Knoydart's Munros and Corbetts
Luinne Bheinn (939m, Munro 236)
Meall Buidhe (946m, Munro 223)
Ladhar Bheinn (Larven) (1020m, Munro 111)
Sgurr nan Eugallt* (898m)
Sgurr a'Choire-Bheithe* (913m)
Sgurr Choire Choinnichean* (796m)
Beinn na Caillich* (785m)
Beinn Buidhe* (855m)
* see alternative routes below
walking : 16:50hr*, running : 9:20hr
*Naismith's rule : 4km/h distance + 600m/h ascent
Main route summary
In my opinion, the most beautiful area in Scotland, Knoydart is a peninsula on the west coast opposite Skye. Without road or rail links, the area is accessed from Inverie to the south (via ferry from Mallaig), Arnisdale to the north (by private ferry, currently not operating), or as described below, by the superb trail following the southern shore of Loch Hourn.
The main route described here shows Knoydart's most dramatic features to their best.
Although there are no difficulties and there are fine tracks and paths to follow, this is a particularly long route to do in one day.
Many people therefore decide to back-pack in and camp at Barisdale, which allows the journey to be spread over two or more days and more peaks to be bagged (see 'Alternative Routes' below).
Taking the boat over from Mallaig and staying in Inverie makes for more social and relaxed hiking, with an Inn, guest houses and a vibrant community spread around.
However the mountains appear rather tame from this side with little impression of the scale of cliffs and corries seen from the north.
Views from all summits are fantastic, with that from Stob a'Choire Odhair down Loch Hourn being particularly fine.
(grid ref : NG943070)
view profile of the main route
download GPX file of this route
download KML file of this route
Luinne Bheinn :
Meall Buidhe :
Ladhar Bheinn :
'hoof or claw mountain'
Sgurr nan Eugallt :
'peak of precipices'
Sgurr a'Choire-Bheithe :
'peak of the birch coire'
Sgurr Choire Choinnichean :
'peak of the mossy coire'
Beinn na Caillich :
'hill of the old woman'
Beinn Buidhe :
|main route outline||print route|
- Head west along the A87 from Invergarry for 8km, then take the unclassified narrow road marked to Kinlochourn.
- Travel to the end of this road, which gets narrower the more west you proceed. Just before arriving at Kinlochourn, the road drops steeply and twists as it tries to avoid the river coming out of Loch Coire Shubh.
- A car-park has been made from reclaimed land near the end of the road, where nearby there is a house and courtyard, in which there is a small cafe).
You are obliged to deposit £1 into a jar for a day's parking (overnight parking is £2 and requires registration at the house).
- Leave the car park and walk along the road to its end.
- Along a constructed path hugging water's edge, walk initially over narrow and bouldery sections with drops into the clear water of Loch Hourn.
As the area widens, the path travels over easier ground with some sections overgrown with rhoededendrons.
The path turns a corner and Ladhar Bheinn comes into view - a very long way away !
- A large hut is reached and the path turns, then climbs slightly to a bridge over a river.
After a bit of wet ground, the path then climbs 100m and drops back to sea-level.
- Cross two burns, then climb another 100m on the path, followed by another drop to sea-level.
Cross another burn - you're now approximately half way to Barrisdale, with Eilean Mhogh-sgeir on your left, which is a good landmark for judging distance on the return.
Continue on path through heather and grass and over more burns.
- A third and last climb, is followed by a drop to a ruin and onto a track.
Follow this track for 2km to Barrisdale "bothy" and "campsite".
- Pass the buildings and continue along the track to cross the River Barrisdale on a wooden bridge.
- Keep on track aiming uphill and not to house on left.
- Further up a junction in the path is met, keep right on the path that climbs uphill towards Mam Barrisdale.
- Just before the pass, turn left over wet grassy ground then start the climb up Luinne Bheinn which is initially wet and steep.
- Further up a vague path that sticks to the crest can be found and followed.
There is another more obvious path on the west side of the hill, don't be tempted by this as it tends to be very wet and boggy underfoot.
- The path continues to the summit of Luinne Bheinn which has two cairns andcracking views, particularly north over Barrisdale and beyond.
- Continue over Luinnie Bheinn and its subsiduary eastern top then drop down the path to a flattened area at around c750m.
- Turn south-west away from the path over wet, grassy and sometimes steep ground to pick up some old iron fence posts at the next bealach.
- A path is picked up that continues along the ridge, by-passing the summit of Meall Coire na Gaoithe'n Ear on its north-west side.
You'll find some interesting rock strata before the climb up Meall Buidhe.
- It is steep in places on the last pull up to the cairn on Meall Buidhe's south-east top.
From this top top, turn west, following the path towards Meall Buidhe's main summit with its small untidy cairn.
- Aim due north over grassy, wet ground- careful of embedded loose boulders.
- After where the ground flattens out, look for an easy grassy route off right (east), from where grassy, wet ground picks its way through the rock to follow a small burn.
The burn is crossed further down at a point where it joins another burn coming from Luinne Bheinn.
- Ground stays wet and grass gets longer and thicker as you leave the burns behind and gently climb northwards.
Aim to cross the Mam Barrisdale path west of its highest point and continue towards Stob a'Chearcaill.
- Nearing this rocky outcrop, a path apears, which should be followed up.
A short scramble, is followed by a turn left onto a fainter path that aims for bealach west of Stob a'Chearcaill.
- A fine, worn path is picked up, which turns north-west aiming for Ladhar Bheinn, still some 2km away.
There are a couple of minor summits to cross with a short stiff scramble on one.
- The path continues all the way to Ladhar Bheinn's summit ridge which has three tops, the second cairn being the true summit.
The trig point is surprisingly on the lowest of these summits. Amazing views in all directions !
- Return to the most easterly cairn on the summit crest, then taking care, follow the path along the narrow crest heading north-east.
Note that being north-facing, snow can lie here quite late into spring.
- Climb up Stob a'Choire Odhair, a fine viewpoint with views north and east.
- Continue, by dropping down along the path to a grassy area at around 750m with a slight incline ahead.
Turn south-east off the path and drop down on wet, grassy steep ground.
- When you reach the burn flowing down the coire, pick up a wet boggy path aiming north-east.
Further down this path improves, passing old Scots Pine trees, with fine views over Loch Hourn to Beinn Sgritheall.
- The path turns south-east and climbs for a bit, then drops into, and zig-zags through thick ferns to reach the sea.
- Depending on the tide and the height of the River Barrisdale, it is possible to walk directly across Barrisdale bay, otherwise, follow the path back to join the track at the bridge and continue back through Barrisdale.
- Return to Kinlochourn on the same route in - the three 100m ascents on the way seem much harder than on the walk in !