Ending on a High – Liathach traverse and Coire na Caim. June 2016.

Date: Saturday 18th June 2016
Distance: 18.4km
Ascent: 1600m

The last day of our holiday……not a bad place to end up either. The forecast was for a splendid Saturday in the NW Highlands. Being in Torridon we had a large number of options. In the end we decided on a Liathach traverse returning via the north of the hill and Coire na Caim.

We were hoping to get decent views from Spidean a Choire Leith which have so far evaded us on previous visits.

Things were looking optimistic to start. Parked at NG 935 566 at the foot of the NTS track ascending to the ridge near Stuc a Choire Dhuibh Bhig. This is a well-constructed path that simply heads up, up, up.

Foot of the path:

Starting in the shadow of some cloud to the east we were quickly in building sunshine.

Slopes of Spidean a Choire Leith:

The slope lessens a fraction in Toll a Meitheach before steepening again.

Toll a Meitheach:

The path cuts on a rising traverse east towards Stuc a Choire Dhuibh Bhig.

Approaching the ridge:

Air clarity was so so – not a day for 150km views. Liathach however has a panoply of stunning local views so plenty to admire.

Seana Mheallan from ridge:

Once on the ridge the Beinn Eighe and Flowerdale come into view.

Sail Mhor through to Beinn an Eoin:

Over Seana Mheallan to Maol Cheann Dearg:

Headed out east to Stuc a Choire Dhuibh Bhig – visited once before in clag we enjoyed the views.

Spidean from Stuc a Choire Dhuibh Bhig:

Sail Mhor from Stuc a Choire Dhuibh Bhig:

Flowerdale hills:

Headed west to ascend Spidean over the intermediate top. This part of the route is rather boulder and a bit of a plowter.

Still, you can always stop and admire the view.

H on Spidean ascent:

East from Spidean ascent:

Beinn Eighe from Spidean ascent:

Spidean had been flirting with a very thin cloud cap, I’d wondered if we were (like last time) going to be thwarted for views.

Happily the skim of cloud evaporated and we were able to take a seat and enjoy the view across to Mullach.

Mullach an Rathain from Spidean a Choire Leith:

Sat for 30 minutes then pressed on towards Mullach. The descent from Spidean is steep and boulder, not a favourite, and given the drop offs a place where care is needed in poor visibility.

Ridge from Spidean descent:

Once on the ridge we took the southern bypass paths along the ridge to Mullach. All easy going from here.

Nice views from the ridge down to Loch Coire na Caim.

Coire na Caim and Beinn Dearg:

The ridge is a splendid jumble of grass and rock.

Sandstone and cloud:

Liathach ridge:

Coire na Caim:

The bypass clings onto the steep south side…..an easy path in summer which won’t be an option under snow.

South side of Liathach:

Once past Am Fasarinen the route climbs up to Mullach an Rathain.

View east from Mullach:

Loch Torridon from Mullach an Rathain:

Had lunch at the summit, a lovely warm day.

The vista from Mullach is superb.

The red route descends from just west of Mullach back to the road. We followed this on our first visit and it was steep, eroded and rather uninspiring.

Other options include the west ridge to the Alligin car park (a great walk but needing 2 cars) and our previous route down via Coireag Dhearg to Coire na Caim and out Coire Mhic Nobuil to the Ling Hut.

We were planning on the latter.

There’s a grassy band descending into Coireag Dhearg making for easy access.

Coireag Dhearg:

The west ridge of Mullach – one for a future return visit.

West ridge of Mullach and Beinn Alligin:

By the time the floor of Coireag Dheag is reached you’ve dropped 400m on an easy angle. Much preferred to the red route.

Coireag Dhearg:

From here we headed east round to Loch Coire na Caim. Quite a number of red deer round this side of the hill.

Sail Mhor from north side of Liathach:

Frog:

Hind and calf:

The terrain is very pleasant on this part of the hill, short vegetation and firm ground.

Sail Mhor from Coire na Caim:

Eventually round to Coire na Caim. This is a fantastic spot. Little visited and a rival to Coire Mhic Fhearchair. Well worth a visit (or 4 in our case).

Liathach simply looms over the coire – sunlit in high summer this place won’t see much direct light for several maonths of the year.

Coire na Caim:

Sat around here and watched parties of walkers moving over the ridge of Liathach – looked fairly busy up there.

Eventually it was time to go.

Leaving Coire na Caim:

Last time we headed NE towards the junction of the Coire Mhic Nobuil and Coire Mhic Fearchair paths. The terrain that way got a bit difficult with large boulders and heather covered gaps.

This time we headed north towards Loch Grobaig for about 500m before turning NE towards Lochan a Choire Dhuibh.

This terrain was much better and easy progress was made.

Back on the path there was the small matter of 7km back to the car.

The path curls between Sail Mhor of Beinn Eighe and Stuc a Choire Dhuibh Bhig of Liathach.

Spidean a Choire Leith from Coire Dubh Mor:

Beinn Eighe is a bit like a ripple ice cream with alternating patches of dark screes and quartzite lit up in the sun.

Sail Mhor:

Beinn Eighe:

Back down to the Ling Hut car park and then 2km on to the car. We were slowing down….a beautiful sunny afternoon in Glen Torridon was about to become a 4.5 hour drive back home ending our holiday. Not in a rush to do that.

I do like this route – think it extracts a bit more out of Liathach than terminating from Mullach with the tiresome direct descent. Coire na Caim remains a place well worth dropping in to. Good to get the views from Spidean this time too.

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