The two Munros of Beinn Eighe

Beinn Eighe main ridge

During quiet times I plan to make a few posts here that are trips reports that I’ve previously written and posted on other websites over the years BB (Before Blogging). I wish to list them here before I lose them (one site lost all old posts when they changed format several years ago) and if they are of interest to you, then so much the better.

The first of these is for a trip on Beinn Eighe, which was not my first time on the mountain, but the first time I reached the main summit of Rhuadh-stac Mor (1010m). On other visits I’d climbed other tops on the ridge, including Spidean Corie nan Clach (993m) and taken other approaches.

For this walk we approached Beinn Eighe by the popular route of the long, but easy path along Coire Dubh Mor past the towering hulk of Liatach on our left.

Walking in to Coire Mhic Fhearchar with a glance back to Ben Dearg

Coire Dubh Mhor path

This was an easy 7km (4miles) walk into one of the most beautiful corries in the Scottish mountains. As the path wound round the northern flank of Sail Mhor it rose more steeply and climbed up beside several waterfalls flowing from the loch. These terraces in the land gave rise to several ‘false summits’ before we eventually reached the loch on the corrie floor. On one previous occasion when we walked in here, the water in the waterfalls was going uphill (blowing in the air) with the strength of the wind; needless to say, we did not reach the summit that day.

Once past the waterfalls in the lower part of the corrie we saw the whole of the beautiful Coire Mhic Fhearchair with its loch and the towering Triple Buttress at the back wall. The loch was frozen over for about half it’s surface and the corrie felt like a magical place. We lingered here a while spellbound by the wild beauty of the place. But we still had a mountain to climb, so onward and upward…

Loch Corie Mhic Fhearchar

Loch Coire Mhic Fhearchar

The path disappeared after the loch and it was a matter of finding the best route across the stones to the base of the obvious gulley to the east of the back wall of the corrie. There was a section of large stones to cross and I dislike this sort of walking as I’m frightened I’ll twist my ankle at any minute. Once past that, the large scree seems almost easy in comparison. As we ascended the slope the scree become smaller, which should be easier, but it was slippery.

The path goes diagonally across the scree in the middle of the photograph

Coire Mhic Fhearchar

At the top of the scree (upper third, right side in the picture above) there is an obvious gulley leading to the ridge.

The route up the gulley was quite badly eroded and a wee bit slippery in places, but nothing too serious. They were places where we had to grab hold of solid(ish) rock at the side of the gully when the ground beneath our feet slipped.

The route up the gulley

Scrambling up the gulley

Once at the saddle it was a straightforward romp along the ridge to the summit of Ruadh Stac Mor at 3304 ft (1010 m). The walking was easy and the views are spectacular. .

The summit of Ruadh-Stac Mor is the furthest peak

Ruadh-Stac Mor

Looking across the corrie to Spidean Coire nan Clach

Looking across the corrie to Spidean Coire nan Clach

This was the only time in an otherwise glorious day when we had low cloud obscuring our views some of the time. We wanted to amble slowly along the ridge and take lots of pictures, but we could see the cloud approaching us from the west, racing us to the summit. We hurried along the ridge towards the main summit, but were encased in cloud at the trig point.

Without stopping for the (almost) obligatory summit lunch break we retraced our steps along this northern ridge back to the bealach. From here we headed up to the top of Conneach Mhor. At 976m this is a Munro Top and even without that status it is worth the ascent for the view along the ridges and for the enjoyable scrambling bit. The cloud had lifted from this peak although it was still swirling around above the long easterly ridge of the mountain.

Looking east along the ridge from Coinneach Mhor

Looking east along the ridge from Coinneach Mhor

I love ridge walking and the stroll along to Spidean Coire nan Clach was a delight – even if I had to do it mostly alone, so Neil could get photos of me in (more or less) the right places!

Spidean Coire nan Clach in the distance

Spidean Coire nan Clach in the distance

Spidean Coire nan Clach was promoted to Munro status in 1997 to become Beinn Eighe’s second Munro. The map shows a trig point on the ridge at 972 meters and as we approached this we were aware of what appeared to be a slightly higher rocky peak a short distance to the north-east. We checked the map and sure enough this peak is higher at 992 metres. We headed to ‘bag’ that too.

We had walked the whole of this easterly ridge on a previous ascent of Spidean Coire nan Clach – when we started from a path heading uphill from just west of Kinlochewe – so this time we decided to head down from Spidean.

We headed south towards the ridge of Fuaran Mor and dropped down into Coire an Laoigh. This was pretty steep (well, most paths on and off Torridonian hills are steep!) and was knee-jarring at places when it was too rocky to use the walking poles.

Descending to Glen Torridon

Descending to Glen Torridon

From the corrie we picked up the path beside the burn and followed this back to the road.

We had had a brilliant long day on the hill – about 9 hours in total. It won’t take others that long to do the route, but we were so delighted with the weather (despite the wee bit of cloud when on the main top), that we spent a while taking pictures and lingered more than rushed.

BTW The observant amongst you may notice that I’m carrying ice axes. Yes, the axes (note at one point I was carrying Neil’s too!*) were overkill, but there was a wee bit snow in the corrie and if there had been a bit more we may have needed them. This walk was undertaken on April 1st and the northern corrie often holds snow late into the season, and unfortunately, you can’t see the northern corrie before setting out.

*As to why I was carrying Neil’s axe for him… well?! I can’t remember what his excuse was!

I’ll leave you with a few more photos of the day on my Flickr slideshoow.

8 comments on “The two Munros of Beinn Eighe

  1. Corker of a day with some stunning photos. Ridge walking at it’s finest. Ruadh Stac Mor was my very first munro back in Easter 1984. A superb day somewhat enlivened by the fact that two of the party lagging at the back got slighty lost and ended up walking all the way to the hostel by going the long way around the back of Liathach from Coire Mhich Fhearchar (not me I hasten to add!)

  2. My two ascents of Beinn Eighe both, sadly, much too long ago, before there were two Munros, were both during Easter trips and both with the hills fully covered in snow and Loch Corie Mhic Fhearchar frozen. I say this every time I read a post about the area, but I really must get back to Torridon. Lovely post, cheers.

  3. What an excellent piece with fantastic photos, Sheila. I, too, did these Munros about ten years ago, but from the other end – clattering down the gully and scree instead of clawing my way up it. Unfortunately, it was during the days when I didn’t make notes so I don’t remember much. What I do remember very clearly, is slogging up scree onto the ridge of Sgurr Ban and gazing down upon upon what seemed like a absolute wilderness stretching off to the north. The complete unexpectedness of that view will stay with me for a long time.
    Cheers, Alen McF

  4. Pingback: Classic Torridon in September « News from Mountain Innovations

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