled our bodies, re-hydrated with lots of water and packed our overnight bags. The day wasn’t over for us as we headed back on the Cape Wrath Trail in the direction of Shenavall bothy, ready to walk the Fisherfield Munros.

About the Author

Photo of Adventurer Nic on a Loch in the Scottish Highlands

Adventurer Nic is a Munroist and ‘compleated’ the list over a six month period in 2019. She stood atop each of the 282 Munro summits with her peak bagging partner in adventure – James Forrest. Let her know what you thought of this post by dropping her a comment.

Eididh nan Clach Geala

Adventurer Nic with her arms held out under a perfect rainbow on the slopes of Cona' Mheall – a Scottish Munro mountain

…and Friends – a Linear Route

Eididh nan Clach Geala Route Introduction

Eididh nan Clach Geala is a Munro in the Scottish Highlands, not far from the northern hub of Ullapool. The mountain is close to Meall nan Ceapraichean, Beinn Dearg, Cona’ Mheall and Am Faochagach. This route card explains the quickest and easiest way of getting to all five summits for a peak bagger.

Adventurer Nic walked this route on Tuesday 1st October 2019 as part of her Munro Bagging Challenge. These were Munro numbers 251 to 255 for Nic. Here, she explains how you can bag these Munros too.

Eididh nan Clach Geala Route Stats

Mountains: Eididh nan Clach Geala (927m), Meall nan Ceapraichean (977m), Beinn Dearg (1,084m), Cona’ Mheall (978m) and Am Faochagach (953m)

Total Distance: 29.5km / 18.25miles

Total Ascent: 1,740m / 5,709ft

Approx Walk Time: 10.5 hours

Grid Reference Start: NH 182853

Grid Reference End:  NH 277742

Eididh nan Clach Geala Route Report

The Lead Up

Views from the valley below Am Faochagach
Views from the valley below Am Faochagach

The previous day we’d allowed ourselves a rest day but had set off from Drumnadrochit and found somewhere to camp close to the beginning of the walk at Inverlael. It was an idyllic spot, close to woodland and a stream. We woke at 6am to our alarm. Neither myself nor James are what you’d call ‘morning people’. So we started packing up our tent, bleary eyed, in a trance and not really interacting with each other.

It had been a cold night, when we got back to the car, the temperature gauge read 0°C. We made our way to the walkers car park at Inverlael to start the walk.

The Ascent

The walk sets off on the Cape Wrath Trail from the car park at Inverlael. It’s an established track which leads through woodland before heading out onto the open hillside. At a fork in the route, we passed a lone male walker. We stopped to chat awhile before he forked right and we forked left.

At this early stage of the walk, there were clear skies above us but it was still quite cold. The good path continued, rising to 700m before we headed up over heather and rocky terrain to reach the higher ground of Eididh nan Clach Geala.

The Summits

Eididh nan Clach Geala

Adventurer Nic on the summit of Eididh nan Clach Geala - a Scottish Munro mountain

The first Munro summit of Eididh nan Clach Geala seemed to come quite easily as we marched on upwards over pathless ground to 927m.

White quartz dotted around the summit, which was a jumble of rocks.

We reached the summit just before 10am – decent progress indeed!

From the summit we descended to a col, avoiding the crags and that’s when the first rain shower hit us.

I don’t think my synthetic down jacket and my waterproofs have been on and off so much on a walk!

Meall nan Ceapraichean

Adventurer Nic on the summit of Meall nan Ceapraichean - a Scottish Munro mountain

There seemed to be a bitter cold wind on and off and the odd shower coming and going. It was one of those days that was hard to dress for.

We reached the lowest point of the col beside a lochan and then hit a grassy rake up Meall nan Ceapraichean which was by far the route of least resistance and easy to spot in good clear weather conditions.

This then flattened out onto a ridge which led up to the second Munro of the day – Meall nan Ceapraichean.

We spotted lots of Rock Ptarmigan – a common ground nesting bird in the mountains Scottish highlands. Interestingly, if you spot one, the chances are you’ll spot another – we routinely tended see them in groups.

Beinn Dearg

From Meall nan Ceapraichean we descended to a col, heading for Lochan Uaine, before the ‘out and back’ for Beinn Dearg. It’s one of 12 Munros with ‘Dearg’ in the title. The word literally translates to ‘Red’ from Gaelic. Beinn, one of the most popular words to be found in a Munro name as it simply translates to ‘hill’.

