Summer 2006 - Huge party of very mixed abilities, 7 adults (two on first Munro), 6 children (two on first Munro), one eager dog.
We did not do the extension over Beinn Liath Mhor, but neither did we use the route entirely as suggested, and I'd recommend that you don't either! Our walk started with a battle for car parking spaces - there is not a lot of space, and with four cars, our group took up most of it. We saw some glorious Dragonflies whilst kitting up, and had to fend off midges too - but we lost them quite quickly.
The initial walk in through the woods was interesting, and very pretty - such a contrast from the frequently tedious and boggy forestry we often see low on hills. We saw a number of other dog walkers, but none going right up the hill, and under no circumstances would our dog use the "dog gate" at the stile, so I wound up throwing him over the fence... sigh.
The walk in is accomplished in a series of vaults up steepish inclines, then a trudge over flattish areas - looking backwards it was hard to believe how fast we gained height, and how narrow the path behind seemed. Fuar Tholl dominates the early part of the walk, and it's almost disappointing to pass it, and realise the target is yet further away...
As intended we did not turn left between the two sets of buttresses (indeed we were past the turn without realising it), but instead continued to hike up the middle of coire lair, nodding in passing to the (larger) lochan on the left (and re-filling water from the many streams) before heading on up towards the obvious gap between the hills ahead. After another pleasant haul up a rocky patch after passing the buttresses, you come to a lovely little lochan with adequate seating for a party of 13+dog to socially regroup over 20 minutes, eat, drink, and wander up to the ridge to drink in and photograph the spectacular views northwards of Liathach and Beinn Eighe. Much posing took place...
Whilst we were lunching a pair of older ladies came down off Beinn Liath Mhor, and set off up the very obvious path slightly backwards for Sgorr Ruadh, so following their example we packed up and followed. This ascent is much more interesting than the south/east approach, and offers scree, boulder fields, and some very simple scrambling for the kids with a couple of steep but simple pushes up the soft "ridge". Very satisfying, and great fun, and the views just keep opening out to the west and north.
At the summit we rejoined the two ladies, and chatted briefly to find they'd both been retired for a considerable time, and that one was well into her second round. Much congratulations for the four "firsts" in our group, and taking of pictures of the views out over the Islands and Maol Chean-dearg to the west, we set off south for the return over the path described in this sites summary - certainly an easier walk off the hill, and fairly clear and simple.
The children and dog led off at a frenetic pace, and myself and another "downhill knee" sufferer lagged back somewhat as we hiked off. The south then easterly route has a number of steepish sections coming off the shoulder of the hill, and is quite heathery and wet in marked contrast to the north side. By the time we reached the cars, we'd again spread out over about 20 minutes, and duly repaired to the Ledgown at Achnasheen for a well deserved round of drinks and nibbles - they didn't know what hit them, as we crowded out the bar and front room, and compared routes and stories with two other pairs of walkers also taking a post walk refreshers.
Glorious weather helped this walk enormously, and I imagine that this route would be long wet and miserable in the rain/cloud, but it's a fine peak, with an airy outlook over some truly beautiful hills, especially to the north. An especially rewarding hill when the views are open then, and although a long walk, relatively simple both to navigate and complete
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