Sunday, 26 July 2020


The classic view of Liathach, Friday
It is, of course, always an absolute joy and pleasure to be on the Torridon mountains. I had a days guiding work on Friday, taking return clients Jillian & Graham on Liathach. Jillian has already completed all the Munros. She can now enjoy visiting the finest ones again! Liathach is one of the best, indeed my second favourite mountain after An Teallach. They origionally booked the Saturday for their guided ascent. Keeping an eye on the ever changing weather forecasts, there seemed to be a small 'weather window' of just 24 hours on the Friday. So a quick call and we rescheduled it to the best day. This is always an option with Tarmachan Mountaineering. I try and be as flexible as possible with regards to getting the bet weather day. I was free and Jillian and Graham were flexible, they are up on holiday for a few days around Ullapool. You won't get this kind of option with big companies :).
So Friday it was. For some fun and to enjoy the area more, I set off the afternoon before and walked into Torridon from Achnashellach in Glen Carron.

Fuar Tholl from the walk into Coire Lair
Achnashellach is a small hamlet and has a tiny train station on the beautiful Inverness-Kyle train line. The mountains to the west of here are beautiful and similar in geology and beauty to the more 'famous' Torridon hills. Indeed if the Torridon giants didn't exist this would be a mecca for hillwalkers. I got off the train alone (like every other occasion here) and walked along the beautiful stalkers path that gently winds its way up into Coire Lair.

The view into Coire Lair & Sgorr Ruadh
It was dry but low cloud when I set off. A forecast of possible drizzly spells through the afternoon, clearing in the evening. My aim was to camp somewhere above Loch Torridon. It's a beautiful and very easy walk along Coire Lair which is a right of way that eventually drops down to Annat near Torridon village. I had just a 45 litre rucksack with lightweight gear so little more than a day pack. It's just a 5 hour walk and I had bags of time even though I set off at 1230. From the moment you start walking the views of the mountains are all around you. The Corbett of Fuar Tholl is the first hill to grace the eyes when you come out of the forestry. 20 minutes later and the Munros of Sgorr Ruadh and Beinn Liath Mhor are either side of the path. They are company for the next couple of hours.
Sgorr Ruadh
 I just reached the first bealach when some patchy rain and low cloud drifted in, the views ended. Easy navigation on the wonderful stalkers path that eventually wiggles it's way over to the final high point, the Bealach na Lice. At this place the weather improved and the sun same out. Lovely views back to Sgorr Ruadh.
Sgorr Ruadh, Fuar Tholl and Loch Coire Fionnarach
All downhill from here to Annat. Stunning, wild scenery of mountains and lochs on the excellent trail. I stopped off quite high up, beside the burn out of Loch an Eoin. There was a gente breeze here and no midges. I decided to get the stove fired up and have dinner whilst the going was good, ie not sharing my meal with a million midges at my campspot!

Maol Chean Dearg above Loch an Eoin
I reached a nice spot for camp an hour further down the path and high enough to still have a breeze. Tent up and no midges, excellent. By now it was 8pm and the skies were clearing. Out in the west the sun was shining out over the horizon. A beautiful spot with Liathach and Beinn Alligin in view. The cloud was sill lingering over Liathach but I enjoyed some terrific light as the sun went down.

Home or the night

Sunset over Upper Loch Trridon, Beinn Alligin above
There's been a lot of news reports and photos of so called 'wild camping' at many beauty spots in the Scottish Highlands and indeed the rest of Britain. Scenes showing piles of litter, cheap pop-up tents and burning of trees along with human waste strewn across these areas. So sad to see. Of course these mindless people are not true wild campers or countryside lovers. They've recently been branded 'dirty campers'. Rightly so. If these ignorant people don't stop this and clear up after themselves/behave properly then it may well be that all camping will be branded with the same brush. Our long history of enviable, free access and rights to camping in the hills could be challenged. We certainly don't want this. Lets hope the 'novelty' for these people wears off and they'll disappear.


Spidean a Choire Leith, liathach
Next morning I had a gang of midges outside my tent, waiting. I headed down early from my camp and met up with Jillian and Graeme It was an overcast early morning but the weather forecasts was for the sun to burn back the clouds and a nice day in store. The couple have been out with me before. Last occasion was in March, only a couple of weeks before Corona made it's impact on us and stopped everyone's access to hillwalking. So it was lovely to see them again, in summer conditions. We set off up the wonderful path at the Eastern end of Liathach's beautiful, narrow ridge. No warm up, just straight up from the road. By 11am the clouds had lifted and melted away. We stood on the mountains eastern most summit, Stuc a'coire Duibh Bhig. This peak isn't a Munro summit so some people never bother taking the short detour of 15 minutes. It's a classic viewpoint.

The first top, Stuc a Choire Dhuih Bhig

Beinn Eighe from SaCDB
Retracing our way back along the ridge for the roller coaster walk along the many tops and pinnacles of this fine ridge high above Glen Torridon. Stunning views into the  Flowerdale Forest to the north. The walking over a mix of sandstone and quartzite rocks bring you to the first Munro of Spidean a'Choire Leith.
Spidean a' Choire Leith

Flowerdale Forest & Binn Eighe


Beinn Alligin & Beinn Dearg
 Time for another snacklet on the first Munro. We had set off at 0930 with a fair few groups well ahead of us. We hardly saw anyone the entire day. We seemed to have most of the mountain to ourselves.

First Munro

The view West

Looking back East

Am Fasarinen Pinnacles next
A descent over quartzie blocks soon brings you down to the begining of the Am Fasarinen Pinnacles. This section of the ridge involves some wonderful scrambling over many sandstone pinnacles. The more difficult ones can be bypassed quite easily just blow the base of the rock, if desired. Don't be tempted to take the much lower path that skirts the whole section of scrambling. This eroded path contours around a lot of steep gullies. Over the years it has become worse and definitely in wet weather it is not the choice I would ever take. You also miss out the fun on the rocks!
Poles away, hands out

Easy scrambling

A spur off the main ridge, why not?
When Jillian first climbed this hill she did indeed take the bypass path, apparently it was cloudy and not much in the way of views on that occasion. Unlike today. We were walking under warm sunshine virtually the whole time. A T-shirt job all day.
Brilliant fun on great big steps and hand holds

Great fun

Mostly walking
Before you know it, the scrbambling section is over. Just a 30 minute walk up along an easy ridge brings you to the second Munro, Mullach an Rathain. A stunning view down to Loch Torridon. Another brilliant traverse and probably well over 100 times for me on Liathach. Will never tire of this mountain.

The wild and Alpine like Coire na Caime

Upper Loch Torridon
A steep descent back to sea level via the Toll Bhain coire. Brilliant late afternoon light and heat! Another top day with this lovely couple. We finished off the day with a cold beer at the Beinn Damph bar. My first outdoor pint since February. Top day. Back up to my tent for the night.


After a night under the stars (clouds) again I set off the following early morning. Retracing my steps back toward Coire Lair. The cloud was down low and by the time I reached the Bealach na Lice the rain came on heavy. I decided not to walk in the clouds, instead opted for the direct descent to Coulags, near Strthcarron. No photos today, it must have been bad! We got our weather window, for sure.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

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