Stob a' Choire Liath Mhor - 983m
Spidean a' Choire Leith - 1055m
Am Fasarinen - 930m
Mullach an Rathain - 1023m
Meall Dearg - 955m

Sunday 4th September 2016

Weather/Conditions: Swirling mist breaking into sun. Calm conditions and relatively warm
Distance/Ascent/Time: 8.5km / 1450m / 5h 30m
Accompanying: Struan, Andy and Craig

The last day of the Torridon trip. Liathach was the obvious choice for everyone and I was up for that with it being a 'new' one on the third Munro round.

It's also a hell of a mountain and never ceases to amaze me. But I also feel differently about it now to the way I would have a few years ago; more of a known quantity.

We all walked up to the ridge on a pretty still morning of swirling mist. It was uncannily similar in conditions to my first trip here in 2011, with some of the same folk no less; Struan and Craig.

We headed along to Spidean a' Choire Leith; I was looking forward to the pinnacles, but I hadn't quite anticipated how much I'd enjoy them. Am Fasarinen turned into a race along the crest, finding the route of most resistance, finding the bits to climb up as much as possible. I was now just deliberately trying to make it hard. The buzz of the exposure was in check, the scrambling, running this high crest was too good. The guys stayed to the bypass but we occasionally met up and eventually joined again at the end of the pinnacles, continuing to Mullach an Rathain together.

I had another objective in mind which became the other memorable bit of this day. As the guys descended south to Glen Torridon I headed north toward my last unclimbed Liathach top; Meall Dearg. It's known for being a pretty serious, and hard-to-access Munro Top. I couldn't wait to go for it.

I started down a gully just to the left (west) of the crest, which turned out to be steep and highly loose in a way only the Torridonian Sandstone can be. I traversed a little, working my way on hard ground to the crest, which eventually brought me along a razor-edge to the summit of Meall Dearg.

What an amazing Top, and what an unfrequented place this obviously was; the amount of loose rock was obvious to see, and I noticed this again on the ascent back to Mullach an Rathain. I climbed essentially directly up the buttresses. Once or twice I was on the edge with exposed ground and loose, dirty rock. Near the top, I climbed up some hard ground knowing retreat would be awkward. An enormous drop was to my left, and I continued climbing. To my luck, I popped out on top of the pinnacles right at that point, onto terra firma having negotiated some serious, exposed and rather untravelled ground.

Meall Dearg was without doubt a highlight of the day, and I was now 40 minutes behind the others. I had some catching up to do. So I began jogging, and within ten minutes I was upon them. I decided to keep going; I couldn't stop my pace. In just over ten minutes I'd descended half the mountain. It had been my intention to go all the way, but why sit at the bottom waiting and getting chewed by midges when I could walk with them? The point had been proven to myself. I was moving well, so I chilled out at 500m and took the rest at an easier pace.

It was a tremendous day, and the final hill day of a good weekend with the guys.

From Torridon, I saw everyone away then stopped by the bouldering for a session. I made links, but nothing wholly significant. I drove east myself toward Inverness. I stayed at a hostel in the centre of town. The following morning made my first visit to Culloden; a truly astounding place for all the wrong reasons and a somewhat heart breaking place to visit. It was all in the forefront of my mind at this point yet I was grateful to have made the visit at last.

360° Panorama

Meall Dearg (Northern Pinnacles)
Times (Time relative to 0.00)
(0.00) 9.10am Glen Torridon
(2.10) 11.20am Stob a' Choire Liath Mhor
(2.20) 11.40am Spidean a' Choire Leith
(3.55) 1.05pm Mullach an Rathain
(4.15) 1.25pm Meall Dearg
(4.35) 1.45pm Mullach an Rathain (again)
(5.30) 2.40pm Glen Torridon

Written: 2017-08-18