Cul Beag: a Good Friday walk

Cul Beag, Coigach

What was this? Glorious weather on a bank holiday! Unheard of in Scotland. To make the most of this weather and to avoid most of the Bank Holiday crowds we headed west to Coigach an area of wild land – hills and lochs – northwest of Ullapool. As we had climbed Cul Mor on a previous trip we decided to tackle the wee brother, Cul Beag. We thought this would be an easy walk to get us back into the hills after a bit of a hiatus.

We studied the map for the area and considered the long gradual approach from the east, however we thought this looked a bit far for a late start (it was almost 1pm before we approached the single-track road to Achiltibuie). Instead we chose to take the short, steep ascent from the west.

Cul Beag, Coigach

We started from about half way along Loch Lurgainn at Linneraineach (NC 127088) and followed a stalkers path heading north. This path gave us wonderful views north to Suilven and Cul Mor.

Cul Beag, Coigach

Cul Beag, Coigach

And views west to Stac Pollaidh

Cul Beag, Coigach

At a small lochan at the height of the pass, we headed east up the steep slope to a col. The was a long, tiring drag but easy in the dry conditions.

Cul Beag, Coigach

Cul Beag, Coigach

Cul Beag, Coigach

From the col we watched a party of young people descending and while we waited to have the hill to ourselves, we headed north to the smaller top.

Cul Mor from Cul Beag, Coigach

This top gave wonderful views looking north, over Lochan an Doire Dhuibh to Cul Mor in Inverpolly National Nature Reserve.

Cul Beag, Coigach

We returned to the col and continued south steeply to the summit.

Cul Beag, Coigach

Cul Beag, Coigach

Cul Beag, Coigach

Cul Beag, Coigach

Rather than return the way we had come we chose to descend by following the top of the crags south and dropping down to the end of Loch Lurgainn.

Cul Beag, Coigach

This route gave us great views of the steep crags on this side of the hill

Cul Beag, Coigach

Cul Beag, Coigach

Cul Beag, Coigach

There are many amazing rock formations

Cul Beag, Coigach

Cul Beag, Coigach

We actually dropped lower than we should have here as we were following our son who had decided he was going to pick a way down between the crags.

Cul Beag, Coigach

We left him to take this (to us) inadvisable route and we took the longer safer option
Cul Beag, Coigach

Cul Beag, Coigach

This brought us down close to the easterly end of the loch

Cul Beag, Coigach

With about two miles to walk back on the road.

Loch Lurgain, Coigach

Cul Beag, Coigach

Our son made his way back to the start safely, but no quicker than us and having looked at his  GPS reading of his route I think we made the best decision for us.

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7 comments on “Cul Beag: a Good Friday walk

  1. Sheila, these wonderful photos, take me back twenty years ago, when my wife and I walked this area one summer. I have not be back since then. Good to see you are posting again. I have just started again after a bit of a break.
    Mark

  2. Mark, NW Sutherland is one of my favourite parts of our beautiful country. I feel privileged to live only one hour away from Ullapool (and all points north and west!) and we hope to make more frequent short trips across there in the future.

  3. Hi Sheila, like Mark I love the far NW and have some very fond memories of days on Cul Beag, Cul Mor, and Stac Polliadh. My personal favourite is Ben More Coigach with its complex topography and the wonderful Ptarmigan ridge with its sensational coastal views. Not been walking that way for a few years now – its a bit of a drive from Hereford. I was out backpacking in Glen Kingie over Easter with my blog now updated with a report and photos
    Andy

    • surfnslide, we actually planned to walk Ben More Coigach that day, but although the weather forecast was correct about sunshine and temperature, they failed to get the wind speed correct. It was a wee bit windy when we passed through Ullapool, but when we stopped to photograph Stac Pollaidh it was blowin a hoolie! We decided against tackling Ben More Coigach with its ridge that day. It was pretty windy on the summit of Cul Beag, so we made the right choice.

      I too, like these small, but spectacular hills – I have sets on Flickr for Cul Mor and Suilven. I have a special affection for Stac Pollaidh as it was my very first hill at age 16 – climbed with friends and family several times since.

      One of my Flickr contacts has posted pics from Cul Mor on 2 May. showing the fire at Inverkerkaig http://www.flickr.com/photos/highlandsc/sets/72157626541420475/?page=2

  4. Hell of day and a hell of fire – here’s hoping that the fire didn’t burn too deep into the peat and the area can recover quickly. An absolute travesty if the area was permenantly damaged in any way. We were in the Lake District and saw a substantial fire on Muncaster Fell near the West coast. The whole area was tinder dry so hopefully the heavy rain over the weekend has reduced the risk.

    I must get back and climb Suilven again one day. I did it on a very dreary day back in the 80’s but I did at least manage to scare the pants off myself scrambling around on the rock towers at the eastern end

  5. It looks like you had an amazing day. That area really is God’s Own Country (with apologies to those people who think that’s Yorkshire or indeed anywhere else). I’m with Andy – Ben More Coigach is my favourite too, although I’ve never climbed Suilven. One day I’m going to climb those hills with my kids. Can’t wait.

  6. It has a certain beauty, but it is horrendously deforested. A few sorry, isolated pines are all I can see – sad.

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