After a great week in Ullapool and visiting the nearby Assynt mountains, i wanted somehow to squeeze in a visit to An Teallach and with a 5 hour window and us being knackered from 3 mountains in 2 days, a ridge attempt was not on the cards however a friendly local did mention the Loch in the heart of the beast was a spectacular sight so we didnt hesitate.
I noticed the Lochain has not been reported on by anyone so in order to get folks to visit it (im sure many of you already have) i hope to provide half decent instructions on how to get there in one piece
An Teallach is about as pretty as a mountain can get and dominates the road up to the start of the walk.
The walk starts off at a little layby on the west side of the A838 if approached from the south you will see it on your left approx 250m after the turn off to Badrallach. I dont believe any 2 routes would be the same with all the pathless sections involved.
There are 2 paths that are visible from the layby 1 either side of the stream the one you need is the on the north side of the stream. (not the one right next to the layby)
Initially the path seems ok, very overgrown and with an easy stream crossing after 30m, but just after the stream the path turns evil and you are welcomed by ankle deep mud/bog which is truly horrid in some parts. after a large mud pit you will walk through an opening in the bush/trees to a small 'field' of mud the route described by WH suggests walking straight on into a rhododendron bush which is tunnel like in nature, pretty but very boggy in places. What we did was go up a path to the immediate right which goes up a grassy hill it is very indistinct but less boggy and seems to rejoin the route at a point where a post reassures you that you are not lost
The little wooden shed is also visible straight ahead (off path), you will follow the path right (wsw) uphill where the bog is replaced by slabs of rock which are linked with a easy to follow path many cairns on route will keep you right.
Soon you will see the first of a few waterfalls it was pretty but slightly marred with the inclusion of a wierd rusty pipe in front of your side of the drop (wierd fence maybe? more likely a unearthed fluid pipe out of use for many years) The path continues uphill without drama the views looking back becoming more distant.
Before too long another reassuring wooden post will come into view and soon after a gateless fence is crossed the path now splits but you want to stay close to the stream (heading south west, even though the path this way is uglier) which heads towards a second waterfall you will see on your left, the path that heads right (west and initially good) i believe heads into Glas Tholl.
the path becomes patchy but perservere with it a stream needs crossing at this point (right in front of the waterfall to the west) after this crossing a small climb up to the top of the waterfall needs to be made which is easily seen the path at the bottom seems to go both ways but if you head right it disappears into very thick bush but left and up the stone climb/mild scramble is the way to go.
At the top, the path again remains patchy but stays close to the stream and sections of the path further on are easy to see.
The paths eventually disappears at a point when you need to leave the stream you may have to rough it heading west across bogs towards long stone slabs which are dotted with small cairns indicating the route, the path makes very brief appearances between slabs but best referring to cairns and if your unfamiliar with the area use a map of course.
Looking to you left the wall that leads to the top of Sail Liath begins to hug the landscape and brings the whole place towards Toll An Lochain. As you aproach the corries the peaks of the ridge become gradually more and more clear teasing you in.
After much 'slab-hopping' you will reach an indistinct path which heads up hill at a more steeper gradient (not too challenging) and to you left the ground will slowly fall away taking the stream with it, this path has its pathless sections and crosses a few small 'land crevasses' but nothing challenging for a regular hill walker. This path will eventually disappear at the top but from that point common sense will dictate your route to the Lochain.
The corrie is immense and has spectacular views of the ridge, the lochain is crystal clear and is dotted with little 'beaches' where sarnies can be enjoyed. The walls that surround the west side of the corrie are vertical and provide much neck straining to view the top.
Sail Liath, Sgurr Fiona and Glas Mheall Liath are all easily seen but its that ridge dominated by Lord Berkeley's Seat which are imposing they look down at you with a watchful eye as though you are not worthy of being in such surroundings.
Views out of the corrie (Eastwards) are just as great and at certain vantage points one can see the towering mound of Sgurr Mor and north east towards Beinn Dearg.
The route back retraces your steps, I personally lost the path a few times but knowing the general direction first towards the stream and then following it back towards the start will keep you safe and you are very likely to bump into the path again en route.
To sum up the walk, it is not as easy going as other corries but so worth the effort. It is not a long walk and in good weather the route although pathless in parts is in my opinion is straightforward. This is very much Tick country so socks over trousers the whole way is advised. There are routes up to the ridge from the Lochain too via Chockstone Gully and the stream that enters the Lochain from the north west side (decending down from Bidean A' Ghlas Thuill) although the latter was a suggestion from a local and not one I personally have read about.
An Teallach has so much character you dont need to visit the ridge to really enjoy this place. Saying that, i will be back to test out that last statement.
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