Beinn Fhionnlaidh from Sgurr na h-Ulaidh

Sgurr na h-Ulaidh and Beinn Fhionnlaidh from Glen Etive

Hillwalking route from Glen Etive up the Munros Sgurr na h-Ulaidh and Beinn Fhionnlaidh

An excellent track heading in from Glen Etive gives good accessibility to the lower slopes of Sgurr na h-Ulaidh and Beinn Fhionnlaidh, allowing these two Munro summits to be bagged in a fine hillwalking route.

Route outline


Sgurr na h-Ulaidh, 

Beinn Fhionnlaidh, Creran

Ascent 1550m (5080ft)
Distance 18km (11m)
Time 7:00hr
Start/finish Invercharnan in Glen Etive
Grid Ref : NN143483
easy hard
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easy hard
ok fab

Recent de-forestration has left the lower slopes with ugly scars, but the upside is the improvement of the quality of the track in and therefore ease of access - a cycle is recommended for the tracks - the freewheel back at the end of a day's hike is guaranteed to put a big smile on your face !

Sgor na h-Ulaidh and Beinn Fhionnlaidh both have hidden craggy sides that tower above rough and steep coires. Care is needed particularly in winter conditions !

Route map

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Route description

1. Getting to Invercharan in Glen Etive

Starting in on the forestry tracks through Glen Etive forest

On the A82 that travels from Tyndrum to Fort William, just before approaching Glencoe and just after the turn off for the Kingshouse hotel, there is a single track road that heads south down Glen Etive. This area is a favourite with canoists, so can be busy when wet ! Head down this road for 11km to where a bridge crosses the Allt Charnan, just before which there is off-road parking for a few cars.

2. Through Glen Etive Forest

Hiking up Sgor na h-Ulaidh in early spring

By the bridge, a recently bulldozed track heads around the back of Invercharnan. Head up this for 3km, into the de-forested land and to where the track takes a sharp turn right . If you're cycling in, leave bikes here.

Sometimes there is a small cairn here to mark the start of a mucky and fainter track heading of left (GR NN121488). Follow this path heading of left (nnw) to the deer fence enclosing the remains of the forest . This is the point of return from Beinn Fhionnlaidh later in the day.

3. Sgurr na h-Ulaidh

On the summit of Sgor na h-Ulaidh with Bidean nam Bian behind

Now on wet ground, follow a faint path across gradually rising grassy ground on the east side of the Allt nan Gaoirean.

The path eventually disappears - just continue northwards towards Bealach Clach nam Meirleach.

You'll come across a line of fence-posts , follow these until you see an obvious worn path heading uphill over grass and some scree on your left (north).

Head up this and climb uphill. There are a couple of bits of easy scrambling on the way and some crags can be avoided by keeping slightly to the left (west). Rejoin the line of fence-posts to follow to the summit .Sgor na h-Ulaidh's summit cairn is perched above quite a dramatic drop northwards and fine views are to be had in most directions.

4. Beinn Fhionnlaidh

Heading up the last climb on Beinn Fhionnlaidh

Return to Bealach Clach nam Meirleach by the route up, then follow the fence-posts down to the wet ground at the watershed .

Particularly in wet conditions, don't follow the fenceposts directly up Beinn Fhionnlaidh's north-eastern shoulder - crags and rocky outcrops will hinder progress.

Instead begin to head south from the watershed and gradually gain height by following the baseline of a rough rockface.

There are two options from here, at around c600m, turn west up very steep grassy ground around the rocks, heathery further up, and rejoin the crest of the north-eastern shoulder. The line of posts continue to a minor top (marked 841m), from where a path heading west down to a bealach is followed.

Alternatively, an easier route is to keep to the 500m contour aiming southwards following a faint trod and pick up a path south-east of the minor summit (841m), which then heads directly to the bealach with the line of fence-posts.

At the bealach the posts take a sharp turn south-west downhill - leave them and continue west along crest of Beinn Fhionnlaidh on the path up some scree then grass.

A couple of tricky, but relatively easy moves are required to negotiate two rocky 'bad steps' (there are alternatives to the left), after which Beinn Fhionnlaidh's summit is only a few minutes further on. Fine views from the trig point.

5. Return to Glen Etive

Crossing the bridge below Beinn Fhionnlaidh

Retrace your steps back to the bealach . Ignoring the fence-posts, head down south over grassy ground and start turning south-east, dropping slightly and picking up a faint trod.

Pick up a more obvious path coming directly down from Beinn Fhionnlaidh's eastern summit (841m) and head down to the bealach before Meall nan Gobhar.

From here, a fine rough path heads east following a burn down towards the forest below.

Over a shoogly bridge , then wet ground to return to the gap in the deer-fence , where the rough path is picked up to return back through the forest to your bike. Enjoy a freewheel back to Invercharnan !

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