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.

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.

Seana Bhraigh

Schoolhouse Bothy Exterior

Route Introduction

Seana Bhraigh is a remote Munro in the north of Scotland. This route card explains the quickest and easiest way of getting to the summit for a peak bagger.

Adventurer Nic walked this route on 4th October 2019 as part of her Munro Bagging Challenge. It was Munro number 265 of 282 for Nic. Here, she explains how you can bag this Munro too.

Seana Bhraigh Route Stats

Mountain: Seana Bhraigh (926m)

Total Distance: 22km / 13.5miles

Total Ascent: 740m / 2,428ft

Approx Walk Time: 7 hours

Grid Reference Start: NH 327953

Seana Bhraigh Route Report

The Lead Up

Book collection in the Schoolhouse Bothy including the Complete Works of Shakespeare
Book collection in the Schoolhouse Bothy including the Complete Works of Shakespeare

Three days earlier we’d bumped into a chap named Phil on our descent of Beinn Dearg. He happened to be the MBA Custodian for Shenavall bothy near the Fisherfield Munros and he recommended we stay at The Schoolhouse Bothy before our ascent of Seana Bhraigh. This was a chance encounter and boy did his advice pay off!

One room of the bothy was occupied when we arrived, by a couple with two dogs. So we slept in the old classroom, which had a chalk board, a couple of old school desks and even a complete works of Shakespeare!

Of all the bothies we stayed in during our challenge this one was probably the most quirky. It used to be an actual working schoolhouse up to 1930, with only one classroom and then a school teacher who lived on site. The children walked for miles from within the Easter Ross glen and reportedly wore stilts to cross the river! Kids really don’t know how good they’ve got it these days!

When I awoke from a very deep sleep on the morning of 4th October 2019. We snoozed the alarm a couple of times before getting up and vacating the bothy. Due to the wonderful night’s sleep we were very tempted to stay again after our ascent of Seana Bhraigh, but we packed up in case we changed our minds.

We followed the gravel estate track which led to the Corriemulzie walkers car park, where we would start the walk.

The Ascent

James Forrest - on the track from Corriemulzie to Seana Bhraigh, demonstrating where rainbows end
James Forrest – on the track from Corriemulzie demonstrating where rainbows end

From the car park we took a track through the Corriemulzie cottages, through a gate and pretty much followed a river all the way into the valley for 8km. The view of the mountain with its dramatic pinnacles on the left and the calmer hill walkers route on the right was stunning. A rainbow appeared in front of the track as sunshine and showers developed into the theme of the morning.

We got to the first river crossing and crossed successfully on boulders. When we had to cross the Corriemulzie river for a second time it was more difficult. We decided to take our boots and gaiters off and cross barefoot. The pebbles were sharper and mossier than previous river crossings and the water was cold but our feet soon warmed up again once we got our socks and boots back on and started walking.

We followed faint paths onto the open hillside, along the side of a burn in a ravine and then up onto the ridge. It was good underfoot, with lots of ledge-like steps of grass and rock. It felt like we were ascending quite quickly despite our cumulative challenge tiredness.

The weather was worsening though. The wind picked up on the hillside and it was very blustery. We paused momentarily behind a rock to eat a snack but we struggled to find somewhere better sheltered. We carried on up the ridge to a small lochan at 743m before heading up the final ascent. It must have been gusting up to 50mph at times.

The Summit of Seana Bhraigh

Adventurer Nic and James Forrest hunkering down in the summit wind shelter of Seana Bhraigh Munro mountain

We made it to the summit and sat in the relative comfort of the wind shelter as we checked the weather forecast for the upcoming days.

The Munros to the north and west of Loch Monar were next on the agenda. 

It would take us two days and with a mixed forecast, we asked our good friend Sally if we could stay at her house in Drumnadrochit afterwards.

If Sally said yes, then we could take another couple of days of battering by the weather if it meant there was a warm, welcoming cottage, a cuddle from a good friend and her dog at the end of it.

Sally said yes almost immediately, so that was it, our plans were set in place. She’s such a legend.

It was also on the summit of Seana Bhraigh that I agreed with Lara (the Chair of Edinburgh Young Walkers) that I would speak about my challenge at their upcoming AGM on 7th November. As the challenge was coming to a close, opportunities like this were starting to present themselves and I was getting excited about sharing my story.

The Descent

On the descent we started to feel a less trepidation about the coming days. We retraced our steps back to the river, crossed it again and walked the long long path back to the car.

We adopted a good pace which meant we could get to the bothy early to secure sleeping platforms and enjoy a restful evening. It was a relief that the valley blocked much of the wind.

Two stags passed on the track in front of us and headed down to the river. They galloped straight through it and went up the hillside on the other side, all within seconds. They move at remarkable pace. Just as we went through the gate to the lodge, a stalkers land rover was coming down the track behind us. Phew! We felt the stag (and us) had a lucky escape.

Wrapping Up

We arrived at the bothy to find it empty, so we chose the room to the left of the main door this time, in case a bigger party arrived to use the classroom. We checked ourselves for ticks, had the usual baby wipe shower, made a delicious brew and ate some snacks.

Sometimes during the challenge it really did feel like we were winning and this was one of those moments. I actually did half a crossword that someone had left in a magazine, before writing in my diary and tidying my kit. A very productive hill bagging day!

We nicknamed this particular Munro ‘Sean’s Bra’ – 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.