Beinn Sgritheall and outliers from Glen Elg. August 2009.

Date: Saturday 22nd August 2009
Distance: 20km
Ascent: 1700m

Interesting phenomenon the Scottish Hill list system – come over Mam Ratagan and a view to a group of 4 hills presents – the Munro Beinn Sgritheall, the Graham Beinn a Chapuill and the Corbetts Beinn na h-Eaglaise and Beinn a Chaorach.

If they were all in one list a route would wend it’s way round them and the books would regale a tough day out, instead the vast majority of walkers drive round to Arnisdale to excise the middle of the group, climbing Beinn Sgritheall (which is precisely what we did in 2004). 😳

We’ve had a long hard look at the N side of Sgritheall on several occasions since and reckoned it would make for a great walk. There’s also the rare opportunity for a “one off each shelf” list cocktail – a munro/Corbett/graham walk.

Just past Glenelg take the left fork signposted for the Brochs and drive the length of the road to Balvraid Farm. There’s limited off road parking – we winkled the car onto a flat patch at the road end.

The track runs out along Gleann Beag past Dun Grugaig. At this point you’re walking beneath the E ridge of Beinn a Chapuill. Cross under the pylons and a few hundred metres on is a gap in the woods leading to a bridge.

The track on the OS is not apparent just across the bridge – head up the slope on the right of the forest plantation.

We simply cut straight up the slope Along the E ridge of Beinn a Chapuill. This gives a nice ascent along the cliff line. Lots of caterpillars out – Fox moth. A bit damp.

Beinn a Chapuill ridge from ascent:

Gleann Beag and Kyleakin Grahams from ridge:

Squall approaching:

Back down Beinn a Chapuill ridge from ascent:

The ridge steepens up at one point but grassy throughout. The summit cairn is at the top of this ridge near the first loch. I suspect some contributors to this site might like to spend a day on the top with an accurate GPS – it is a very large jumbled area – is there a higher point? I don’t want to know.

The day was clearing – view to Beinn Sgritheall – the ascent route is on the left:

Beinn a Chapuill lochans out to the Five:

From the summit cut SW to the 755m point to descend to the bealach with Beinn Sgritheall – aim for the NE end of the loch.

From here the there is an obvious ridge running from NG 838 140. This runs in a beautiful curve to approach the summit from the NE. This is a great approach – easy terrain and a decent angle. Nice views develop to Skye and Kintail.

Sgritheall from ridge:

Beinn a Chapuill from ridge:

The ascent ridge:

After a walk with no-one seen the munro summit turned up a couple of groups. Some great summit views from this munro – stands out from the jumbles of Kintail.

Barrisdale Bay:

West out to Sleat:

Kintail jumble:

Loch Hourn and Ladhar Bheinn:

From the summit we descended E to the bealach. A bit of a trough worn here on the trade route. From our last trip we remembered a very steep descent to the Bealach Arnasdail. This time we cut off the bealach into Coire Min and down to the lochan at NG 848 129.

Coire Min:

Lochan with Sisters above:

From there a traverse to Bealach Arnasdail – there is a deer path at about 640m which makes the traverse relatively easy.

Had a long hard look at the ascent of Beinn na h-Eaglaise – it is steep! Grassy all the way but when you start putting hands to grass it’s getting a bit too steep. I would really not want to descend this slope.

The summit then achieved we took off down the NE ridge over Druim na Bo. Beinn nan Caorach is a gimme from here – an extra 2km and 200m climb. However our deadline for tea was encroaching and a plan in place to do this with the neighbouring Graham.

Did see 2 Golden Eagles circling around the summit though.

Good views of Sgritheall.

A potential problem of the route is getting back over the Allts to the track at NG 856 146. The rivers were quite high but I still managed to cross dryshod above the confluence here.

Antler Moth:

From here back down the track to the car. It had clouded and there was little wind. We were encouraged along by our own army of personal trainers who descended en masse at any pause. The midge have never heard of positive reinforcement obviously.

All in all a very enjoyable route – I’d be very tempted to go back again.

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