Sgurr Fiona & An Teallach (Bidean a' Ghlas Thuill)

By Jackie Carson

Start Point: Car park at Corrie Haille on the A832 to Dundonnell
Grid Reference: OS Sheet 19, Grid Ref NH114856
Time: 7 to 9 hours
View Location: Scalable map
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Introduction

Having eyed up this hill up for years it was just a case of plucking up enough courage to venture forth. My only pre requisites were good weather, clears skies and a high cloud base .......or I wasn't leaving the car park. I got the clear blue cloudless skies, I got views in all directions as far as the eyes could see. What I also got were clegs the size of the horses they were supposed to be biting, midges by the hundred and a temperature of 29 °C leading to worries over sun stroke and dehydration.

Corrag Bhuidhe pinnacles
Click on photo for larger image
   

Thankfully the return to the car park in Corrie Haille followed a stream as the 2.5 l of fluid I was carrying was gone not long after the second summit. Never has water from a mountain stream tasted sweeter.

The whole of this hill can be traversed starting from Corrie Haille and descending to the Dundonnell Hotel but this requires a walk of about 3 km back along the road. We opted for the shorted route returning to Corrie Haillie.

 

Route

  • Start from the car park at Corrie Haille on the A832 to Dundonnell GR 114856. There is space here for 8 cars. Further parking is available a few hundred meters back along the road towards the Braemore junction.
  • From the car park cross the road and follow the track leading into Gleann Chaorachain and after 3 km turn off and follow the footpath leading to the Shenavall bothy.
  • Follow this track for a further 1½ km before turning NW and climbing the SE flank of Sail Liath. This is a reasonably steep unrelenting climb of 400m firstly over grass then stones. In 29 °C of heat it was a nightmare. The contours ease after 800 m from where it is a short easy pull to the summit, 954 m, GR 071825.

 An Teallach - Sgurr Fiona & Bidean a' Glas Thuill
Click on photo for larger image

  • From Sail Liath the route is obvious. Follow the track NW dropping steeply before carrying on over Cadha Gobhlach.

  • From here the Corrag Bhuidhe pinnacles are all too evident ahead. The path to the base of the pinnacles is well defined, zig zagging up the steepening ground. The scrambling was well within our capabilities but given the heat we decided to traverse below this part of the ridge rather than carrying along the top.

  • There are several tracks below the pinnacles running at various levels. We followed one for so long before reaching a rather large drop then scrambled up very steep grass to the next level and carried on. One final scramble brought us up on to the ridge just after Lord Berkley's Seat. GR 065836. In poor weather I would recommend keeping as high as possible as some of the lower tracks simply ran out requiring a good deal of airy scrambling, down climbing and even back tracking.

  • From this point a short walk of 5 minutes took us to the summit of Sgurr Fiona, 1059 m, GR 064837. Not surprisingly this is a small summit giving stunning views back over Corrag Bhuide towards Sail Liath. Even missing out the high level scrambling we had a real sense of achievement.

  • From SF the continuation to the second munro Bidean a' Glas Thuill is straightforward. Heading NE drop to the col at 900 m, GR 066841 before climbing the SW ridge of B a' GT to reach the summit, 1062 m, GR 069844. This is a larger top crowned by a trig point. Good spot for lunch. I found the views from here even better than those from Sgurr Fiona as the full extent of the pinnacles were evident.

  • Several descent options are available from here. We chose to continue NNE along the ridge to the col at 880 m, GR 069848 before dropping steeply towards Loch Toll an Lochain. A path track picks up the river to before turning into a track which returns to the A832 less than 1 km from the start point.

Do not under any circumstances climb this hill in low cloud. It's just too good to miss. The views into Fisherfield were fantastic. We could see Ben Klibrek to the North, Beinn Dearg and the Fannaichs. With no haze we saw the west coast in great detail.

I've been laughed at in the past for the amount of kit I carry in my pack but it paid off this time. I had everything from waterproofs to sun hat and sun cream. Without forward thinking this could have turned into a disaster instead of a fantastic day out. Not even the dozen cleg bites I picked up took anything away from it.

summit of Sgurr Fiona
Click on photo for larger image

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