Beinn Alligan & Tom na Gruaich

Date walked: 30/03/2019

Time taken: 7 hours



FRIDAY: A welcome day off from the rigours of work and a well-earned escape to the hills. Ken, my walking companion collected me from home early morning and we drove at a leisurely pace over the Erskine bridge and up the A82 towards Torridon Youth Hostel. It was a welcome change to kick back and enjoy the scenery. As we headed north past Loch Lomond I could feel all the stresses of life begin to slip away.

We broke the journey initially with a coffee stop in Glencoe to check out the new Kings House which got a big thumbs up from both of us. I remembered some negativity regarding the restoration so I hadn't been sure what to expect. On we travelled through Gen Coe with its memories of past adventures and the dreams of ones to come. Next stop Fort William to stock up on the essentials from a supermarket close to the train station.

At Dornie, we visited Eilean donan castle for a shot of culture, well worth planning some time for it if you have never been before.

At Strathcarron, we opted for the A896 which would take us through Shieldaig, purely for that dramatic spectacle when Torridon came into view, with its grandiose sandstone sentinels lying in wait, Beinn Alligan and Tom na Gruagaich, Beinn Dearg, Liathach, Beinn Eighe. The weather let us down however and the grand exhibition was obscured by a curtain of cloud and rain.
This was new territory for me. I had heard many an animated tale of Torridon adventures so I was delighted to be embarking on my own. Although Ken was a little disappointed in the weather, I was in awe of the sense of foreboding that it created.


I was confident Linda would be impressed by the Torridon Youth Hostel, it was her first visit there and I had hoped for a fine turn of weather. We were welcomed by the ever helpful wardens Matt & Emma who have been there for 12 years now. When I last stayed there in October 2014 the place was fully booked out to a choir from south of the border, and therefore I had a welcome night of entertainment. I got chatting to a wee laddie called Hamish who told me that you should never open the bag on a set of bagpipes because all the wee monsters would escape. Hamish went on to explain that’s where the noise came from when the piper started to give the bag a bashing with his elbow. This is nightmarish stuff and I will never allow myself to get too close to a set of bagpipes ever again.

Our evening meal was Lasagne prepared by my gourmet chef Linda which was just about the finest you could ever wish for and had me on the verge of steering her towards matrimony. This was accompanied by a fine Spanish Ribera Del Duero.

No choir this time and I couldn’t persuade Linda to sing for me, but she was delightful company nonetheless.

The weather in the morning was ideal, sunny, cool with a little broken cloud, our hearts were singing at and after a healthy breakfast we set off in the direction of Beinn Alligan.


SATURDAY: My sommelier Ken, is in need of further training. He should not have persuaded me to have that last glass of wine, or was it the dram he poured me afterwards? He needed a severe finger wagging for his recklessness which meant we were out a little bit later than we had planned.

However, once on the track leading to the infamous ‘horns of Alligan’ all was well, sommelier reluctantly forgiven and cautiously, almost back in my favour after driving me all this way. The views of Beinn Alligan and Tom na Gruagaich on the walk-in were spectacular.

There is a good path leading to the horns, but then the going is steep thereafter. The route merits grade 5 for the airy scramble over the horns. The conditions were perfect with occasional snow/hail flurries as we scrambled up and over Alligans’ horns and then onto the steep pull-up to the summit of Sgurr Mor which, is just about where the snow line began.

On the final horn we were treated to the site of a golden eagle soaring above which then took off in the direction of Liathach at tremendous speed.

Torridon looks so incredible at this elevation. The views from the summits of Sgurr Mor and Tom na Gruagaich are stunning, taking in Beinn Dearg, Beinn Eighe, and Liathach. You'll find you can't stop gazing at it, trying to captivate every detail, it is just a remarkable sight to behold.

The next stage of the walk was onto Tom na Gruagaich which was straightforward enough and we had lunch here, soaking up more of the dramatic landscape. The views over the Atlantic ocean towards Skye were breath taking. The light was incredible. As the sunbeams turned the soft waves into a shimmering silvery blanket you’re eyes were drawn to the silhouette of the Cullin, it’s jagged peaks softened by the mist and illuminated by the dancing light of the ocean. Such a privilege to be able to spend time in these magical places.

