A Stunning Sgorach Mor Horseshoe

Sub 2000s: Sgorach Mor

Date walked: 05/11/2019

Time taken: 4.5 hours

Distance: 11.5km

Ascent: 932m

After having now completed the Donalds, my walking plans have been a bit closer to home than usual. With the Arrochar Alps dealt with a couple of weeks ago, it was now time to tackle one of the Cowal hills I had made up routes for. It's a place I hold dear despite almost always passing through it without stopping. I've been looking across the Clyde to it almost my whole life! Most of the hill interest came from malky_c's daunting report a few years ago, when I made a mental list of the ones that appealed. My first time driving on a ferry, I was a bit apprehensive, fortunately being last off. It was an easy 15-min drive to the start of the private road, which I'd hoped I could have at least driven up a bit.

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It was a short walk up the forestry track, avoiding Corarsik itself, to the first view of Dun Luchach. I'd hoped I could give its ascent a go but it looked effectively vertical now. I could hear forestry works at a bare opening below it so a direct ascent was out the question. I instead had to divert off early through the conifers in paralysing steepness.

Dun Luchach from way below:
1 - dun luchach.jpg

I crept my way through the sharp branches, huge moss breaks, slidy roots and unclimbable lichen-clad crags, often using the heather as handholds on steps which overhung, until I was parallel with the Eas Cromain burn. It was an impassible but beautiful gully with a good 30ft drop on either side so I was forced to escape the forestry at a convenient missing pocket to its east. Being out on the heather felt like being reborn. I was a 10 minute trod away from Dun Luchach's easier face. Once on the top, I could see the ascent and forestry works from the very precipitous drop.

Corarsik with Beinn Ruadh:
2 - corarsik with beinn ruadh.jpg

Sligrachan Hill and Beinn Ruadh (I have been looking at the view of the former from my house for nearly two decades!):
3 - sligrachan and ruadh.jpg

Oo'er the wa'er to Clyde Muirshiel and Hill of Stake:
4 - oer the waer to clyde muirshiel.jpg

An Creachan, the last big bump of the day:
5 - an creachan.jpg

Summit block Dun Luchach:
6 - summit block dun luchach.jpg

I'd misunderestimated the height gain I still had to account for - about 150m worth. It was a sweaty and painful walk up around the crags but the ever-increasing views made up for it. I was almost out of patience by the time I'd got onto the flat ridge.

Ascent up Creag a' Chanuill:
8.5 - ascent up creag a chanuill .jpg

To Dunoon and Inverclyde:
7 - to dunoon and inverclyde.jpg

Sligrachan Hill with Arrochar Alps in the background:
8 - sligrachan with arrochar alps in background.jpg

Dun Luchach from above:
9 - dun luchach from above.jpg

By the time I'd got onto the ridge, the views were jawdropping. I was barely making any progress as I kept having to stop for photos. It was probably a 20 minute walk along the ridge until the grassy tor summit of Creag a' Chanuill.

Cruach na Capuill:
10 - cruach na capuill.jpg

Uncertain of foreground, but Galloway Forest Park Donalds in the background:
11 - unsure summits and gfp.jpg

Looking over two separate Cruach nan Courachs to the Paps of Jura:
12 - two cruach nan courachs to paps.jpg

Over to Scarba:
13 - over to scarba.jpg

Reflections over to Jura:
14 - reflections over to jura.jpg

The sleeping warrior looking worse for wear:
16 - sleeping warrioe looking worse for wear.jpg

Apparently a 4cm difference in height:
15 - sgorach mor and creag a chanuill which is higher.jpg

I took a 5 minute lunch break a bit below the top, with an excellent view of the marilyn. I was amazed how I'd only had two layers on so far - must have been the sun. After a brief descent, it was only a few minutes to the top of the massive, unforgiving crag of Sgorach Mor.

Sgorach Mor summit:
18 - sgorach more summit.jpg

Looking back to Creag a' Chanuill:
17 - creag a chanuill.jpg

Looking along the ridge to the next target:
19 - along the ridge.jpg

On closer inspection, around 25 deer:
20 - deer.jpg

I'd heard the deer calling but couldn't see them as they blend in so well. It was immensely boggy at the bealach but my wellies kept my feet dry. The deer were running away from me up until the base of An Creachan. It was a short but steep pull to the summit trig, where I took another break.

Earl's Seat and Dumgoyne:
21 - earls seat and dumgoyne.jpg

Descent to Am Binnein:
22 - descent to am binnean.jpg

The ridge was full of big drops so I had to navigate quite carefully down the slidy grass. Opting to go up the nice little 453m summit, I noticed both before and after it that there were red arrows on posts and painted on some of the rocks all pointing different ways - an orienteering course maybe? I couldn't be bothered going up Am Binnein so curved around its south face to join another convenient missing pocket of forestry on the way down to the Corarsik path. The noise of the chainsaws was getting much louder as I went down, dissipating as I entered the conifers once again, fortunately with a wide berth and few branches this time. After another intensely boggy clearing I finally reached the path, where I could speed up once again.

Corarsik path:
23 - corarsik path.jpg

I'd intended to take a branch in the path to put me back on the main forestry track past the workers but it didn't exist so I followed the path down until it was flat and close enough to the track that I could cross the Allta Mor and get back up onto it. Just as I was passing the cottages a massive forestry vehicle passed, giving me no notice. Saw a red squirrel a few minutes before reaching the car too!

After a nice tea in the car, I headed back to the ferry where I was first on and first off this time! I was blown away by the beauty of Cowal, despite its notorious ruggedness, and I can't wait to be back.

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Comments: 2

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Talla Donalds Day 2&3: Last Donald, Statistics & Reflections

Attachment(s) Corbetts: White Coomb
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Date walked: 14/09/2019
Distance: 33.6km
Ascent: 2007m
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Ascent: 795m
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Attachment(s) Sub 2000s: Cruach Lusach
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User avatar
Location: Greenock
Activity: Mountain Walker
Camera: d7000/Smart X9
Ideal day out: Bit lost & sunny

Munros: 5
Corbetts: 14
Grahams: 23
Donalds: 89
Wainwrights: 15
Hewitts: 13
Sub 2000: 51
Islands: 9

Filter reports



Trips: 8
Distance: 227.75 km
Ascent: 13111m
Corbetts: 2
Grahams: 3
Donalds: 26
Sub2000s: 1
Hewitts: 10
Wainwrights 15


Trips: 13
Distance: 285.9 km
Ascent: 16244m
Corbetts: 6
Grahams: 10
Donalds: 28
Sub2000s: 4


Trips: 13
Distance: 238.5 km
Ascent: 14849m
Corbetts: 3
Grahams: 6
Donalds: 23
Sub2000s: 16


Trips: 5
Distance: 100.3 km
Ascent: 3546m
Grahams: 3
Donalds: 12
Sub2000s: 5


Trips: 1
Distance: 38 km
Ascent: 569m
Sub2000s: 1

Joined: Dec 29, 2015
Last visited: Jul 04, 2020
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