Hiking in Scotland

Last month saw my eighth ascent of Beinn Eighe, a mountain in the North-West Highlands of Scotland. It was my first time via the ‘Black Carls’ ridge of Sgurr nan Fhir Duibhe. The ascent of this 963m high peak is around winter grade I/II, with the crux being a steep climb out of the prominent notch you can see on the rocky ridge on the top picture above. 

We started our day on the most easterly peak on the Beinn Eighe massif, Creag Dubh. From there, we followed the most amazing ridge-line, c.5km long, that took us over the Black Carls, Sgurr nan Fhir Duibhe, Sgurr Ban, Spidean Coire nan Clach, Coinneach Mhor and Ruadh-stac Mor before we descended steep ground into Coire Mhic Fhearchair and headed for home.

In 1951, Beinn Eighe was designated Britain's first National Nature Reserve. The NNR website details how the massif 'embraces a vast area of 48 square kilometres' between Loch Maree and Glen Torridon, 'stretching from loch-side to mountain top', with a 'huge cluster of rugged peaks, ridges and scree-covered slopes' in between. 

For mountain walking, Beinn Eighe is a dream hill. It has 6 summits, two of which are Munros (Scottish mountains over 914.4m high), and it is home to arguably the UK's most majestic mountain corrie, Coire Mhic Fhearchair, with its deep loch and 300m high cliffs that form the Triple Buttress. The mountain also forms part of the 42km long running route for the Celtman Extreme Scottish Triathlon.