Beinn Teallach from the northern slopes of Beinn a'Chaorainn

Roughburn Munro Circuit

Hillwalking route up Beinn Teallach and Beinn a' Chaorainn

Above Glen Spean and west of the Creag Meagaidh massif, the two Munros of Beinn Teallach and Beinn a'Chaorainn combine to make a delightful hillwalking circuit. Probably best hiked in winter conditions to view the massive cornice that forms above Beinn a'Chaorainn's eastern corries.



Route outline


Munros

Beinn a' Chaorainn, 

Beinn Teallach

Ascent 1215m (3980ft)
Distance 16km (10m)
Time 6:00hr
Start/finish Roughburn
Grid Ref : NN377814
Terrain
easy hard
Nav
easy hard
Effort
easy hard
Scenery
ok fab


The route begins and ends on fine tracks through forestry, much of which has been recently felled and looks a bit untidy and sad. Leaving this behind, gently rising grassy slopes lead up Beinn Teallach - the height of which just scrapes it into Munro's tables - from where superb views westwards lead towards the Rough Bounds of Knoydart and beyond. Beinn a'Chaorainn is a suprising mountain, not least for the massive cornices that form above its eastern corries, but also for the lack of any paths leading up its grass covered slopes.



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Route description


1. Getting to Roughburn

Beinn Teallach on the approach to the Allt a'Chaorainn

Beinn Teallach on the approach to the Allt a'Chaorainn

On the A86, a few miles east of Roy Bridge is the impressive Loch Laggan Dam. Immediately north-east of this are the cottages of Roughburn and on the other side of the road by the north bank of the Feith is the start of a track into forestry - this is where the route starts and ends. Parking is limited, but there is a layby around 300m east of this with room for around 5 cars.


2. Beinn Teallach direct

Beinn Teallach's icy path on its southern flank

Beinn Teallach's icy path on its southern flank

Head up the the track through forestry for just over 1km to a junction and where recent tree-felling has cleared most of the ground. Turn left (west), and reach the end of the track, from where a rough (and more-than-likely wet) ATV track continues to the forest's edge.

Go through what remains of a deer-fence , and now on a faint path, reach the east bank of the Allt a'Chaorainn. In most conditions you should be able to cross the river - it's easiest at a point where the river splits into two tributaries, around 100m below an obvious fence. If river is in spate, see Beinn Teallach via Tom Mor below.

Once on the west bank of the Allt a'Chaorainn, pick up a wet ATV track heading north aside a forestry plantation on your left. Just beyond the end of this forestry, meet up with a line of fence-posts , cross them and head uphill on open hillside over grass and heather.Gradually a path develops and this heads up and into some boulderfield, becoming a bit fainter as it does.

A cairn comes into view - this is not Beinn Teallach's summit ! Keep slightly to the right of the crest and another smaller cairn comes into view - this is Beinn Teallach's summit .


3. Beinn Teallach via Tom Mor

Heading up Beinn Teallach from Tom Mor

Heading up Beinn Teallach from Tom Mor

If the Allt a'Chaorainn is in spate, then this route is recommended which avoids a river crossing.

Follow the above route to the east bank of the Allt a'Chaorainn. Keeping to the east bank, on a faint path, cross a fence and continue northwards. The ground is heather clad and quite rough going underfoot.

Higher up an ATV track joins the path, then later on crosses the burn to the west bank - if safe to do so cross, if not then keep to the east bank. Both the ATV track and the path reach the col of Tom Mor , where there's a cairn, some old fence-posts and gate.

On your left (west) head below some crags and then pick a way up wet and grassy ground. The ground becomes drier and a worn path forms. Follow this path uphill onto Beinn Teallach's summit - there are two cairns, the first is the top !


4. Beinn a'Chaorainn

Beinn a'Chaorainn's south top and view to Loch Treig

Beinn a'Chaorainn's south top and view to Loch Treig

From the higher of Beinn Teallach's cairns, head north-east on a worn path travelling downhill. As the path nears Tom Mor (the col between Beinn Teallach and Beinn a'Chaorainn), the ground steepens, terrain becomes wet and the path becomes very faint. The path does a bit of a dog-leg to avoid some crags, then cuts a route through heather to the col below.

After crossing the col, an ATV track can be followed uphill. Unfortunately it heads north-east, so will need to be left at some point to aim up the north-west shoulder of Beinn a'Chaorainn. This is a bit of a slog over grass and occasional boulderfield, but it's not long before the gradient easies, signalling the approach of Beinn a'Chaorainn's northern top - this summit is marked by a small cairn.

In winter, Beinn a'Chaorainn and Coire na h-Uamha are famed for huge ice cornices, and there have been several accidents here over the years, so keep well away from the edge in misty winter conditions !

From the North Top, the route to Beinn a'Chaorainn's main summit is obvious, following a path and the rim of Coire na h-Uamha to the summit cairn. Over the years there has been debate as to whether the Centre Top or South Top is the summit - at a height of 1052m, it's the Centre Top !


5. Return to Roughburn

Track back out to Roughburn with Stob Coire Easain beyond

Track back out to Roughburn with Stob Coire Easain beyond

From Beinn a'Chaorainn's summit, aim south over bouldery terrain to the Munro's southern top , marked by a small cairn.

You'd think there might be a faint path to follow to descend Beinn a'Chaorainn, but alas I've never found one (yet). I've aimed due south from the south-top to aim for a fire-break in the forest and I've also aimed south-west from the south-top to aim for the fence over the Allt a'Chaorainn. Both of these routes involved a bit of navigation and bounding over heather but were fairly straightforward and met up with the forestry track to return to Roughburn.

I also found a fine alternative way to finish the day - once down and on the forest track, head east and follow the track to its end at the Allt na h-Uamha. Cross this and follow a faint path on the river's east bank. You'll come across two spectacular waterfalls , the second of which is close to, but hidden well from, the main road. There's just over 2km left to walk back along the road to Roughburn.





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