Liathach (Spidean a'Choire Leith)
and Mullach an Rathain

The Torridon Hills
By Rob Sinclair

Start Point: Small car park just west of Glen Cottage - a well marked path starts from here
Grid Reference: OS Landranger Map 25 (Glen Carron & Glen Affric) GR 936 566
Time: 5 - 8 hours
Distance: 7 miles
Height Climbed: 4,300 feet (1,311 metres)
View Location: click for online scalable map
Buy OS Map: Buy Map at Mapsworldwide
My Hills
Click photo for a larger picture

Introduction

The Torridon Hills (Liathach, Beinn Alligin & Beinn Eighe) and their surroundings must be some of the most scenic of all the Scottish mountains. They also appear to sprout out of the ground from nothing and therefore require a serious amount of ascent. However, the views at the summits and on the ridges are breathtaking and well worth the effort.

Although there are no navigational difficulties (as there are well worn paths throughout) there are often two options available - the exposed and the less exposed! The mountains are made up of a number of buttresses, spires, pinnacles (Liathach) and horns (Beinn Alligin) and therefore you can choose to scramble over these or skirt around them.

If you have the time and the inclination it can be good fun to properly complete the ridge walks and the exposed route is never too bad. Conversely, it goes without saying that in winter the safety issues become a much more serious consideration.

Liathach is probably the most rugged and 'spiky' of the three but at the same time the simplest to accomplish. You climb relentlessly from car to ridge, walk 2kms along the ridge, descend mercilessly back down to the road and then walk 2kms back to the car. Albeit, you can get the same fantastic panoramic views as you get from the tops of the other two.

 

Route

  • The path starts from the small car park just west of Glen Cottage and takes you straight up to the ridge east of the first Munro, Liathach (shown opposite).
  • An easy walk over some little bumps takes you to your first summit and offers great views all around - supposedly on a good day you can see Ben Hope to the North and Ben Nevis in the South!
East Top of Caerketton looking SE
Liathach (Spidean a' Choire Leith) and Mullach an Rathain in the foreground.
  • The traverse to the next Munro can now be done by scrambling over the Pinnacles or by skirting along their South side although it's also quite easy to chop and change between the two depending on how adventurous you're feeling. On the way there's a great platform to practice your 'king of the world' impressions (see first photo above).
  • The final climb up to Mullach an Rathain is gentle and again the views from the summit are spectacular, especially out West to Loch Torridon, Raasay and Skye.
  • Just hundred metres or so further along the ridge to the West is the descent back down a steep, scree path.....definitely wouldn't fancy going that way on the way up. Just enough to finish you off!
 
  • The path brings you out onto the A896 and it's an easy 2km walk back to the car allowing you to stretch the aches and pains out of your legs.

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