Although many paths give access to these hiking areas, the terrain is hard and rugged, the ascents can be steep and loose, and the summit ridges high and exposed. Our itinerary for the week starts on the more straight forward ascents and gradually works in more exciting and airy ridges, so that skills are acquired, sharpened or extended, before moving on to the more exposed routes in the second half of the week. To allow you to get the very best out of this holiday, you will need to have a high level of fitness and good reserves of stamina. Some previous experience of hard mountain walking over rugged terrain is essential, as is a good head for heights.
Your trip includes 7 nights’ accommodation in the excellent Hostel in the village of Torridon and 5 days’ guided walking.
There is a free day mid week. On each of our 5 day walks we will be on the hill for up to 9 hours (or more, dependant on the pace of the party) Much of our walking is on mountain tracks and paths, however these vary in quality and are frequently rough and steep. We will also be negotiating unpathed and uneven terrain, including boulder fields and scree. Considerable time will be spent on high, narrow and exposed mountain ridges and some straight forward, but exposed scrambling will be necessary on some of the routes.
The itinerary below follows our expected programme for the week. Any changes to this will reflect your guide’s judgement as to what is best in the conditions for the group’s safety and overall enjoyment of the holiday.
Day 1, Saturday: Travel from Edinburgh to Torridon.
We leave Edinburgh at 1.00 pm for the 5 hour drive to our base in Torridon. In the evening over dinner and a drink, we will have the opportunity to discuss more fully our plans for the week, and your guide will answer any questions guests may have about the trip.
Day 2, Sunday: Beinn Eighe (Mountain of the File).
With its sandstone cleverly disguised by a scree cap of shattered quartzite, the flanks of Beinn Eighe bring to mind images of attempting to walk up the ‘down’ escalator! Our ploy is to approach the mountain from behind and so avoid the worst of this tiring terrain. We also benefit from approaching the climb through Coire Mhic Fearchair, the most dramatic corrie mainland Scotland has to offer.
The climb out of the corrie takes us almost directly to Ruadh-stac Mor, at 1010 metres (3309ft), the higher of Beinn Eighe’s two “Munros” (Scottish mountain over 3000ft). The relatively straightforward route south over A’Choinneach Mhor, then west along a rocky arête gives us the second Munro of the day, Spidean Coire nan Clach (972m/3188ft). While Ruadh-stac Mor gives wide sweeping views west, north, and east over vast areas of wild moor, loch and mountain, Spidean Coire nan Clach adds the aspect of Glen Torridon lying 900 metres beneath us. Coire an Laoigh provides us with the steep descent route to the road in Glen Torridon.
11.5m/18.5km, 1215m/3980ft, 8-9 hrs
Day 3, Monday: Beinn Alligin ( Jewel Mountain )
Beinn Alligin gives us a mix of rough moorland walking , some steep paths, airy ridges, and a fairly gentle introduction to scrambling over sandstone steps and terraces which will all be features of our stay in Torridon.
Our route leaves the minor road to Inver Alligin, heading across the moor to the steep path which rises quickly for 375 metres alongside the Alltan Glas towards the summit of our first Munro of the day, Tom na Gruagaigh (922m/3025ft). Once achieved, this airy spot gives us a preview of our route ahead, encircling the deep coire, Toll a’ Mhadaidh (Hole of the Fox). The path follows the ridge round to Sgurr Mhor, the highest point on Beinn Alligin, at 985 metres (3232ft). The views to Beinn Liath Mhor and Liathach give us a real appreciation of what is to follow later in the week. We now continue along the ridge, scrambling over the “Horns of Alligin”, giving us our first taste of the exposed terrain for which these mountains are famous. Finally we descend to join the gurgling waters and falls of the Amhainn Coire Mhic Nobuil on a pleasant path through some remnants of ancient Caledonian Pine Forest back to our transport.
6m/10km, 1220m/4000ft, 7-8hrs
Day 4, Tuesday: Slioch (The Spear).
From the shores of Loch Maree, that most beautiful of Highland lochs, Slioch appears as a giant castle overseeing the passage of traffic to its south. It comes as something of a surprise on reaching the summit that this majestic mountain also oversees a vast and dramatically different landscape to its north. For here is the deserted, remote and mountainous Fisherfield Forest, stretching more than 20 kilometers to the north-east and to the north-west before any other public road or habitation can be found.
We begin just outside the small village of Kinlochewe and firstly follow a good and easy track along the shores of Loch Maree before striking off on to much more rugged terrain with intermittent paths into Coire Tuill Bhain, enclosed by the ‘battlements’ of Slioch. A steep pull, again up intermittent paths, takes us to the horseshoe ridge of the mountain, opening up views through 360 degrees. With a short and exhilarating traverse leading to the opposite end of the horseshoe, we then descend to regain our approach route and follow this back to our transport at Kinlochewe.
