walkhighlands

Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

Beinn Liath Mhor

Beinn Liath Mhor


Postby Mal Grey » Fri May 22, 2015 3:41 pm

Munros included on this walk: Beinn Liath Mhor

Date walked: 02/03/2014

Time taken: 6 hours

Distance: 15 km

Ascent: 1143m

1 person thinks this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

Gerry was an institution. Eccentric, occasionally annoying, but basically friendly (especially when offered ale), & staying in his hostel had become one of the real joys of our winter trips. One of the main reasons was the wonderful fire in the living room area, another the ancient old folk and classical records on the turntable in the corner. I was greatly saddened to hear of his passing early in 2015.

The year before, Nigel, Steve and I had gone up once again for our annual trip, and after a night in “our” room there (each in the same beds as we’ve used since around 1991!), Sunday’s plan was a walk up into Coire Lair in the Coulin Forest, and an ascent of the long whaleback ridge of Beinn Liath Mhor. This wouldn’t be the first time for us on this hill, but Coire Lair and its three surrounding mountain masterpieces, Fuar Tholl, Sgorr Ruadh and Beinn Liath Mhor itself, remain one of my favourite places on the planet.

The ascent to the coire is lovely, beneath the towering flanks of Fuar Tholl on one of the best stalkers’ tracks you’ll ever find.


Image


After a brief section on forest road, you meander onto a beautiful, twisting and climbing trail, blazing its way over bare rock, heather and stream. The climbing passes easily, and suddenly you cross the lip of the hill and ahead of you lies Coire Lair, with Sgorr Ruadh ahead and the flanks of Beinn Liath Mhor to the right.


Image


Image



We headed towards our hill and its steep flanks, and paused for a while to gaze southwards across the glen to the mountains at the head of Loch Monar.


Image


Image


Image



Shortly after that, following a stiff scramble up the steepest part, we reached the snowline. Hoorah, there’s nothing better than walking on crisp, firm snow, and most of this was!



Image



To the south, Fuar Tholl looked magnificent.


Image



Fuel was required after our efforts, so we sat for a few minutes and ate sandwiches, pie and tomato-soup-with-quite-a-lot-of-tabasco-in-it…


Image



I’d bought a new pair of crampons to replace the rusty looking old pair I’d been using for decades, so was very pleased they would now get some use as the snow became harder and the ice axes came out.


Image


Image



Eventually we reached the first summit, with its large cairn.


Image


Image



Ahead, the enticing ridge of Beinn Liath Mhor led us onwards towards the furthest and highest top.


Image



Hidden below the first top, though, are a couple of little “pinnacles”. They’re pretty easy to bypass, even in winter, but a little care is required. The wind had blown the snow into a perfect cornice, forming a beautiful line between dark and shade.


Image


Image


Image


Image



We crossed another top, and a bealach with outstanding views of the cliffs of Fuar Tholl and Sgorr Ruadh across Coire Lair.


Image


Image


Image



A little later, a rocky band crosses the ridge, tending to push you onwards to an airy stance above great drops to the coire floor.


Image


Image


Image



Fortunately, by angling down the rocky flanks you can avoid any real climbing.


Image



To the north, the perfect peak of Sgorr nan Lochan Uaine formed a foreground to the ridge of Beinn Eighe, one of Torridon’s great mountains.


Image



At last, we were approaching the final climb on our switchback ridge, a good thing as the skies were darkening ahead and the wind had whipped up to make walking a little harder.


Image


Image



A final snow arête and we were there.


Image



Beyond, the bare skull of Maol Chean-dearg dominated the skyline.


Image



We didn’t linger for long, it was a cold, windy spot, and we could see showers moving in. The descent involves negotiating your way through a rock band, so we wanted to get this done soon, in case of bad weather. As we descended, our eyes were often drawn to the magnificent cliffs of Sgurr Ruadh.


Image


Image



We found our way easily down the rock flank, thanks to the footsteps of a guided party we’d seen far ahead earlier, and turned to flank the other difficulties with a descending traverse across the mountain side, allowing us to look back at the ridge we had negotiated.


Image


Image



The snow quickly became very soft, but fortunately without showing signs of avalanche risk, but after a few comedy drops into holes, it wasn’t long before we reached the valley floor.


Image



The stalkers’ track took us quickly back down the glen, and we paused on the final descent to contemplate a truly superb day over a bar of chocolate.


Image
User avatar
Mal Grey
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 2899
Munros:110   Corbetts:20
Grahams:8   
Sub 2000:3   Hewitts:113
Wainwrights:71   Islands:5
Joined: Dec 1, 2011
Location: Surrey, probably in a canoe! www.wildernessisastateofmind.co.uk

Re: Beinn Liath Mhor

Postby AnnieMacD » Fri May 22, 2015 4:00 pm

Great hill and great account of it. I've now done it from both directions but I think the Coire Lair route is the best.
User avatar
AnnieMacD
Walker
 
Posts: 789
Munros:25   Corbetts:15
Grahams:13   
Sub 2000:8   
Joined: Jun 25, 2013
Location: Applecross

Re: Beinn Liath Mhor

Postby Mal Grey » Tue May 26, 2015 11:26 am

AnnieMacD wrote:Great hill and great account of it. I've now done it from both directions but I think the Coire Lair route is the best.


Cheers. Coire Lair is right up there with the very best, in my opinion. The walk up feels easy thanks to the good stalker's track, but the way you walk through woodland, by the stream, then out onto bare rock patches with these enormous mountains, especially Fuar Tholl, seeming to loom over you is just brilliant.
User avatar
Mal Grey
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 2899
Munros:110   Corbetts:20
Grahams:8   
Sub 2000:3   Hewitts:113
Wainwrights:71   Islands:5
Joined: Dec 1, 2011
Location: Surrey, probably in a canoe! www.wildernessisastateofmind.co.uk

Re: Beinn Liath Mhor

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Tue May 26, 2015 6:22 pm

Beautiful atmospheric photos of one of my favourite places - thanks :clap:
User avatar
Huff_n_Puff
Walker
 
Posts: 897
Munros:249   Corbetts:16
Grahams:8   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:18   Hewitts:4
Wainwrights:1   Islands:18
Joined: Apr 13, 2012

Re: Beinn Liath Mhor

Postby simon-b » Wed May 27, 2015 10:32 pm

Really nice pictures form a magnificent area, Mal.
User avatar
simon-b
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1914
Munros:282   Corbetts:30
Grahams:7   Donalds:12
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:156
Wainwrights:214   Islands:4
Joined: Jan 2, 2012
Location: Wakefield, West Yorkshire

Re: Beinn Liath Mhor

Postby dogplodder » Thu May 28, 2015 10:51 am

An enjoyable ridge to walk with fabulous views all round. 8)
User avatar
dogplodder
 
Posts: 3513
Munros:227   Corbetts:53
Grahams:16   
Sub 2000:24   Hewitts:5
Wainwrights:9   Islands:21
Joined: Jul 16, 2011

1 person thinks this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).



Walkhighlands community forum is now advert free

We need help to keep the site online.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by setting up a monthly donation by direct debit?



Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 35 guests