Beinn a'Bheithir from Sgurr na h-Ulaidh

Beinn a' Bheithir via Schoolhouse Ridge

Rock-scrambling route up Sgorr Dhearg and Sgorr Dhonuill from Ballachulish

An easy rock-scrambling route aiming up up 'Schoolhouse Ridge' on Beinn a' Bheithir's narrow eastern shoulder. Taking in the Munro summits of Sgorr Dhearg and Sgorr Dhonuill, there are options including a fast descent on scree in Sgorr Dhonuill's northern coires.

Route outline


Sgorr Dhearg, 

Sgorr Dhonuill

Ascent 1350m (4420ft)
Distance 14km (9m)
Time 5:45hr
Start/finish Ballachuilish Primary School
Grid Ref : NN081578
easy hard
easy hard
easy hard
ok fab

Schoolhouse Ridge is a rough a direct route heading up the eastern shoulder of Beinn a' Bheithir to the minor summit of Sgorr Bhan. The rock-scrambling involved is pretty straightforward with one pitch at Grade 1. Beyond Sgorr Bhan, rough crests lead to the two Munro peaks on Beinn a' Bheithir - Sgorr Dhearg and Sgorr Dhonuill.

Instead of taking the obvious route down from the col following fenceposts, a rough route with stunning views over Morven leads to a fine scree-run to join the forestry tracks in Gleann a'Chaolais below.

Route map

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Route description

1. Getting to start by Ballachuilish Primary School

At the foot of Schoolhouse Ridge

Ballachuilish Primary School is on the southern edge of Ballachuilish village. There is limited parking here, therefore it may be better to park lower down the road by the bridge over the River Laroch.

2. Schoolhouse Ridge, Sgorr Bhan and Sgorr Dhearg

Rougher terrain of Schoolhouse Ridge

Leave the school and follow the road south. The road becomes a track aiming further south through sheep grazing fields. After around another ½km leave the track and begin to head over grassy (and, depending on weather, slightly damp) ground uphill south-west.

The ground becomes heather covered higher up and an obvious path picks a way uphill.

The ridge begins to narrow and some easy scrambling can be enjoyed. There is really only one part with an awkward move, but all that is required is hands on rock and some care. Arrival of quartzite blocks higher up indicate the top Sgorr Ban is near.

Beyond Sgorr Bhan, continue west on a path over loose gravel and scree following the rim of Sgorr Dhearg's north-east coire to Sgorr Dhearg .

3. Sgorr Dhonuill

Descending Sgorr Dhearg's western crest back to the col

Leave Sgorr Dhearg's small cairn and on an obvious path head westwards downhill. The path twists a route through boulders and scree and drops to a grassy shoulder. The path then drops further to the bealach between Sgorr Dhearg and Sgorr Dhonuill at a height of 757m.

Continue westwards initially steeply uphill following a path over grass. The ground levels out and terrain underfoot becomes more bouldery.

The path follows Sgorr Dhonuill's narrow crest with sharp drops north into the northern coire, so take a bit of care as progress is made across the boulders. The terrain steepens and the path twists northwards and becomes a bit exposed - at this point, look to the left slightly and a route can be traced over large boulders to a nick just below the summit. A little bit of easy scrambling is needed to reach above the nick (note this bit for descent) and Sgorr Dhonuill's summit cairn quickly appears.

Walk a little to the west of the cairn to get superb views to Sunart, Morven and Mull.

4. Return to Ballachuilish

West from Sgorr Dhonuill over Loch Linnhe to Morven

From Sgorr Dhonuill, travel west downhill for 1km to a dip . Turn north-east and head down scree to pick up a path to the forest edge below.

Through the forest the path meets up with the track in Gleann a'Chaolais which can then be followed to St John's Church , from where a footpath can be walked along for the 1km return to Ballachuilish.

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