Memories, Magic and An Teallach

Route: An Teallach, Dundonnell

Munros: Bidein a'Ghlas Thuill (An Teallach), Sgurr Fiona (An Teallach)

Date walked: 02/10/2016

Distance: 13km

Ascent: 1395m

An Teallach … An Teallach … sounds to conjure with … somehow it seems wrong to call this a mountain – its a whole mountain range, 9 peaks – 2 Munros and 7 tops.

One of my abiding memories is being on the 9am flight from Stornoway to Inverness in early January many years ago. Dawn was just breaking on a magical winter's morning – everything was crystal clear and with no wind the Minch was like a millpond. Even the pilot was impressed, he told us he had never seen this landscape looking so spectacular, so flew as low as possible to give us all a good view. There had been a full moon the night before and it hung low over An Teallach, as we flew east past it the sun rose above the horizon turning the snow covered upper slopes and the moon pink – the massive forge was warming up – everyone in the plane was in awe.

Well it's one thing looking at a beautiful mountain – it's another climbing it. To be honest I was afraid of breaking the magic of that flight … and afraid of the mountain itself – the brother of a friend lost his life there. I knew I'd have to go on a clear day, but not in winter, at least not for the first venture. As I've got older I've become a real feartie so that ruled out the pinnacles. So that would be it then, up and down the easy way. That decision made, it has still taken a long time to put boots on the hill – every year there was somewhere else to walk, different hills to bag, then as summer 2016 was ending we decided this autumn would be the right time, we aimed for the last weekend in September but the weather gods had other ideas; the first weekend in October came with perfect conditions. So, no excuses then? :o :o

Dawn breaking to perfect conditions on the east coast before we left

Reflections on the way at Loch Glasscarnoch

No problems finding the start of the walk and by 9:20 we were off and primed to find the old, and more interesting, route up.

Early views north

We did debate turning off the path quite early onto a fainter path which led upwards, but our OS map showed the path up Meall Garbh further east, so east we went – and along the new route. I was not best pleased, particularly since the walk along the corrie could be almost anywhere, I wanted special here, this was my special mountain.

Glas Mheall Mor came into view and did its best to be special

The view to the Beinn Deargs left me in no doubt that I was somewhere special, even if I couldn't quite see it yet.

As we gained height the Assynt hills came into view

Once onto the coll beyond Sron a Choire we stopped by a large cairn for sustenance – things were beginning to look exciting, I stopped being grumpy about the route up and began thinking of other things … like “can I really do this?” We walked over the sandstone pavement to get our first good look at the north side of Bidein a Ghlas Thuil. With the sun in my eyes all I could see was an enormous, steep, black rock face in front of me – immediate panic … “Can I get up that?”. “Yes”, said Roger. I shielded my eyes and saw the path … relief … “Yes, of course I can get up that!” A little voice deep inside said “that looks easy” but I didn't take any notice, I know that voice – it doesn't always tell the truth. :roll:

Path visible here (just)...

From this point on I was just so happy to be here – no more doubts, the day was turning out just as I wished. Fabulous mountain and wonderful, wonderful landscape. :D :D

West to Gruniard Bay and Loch Ewe

The fabled first view of the Fair Fiona and Friends ...

… and closer

From here the summit of Bidein a Ghlas Thuil was a gentle stroll and more photo opportunities ...

Glas Mheall Laith

Little Loch Broom, Beinn Ghobhlach and the Summer Isles

Looking out to the Western Isles with Clisham just about visible on the horizon

Over to Assynt and Sutherland

Ben More Assynt and Conival

Ben Klibreck

And 2 photos just to prove were were here, we did reach this magical place …


We ate lunch part 1 at the summit of Bidein a Ghlas Thuil just soaking up the views until the chilly wind persuaded us to move on to our next goal.

That iconic view of mountains and lochan ...
… sadly taken at the wrong time of day to do it justice.

A dramatic close up

On the way up Sgurr Fiona, looking back at the descent route ...

… then onto the summit and another classic view - this time to Corrag Buidhe

The summit was occupied when we got there by a weaver from Skye, but there was room for the two of us to join her. Given that its a small summit it provided very decent rock armchairs, whose comfort belied the dangers of a quick exit downwards. Here we had lunch part 2 and a very amicable blether with the young woman from Skye.

