LIATHACH – in PERFECT weather!
Our trip started somewhat by chance; with the Spring Bank Holiday coming up both me and my brother had booked 1st of June off work as well, to make the most of a long weekend . My third brother is still at school, so half term time. Discussing what to do with the time, our thoughts went back to an epic trip we’d done to Suilven back in 2020 and we thought, hang on, why don’t we do the highlands again! A few google searches, and walk highlands reports later we settled on Liathach as the perfect destination. How absolutely nailed that decision proved to be!!
Our window to get to Liathach and back home again was Sunday evening to Tuesday evening…and with a 9.5hour journey to reach it, well that’s a bit of a schedule ! We left on Sunday evening, and being young and adventurous drove through the night, refuelling at Perth and Inverness before reaching the foot of Liathach at 2:45 in the morning…time for some sleep! 3 hours later we roused ourselves, tucked back a porridge, fruit and granola concoction and off we went. Or so we thought.
Turns out we’d parked in the Easterly car park, and so after studying the OS map with furrowed brow we returned to the car, drove down to the car park near Glen Cottage and set off once more!
The sun rising and filling the Torridon valley with its golden glow was absolutely spectacular! The scale of the Scottish Highlands always impresses me – Snowdonia etc is generally our stomping ground. So getting higher and higher up, one could not help but be awestruck by the mountains all around gently warming in the morning sun.
The weather was incredible and we knew very early on that we’d be in for an epic day!
Before too long we were in shorts and t-shirts and pulling ourselves up the slope, gaining elevation all the time and stopping every now and again for a short breather and to look back over the valley to admire the view! The path is steep but well defined, so it's really a case of keeping your head down and your legs moving forward
Reaching the bealach between Stuc a’ Choire Dhuibh Bhig and Stob a Choire Liath Mhor is one of those WOW moments that live long in the memory and never fail to impress! The whole of North Torridon and beyond stretching out, filled with the Munro’s of Beinn Eighe, Beinn Dearg, Beinn Alligin et al. Absolutely stunning, and the contrasting blue sky and golden brown mountains looking utterly epic!
We turned right up to Stuc a’ Choire Dhuibg Bhig as we were keen to see the view of Beinn Eighe from this point. Past a false summit (Bidean Toll a’ Mhuic I think) and on to the full summit, there was Beinn Eighe in all its glory! Mental note to come back and get up there when possible! There’s a lovely flat rock at the top and we spent a while here, trying to somehow get the views logged into a camera and feeling that freedom that only comes at the top of epic mountains!
Looking west along the way ahead I was struck by how steep and narrow the path seemed, but as is always the case it’s actually fine once you get onto it! After some food and nourishment we turned back down, returned to the Bealach and quickly made Stob a Choire Liath Mhor before reaching Munro number 1, Spidean a’ Choire Leith.
Here you get another WOW moment as you look down round the pinnacles of Am Fasarinen and onto Mullach An Rathain! Even in May there were small sections of snow still hanging round which again contrasted very nicely with the blue skies! The feeling of elevation, being surrounded by the most incredible scenery, this is exactly how the mountain bug bites you! Needless to say, we stayed here for quite a while. We were hoping the wind would be calm enough to get some drone footage from the summit but unfortunately this was not to be. Never mind, the camera photos look incredible enough, never mind the experience of actually being there. If you’ve never climbed Liathach before, then I can wholeheartedly and enthusiastically recommend it!!
Coming down off Spidean a’ Choire Leith is quite a rocky/scree experience but the path is pretty clear all the way through and the on down to the Bealach before reaching the Pinnacles! Here we gathered ourselves, not entirely sure what to expect for the way ahead – there are various reports of the Pinnacles and it’s hard to know what to actually expect on the mountain. Being a long way from home, we didn’t want to take risks, but again being young and adventurous the bypass paths were not for us!
So over the top we went! To be perfectly honest, you can make it as scary or as safe as you like. The exposure is there, but at the same time you never feel as if you’re on anything else but a sure footing. Plenty of hand and footholds and clear routes over, around, forwards etc.
The Pinnacles were very enjoyable indeed! We didn’t rush, but simply enjoyed clambering over these dramatic rocks and revelling in the surroundings and taking in the wondrous views in every direction. Many photo opportunities with epic gully’s and rock formations aplenty!
Past the pinnacles and another breather before then pushing onto Mullach an Rathain. This is a straightforward blast up the ridgeline and before long we had made the summit and congratulated ourselves on what had been an epic EPIC experience!! From the summit we could see the final view that I was looking forward to, that of Glen Torridon stretching out to sea. The great vast stretch of water glistening in the sun and looking absolutely incredible!
What an experience, Liathach you’re an incredible mountain!
Now came the time to leave the summit and head down, down, down to the car. It’s a long old slog, and the knees and quads won’t thank you for it! Steadily working down towards the valley the path works down through the scree slopes and steadily becomes more vegetated the further down you get. By this time in the day it was getting very hot, people coming up the path having taken off t-shirts etc in the blazing sun!
We finally got back down to the road and started out on the slog back to Glen Cottage, which we did in about 30 minutes I think.
Just Wow! Getting back to the car and looking back up at the hulking ridge line, its incredible and such an epic feeling to have done it! Thanks Liathach, I’m sure we’ll be back some day
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