Adventurer Nic and James pause for a selfie on the summit of a cloudy Beinn Dearg, a Scottish Munro mountain near Ullapool

There was one long wall leading up the mountain from the col.

It was one of those moments where you sit and imagine the work it must have taken to put the wall up in the 1840’s.

Rocks jutted out on both sides of the wall and the ascent was a bit of a scramble in parts.

The rock was wet from the light drizzle so we continued carefully.

A large cairn marked the summit of Beinn Dearg, and now heavily in the clag we were keen to make a quick descent back to decent visibility.

We retraced our steps alongside the wall.

We met the MBA custodian for Shenavall bothy on the way down which was a lovely surprise. Last week we’d stayed there for the Fisherfield Munros. He was keen to advise us on a bothy to use for our upcoming Munro walk – Seana Bhraigh.

Next, we got caught in an out-of-season snow shower! But we were hungry so we huddled behind the wall to eat lunch. A bagel with some army surplus supplies tuna mayo that was one and half years out of date (yes I’m still alive to tell the tale!)

Cona’ Mheall

Adventurer Nic on the summit of Cona' Mheall - a Scottish Munro mountain - as it starts to hail

Back at the col we turned to head south east over rocky and grassy terrain to pick up a faint path for the ascent of Cona’ Mheall.

We turned to head north to bag the summit and passed a lone walker who was bailing on the rest of his walk due to the bad weather.

Hailstones were now coming down and it was downright painful!

After tapping the summit cairn, we retraced our steps back to the col and swung north from there, down into the valley between Cona’ Mheall and Cnap Coire Loch Tuath.

As we descended, the most perfect rainbow appeared from west to east, with us walking right underneath it.

Adventuring Nic walking under a perfect rainbow on the slopes of Cona' Mheall – a Scottish Munro mountain
Adventuring Nic walking under a perfect rainbow on the slopes of Cona’ Mheall

Am Faochagach

Summit selfie of Adventurer Nic and James Forrest on Am Faochagach in the Scottish highlands

Carefully, we picked our way down to the base of the valley through wet rock and grass, before walking along the southern shore of Loch Tuath. This led to the larger Loch Prille.

We crossed the inlet and walked around the top of the loch before starting the pathless trudge up the final munro – Am Faochagach.

At one point a grouse leapt out of the heather by my feet and the shock of it nearly knocked me to the ground!

We reached the summit cairn of Am Faochagach by 4pm and we were pleased with our progress.

The Descent

View from Am Faochagach plateau in the Scottish Highlands
View from Am Faochagach plateau

We initially descended south from the last Munro, picking up a faint path which got stronger as we headed towards the A835. With our car in Inverlael at the beginning of the walk, we had arranged to meet a good friend Andy Dobb who had driven up that afternoon in his new camper van. The ground became increasingly slushy and boggy the lower we got. But because we had all five summits behind us, it mattered not. We made it over the river Abhainn a’Gharbhrain keeping our feet dry. We’d heard horror stories about the river in the lead up to the walk and it was on my mind for much of the day with us experiencing showers on and off. In hindsight it was nothing to worry about.

Andrew Dobb, Adventurer Nic and James Forrest pausing for a selfie, Andy sporting his snorkel

Andy met us part way to the car with a snorkel which brought a smile to both of our faces.

He walked us back to his camper van and then drove us back to our car before cooking us a luxurious evening meal of pasta on his camper van hob! Bliss!

Wrapping Up

We nicknamed these Munros:

  • Eddie’s Nan Crashes the Gala – Eididh nan Clach Geala
  • Meal of New Crustaceans – Meall nan Ceapraichean
  • Ben ‘n’ Jerry’s – Beinn Dearg
  • Cone of Metal – Cona’ Mheall
  • I’m Foraging Aches – Am Faochagach

Find out why we nicknamed all 282 Munros here.

We wild camped in the same general location that we were the previous night, as the next day we aimed to hike the Fannaichs, only a short distance away. Andy stayed in the luxury of his camper van in a nearby car park.

About the Author

Photo of Adventurer Nic on a Loch in the Scottish Highlands

Adventurer Nic is a Munroist and ‘compleated’ the list over a six month period in 2019. She stood atop each of the 282 Munro summits with her peak bagging partner in adventure – James Forrest. Let her know what you thought of this post by dropping her a comment.