The weather forecast was promising high cloud and sunny intervals for Monday 9th July, just right for these three munros. Looking at the map and the walk description it's one of those routes that isn't very demanding and allows you to get totally immersed in the surroundings.
We parked up in the parking spot at the end of the public road, there were a couple of cars there already so people were out and about.
We decided to do the route anti-clockwise, a psychological thing on my behalf, at least we'd get two munros done before being faced with the long walk over the plateau in the heat of the day.
We started up the track running alongside the plantation, this runs out and becomes a good path. A wee bit further on there's a path on the other side of the Allt a Chaorainn which looks like its leading to a hut on the hillside, cross here and the path your'e now on leads all the way to the summit and is steady until the final pull to the top.
Looking back from the crossing point.
A bit further up.
A' Chailleach has a large cairn on the summit.
Carn Sgulain looks a bit insignificant to the north, Carn Dearg looks an awful long way off to the SW, the weather was perfect so there was no need to hurry along, we decided to take it leisurely so sat on the summit for a while and had something to eat.
Views from the summit.
It's a big open space.
There's an obvious path leading off the top of A' Chailleach for Carn Sgulain, this heads down to the Allt Cuil na Caillich, we crossed it around NH677048, the path becomes less obvious on the other side so we just made a beeline for the summit, this was easy with it being so dry, I reckon any normal year this would be pretty boggy so finding and following the path would be better.
Carn Sgulain is a big rounded lump of a summit, the views over to the Cairngorms, down to Alder and over towards the Ben are fantastic, it's a big, wide open vista, where you could spend most of the day high just enjoying the surroundings.
A'Chailleach looked more of a mountain from this side, we could see people on the summit, ant like, it's surprising how far you can travel in a relatively short space of time.
Carn Sgulain summit.
We had lunch then set off on the long walk over to Carn Dearg. This is easy going, following the fence posts for most of the way.
There's a couple of small ups and downs along the way, the small lochan at NH625054 had dried up completly and the one on Carn Ballach was just a puddle, Lochan Uisge was ok and had a couple of brave (or sensible) people having a swim in it.
The walk over Carn Ban was the last bit of ascent before the climb up Carn Dearg, that looked quite steep from Carn Ban by now the sky was clear and the sun was hot, we both thought we'd struggle on this last bit, in reality it was no problem at all, we were soon on the summit looking at the fantastic views.
Carn Sgulain zoomed.
Big open space.
Ancient rock slide.
From the top you can see a lot of the walk back to the car, it's a long way, we hoped it was relatively dry because there looked to be a lot of grass and heather to negotiate in Gleann Ballach.
To start the descent we retraced our steps and took the path that leads into the glen, this keeps you above the crags and aims for the Allt Ballach at about NH640031 where we crossed and followed a path in the heather, this path is a bit patchy and we lost it a couple of times resorting to finding the best way across the hillside, I'd downloaded the route from WH into the GPS and tried to follow it as closely as possible. this worked because we kept rejoining the path, we eventually picked up a quad bike track around NH648020, once on this we were back on track.
Looking back to Carn Dearg.
The track takes you to a footbridge over the Allt Fionndrigh, just before the bridge you get this view, quite a contrast compared to the views higher up.
About 200m from the bridge the track develops into a good land rover track which takes you all the way back to the car park.
This is a superb day out, especially on a warm, clear summers day when there's plenty of time to take things easy.
I'd like to experiment with a bit of wild camping on these mountains just to see how we get on, we're planning a couple of overnighters in the mountains next year and would like to get a feel for it.
Travel and Coronavirus
Please check current coronavirus restrictions before travelling within or to Scotland.
Click for details
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.