Creag Mhor Thollaidh and Loch Maree

Date walked: 28/06/2021

Time taken: 6 hours

Distance: 13km

Ascent: 675m

Mark and I moved to the Gairloch area last November (from Norfolk and Derbyshire). A great place to go through lockdowns and we have taken the opportunity to explore the local area. In fact we've been to Dingwall and Inverness a couple of times each - and that's it for travel. We lived at Port Henderson through the winter and must have done the Port Henderson to Opinan beach via the cliffs and back via the road about 80 times as well as other local walks. We moved to Poolewe at the end of April and have been busy walking from the house here since. Our walks of choice are off path and over smaller hills and we walk a bit slowly looking at plants, rocks and birdlife. Nature here might be called a bit sparse but fascinating.

The area between Gairloch and Poolewe is an almost endless series of modest hills, crags, loch and lochans and empty of people. While walking off path we have encountered a total of 3 people in 2 months (within 200 metres that is). One intimidating hill we've looked at but not tackled is Creag Mhor Tollaidh which looms above the Tollie - Slattadale path. But all these small hills have a non-scrambling way up so we finally decided to do it.

Creag Mhor Tollaidh and Loch maree.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Our route

A photo of the start of the Tollie - Slattadale path taken earlier from Cliff Hill the other side of the Gairloch - Poolewe road. Creag Mhor Thollaidh is on the left
Image210628_0 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

About a mile up the path there is an obvious route up between the crags. This was steep and not too difficult once we'd avoided a series of heather covered boulders with leg grabbing holes hidden between.

The route up
Image210628_1 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

At this time of the years the hills are often covered with orchids. Heath spotted are by far the most common but on this walk we saw a few clumps of fragrant orchids (amazing scent but you need to get your nose down to their level) and just one butterfly orchid. This was one of many on the climb up.
Image210628_2 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

At the top of the steep climb there was a surprisingly large area of flat grass and boggy ground between the rocky tops.

Looking back down to the path
Image210628_3 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

There was just a few minutes walk / scramble over nice rocky ground to reach the cairn at 343M and the sudden reveal of the view down to Loch Maree. To this point was about an hour's walk

Loch Maree with Ben Airigh Charr and Slioch still capped with cloud but clearing
Image210628_4 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

Baosbhein, Beinn an Eoin and the Torridons with a bit of cloud still
Image210628_5 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

Having climbed up our plan was to spend as long as we liked exploring what turned out to be a surprisingly broad plateau of crags and lochans as we wandered south east towards the shores of Loch Maree. There is endless up and down in this kind of landscape but the good thing is that as the crags are only 10s of metres high it's really quick to get down and then up to the next one so there's endless entertainment and no real trudge.

North towards Poolewe and Loch Ewe
Image210628_6 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

Westwards towards the smooth side of the crags on the Tollie antiform (from the road these are a series of impressive crags)
Image210628_7 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

Mark getting all excited about being up here in this fantastic space to explore :D
Image210628_8 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

Typical crags
Image210628_9 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

The way ahead with the Torridons always in the background
Image210628_10 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

A lochan and another crag
Image210628_11 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

And more
Image210628_12 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

Beinn an Eoin, Liathach and Ben Eighe through a gap
Image210628_13 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

Mark on one of the little 'ups' , getting warmer now the cloud has burned off
Image210628_14 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

Bit of a pose
Image210628_15 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

We decide we'd go down to the little headland which marks the end of the broad part of Loch Maree to get a bite of lunch. The going got more difficult as we descended with heather, tussock grass and holes left by fairly unsuccessful tree planting over recent decades, although on this slopes more tress appear to have survived.

Descending to loch Maree
Image210628_16 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

Getting closer, ground getting more difficult
Image210628_17 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

Stonecrop flowering on a rock
Image210628_18 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

It was a tricky way down to the shore with some very deep tussocky grass with boulders and holes which caused a few curses :(

But there was a little beach which later, when we turned round to look was hosting a couple of kayakers - I bet they were gutted to see our footprints !
Image210628_19 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

We'd done with the joys of off - path walking by now and made our way uphill back to the path to return.

Passing this little waterfall en-route
Image210628_20 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

On the track, looking back to Loch Maree
Image210628_21 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

At the top of the path , just visible is the cairn at the top of Creag Mhor Thollaidh
Image210628_22 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

Looking across to our ascent route from the path back
Image210628_23 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

Looking back to the NW face of Creag Thollaidh from the stepping stones on the path
Image210628_24 by Peter Lynn, on Flickr

By the time we were back to the car for the 1 mile ride home we'd been out 6 hours, pretty sunburnt and very happy. We were passed on the path near the car park by a couple of youths with a ghetto blaster and surrounded by a fug of weed smoke. We were back to civilisation !

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Location: Gairloch
Occupation: Retired Cidermaker
Interests: Meteorology, Gardening, Food
Activity: Walker
Mountain: Baosbheinn
Place: Assynt
Gear: Altberg boots
Member: Norfolk Wildlife Trust, RSPB, Gay Outdoor Club
Camera: Sony RX-100
Ideal day out: Pathless varied hill walk on a fine clear day

Munros: 8
Corbetts: 10
Grahams: 6
Wainwrights: 11
Hewitts: 32
Sub 2000: 12

Filter reports



Trips: 1
Distance: 13 km
Ascent: 675m


Trips: 3
Distance: 38 km
Ascent: 2922m
Corbetts: 2
Grahams: 1


Trips: 1
Distance: 73 km
Ascent: 3150m
Munros: 3
Corbetts: 2


Trips: 4
Distance: 55 km
Ascent: 2970m
Grahams: 1
Sub2000s: 2


Trips: 1
Distance: 10 km
Ascent: 450m
Sub2000s: 1


Trips: 8
Distance: 127.7 km
Ascent: 5914m
Munros: 1
Corbetts: 1
Grahams: 2
Sub2000s: 3

Joined: Jun 23, 2012
Last visited: Jan 22, 2022
Total posts: 46 | Search posts