12m/20km, 1100m/3600ft, 9 hrs
Day 5, Wednesday: Rest Day.
This is your opportunity to enjoy a more relaxing day or to do an easier walk. Your guide will be able to advise you on what’s available.
Day 6, Thursday: Beinn Liath Mhor and Sgorr Ruadh (Big Grey Mountain and Red Peak )
A change of glen today as we drive around to Glen Carron to park at Achnashellach Station for the start of a really classic circuit.
Excellent paths take us first of all to the foot of Beinn Liath Mhor, where we sacrifice quality of path to the increasing gradient. When the south eastern top of the mountain is finally reached, the way ahead lies along a narrow and undulating ridge, which lacking any real technical difficulty allows us to take in the extensive views to either side of our airy walk. The summit itself provides improved vistas north over Glen Torridon to Liathach, Beinn Eighe, and Slioch. We then descend steeply over very rough ground to Bealach Coire Lair before re-ascending, up steep scree in places, to the rocky summit of Sgorr Ruagh. A steep descent south east then east, brings us back on to the outward route for easier walking back to our vehicle.
9m/14.5km, 1170m/3850ft, 8-9 hrs
Day 7, Friday: Liathach (The Grey One).
To the hill walker visiting Torridon for the first time, Liathach, with its massive bulk rising in steeply stacked sandstone terraces straight from the Glen Torridon roadside, can’t fail to have made a huge impression. Hill walkers shouldn’t be intimidated by this awesome mountain, but it does need to be treated with care and respect-and in turn it will provide one of the best day’s ridge walking to be found in Scotland.
Our path starts up beside the Allt an Doire Gharbh, which picks a careful and twisting route to a low point on the ridge to the west of Stuc a’ Choire Dhubh Mhic. We follow the ridge out to this summit before turning to examine our way west over the string of tops in front of us. We move off along the rocky and steep ridge to Stob a’ Choire Liath Mhor and on to Spidean a’ Choire Leith - the highest point on the mountain at 1054 metres (3456ft).
Ahead of us stretch the Fasarinen Pinnacles where the (delete) good rock and good holds provide some very exposed scrambling. This section can be avoided, but the narrow path which runs along a sandstone terrace set at 900 metres above the Glen Torridon road is such that the sense of exposure is little less than on the scrambling route. After the pinnacles the exposure eases as we make our way up to Mullach an Rathain perched high above Loch Torridon. This is a good place to stop, rest, and to relish the week’s achievements - and to perhaps promise ourselves to come back again someday to explore some of the other attractive mountains we’ve seen but not yet had the chance to experience first hand. An intermittent path allows us to drop quickly down to the glen 2½ km away, and 1000 metres below.
5m/8km, 1455m/4800ft, very exposed terrain, 8-9 hrs
Day 8, Saturday: Travel to Edinburgh.
We will leave Torridon around 9.00 am and have a break on our trip back to allow a quick lunch and to stretch our legs. We reach Edinburgh mid to late afternoon, where you can be dropped off either at the airport or in the City Centre.
Your guide for this holiday will have an intimate and extensive knowledge of the Torridon mountains and will be qualified to at least Mountain Leader (ML) standard. Your guide’s objective will be to ensure the group’s safe enjoyment of the best of the area’s hillwalking routes, depending on weather and any other issues which may give rise to possible departures from the planned itinerary.
Accommodation and Meals
Your accommodation throughout the week will be in the superbly located the (delete)Torridon (SYHA) Hostel. Over the years we have moved away from hostel accommodation generally, however this holiday is the exception, simply because the Torridon Hostel is so ideally located for our excursions and is impeccably well managed and maintained. The guests are almost exclusively responsible hill goers like ourselves and the bunkrooms are to a high standard, as are the rest of the facilities we need to make our stay a successful one. Accommodation is in single sex bunk rooms (usually sleeping 6) and a generous and tasty breakfast will be provided in the hostel dining area.
Evening meals are not included in the trip price, however we will arrange for meals for the whole group to be taken together at one of the excellent local bar/restaurants (budget around -£15 per night for dinner). Packed lunches will be provided throughout the week.
This trip is graded as “Strenuous”. Each day we will be on the hill for between 8-10 hours, with daily distances of between 5-12 miles (8-20km) and between 1100-1450 metres (3600-4800ft) of ascent in a day. Much of our walking is on mountain tracks and paths, however these vary in quality and are frequently rough and steep. We will also be negotiating unpathed and uneven terrain, including boulder fields and scree. Considerable time will be spent on high, narrow and exposed mountain ridges and some straight forward, but exposed scrambling will be necessary on some of the routes (‘scrambling’ involves using your hands as well as feet to climb, and is a cross between walking and climbing.). Previous experience of hard mountain walking over rugged terrain is essential, as is a good head for heights.
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