To the north of Loch Quoich – [# 173 – 174]

Gleouraich (1035m); Spidean Mialach (996m)

  • Pronunciation:              Glorich; Speedyan Meealloch
  • Translation:                   Peak of the Roaring; Peak of the Louse
  • Total distance:              12.7km
  • Total time:                     4hrs 14mins
  • Total ascent:                  1198m
  • Weather:                         The morning was very cloudy with heavy showers that turned to snow on the summits. Very cold wind. Brightened up in the afternoon with a few sunny spells.
  • Start / end location:    On the Glen Garry roadside – 1.5km east of the road bridge on the north shore of Loch Quoich. [OS Map Sheet 33 – Grid Ref: NH 029 030]
  • Map:                                A map of route can be found here – it may take a few moments to load into a separate window. The map displays on most browsers, but not unfortunately Internet Explorer.

View WSW from the south slopes of Spidean Mialach - (L-R) Loch Fearna, Loch Quoich, Gairich, Sgurr Mor, Sgurr nan Coireachan

After a few longer outings recently we decided to tackle two Munros in Glen Garry to the north of Loch Quoich that our guidebook suggested could be climbed in just under five hours. Given the overcast and very showery weather forecast the prospect of a much shorter day was much more appealing.

Gleouraich from Coire Mheil

The single-track road that we drove westwards along the north side of Loch Quoich was rather long and reflects the long Fford-like nature of this loch and many others on the western seaboard of the Scottish Highlands.

It was raining quite heavily when we parked up so we waited in the car for 15 minutes until the rain had abated a little. We realised that we could no longer put off the inevitable and that we had to “brave” the conditions. So we donned all of our waterproof gear and headed northward along a little path that climbed through some thick rhododendron bushes before emerging out on the open hillside to the south of Gleourich. A great path zigzagged upwards NW onto the ridge just above Sron a’ Chuilinn and then continued to climb all the way to the summit at 1035m or 3,396ft.

Cameron approaching the summit cairn on Gleouraich

A lovely high-level ridge connected Gleourich with our next objective of Spidean Mialach, with just a couple of subsidiary tops to cross en route. A final col on the ridge dropped us down to a height of 700m before a moderate ascent up another zigzag path brought us out at the summit of our second Munro at 996m or 3,267ft. A small semicircular wall of stones both acted as the summit marker as well as offering a little shelter against the strong prevailing wind and heavy showers that had turned to snow and hail. We took refuge in the lee of the stone wall and ate a quick snack before we faced the blustery conditions once again as we headed SSW down the hillside.

Looking ESE to the summit of Spidean Mialach

Elaine nearing the subsidiary top on Spidean Mialach in a snow shower

As we descended the cloud level began to lift above the surrounding peaks and we were soon rewarded with a little warming sunshine and some good views WSW to Gairich, Sgurr Mor and Sgurr nan Coireachan, all of which sat above the southern shore of Loch Quoich.

We followed a faint path from the summit, which improved as we rounded the north side of a small peak (614m) to the west of Loch Fearna. The path eventually deposited us on the Glen Garry road only 350m east of our parking spot. Already, to the west, we were beginning to see a few heavier rain showers scuttling in our direction and we only just made it back to the car before a shower crossed our path.

Probably due to the inclement weather conditions we hadn’t wasted any time on our round of these two Munros, completing them in just 4 hours and 14 minutes. However, we both agreed that they would be worth a return visit in fairer conditions when we could better savour the views and enjoy the high-level ridge traverse.

Elaine at the summit cairn on Spidean Mialach

About Cameron Speirs

Born and brought up in the Scottish Highlands, Cameron, has been interested in outdoor pursuits since he was a wee lad. Over the last few decades he has climbed extensively in the Italian Dolomites as well as summiting the Matterhorn and several other 4000m alpine peaks. Closer to home he has spent many wonderful weekends mountaineering and biking in Snowdonia, Cairngorms, Glen Coe, Skye and Lochaber.
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