South there was a stunning view down Strath na Sealga with the fetching Beinn Dearg Mor centre stage backed by the Fisherfields

The ridge from Bidein a Ghlas Thuil to Glas Mheall Laith – with a Panama hat

The same ridge zoomed with Ben Klibreck on the horizon

Looking west along the Sgurr Creag an Eich ridge to Wester Ross and beyond

Beinn Dearg Mor and the Fisherfields … looking forward to exploring here

Eventually the cold wind got the better of us here too, and we headed down. A slightly different angle on Loch Toll and Lochan – somewhere that is inviting an exploration in its own right.

The Fannaichs

Farewell Fair Fiona and Friends

And so we headed home … unable to spot the path that would take us over the ridge of Meall Gharbh we went back the same way we had come, with almost as much flack from me.

Route downwards

At least on the return we had lovely views north, and the light was improving as the sun started to go down too.
The Beinn Dearg group with the flank of Glas Mheall Mor

Almost down – looking over Strath Beag towards Ben Mor Coigach

There is a maze of paths on these lower slopes, and several wrong choices left us following a route that was wetter and scramblier than the one we had come up. I can be stoical about it now, but made some choice comments at the time. Still we made it back to the car in reasonable time. Couldn't resist a final photo of An Teallach in silhouette


As well as having a wonderful day hill bagging on this amazing landscape I feel that I've had an introduction to a world that requires much more careful exploration. Even if I never scale the pinnacles, or even the 2 Munros again, I'll be back to explore further.

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

Comments: 13

Morven, the baker and a long, long walk

Attachment(s) Grahams: Morven
Date walked: 25/09/2016
Distance: 15.55km
Ascent: 600m
Comments: 12
Views: 1795

Patience rewarded on the Brindled Upland

Munros: Braeriach
Date walked: 10/09/2016
Distance: 26km
Ascent: 1217m
Comments: 9
Views: 1399

Little Wyvis but BIG bog

This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
Corbetts: Little Wyvis
Date walked: 04/09/2016
Distance: 12km
Ascent: 608m
Views: 189

Biggles, Bertie and the brothers

This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
Munros: Aonach Meadhoin, Saileag, Sgurr a'Bhealaich Dheirg
Date walked: 24/08/2016
Distance: 11km
Ascent: 1220m
Views: 149

1, 2

Loyalty, betrayal and a double ton x 2 on brilliant Bidean

Attachment(s) Munros: Bidean nam Bian, Stob Coire Sgreamhach
Date walked: 16/08/2016
Distance: 11km
Ascent: 1316m
Comments: 17
Views: 3116

Racing the rain to Petrie's craig

This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
Munros: Beinn a'Chlachair, Creag Pitridh, Geal Charn
Date walked: 23/07/2016
Distance: 26km
Ascent: 1275m
Views: 136

Hags to the right of them, hags to the left of them:

This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
Munros: Beinn Iutharn Mhor, Carn Bhac
Date walked: 06/07/2016
Distance: 32km
Ascent: 983m
Views: 142

Sgurr a' Mhaoraich and the dance of the seven veils

This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
Munros: Sgurr a'Mhaoraich
Date walked: 25/06/2016
Distance: 14km
Ascent: 1077m
Views: 131

Beautiful (dry) Seana

This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
Munros: Seana Bhraigh
Date walked: 18/06/2016
Distance: 28.5km
Ascent: 1095m
Views: 160


User avatar
Activity: Walker
Pub: The Old Forge
Place: Knoydart

Munros: 222
Corbetts: 13
Grahams: 8
Donalds: 1
Wainwrights: 1
Hewitts: 4
Sub 2000: 16

Filter reports



Trips: 14
Distance: 284.55 km
Ascent: 18152m
Munros: 21
Corbetts: 2
Grahams: 2


Trips: 9
Distance: 130.25 km
Ascent: 9306m
Munros: 12
Corbetts: 2


Trips: 19
Distance: 369 km
Ascent: 23044m
Munros: 34
Corbetts: 3


Trips: 4
Distance: 45 km
Ascent: 3160m
Munros: 5


Trips: 15
Distance: 248.25 km
Ascent: 14104m
Munros: 28
Grahams: 1

Joined: Apr 13, 2012
Last visited: Jan 15, 2018
Total posts: 828 | Search posts