Glencoe’s hidden peaks

Setting off along the track towards Meall Lighiche our first peak of the day. Our route would take us from right to left up the ridge.

The drive from Glencoe Village along the A82 to Crianlarich is arguably one of the best drives in the British Isles and all the better if you are a passenger in a car. I’ve driven this route many times and it is always a section of the journey I look forward to. Most of the peaks in the area I have climbed and its now just a case of ticking off those last few. One such peak is very much hidden from view and one only gets a tantalising glimpse as you set off up the road from Glencoe Village.
Set well back and along the valley through which runs the Allt Muidhe stands the very steep Sgor na h-Ulaidh, a Munro which rises to just shy of a thousand metres.
For Nick Wild and me, it was our last full day in Fort William on a recent trip to the Highlands and on this walk we would combine a climb of the Corbett, Meall Lighiche summit also.

With the promise of a fine day we park near the foot of Glencoe and take the private road up the valley of the Allt Muidhe. Reaching the buildings at Gleann-leac-na-muidhe, an official diversion takes us on a path looping to the south and during my prior research on this walk I was aware of this. Beyond, we rejoin the track for a short distance.

Our first objective is the Corbett of Meall Lighiche which involves crossing the Allt Muidhe and thankfully the water is quite low. Ahead lies a slope up to meet the northern ridge over Creag Bhan. For once it is quite warm as we toil up the north facing steep slope. We eventually reach easier ground where we veer right to follow a line of metal stakes to the 772 metre summit. To the southeast, the climb up to Sgor na h-Ulaidh looks quite a challenge.
After a short break we back tracked and descend to the col at Bealach Easan.

The north face of Sgor na h-Ulaidh and the prospect of a steep ascent ahead. We would ascend diagonally from the middle of the photograph across to the right shoulder which is just in the shade as seen here.

An almost birds eye view down Glen Creran from our lunch stop.

We are now confronted by a steep ascent of more than 400 metres. My research on this ascent indicates to keep well west of crags on the northern face of the mountain. Nick and I set off diagonally up the steepening slope and further up we zigzag our way up the steep grassy slope. At an area where the ground is less steep we stop for our lunch with an almost aerial view down over Glen Creran. For once it is pleasantly warm and there is no need to move off in a hurry.

The view west from the top of Sgor na h-Ulaidh over the spur of Corr na Beinne.

From the top of Sgor na h-Ulaidh, the Corbett of Meall Lighiche 772 metres is well below us.

The route ahead over the satellite summit of Stob an Fhuarain (centre), from where we would skirt left over the lesser summit on the left of the photograph before descending.

Nick enjoys the afternoon sunshine with a view down Glen Etive.

When we do set off, we have a further steep ascent to the western spur of Corr na Beinne. From here, the gradient eases with a much easier ascent to the top of Sgor na h-Ulaidh 994 metres. We sit awhile on top admiring the views. Another couple of people reach the summit whist we are there. They had ascended from the Glen Etive side.
Setting off after a good break we descend northeast before climbing over the satellite summit of Stob an Fhuarain (968 metres). From here we head north over the lesser top of Aonach Dubh a’ Ghlinne. It was now time for the descent and we strike out westwards down a moderate slope. It was relatively easy but the path along the bottom is very uneven and rocky and so progress is slow. We later rejoined our outward route and it proves a very pleasant walk back long the valley in fine afternoon sunshine to reach the car.

The walk back down the valley. A fitting way to complete the day.

Nick’s Viewranger statistics. Distance 9.93 miles. Altitude gain 4332 feet. Average speed 1.18 mph.