We could enjoy a relaxed pace for our descent as we had no great distance to drive back to the hostel. It was Kens turn to prepare the evening meal so I was looking forward to some chill out time in the comfortable lounge at the hostel. I might even do some research into those bagpipe monsters!


My third time on Beinn Alligan and Tom na Gruagaich, I had been on the latter before it was reclassified to Munro status. I simply adore those two Munros and it was a real privilege to share them with Linda today. She showed plenty of appetite and determination for the scrambling on Alligin’s horns and was clearly enjoying this part of the day. The vista from the horns, and Sgurr Mor summit is truly magnificent, as it is from Tom na Gruagaich. On the ascent of Tom na Gruagaich the wind began to strengthen but the bouldery summit offered some shelter from the wind which allowed us to enjoy lunch.

Back at the hostel we indulged in a beer before heading to the showers, sitting in front of the lounge window which also offers fantastic views of Torridon looking in the direction of Shieldaig.

My evening meal is going to be a Thai Green Curry with Wok fried Thai style vegetables. Deviously I hadn’t explained to Linda beforehand that I had taken Thai cooking lessons so I was hopeful that she would be impressed by my efforts. I knew however that I wouldn’t have upstaged her in a culinary competition, she was way ahead of me on that front. I was thankfully complimented for my efforts and my vegetables had apparently been nicely prepared, for a man.
I was reigned in on the wine pouring though so that we would be fit for the next adventure the following day, Fionn Bheinn at Auchnasheen.


Kens Thai Green Curry was a culinary delight! His enormous portions however left me feeling like I should have made a bigger lasagne 😆

FIONN BHEINN– 31.03.2019


SUNDAY: The clocks have just been advanced and we are now in British summer time. It was also mothering Sunday. Looking out of the window in my hostel room the day was looking ideal, clear sky, sunshine, no cloud, no wind. Ken and I had breakfast, gathered up our belongings and checked out of the hostel. We drove off to Auchnasheen for the start of our somewhat easier day on Fionn Bheinn. The drive took us along the shoreline of Loch a’ Chrosig just before arriving at Auchnasheen. Looking into the water in such a calm day provided a mirror reflection of the hills on the opposite shoreline.

Fionn Bheinn is isolated from any of the other nearby peaks and is officially one of the Fannichs. It offers fine views of the nearby Torridon mountains and is easily accessed from Achnasheen. We parked up at Auchnasheen train station and walked East along the road for just over 1 kilometer to pick up a track we had marked out on the map, taking us away from the usual start point. This gave us a nice loopy sort of route rather than the direct up-and-downer. A worthwhile plan as it gave us a spectacular view of the mountains’ Northern slopes with an impressive cornice and a good covering of snow on its Northern aspect.

The hill is rounded with an easy gradient which was a welcome change from the hard rocky terrain from the previous day. We enjoyed a warmer day and spectacular views of Loch Fannich and the surrounding Fannich range which whets the appetite for more adventure.

An epic weekend for me, one I’ll never forget. Looking forward to more Torridon adventures soon.

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Dalwhinnie, Meall Chuaich

Attachment(s) Munros: Meall Chuaich
Date walked: 13/03/2019
Distance: 17km
Ascent: 610m
Comments: 2
Views: 431

Ken Sinclair

Activity: Munro compleatist
Pub: Park Bar
Mountain: Beinn Alligin
Place: Orkney
Gear: Scarpa Manta
Member: Not a member of any groups or clubs. Just like days out with friends and likeminded people.
Ideal day out: Anything with a Munro, Corbett or strenuous low level walk.
Munro rounds: 1

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Trips: 2
Distance: 17 km
Ascent: 610m
Munros: 1

Joined: Mar 11, 2019
Last visited: Sep 13, 2019
Total posts: 3 | Search posts