Sgurr Choinnich, Sgurr a Chaorachain
& Maoile Lunndaidh

Strathcarron - by Fraser Smith

Start Point: Carpark just up the road from Gerry's hostel in Strathcarron
Grid Reference: OS Sheet 25, GR 041493
Time: 8 hours not hanging about
View Location: Scalable multimap
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This is an interesting walk around some not so easy to get at hills. The use of a bike from Craig to GR074468 makes it all possible in a normal day. Deep snow would make it impossible - a long summer day would remove the need for a bike... but miss that wonderful headlong belt back down the track.


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The walk (biking) started from the car park just up the road from Gerry's hostel in Strathcarron. The route is across the level crossing opposite the car park entrance and then follow the track down to the bridge over the river. You are at once faced with the start of the climb which is quite relentless for nearly 2km. This is followed by a gentle descent and reascent all of which are on a good quality track. Watch out that you don't miss the start of the footpath off to the right that goes off to cross the burn. There is a two strand wire bridge below the line of the path if the burn is in spate but otherwise follow the path and cross by stepping stones to start the climb proper. The easier but longer route is to follow the path to the Bealach Bhearnais and take the West ridge of Sgurr Choinnich to the summit but being the lazy sorts we are we opted to attack the hill straight on and crossed the Allt Leathad an Tobain and headed for Corrie Choinnich


Much amusement was had picking our way up beside and over frozen waterfalls; ice axes and crampons scrattling over the ice. Once into the upper part of the corrie a potential route up a snow ramp was spotted and followed to break out onto the ridge about 50m east of the summit.

The route we took is the band of snow emerging from the top of Ron's head and exiting in the sunny bit at the ridge line. It didn't seem too bad at the bottom but there was an awful lot of fresh air beneath us by the time we were at the top. We sauntered up to the summit and drank in the views that, despite the blue skies, did not extend too far as the amount of pollution in the atmosphere caused the horizion to appear black. We did however get wonderful views of Torridon and the Fannichs to the north and Chrysanthemum and Fada to the south. 

The route onwards to Sgurr a Chaorachain was simple and obvious down to the col and back up. The Top of Bidean an Eoin Deirg was just begging us to pay it a visit so off we went, all the time looking for a way off the ridge to the North but cornices all the way rather put paid to that idea.


Despite the predictions in the Munros book the North Ridge of Bidean offered the only realistic option of descent route. A steep descent down snow and rocks eventually led to easier ground where we could head for Drochaid Mhuilich and the bottom of the ridge leading up to Carn nam Fiaclan.

The going up this ridge was quite easy by comparison and soon we were crossing the neck between Fuar Toll Mhor and the unnamed corrie on the south side. The difference in character between Maoile Lunndaidh and the previous two hills is quite amazing as you stroll across the broad plateau.

From the summit we followed the NNW ridge down before turning westwards to cross the glen and pick up the track for a nice walk in the late afternoon sun back to our bikes. The reascent of the first bit of the return journey isn't too bad and soon we were flying down the track. The only thing to remember here is the gate across the track somewhere near GR073470 and the gate just before the river at GR047493. It's not a good idea to hit a gate in a deer fence at 20+mph!

So there it was. Three more off the list in magical conditions and only seven left to go two of which were to be tackled the next day.

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