walkhighlands

Fraochaidh from Ballachuilish

Route: Fraochaidh, from Ballachulish

Corbetts: Fraochaidh

Date walked: 29/09/2019

Time taken: 8.5 hours

Distance: 22km

Ascent: 805m

Fraochaidh from Ballachulish

This is a walk I’d looked forward to. A long up and down ridge into an accessible yet remote top with views of familiar hills from a different perspective. In an evolving ‘low degree of certainty’ weekend weather forecast, I had made the call to set aside Sunday for this long day trip and was a little concerned that the blue skies arrived in Glasgow on the Saturday ahead of prediction. Nevertheless. Sunday saw us head off from the visitor centre carpark in Ballachulish, not in blue skies, but on a clear, dry morning. Despite a bit of mist shrouding some of the tops, it was poised to be a good day.

A short walk south through Ballachulish, across the bridge over the River Laroch and a left turn up past the school (where I think we could have parked) saw us on the main track up Gleann an Fhiodh. I had wondered about the feasibility of taking the bike up the Gleann. Despite some evidence of tyre tracks, I would stress that this is not a place for the average walker to take a bike. Although for the most part the track makes for good walking, I would have been pushing more than cycling as it is rough and rutted with plenty of obstacles, including a couple of streams requiring boulder hopping, to negotiate. On foot is certainly the way to approach the hill from this direction though I understand that the less scenic eastern approach offers better access for bikes.

Heading up Gleann an Fhiodh
Image

Beinn a’ Bheithir’s slopes dominate on the rhs
Image

Sgorr a’ Choise
Image

Back to Ballachulish
Image

Boulder-hopping a stream on the track
Image

Towards the eastern end of Fraochaidh’s long ridge. The slopes of the 718 point are just visible.
Image


My map showed a path which forked of at a large cairn (068548), but heeding advice we ignored this and looked for a stream crossing a few hundred metres further up the glen. We crossed the River Laroch easily and made our way up heathery slopes utilising animal tracks to skirt an area of natural woodland before we stumbled onto the main cairned track that led to the bealach at 066540. On our return route, several hours later, we followed this track all the way down to the River Laroch to cross at a point marked by 2 small cairns. Note that the lower part of this track is very muddy. If I were returning, I would use the animal tracks route in both directions.

The large cairn on the main track
Image

Crossing the River Laroch. The Pap of Glencoe is in the background.
Image

The way across the River Laroch marked by 2 small cairns. We used this crossing place on our return journey.
Image

This is the ‘recommended’ ascent route to the bealach. We used it on our return. It is very muddy.
Image

Making our way up rough, heathery ground using animal tracks
Image

Heading for the bealach via an area of natural birch woodland. The ground is not as rough as it looks.
Image

Looking back from the woodland. The Mamores are clearing nicely.
Image

On the cairned track just before the bealach.
Image

Image


At the bealach. The stile is part of the right of way to Duror. We turned right heading for the slopes of the 718 point.
Image

From the bealach we followed the line of fence posts uphill to reach the first of many small tops on the 4km plus ridge. Fraochaidh’s summit ridge soon comes into view – it is a long way with the 718m top to be crossed first. The ridge is dotted with several pretty lochans and soon the views were opening up across Loch Linnhe to our right and into the backyard of Glencoe on our left. It was clear, with Beinn a’ Bheithir the only top that the clag persistently clung to.

Following the fence line just above the bealach. Sgorr a’ Choise looks a fine hill.
Image

And there it is. A long way off. Fraochaidh is now poking out although the 718 point dominates the shot.
Image

Fraochaidh
Image

Lochans on the ridge with the Morven Hills over Loch Linnhe as the backdrop
Image

Fraochaidh from the undulating ridge
Image

Sgor na h- Ulaidh and Beinn Fhionnlaidh from an unusual angle near the 718 top.
Image

The lochan and distant hill landscape that is typical of this ridge. The hills of the Galmadale horseshoe feature here.
Image

Looking back from close to the 718 top.
Image

The final 2 km make for very pleasant walking. Fine underfoot, interesting scenery and ever developing views. The 200m pull up to the relatively narrow summit ridge is straightforward on a firm eroded track. By this time we had an accompaniment of roaring stags – apart from that, we had the mountain to ourselves.

The final section of the ridge. A slight descent before the pull up to the summit ridge.
Image

Fraochaidh is a scenic hill. The summit is now in sight at the end of its ridge.
Image

Heading up with the blue sky
Image

On the summit ridge. The view down to the mouth of the River Duror – the shorter, but less scenic western approach to Fraochaidh.
Image

Looking back along the summit ridge. Beinn a’ Bheithir is shedding its coat of clag briefly. The Aonach Eagach is perfectly clear, although Bidean is being kissed by the low cloud.
Image

Approaching the summit
Image

The summit feature is a bit of a let down for such a fine mountain with an ugly sculpture of discarded fence posts marking the 879m top. However, this does not detract from outstanding views – the excellent visibility held, it stayed dry and the sky had more than its share of blue.
Image

Views
Hills of Glencoe
Image

Beinn Sgulaird and the distant Cruachan range
Image

A distant Rum and Skye!
Image

The Rum Cuillin zoomed
Image

Sgor na h- Ulaidh, Creise and Beinn Fhionnlaidh
Image

Across the impressive cliffs of Coire Dubh to the north towards misty Beinn a’ Bheithir
Image

Summit shot
Image

After a linger of close on 30 minutes we retraced our steps. Well, not quite, because we decided to cut across the scree slopes to shorten the dog leg of the summit ridge. Mistake! It was steep and loose – even the sheep dotted about Fraochaidh’s upper slopes looked at us with puzzled faces!

Not a short cut!
Image

Image

Looking back having negotiated a steep descent. It’s a fine hill.
Image

Once back on familiar ground it was a very pleasant return walk, despite a very brief rain shower. Not all out and back routes work, but this one does, as there is so much interest now in front of you. The Mamores were clear – the camera doesn’t do them justice – and the red and white contrast of Mullach nan Coirean and Stob Ban was particularly striking.
Views on the return leg
Image

Image

After a short break at the bealach, we took the direct path back to cross the River Laroch as described earlier, enduring the mud in the lower reaches. An agreeable return on the decent track saw us back at Ballachulish 8 hours 30 minutes after we had set out. It was a good day and one that did not disappoint. The rain finally came on as we reached the car!

A pleasant walk out at the end of the day.
Image

It is a contradiction in terms that Fraochaidh is probably the most accessible remote hill that I have climbed. And it is well worth a return visit.

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: 3



Beinn Mhic Chasgaig plus – a round of Coire Odhar

Munros: Creise
Corbetts: Beinn Mhic Chasgaig
Date walked: 14/06/2019
Distance: 16km
Ascent: 1335m
Views: 238


Arkle and Meall Horn – A Big Northwest Corbett Combo

Corbetts: Arkle, Meall Horn
Date walked: 12/05/2019
Distance: 27km
Ascent: 1400m
Comments: 4
Views: 370

allangilly


Munro rounds: 1

Munros: 116
Corbetts: 124
Donalds: 4



Filter reports


Statistics

2019

Trips: 3
Distance: 65 km
Ascent: 3540m
Munros: 1
Corbetts: 4


Joined: May 26, 2019
Last visited: Oct 18, 2019
Total posts: 5 | Search posts