Quinag from above Loch Assynt

Hillwalking route bagging Spidean Coinich, Sail Gharbh and Sail Ghorm on Quinag

Quinag is a stunning mountain with many crags and rocky terraces. This route bags all 3 Corbett peaks on Quinag - Spidean Coinich, Sail Gharbh and Sail Ghorm.

Route outline


Sail Gharbh, 

Sail Gorm, 

Spidean Coinich

Ascent 1150m (3770ft)
Distance 13km (8m)
Time 5:10hr
Start/finish Car park on A894
Grid Ref : NC232274
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Quinag looks quite impenetrable from most directions, but from the car-park on the A894 on the pass between Quinag and Glas Bheinn it is relatively straighforward to access the Corbett peaks.

A fine path from the car-park, much of which has seen upgrading in recent times, travels into the heart of the mountain, thereafter boot-worn paths lead up onto ridges and crests.

Route map

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Route description

1. Getting to pass between Quinag and Glas Bheinn

Quinag from the car-park on the A894

Quinag from the car-park on the A894

North of Ullapool, Assynt is a vast landscape pitted with lochans overlooked by dramatic mountains. Quinag is the most northerly of these, standing between Loch Assynt and Kylesku.

The A894 travels over the pass between Loch Assynt and Kylesku and just below the highest point on this road, there is a rough car-park on its east side with room for around 10 to 15 cars.

2. Spidean Coinich

Heading up Spidean Coinich

Heading up Spidean Coinich

From the car-park, cross the road and start on an old stalkers path. A John Muir Trust sign with leaflets is followed by a bridge over the Allt Sgiathaig.

Beyond the bridge the path travels westwards and after climbing around 50m, the path splits with the path off the left fork aiming south and being much fainter than that off right which aims west.

Take the left fork, which can initially be a bit wet, cross a burn , turn south-west and begin to climb again.

Further on the path becomes drier as it climbs through the heather and over some rocky slabs and joins the south-east crest of Spidean Coinich. Ahead a cairn can be seen - this isn't the summit of Spidean Coinich, but a minor top at c620m.

On from this minor top, the path drops on bouldery ground to a small lochan (not marked on the OS Landranger map), then climbs steeply to Spidean Coinich's summit . This summit is a wonderful place to stop for a bit and take in the ridges and crests of Quinag.

3. Sail Gorm

On the crest to Sail Gorm

On the crest to Sail Gorm

Beyond Spidean Coinich, an obvious path follows the crest north-west and drops to a small bealach with a lochan.

Above the lochans, traverse without any difficulty over a narrow summit (marked 713m) and drop down steep grassy ground on a zig-zagging path to Bealach a' Chornaidh .

The path twists and turns as it climbs steeply up the northern side of Bealach a' Chornaidh - easier than it looks ! Another minor summit is met at the western end of the mountain crest coming from Sail Gharbh. From here there are fine views over Kyelsku Bridge to Fionaven, Arkle, Ben Hope and afar. Quinag from here appears similar in aspect and terrain to Beinn Alligin.

Down to next bealach, there are some crags and rocky ledges on its western side that resemble Stac Pollaidh's or An Teallach's towers - an excellent vantage point.

The path climbs up and around the east side of next bump to next gap, from where it's a gradual climb up a path on an ever widening crest to Sail Gorm's summit and its untidy cairn. Some fine views from here !

4. Sail Gharbh

Spidean Coinich and Suilven from Sail Gharbh

Spidean Coinich and Suilven from Sail Gharbh

On Sail Gorm's summit, about turn and return to the gap just before the minor summit at the western end of the mountain crest coming from Sail Gharbh.

Ahead you can choose to climb back up this minor top and then turn east, or skip some height by contouring around the minor top on the left (north-east). Doing the latter will require some careful footwork as some of the ground is rather loose.

Both routes converge on Sail Ghairbh's crest , from where a faint path travels over pink sandstone. Sandstone abruptly gives way to grey quartzite on Sail Ghairbh's crest leading onto the summit , on which a trig point and cairn sit. Superb views in all directions !

5. Return

Descending Sail Gharbh on Quinag

Descending Sail Gharbh on Quinag

Return to the bealach between Sail Gharbh and the minor top and look for a small cairn just off the crest on its south side. This indicates the start of a rough path to follow down towards Bealach a' Chornaidh.

The path takes a gentle line south-west to below Bealach a' Chornaidh , then turns south-east to drop close to Lochan Bealach Cornaidh.

Now with a fine view to Glas Bheinn and Conival ahead, hike down the path as it gradually improves, heading direclty for the car-park.

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Alternative and nearby routes »

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