Liathach for the faint hearted part 2

Munros: Mullach an Rathain (Liathach)

Date walked: 17/05/2024

Time taken: 6.08 hours

Distance: 12km

Ascent: 968m

I have been interested in Liathach for a long time, but completely intimidated by its steepness. I recently asked the question whether there are less intimidating ways up the Liathach munros for someone not good with heights. I got a few replies, one from jayedubya73 who highlighted a great report by Black Panther describing a way up Mullach an Rathain from the west. So having been given this information it seemed rude not to try it out! Especially since I am currently between hill dogs, one too old and one too young, so it was a great opportunity to try something challenging (for me at least) without having to "worry" about a dog as well. My wife is travelling a lot in May so I had a one day opportunity to hit the hills (while she looked after the dogs) and although it was quite misty when I set off from the Black Isle it got clearer and clearer as I travelled west and ultimately it was a great day weatherwise.

Liathach as I drove past it on the way to park

I parked up in the Beinn Alligin carpark and set off along the track for the "horns" on the east side of the river. This is a nice flattish well maintained path for a little over a mile before reaching the bridge to cross the Abhainn Coire Mhic Nobuil. At that point I set off towards the east and started up the hill.

Mullach an Rathain (Liathach).gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

It was quite a straightforward ascent over low heather and grass. As is my usual way, as there wasn't any path I pretty much went fairly straight up. As it was my first munro of the year, it was fairly hard work going up, about 550m in a fairly short distance, coming up slightly to the west of the Sgorr a' Chadail cairn. But I am sure the traditional route would have been a lot steeper! It was quite wet underfoot and I was thinking it might be quite slippery for the journey back down on the return. But on the way back I came off the ridge much earlier and had what was more like a slow gentle traverse/descent which with hindsight could be a much more "relaxing" journey up.

The start of the climb

Beinn Alligin on the way up

Looking out over Loch Torridon from the Sgorr a' Chadail cairn

The final part of the journey up to the top from Sgorr a' Chadail

After a spot of early lunch I then had a fairly flat walk for about another mile and then the final 300m push up to the summit. This section of the walk was very dry and was very easy walking. This route seemed to avoid any Torridon stone until fairly close to the top. The route was steep but technically very easy and importantly wide and no edges. In fact there was no "scary" bits at all. There was a short part of the true ridge to get to the summit cairn but this was no worse than many hills and I was even able to sit and eat my second lunch next to the cairn, which is not always possible for me!!!

At the summit

Views along the Liathach ridge to Spidean a' Choire Lèith

An attempt at a panoramic shot from my fairly dodgy phone!

Beinn Eighe from the top

Beinn Alligin from the top

The journey back was very straightforward and taking the more gentle descent across the slope from the ridge down to the bridge (over the river) made it feel much easier.

waterfall on Abhainn Coire Mhic Nobuil

Overall a great day out in my favourite hills :clap:.
Now I just need to find out how to conquer Spidean a' Choire Lèith :problem:

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Location: The Black Isle
Activity: Mountain Walker
Place: Corrie Fee

Munros: 124
Corbetts: 16
Fionas: 20
Sub 2000: 53
Islands: 5

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Joined: Mar 18, 2018
Last visited: Jun 09, 2024
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