Another day above Glen Strathfarrar – [# 248 – 251]

Sgurr na Ruaidhe (993m); Carn nan Gobhar (992m);
Sgurr a’ Choire Ghlais (1083m) & Sgurr Fhuar-thuill (1049m)

  • Pronunciation:             Skoor na Roy-yer; Karn nern Go-er; Skoor uh Hother Glash; Skoor Ooer Hillyer
  • Translation:                  Red Peak; Hill of Goats; Peak of the Grey-green Corrie; Peak of the Cold Hollow
  • Total distance:              25.8km
  • Total time:                     6hrs 42mins
  • Total ascent:                  1616m
  • Weather:                        Brilliant to start with, but showers soon brewing all around. Caught in a couple of heavy showers on descent from last (4th) Munro.
  • Start / end location:    Along Glen Strathfarrar, 1.5km west of Braulen Lodge. [OS Map Sheet 25 – Grid Ref: NH 22439]
  • 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.

Looking west along the single-track road through Glen Strathfarrar

Walking alongside the Allt Coire Mhuillidh burn from Glen Strathfarrar

As we had done yesterday, we once again travelled into Glen Strathfarrar: this time to access the four Munros lying to the north of the glen. We parked near a ford river crossing about 1.5km west of Braulen Lodge. This was actually the location for the end of the walk, with the start about 7km back down the glen (east). So, we jumped on our bikes and enjoyed a really scenic cycle in bright warm sunshine to reach the starting point midway between Lochs a’ Mhuillidh and Beanacharan.

The view into Coire Mhuillidh with Carn nan Gobhar (R) and Sgurr a' Choire Ghlais (background L)

Just a few hundred metres east of where the road crossed the Allt Coire Mhuillidh burn we locked our bikes to a fence post and began our walk by following a rough track NNW from the roadside. After less than a kilometre the track gave way to a walkers’ path that followed the course of the burn. We kept on this path, which was fairly boggy in places, until we reached a small subsidiary burn feeding in from the right. Immediately upon crossing this burn we turned NE and began climbing the broad rib that reached all the way down from the top of Sgurr na Ruaidhe, our first Munro.

From the summit cairn on Sgurr na Ruaidhe looking west to Sgurr a' Choire Ghlais

Southeast from the boulder field on the summit of Carn nan Gobhar towards Sgurr na Ruaidhe

Cameron by the cairn on the summit of Carn nan Gobhar with Sgurr a' Choire Ghlais in the background

Climbing the rib was straightforward on grass and heather, although the angle remained relentless, and the ground was consistently wet underfoot. Before too long, however, we reached Sgurr na Ruaidhe’s summit cairn at 993m or 3,258ft. From the summit vantage point our next two Munros were clearly visible to the west: with the fourth Munro hidden behind the bulk of Sgurr a’ Choire Ghlais.

From Sgurr na Ruaidhe’s summit we descended WNW down another of the hill’s broad ribs to a col before veering due north up a ridge that led to a large plateau just to the east of Carn nan Gobhar’s main summit. A further short climb west from this flat plateau through an extensive field of large clean-looking grey granite boulders brought us to the Munro summit cairn at 992m or 3,255ft.

It was still very bright and warm when we reached the cairn, but we could see the telltale signs of hazy localised rains showers developing in the glens around us as clouds began to bubble up. In the meantime, though, we were able to enjoy the views back to Sgurr na Ruaidhe and onwards to the shapely east ridge and summit of Sgurr a’ Choire Ghlais. To the SW we were able to make out the three Munro summits that we climbed yesterday from further west along Glen Strathfarrar.

West from the summit of Carn nan Gobhar to (L-R) Sgurr a' Choire Ghlais, Creag Ghorm a' Bhealaich and Sgurr Fhuar-thuill

The eastern ridge and summit of Sgurr a' Choire Ghlais

The summit of Carn nan Gobhar as viewed from the southwest

As we crossed the interconnecting ridge network between Carn nan Gobhar and Sgurr a’ Choire Ghlais we paused at the col on the ridge to admire a spectacle of sunshine and rain resulting in an amazingly colourful rainbow of refracted light that had formed just a few kilometres away from us to our north – except it wasn’t bow shaped.

We pressed on from the col in an arcing ridgeline to reach the summit cairn of Sgurr a’ Choire Ghlais, the highest of the day’s Munros at 1083m or 3,553ft. This was our 250th Munro, leaving us with only 33 to complete our challenge. After celebrating this milestone – with nothing more than the usual summit cereal bar – we headed off west again to complete our set of Munros. However, before reaching the forth and final summit we first had to ascend Creag Ghorm a’ Bhealaich (1030m).

As we descended from this subsidiary top we felt the first spots of rain landing – a localised shower now localised on us! We pulled on our waterproof gear before making the final push to reach the summit of Sgurr Fhuar-thuill at 1049m or 3,442ft. Here I took a quick photo of Elaine by the summit cairn before we continued west again towards the top of Sgurr na Fearstaig (1015m). At a col on the ridgeline, just 250m east of the summit, we descended south onto a stalkers’ path that dropped steeply into the corrie containing Loch Toll a’ Mhuic – immediately to the east of the precipitous cliffs of Sgurr na Muice (891m). We continued on this path as it followed the course of the burn flowing from the loch.

Cameron and Elaine's 250th Munro - Sgurr a' Choire Ghlais

Almost 4km after leaving the col the path widened into a rough land-rover track, which continued for another kilometre arriving at exactly where we’d left our car at the roadside in Glen Strathfarrar. We had been fairly lucky with the weather, as we’d only been caught in a shower on the last Munro and the descent back. We then drove back down Glen Strathfarrar to where we’d left our bikes earlier in the day.

[Over 40 years ago – and actually before I was born – my dad worked as an electrical engineer at the hydro-power plants in Glen Strathfarrar – at one in particular called Deanie Hydro Power Station, an underground station and turbine hall that is fed via a subterranean water flow from Monar Dam.]

Sunshine and showers produces magical rainbow effect on the hills to the north of Sgurr a' Choire Ghlais

From the summit of Sgurr a' Choire Ghlais looking west to Creag Ghorm a' Bhealaich and Sgurr Fhuar-thuill

The western aspect of Sgurr a' Choire Ghlais (R) and Carn nan Gobhar (background L)

Looking towards the summit of Sgurr Fhuar-thuill from Creag Ghorm a' Bhealaich

Elaine caught in a shower on the summit of Sgurr Fhuar-thuill

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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