Beinn a'Bheithir from the Pap of Glencoe

Beinn a'Bheithir from Ballachulish hiking route

Hillwalking route up Sgorr Dhearg and Sgorr Dhonuill from Ballachulish

On forestry tracks lower down with grass covered terrain and boulderfield higher up, this is a fine there-and-back route up Sgorr Dhearg and Sgorr Dhonuill - the two Munro summits on Beinn a'Bheithir.



Route outline


  Map base ©OpenStreetMap
Munros

Sgorr Dhonuill

Sgorr Dhearg

Ascent 1300m (4260ft)
Distance 12km (8m)
Time 5:10hr
Start/finish Glenachuilish
Grid Ref : NN047589
Terrain
easy hard
Nav
easy hard
Effort
easy hard
Scenery
ok fab


Good tracks lead into Coire a'Chaolais which is encircled by the mountain ridges of Beinn a'Bheithir, on which there are two Munro peaks - Sgorr Dhearg and Sgorr Dhonuill.

The route is way marked lower down on forestry tracks, and well maintained paths. Above the forestry, mossy (and often wet) ground is crossed following lines of fence posts. The route on higher ground follows crests with scree-runs gaining Sgorr Dhearg and some easy scrambling near the summit of Sgorr Dhonuill.



Route map




Route description


1. Getting to Glenachuilish

Heading up Gleann a'Chaolais

From the Ballachulish roundabout, head onto the A828 and drive under Ballachulish bridge.

Beyond is the Ballachulish Hotel, and a further 0.5km west a sign-post pointing to Glenachulish marks the start of a narrow tarred road aiming south.Drive up this past several houses (keeping to the left) to a rough car-park hidden in some forestry. This car-park can be so midge infested in summer !


2. Bealach between Sgorr Dhearg and Sgorr Dhonuill

At the col, looking back down to Ballachulish

Leave the car-park and head directly uphill on the track, past a small hydro building.

You'll meet a bridge off left , cross this, then once over turn right and head up the track for just under 1km.

The track turns and comes to another junction . On the other side of the track, a sign points the direction for hillwalkers, aim directly uphill on a path through forest.

Another track is met and crossed, then the path becomes steeper climbing through a gap in the trees, then into dark dense forest. Well constructed with boulders and log edges, the path emerges from the forest, heads through a gate, then follows an old fence line above the plantation edge .

From here a very wet path continues up a gentle incline to the foot of the bealach, from where it steepens for the climb up to the col at 757m .


3. Sgorr Dhearg

Above the col, aiming up Sgorr Dhearg, Sgorr Dhonhuill behind

Decision time - which Munro summit is to be tackled first ? I'm not sure why, by I tend to aim for Sgorr Dhearg.

As you'll be returning to the bealach, you might, depending on conditions, want to leave your rucksack or some of your other gear here.

So, from the bealach, turn left (east), uphill and follow an obvious path over grassy ground. Higher up the grass gives way to boulder-field and scree, but there's a path zig-zagging a route through this all the way to Sgorr Dhearg's summit . Wonderful views down the east ridge of Beinn a'Bheithir to the Pap of Glencoe and beyond.


4. Sgorr Dhonuill

Descending Sgorr Dhearg towards Sgorr Dhonuill

Return to the bealach between the Munro summits , then continue west 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.


5. Return to Glenachuilish

Descending Sgorr Dhonhuill

The most straightforward descent is to retrace your steps back. Finding the top of the nick is tricky (especially in mist) as there is also a direct and very exposed route that continues eastwards (best avoided). Return to the bealach and head back down to Glenachuilish the way you came up.





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