A' Ghlas Bheinn and Beinn Fhada

A' Ghlas Bheinn and Beinn Fhada

Hillwalking route up the Munros above Bealach an Sgairne

In Kintail, a hike up Strath Croe leads to the two Munros of A' Ghlas Bheinn and Beinn Fhada which stand either side of the narrow gap of Bealach an Sgairne.



Route outline


Munros

Beinn Fhada, 

A' Ghlas-bheinn

Ascent 1500m (4920ft)
Distance 20km (12m)
Time 8:45hr
Start/finish Kintail Outdoor Centre, Morvich
Grid Ref : NG960211
Terrain
easy hard
Nav
easy hard
Effort
easy hard
Scenery
ok fab


At the southern end of Loch Duich, a network of forestry tracks and old stalkers paths lead along Strath Croe and up some of the height on A' Ghlas-bheinn and Beinn Fhada, the two rugged Munros lurking behind Kintail's Brothers and Sisters.

A fine hillwalking day can be had tracing these paths over these two mountains with several possible options to vary the route by extending it over other peaks or taking in some easy rock scrambling over the narrow ridge of Sgurr a' Choire Ghairbh.



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Route description


1. Getting to Morvich

Bridge over the Abhainn Chonaig

Bridge over the Abhainn Chonaig

The A87 travels from Invergarry in the Great Glen, north west onto Kyle of Lochalsh and the Isle of Skye. As it descends through Glen Shiel and meets with the head of Loch Duich, the road turns north-east.

As the road approaches a causeway over an inlet at the western end of Strath Croe, there is an unclassified road marked with a sign pointing to Morvich. Turn onto this road and follow it for around 2km to where another junction is marked pointing to the NTS Kintail Outdoor Centre.

Turn up the side road, head to the outdoor centre and park in the large designated parking area by some buildings and information boards. Overnight parking is not permitted here.

There are some more spots to park further along the road, though these are rather limited to verge sides.


2. A' Ghlas Bheinn

Through Strath Croe, A' Ghlas Bheinn ahead

Through Strath Croe, A' Ghlas Bheinn ahead

Leave the outdoor centre behind and follow the road to its end by a turning circle before a bridge over the River Croe. Cross the bridge, pass a side-road on your right, then shortly after you should find a path marked with a sign showing the way to Glomach Falls and access to the hills.

Now on a rough path, cross through a field, possibly holding livestock, and head through the first of many gates and into woodland. The path wanders alongside the Abhainn Chonaig travels out of the woodland into a field of grass to arrive at a split in the path by a wooden post marking way to the 'Falls' .

By the post, head left and follow a path over grass down into woodland to cross the Abhainn Chonaig via a bridge . On the northern bank of the river, head out of the woodland and turn right on track through a field. A sad old ruined cottage is passed to reach a gate in deer fence.

Through the gate, turn right on a track, cross a bridge and follow the track as it heads into dense spruce plantation and turns north-east. The forestry track turns sharply south-east and is followed to the edge of forest .

Out of the dense trees, turn left and trace the fence enclosing the forest directly uphill. A track is crossed and the top of the forest is reached .

Now on open hillside and on one of A' Ghlas-bheinn's west facing shoulders, hike up a grass-covered steep hillside. After gaining around 350m of height since leaving the edge of the forest, the ascent begins to level and a wide grass-covered expanse is crossed.

Summit of A' Ghlas Bheinn, looking to Ceathreamhnan

Summit of A' Ghlas Bheinn, looking to Ceathreamhnan

Gradually a faint path forms and this is traced to A' Ghlas-bheinn's summit on which a cairn stands and from where stunning all-round views can be savoured.

Summit of A' Ghlas Bheinn, looking to Ceathreamhnan

Summit of A' Ghlas Bheinn, looking to Ceathreamhnan


3. Beinn Fhada

Bealach an Sgairne

Bealach an Sgairne

From A' Ghlas-bheinn's summit, pick up a path and follow it southwards along the hill's grass-covered crest. Descending down a gentle gradient, some height is lost and the path comes to drop , where it then swings left (east) and drops to flat area.

Travelling over undulating ground, the path then passes a lochan (with Beinn Sgritheall beautifully framed in the distance to the west) and drops to a substantial cairn on the top of Bealach an Sgairne - the narrow break between A' Ghlas Bheinn and Meall a' Bhealaich.

