Gold on Cul Beag

Route: Cùl Beag

Corbetts: Cùl Beag

Date walked: 25/06/2022

Time taken: 4.5 hours

Distance: 12.5km

Ascent: 747m

A warm sunny clear day at the end of June saw us up in Assynt with a chance to walk Cul Mor or Cul Beag at last - rubbish visibility has stopped me so far, as I've wanted the views, so today was the day, and an out and back to Cul Beag was the choice. (Lots of looking at Cul Mor today, rather than walking it.)

Image001 Starting view Cul Beag and Cul Mor

We parked in the generous layby, where there was one other car, so I fully expected to find ourselves in company on the hill, but happily we were to have all of Cul Beag to ourselves for the day - we and one very special bird that is.

One pleasure of an out-and-back (or a lollipop route) is knowing what you'll face on the walk-out. In this case, you know you've got a firm, easy track to look forward to :lol:

Image004 Lovely easy track to start with

Soon we were at Lochan Fada, where having descended from the road, we realised this was the first 'up' of the day.

Image007 Lousewort and Cul Mor

Then we were looking over the the bright sapphire blue of a sunbathed Loch nan (ear-lookin') Ealachan below the Cul Mor crags.

Image008 Loch nan Ealachan and Cul Mor

The NC500 racket hadn't got going yet, so for a while it was peaceful to look back to Knockan Crag and the Assynt Munros.

Image009 Knockan Crag with BMA behind

Back where I've fetched up, near the Galloway Hills, we'd been on our way to the Devil's bowling green on Craignaw when wind and rain drove us to make a hastier descent from the summit. There's it's granite, but up here we found a mini-bowling-green in sandstone. Well, a bit bumpier, and a lot less evocative. Maybe I just see devil's bowling greens where they don't really exist as a result of my being thwarted to date.

Image010 One of many sandstone bowling greens

Anyway, there are, as the caption suggests, a fair few of these on Cul Beag :D .

Meanwhile, raising my head from the de'il and his games, what an utter joy to see old familiars in such fantastic conditions, from Beinn Dearg and pals to the south-east to Ben More Assynt over in the north-east.

Image011 Over a Cul Beag rockery to Ullapool hills

Image013 Conival and BMA beyond Knockan Crag

Not only that, but you know you've got Ben Mor Coigach and Fhidhleir's superb prow, Stac Polleidh and Suilven to look forward to as you rise, and meanwhile, Cul Mor right in front of you, which was suddenly looking a bit...

Image012 Basking shark nose of Cul Mor - sort of (or is that just me...?)

As we got up on to the Creag Dubh, a beautiful vista opened up before us: the sea, beyond the lovely hidden valley of Gleann Laoigh...,

Image014 First view of sea from Creag Dhubh

... a keeking Stac Polleidh...

Image015 Stac Polleidh from Creag Dhubh

Image017 Zoom to Stac Polleidh

... and the meandering Allt.

Image016 Cul Mor and the Isle of Dogs

It's a beautiful walk, with lots of eye-candy on a day like this!

Image020 An Teallach and bog cotton

Image021 Mosses and terraces - Iceland grown up

Image022 Lochan Dearg below Culs Mor and Beag

We stopped for quite a while looking down into the glen from Creag Dubh and enjoying the peace, when suddenly below us, out flew a golden eagle.

Bit quick for me to extract the camera, but here it is:

Image023 Golden eagle over Loch an Doire Dhuibh

Image024 Golden eagle

It must have been perched just below us, probably a bit miffed that we were hanging around, and eventually fed up enough to take to the wing. Despite our thrilled expressions, we really were sorry to disturb!

Image025 E on Crag Iolaire

Image025a Euans photo of me on Creag Iolaire

Anyway, onwards and upwards, to Meall Dearg next. With botany on the way.

Image028 Butterwort with midgies

Image029 Heath spotted orchid and friends

Image030 Looking back down on Creag Dhubh

Image032 Sgurr Mhor and friends from Meall Dearg ascent

This was the first steep bit of the walk...

Image034 From steep ascent of Meall Dearg

...but super-rewarding, because BMC and Fhidhleir suddenly and gloriously appeared :D

Image035 BMC and Fhidhleir from Meall Dearg ascent

Up on Meall Dearg, the terrain changed again to a kind of wide sandstone-ridged pavement.

