Gleouraich and Spidean Mialach

Gleouraich and Spidean Mialach from Loch Cuaich

Above Loch Cuaich (prev Loch Quoich), a most enjoyable hike following stalker's paths and ridges bags the two Munros of Gleouraich and Spidean Mialach.



Route outline


Munros

Gleouraich, 

Spidean Mialach

Ascent 1225m (4010ft)
Distance 14km (9m)
Time 5:30hr
Start/finish Loch Cuaich
Grid Ref : NH029030
Terrain
easy hard
Nav
easy hard
Effort
easy hard
Scenery
ok fab


Dammed in the 1950's, Loch Cuaich (or Loch Quoich as on older maps) is a lonely loch on route to Knoydart. Above the dam and the eastern end of the loch, the two Munros of Gleouraich and Spidean Mialach stand connected by a long ridge.

The route onto these peaks follows old stalkers tracks and paths up onto high ground with hill-walkers' paths taking over on the ridges. Navigation is fairly straightforward, though in mist there are some spots where paths become faint just as topography can confuse.



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Route description


1. Getting to Loch Cuaich

By Loch Cuaich

By Loch Cuaich

From Invergarry in the Great Glen, head westwards along the A87 for 8km to a junction by the shores of Loch Garry. Take the unclassified narrow road that is signposted towards Kinlochourn. Follow this road for around 18km to the Loch Quoich dam.

Around 5km west of the dam, by some forestry and a recently constructed track for a small hydro scheme, there is a rough parking area surrounded by rhododendrons. There is room for around 8 vehicles.


2. Gleouraich

On the stalker's path heading up Sron a' Chuilinn

On the stalker's path heading up Sron a' Chuilinn

Just to the west of the hydro works, and usually marked by a small cairns, a stalker's path heads uphill through thick rhododendrons. Follow this path uphill as it hugs the western side of the Allt Coire Peitireach. After around 500m, the path then turns away from the burn and begins zig-zag up towards Sron a' Chuilinn on Druim Seileach, the south-western shoulder of Gleouraich.

Above Sron a' Chuilinn, the path turns in a more northerly direction and travels to the western side of the crest of Druim Seileach, giving good views down to Glen Quoich and over to Sgurr a' Mhaoraich. Don't be tempted to take a short-cut directly towards Gleouraich, it's far easier and quicker to stick on the path.

Beyond the top of Druim Seileach , a slight drop is encountered before the final pull up towards Gleouraich's summit. The stalker's path turns in towards Coire Peitreach where there is a small hide built of rocks to shelter out of winds.

On the Druim Seileach looking back to Gairich

On the Druim Seileach looking back to Gairich

Just before the stalker's path turns towards Coire Peitireach, another path branches off and climbs uphill. This rougher path keeps to the crest of Gleouraich's western shoulder and continues to the summit crest . The path then turns south-east and makes its way over and through some rocky terrain to reach Gleouaich's summit , where a small cairn rests above the impressive drops of Garbh Choire Mor.

On the Druim Seileach looking back to Gairich

On the Druim Seileach looking back to Gairich


3. Spidean Mialach

On Gleouraich with Creag Goire na Fiar Bhealaich and Spidean Mialach ahead

On Gleouraich with Creag Goire na Fiar Bhealaich and Spidean Mialach ahead

Leaving the summit of Gleouraich behind, follow the path as it makes its way south-east along the crest while keeping mainly to the edge above Garbh Choire Beag. The path travels over boulders and stone, but is fairly easy underfoot.

Some height is lost while dropping to a bealach, thereafter a short climb of just over 50m reaches the top of the minor summit of Creag Coire na Fiar Bhealaich .

Beyond the summit of Creag Coire na Fiar Bhealaich, the crest of the ridge aims north-east and, particularly in mist, the path can be easily lost as it travels eastwards away from the ridgeline. The path swings, then zig-zags to descent quite steeply following the crest of Creag Coire na Fiar Bhealaich's eastern shoulder.

With the gradient easing the wide col of Fiar Bhealach is gained - a fine place for a pause before the final climb on the route.

From Fiar Bhealach, the initial climb up Spidean Mialach is on a path cutting a twisting route up steep grass-covered ground. Terrain begins to become more bouldery, where I've found it easier to turn slightly off to the right and continue up on grassy ground below boulderfields. This also seems to take a more direct ascent to Spidean Mialach's summit, avoiding the slight extra ascent involved of hiking over the minor top marked 977 on the OS 1:50000.

Approaching Spidean Mialach, looking back to Creag Goire na Fiar Bhealaich

Approaching Spidean Mialach, looking back to Creag Goire na Fiar Bhealaich

The crest of Spidean Mialach is met around 500m west of its summit, from where a path is followed to its highest point. A large untidy cairn sits on Spidean Mialach's summit providing some shelter from windy weather.

Approaching Spidean Mialach, looking back to Creag Goire na Fiar Bhealaich

Approaching Spidean Mialach, looking back to Creag Goire na Fiar Bhealaich


4. Return

On Spidean Mialach's summit, looking west

On Spidean Mialach's summit, looking west

Just south of Spidean Mialach's summit cairn, a path can be found heading south-west dropping gently downhill over stoney ground. After losing around 50m of height, the stoney ground is left behind and the path descends down grassy slopes to to grass to heather-clad damp ground north of Loch Fearna.

Beginning the descent from Spidean Mialach

Beginning the descent from Spidean Mialach

Faint traces of path can be found to follow to where three burns meet below Coire Dubh. After crossing the burns, a stalker's track can picked up travelling south-west. Instead however, stay on the east bank of the burns for a further 500m to drop over more grass and heather to meet with a small dam . Now on a good track, follow the west bank of the burn down to the roadside , where a hike of just under 1km returns to the car-park.

Beginning the descent from Spidean Mialach

Beginning the descent from Spidean Mialach





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