Head west from the cairn and follow a stalkers path through the gap, losing a little height to meet a little cairn by junction in the path .

After taking the left branch, this path quickly begins to climb uphill and heads into Coire an Sgairne . Upon gaining the base of steeper ground in the coire, the stalkers path turns eastwards, then zig-zags up to meet a cairn on the crest of Beinn Fhada's shoulder that stretches northwards to Meall a' Bhealaich.

Once on the crest of this shoulder, the path turns southwards, gains a little height and begins to trace the upper edge of Coire an Sgairne. When the path meets with a burn, leave it and aim south-east up a wide grass-covered, and sometimes soggy, hillside.

On the path in Coire an Sgairne

On the path in Coire an Sgairne

The hillside becomes more of a broad shoulder which begins to veer eastwards. A few short patches of boulderfield are crossed and the trig point on Beinn Fhada's summit is reached. Spectacular views all round !

On the path in Coire an Sgairne

On the path in Coire an Sgairne


4. Return to Morvich

On the summit of Beinn Fhada

On the summit of Beinn Fhada

The most straightforward route for return is to about-turn on Beinn Fhada's summit and retrace your steps back down into Coire an Sgairne and onwards to the small cairn by the junction in the paths. Turn left to drop to where the path crosses the fast-flowing burn just below the waterfalls where the Allt Coire an Sgairne and the Allt a' Choire Chaoil meet .

Waterfalls where the Allt Coire an Sgairne meets the Allt a' Choire Chaoil

Waterfalls where the Allt Coire an Sgairne meets the Allt a' Choire Chaoil

Cross the burn (this may be impossible if in spate, see Route alternatives below), then follow a decent path through Gleann Choinneachain back to the wooden post met at the start of the route , then retrace your steps back to Morvich.

Waterfalls where the Allt Coire an Sgairne meets the Allt a' Choire Chaoil

Waterfalls where the Allt Coire an Sgairne meets the Allt a' Choire Chaoil


5. Alternative descent avoiding river crossing

Sgurr a' Choire Ghairbh above Coire Caol

Sgurr a' Choire Ghairbh above Coire Caol

If the river crossing below the waterfalls where the Allt Coire an Sgairne and the Allt a' Choire Chaoil meet is in spate, it will be impossible to cross and a route will need to be made to reach the western side of the burn higher up.

To do this, from Beinn Fhada's summit head westwards travelling along its broad grass-covered expanse as a path develops, to arrive on Meall on Fhuaran Mhoir . Beyond this minor summit, the route narrows to a ridge along which a path is followed without any difficulties over a couple of bumps to drop down to narrow Bealach an t-Sealgaire .

From the bealach, turn and drop into Coire Caol. A fairly steep descent at first drops down grass covered terrain. Keeping to the west side of the burn that begins to form, gradient easies as grass-cover becomes ever more dense. Patches of thick bracken are met just before reaching the stalkers path by burn below the waterfalls .


6. Scramble over Sgurr a' Choire Ghairbh

On the scramble up Sgurr a' Choire Ghairbh

On the scramble up Sgurr a' Choire Ghairbh

A fine alternative to returning through Gleann Choinneachean is to travel along Beinn Fhada's narrow western ridges and to descend the slopes of Beinn Bhuidhe. There's a bit of easy rock-scrambling on the way !

From Beinn Fhada, head westwards and follow the route described in the above section over Meall on Fhuaran Mhoir to Bealach an t-Sealgaire .

From the bealach, instead of descending into Coire Caol, head directly up the rocky ridge-line ahead. Some easy rock-scrambling is involved, with one slightly airy short section, to gain the top of the first point on Sgurr a' Choire Ghairbh .

With the scrambling more or less over, the ridge turns north-east, widens and the route continues over a series of lumps to reach the high point on Faradh Nighean Fhearchair.

With no path to follow, aim northward along the wide crest of Faradh Nighean Fhearchair to lose a little height before turning north-west to drop to Beinn Bhuidhe . Follow the western shoulder of this hill through grass and heather downhill to pick up a track in Gleann Lichd to return to Morvich.





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Alternative and nearby routes »


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