Beinn Alligin and Beinn Dearg
Tom na Gruagaich (922m, Munro 268)
Sgurr Mor (986m, Munro 162)
Beinn Dearg* (914m)
* See 'Alternative Routes' below
walking : 4:40hr*, running : 2:25hr
*Naismith's rule : 4km/h distance + 600m/h ascent
Main route summary
Beinn Alligin and Beinn Dearg lie in the heart of Torridon, one of the most beautiful areas in Scotland.
Though not as large or complex as their neighbours Liathach and Beinn Eighe, Beinn Alligin and Beinn Dearg are interesting mountains with some weird features.
Beinn Alligin's Munro summits stand above sandstone terraces on the south and gentle grassy slopes on the north.
The mountain is split by the Eag Dhubh, a deep gash on the south face of Sgurr Mor, where on the slopes below, it is said to have provided the lair of one of the last wild wolves in Scotland.
At the eastern end of the mountain, the Horns of Alligin provide some easy and entertaining scrambling.
Beinn Dearg's summit at 914m (the previous 2995ft on the old one-inch maps was replaced by 914m on metric maps) was the subject of recent debate - Munro or Corbett ?
It was accurately re-measured in 2007 and remains Corbett !
This highest point is in the middle of the mountain, where the ridge turns from east-west to north-south.
Owned by the NTS since 1967, Torridon has a fine network of paths, many of which have seen recent work.
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Having driven west though the village of Torridon, the narrow road starts to climb and twist uphill.
Beyond this the road flattens and drops to a carpark at the bridge over the Abhainn Coire Mhic Nobuil.
Although sizeable, the car-park struggles to cope with the influx of hillwalker's vehicles in summer.
Tom na Gruagaich
- Leave the car-park and cross the road.
Check out the waterfall upsteam.
The route up Beinn Alligin starts on the west side of the bridge in the undergrowth and rhodedendrons.
Although a fair bit of work has been carried out by the National Trust for Scotland, the path is still a bit peat-mucky, particularly if the weather has been wet.
- Start climbing - you'll need to take your hands out of your pockets to clamber up some sections.
Cross a deer-fence via a stile, then continue on towards Coire nan Laoigh.
- The ground levels and a burn coming out of this coire is met - a good place to pause and look back at the view over Loch Torridon.
- Into the coire and the ascent on a worn path gets steeper.
- Further up, it levels out and you're greeted by a small cairn on the col between Tom na Gruagaich's summit and the ridge over to Na Fasreidhnean.
- From here, turn sharp right and the trig point is only a few strides further uphill.
- Going up in the coire, the only views to be got are those looking back, however once on this summit the dramatic views suddenly open up.
The vista is stunning, all the way to the Outer Hebrides, up to An Teallach and over the other Torridon peaks to Wyvis and the Cairngorms.
You'll want to spend all day here !
The Horns of Alligin
- From Tom na Gruagaich's trig point, head north-east-north.
Although the route downhill is obvious, there's some easy scrambling on the way, with a couple of bits of hairy exposure on the right looking down the terraced sandstone cliffs into Toll Mhadaidh Mor.
- Down at the bealach the boulders are left behind and progress is made up to a grassy knoll with excellent views over to Baosbheinn.
- Changing to a more easterly direction, drop a bit, then start climbing again.
Notice the path starts to steer away to the left and avoids a direct ascent of Sgurr na Tuaigh.
In mist, be careful to stick to this path as a huge drop awaits the unwary that head to the top of Sgurr na Tuaigh.
The path however avoids the danger and takes you to a safe point at the top of this dramatic gash.
The gash splits the south facing side of Sgurr Mor and is called Eag Dhubh (black cleft).
Here is a good photo spot to frame in the view over to Maol Cheann-dearg.
- From this point, the summit of Sgurr Mor with its cairn is a few minutes further on up a worn path.
The views in all directions are wonderful.
- Looking from Sgurr Mor, there appears a long steep descent to the short bealach before Horns of Alligin.
No difficulties are encountered on the worn path and it is quicker getting down than expected.
- In fine weather, to get over the Horns requires no more than a sporting scramble.
However in the wet and wind, and at the more tricky bits on the first (most northerly) peak, keep slightly to the right of the crest and you'll find easier ways up and over.
- If you want to miss the Horns out altogether, then there is a very well used path on the south side of the ridge, starting just after the bealach.
- Continue over or past the three Horns, then follow some cairns to pick up a path heading south downhill.
- The NTS has being doing more pathwork here which eases the occasional scramble down and the route down to the two bridges.
After the second bridge, just turn right and head back along the good path to the car-park.
- But beware, on balmy summer evenings, the midges rise from the grass in their millions and create dense clouds ready to devour all.
Here is the centre of the midge universe !