Our blog - Knoydart Munros, Jul'18

A blog of our mountain adventures in Scotland, hiking, biking, rock-scrambling and more !

Knoydart Munros

20-23 July 2018
A holiday of guided hiking in remote Knoydart aiming for Ladhar Bheinn and other Munros. Al Ewen and John King were leading, here's Al's tale....

Setting off on an adventure in Knoydart is always an exciting prospect. On Friday the 20th of July myself and fellow guide John King, with a group of 12 clients, left Mallaig on the ferry for Inverie. It was sunny and bright and we enjoyed good views of Loch Nevis, Skye and Knoydart. On arriving at Inverie we strolled down to the Knoydart Foundation bunkhouse, relaxed got ready for our weekend of hillwalking.

Knoydart is a remote peninusla in the west highlands. Bound by two long fjord-like sea lochs, Loch Hourn to the north and Loch Nevis on the south, Knoydart is rugged and wild and a fantastic place for hillwalking. It has three Munros: Ladhar beinn, Luinne Bheinn and Meall Buidhe; and three Corbetts: Beinn na Cailich, Sgurr Coire Choinnichean and Beinn Bhuidhe. With rough terrain and starting at sea level, hill days in Knoydart are pretty challenging but hugely rewarding: a real wilderness experience with awesome views in all directions.

The weather forecast for the weekend played into our planning: Saturday was to be dry but cloudy, Sunday wet and windy and Monday cloudy with sunny spells. Our plan of action would be to do the two Munros - Luinne Bheinn and Meall Bhuidhe - on Saturday, Ladhar Beinn on Sunday and perhaps one Corbett - Sgurr Coire Choinnichean - on Monday.

On Saturday morning we began the day by heading up the track east to Mam Barrisdale. By the time we reached the pass, at an altitude of 450m, we were in the cloud but thankfully it was dry with little wind. Next we headed south east on a faint path to 680m, then east up steep grassy slopes to the summit of our first Munro, Luinne Bheinn (939m). The connecting ridge with Meall Bhuidhe is rugged and complex. From time to time the cloud cleared and we got great views of the hills to the east with lots of bare, glacier-smoothed rock slabs. In the coire below, we caught sight of red deer and under our feet there were lots of wildflowers and alpine plants: like Goldenrod, Eyebright and Dwarf juniper. The last bit of the ridge up to Meall Buidhe narrows and steepens and we enjoyed a little easy scrambling. Having reached the summit (946m) we lingered a little for some food and photos before heading west down a long grassy ridge. At the bottom of the ridge we rejoined the hill track to Mam Barrisdale and walked back to our bunkhouse in Inverie. Altogether this 20km hill day with 1650m ascent took 9 hours.

As forecasted it was drizzling on Sunday morning. Our plan was to hike up Ladhar Bheinn via Gleann na Guiserein entailing a 7km walk in on a track. The rain persisted all day and up high on the mountain it was windy too, making for pretty uncomfortable conditions. Nevertheless we reached the trig point at 1010m in good time, with the summit at 1020m a few minutes after. In good spirits we returned to the bunkhouse after 8 hours of walking.

Satisfied with ticking off the three Knoydart Munros, some of our group headed back on the morning ferry on Monday. Some of us however stayed on and hiked up the nearest Corbett to Inverie, a hill called Sgurr Coire Choinnichean. The route goes straight up from Inverie, via a path behind the pub. The ascent takes in a fantastic and really enjoyable narrow ridge. From the summit (796m) we continued east to another summit called Stob an Uillt-fhearna (661m) then downhill over bracken covered slopes to the Mam Barrisdale track. On the way down the clouds cleared and sun came out.

After collecting our kit from the bunkhouse we had time to stop by the cafe in Inverie for coffee and possibly the best cheesecake I have ever had in my life: amazing vanilla and mango cheesecake enjoyed outside in the sunshine. The ferry back to Mallaig was sunny and very pleasant topping off another great trip to Knoydart.

Some photos by John King are here on Flickr.

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© 2018 Steven Fallon