The View Across Loch Quoich Towards Knoydart
Returning to Loch Quoich one month after an unusually challenging hot and humid ascent of Sgurr a’ Mhaoraich, much kinder conditions awaited Matt, Jenn & I for this first class circular traverse of 2 fine mountains far down Glen Garry.
Gairich Across Loch Quoich
The hills were surprisingly quiet for mid-August and we saw very few people in a week that encompassed one of the Glen Etive hills, these 2 today, 3 very remote hills above Glen Carron and a partly-successful tilt at the Ben Alder group.
The View SW From Gleouraich
A network of excellent stalkers’ paths in the Loch Quoich hills make for very enjoyable (and easier) hillwalking than it would otherwise be. These 2 hills are no exception with a fabulous stalkers’ path leading from the roadside to just 200m below the first summit. Thereafter, a clear mountain path leads over both summits and part-way down the 2nd peak before another stalkers’ path returns you to the road. Moreover, in keeping with many parts of the Highlands, there has been a lot of recent hill track/road building in mountain glens and one of these alongside the Allt a’ Mheil gives an even easier descent from Spidean Mialach.
So off we set, quite steeply at first, up on to the ridge of Sron a’ Chuilinn which gives stunning views down over Loch Quoich towards Knoydart and further W. The path is a real ‘highway in the sky’ and quickly leads you to the upper part of the mountain. Just before the stalkers’ path terminates high above Coire Peitireach, we took the obvious ridgeline which climbs and curves around to the substantial summit cairn of Gleouraich (1035m; roaring noise).
Spidean Mialach From Gleouraich
Both mountains have widely differing aspects with the summit crests separating deep rocky corries to the N from much gentler grassy slopes to the S. The dividing bealach (Fiar Bealach) dips down to a slightly mean 740m, but you can hardly complain given the shortness of the day! The ascent from the bealach is grassy at first, but becomes increasingly stony as you approach the summit. Once there though, you get 2 cairns for the price of one and fantastic views in every direction, particularly E where you can see the Cairngorms on a clear day! Spidean Mialach (996m; peak of deer).
Gleouraich From Spidean Mialach
After admiring said views and someone’s very fair copy of a west Highland trig point using local stone, we took the obvious path down into Coire Dubh. The path turned boggy in places so it was an easy decision to opt for the new Hydro track from about 400m rather than stay with the squelchy path! Whilst the track meets the road further from the car than the path, the extra kilometer is a small price to pay to get onto firmer ground sooner.
Descending Into Sun
And anyway, the sun was still shining and the view across the shimmering waters of Loch Quoich towards the Rough Bounds of Knoydart and the distinctive outline of Sgurr na Ciche never looed better!
Check out my plans for similar walks at: http://www.hillways.co.uk/summer/summer.htm