Image037 BMC through Meall Dearg pavements

Image039 Cul Beag top ahead from Meall Dearg

And soon we could see Ben Klibreck in the distance to our right...

Image041 Cul Mor - BMA - Ben Klibreck far right

...and other old friends to our left.

Image043 BMC - Fhidhleir - Beinn an Eoin - Sgorr Tuath

As we dropped down briefly to Lochan Uaine, the solifluction on Cul Beag's top really stood out, making for lovely easy walking to the top, with Suilven gradually coming into view.

Image044 Sea view on descent to Lochan Uaine

Image049 Suilven appears behind Cul Mor

Image050 SE over Meall Dearg towards Carn Chuineag

Image052 Over Cam Loch to Ben More Assynt

Image053 Suilven beyond Cul Mor terraces

Image054 Last pull to the top

And as a last reward up at the summit cairn, a superb south-east to north-west view of Stac Polleidh.

Image055 Stac Polleidh from summit cairn

Image056 Suilven with Quinag and Arkle behind

Image057 Suilven and lochans from summit

Image058 Summit cairn and Stac Polleidh

What an utterly lovely top this is!

Image059 BMC with Beinn Alligin beyond

Image060 Coigach - Torridon left - Skye in distance

Image061 Suilven - Quinag - Arkle - Cul Mor - BMA

Image062 Coigach with Skye in distance

(Summit snap, snappity-snap! :lol: )

Image063 Sgorr Tuath tors too small to see

Image064 Beinn Alligin - BMC - The Storr

Image065 Euan relishing Coigach

Image066 Euan relishing Ullapool hills

(There was a lot of relishing going on :) )

Image067 Suilven with Quinag - Sail Ghorm - behind

Image068 Zoom to Foinaven and Arkle over Suilven

Image069 Zoom to Conival and Ben More Assynt

And a lot of making the most of being able to see further than the summit cairn or trig :D

Image070 Stac Polleidh and OH from summit cairn

As if it wasn't surprising enough that we were the only ones up here, it was really surprising that peering through binoculars, I still couldn't see anyone on Stac P - this wasn't even a weekday!

Image071 People-less Stac Polleidh and Coigach peninsula

Image072 Fiddlers Cairn Conmeall left to Stac Polleidh right

Image073 Beinn an Eoin and Sgorr Tuath focus

It was really hard to calm down and eat some lunch, but we did eventually. And it was even harder to pull away and head back down. But needs must, via a little mosey out to the Meall Dearg cairn.

Image075 Meall Dearg summit with Cul Mor and BMA

Image076 Cul Beag summit and SP from MD summit

Image077 Recognising rocks on the way down

And there we were, heading back after a ridiculously rewarding eyeful for barely any effort.

Image078 Knockan Crag

Back east, where we were staying the night, even the seals were smiling :lol:

Image081 Oyc and seals on Loch Fleet

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User avatar
Location: was West Sussex, now Ayrshire
Activity: Mountain Walker
Mountain: Ben Mor Coigach
Place: Assynt
Ideal day out: Some memorable wildlife, few if any folk, and a craggy, dramatic view.

Munros: 31
Corbetts: 23
Grahams: 12
Donalds: 13
Wainwrights: 41
Hewitts: 50
Sub 2000: 4
Islands: 24

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Trips: 9
Distance: 122.7 km
Ascent: 6610m
Munros: 1
Corbetts: 9
Grahams: 1
Donalds: 11


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Grahams: 4
Donalds: 4


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Ascent: 1362m
Munros: 1
Hewitts: 1


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Distance: 261.5 km
Ascent: 7607m
Munros: 7
Corbetts: 4
Grahams: 1
Sub2000s: 1
Hewitts: 2


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Distance: 90 km
Ascent: 4648m
Munros: 1
Corbetts: 5
Grahams: 1
Hewitts: 6
Wainwrights 5


Trips: 8
Distance: 118.45 km
Ascent: 6818m
Munros: 9
Corbetts: 2
Grahams: 2
Donalds: 1

Joined: Aug 19, 2016
Last visited: Aug 05, 2022
Total posts: 267 | Search posts