Sgurr Coire nan Eiricheallach - 891m
Sgurr a' Mhaoraich - 1027m

Friday 25th September 2009

Weather/Conditions: Mist, occasional rain and high winds. Some breaks of sunshine.
Distance/Ascent/Time: 11km / 940m / 5h 20m
Accompanying: Kevin McK.

Sgurr a' Mhaoraich was part of a two day trip around Loch Quoich with Kevin McKeown and Michael Coffield, two members of As displayed by my mountain map, I hadn't climbed at all in the Western Highlands until this point, so had little personal experience of the area. My impressions of Loch Quoich were a combination of magnificence and desolation and I was probably pretty right in that regard. Different in character to Loch Quoich and at the end of a 22 mile single track road, Kinloch Hourn was another incredible place. Bounded by steep mountain walls on the very edge of the Knoydart peninsula, it isn't difficult to imagine in the depths of winter, cut off from the world. Knoydart is sure barren, rough and remote, but it's beauty is mind blowing (what I saw of it). It's probably not therefore surprising that I highly anticipate exploring Knoydart further - all things for the future...

I met Kevin McKeown on the A82 very early on the 25th September. Pink Floyd accompanied us up the A82 which sat well with me; there's few bands I prefer to Pink Floyd. Following a ten minute stop at the Fort William Morrison's, we headed northwards alongside Loch Lochy, then up the A87 from Invergarry and finally onto the single track road leading to Kinloch Hourn.

Sgurr a' Mhaoraich

First impressions of the place were positive - it didn't take long for me to realise that there was more to Loch Quoich than lifeless desolation although I'd suspected that anyway. We crossed the bridge over Loch Quoich, parking at the start of a stalkers track leading up Sgurr a' Mhaoraich. It was cold, very windy and occasionally damp, but spirits were high and the two of us and Rupert, Kev's dog, set off. For now we were to follow a stalkers path and although we couldn't see much of the mountain, it would reveal itself as we gained a better perspective by climbing higher. We followed the path onto Bac nan Canaichean, a broad arm and then up to the ridge above. Even with the summits in cloud, views were spectacular and a final pull brought us up to the summit ridge beside Sgurr Coire nan Eiricheallach.

I've always gone to subsidiary tops when I can, so took the opportunity to go to the summit of Eiricheallach, a Corbett top. From here, what glimpses of the summit ridge we saw were sharp and narrow, but never subsequently never involved much scrambling. The sharp bits were bypassed by a path and although they might make a good scramble on a dry day, we stuck to the bypass path on this occasion. It wasn't a day to be hanging onto steep crags for the sake of it and the rock was damp anyway.

Then near the summit, we took a 15 minute break on the sheltered side of the ridge, then ten more minutes of walking brought us to a large cairn which crowned the top. There was only wind and mist up here, but at least we'd climbed another Munro. So we left the summit following an extended break and headed south back to Loch Quoich, following a broad ridge before descending into Coire nan Eiricheallach. We saw plenty stags in the corrie, though they kept their distance.

On trackless wet ground, it had been more difficult to make progress, but we picked up a path which led to the single track road. Then nearly two kilometres of walking by the road brought us back to the car.


Having done our days walking, we first of all went to Kinloch Hourn, and followed the track to Barrisdale Bay for a couple of minutes to get a better view of the loch around a headland. A cup of tea from the shop would have done us nicely but it wasn't open, so we got back in the car. Driving back in the direction we came (there's no other way to go), we set up camp on a patch of ground beneath the Quoich dam, got a small fire going and spent a comfy evening with Dark Side of the Moon playing from the car. Just how a night should be spent. I fell asleep early and disappeared into my tent at about 11pm having had a very nice night (if smoky) beside a fire.

Michael arrived the next morning, and we climbed Gleouraich and Spidean Mialach in the afternoon.

Kinloch Hourn

Loch Quoich


Loch Quoich

Loch Quoich
Times (Time relative to 0.00)
(0.00) 10.10am Car
(1.50) 12.00pm Sgurr Coire nan Eiricheallach
(3.00) 1.10pm Sgurr a' Mhaoraich
(5.20) 3.30pm Car

Written: 2009-09-30ish