Beinn Dearg Big and Middle (Red Cuillin)

18 07 2016

Mon 23 May 2016
This was my second day at the Glenbrittle Hut with my club (I’d already accidentally had a day there with someone else’s club!) and I’d been left out of all the walking/scrambling/climbing plans by everyone so had to amuse myself. This route had always appealed to me as it took in two of the Red Cuillin which are famously scree-ridden but took a grassy route for much of the way, especially the ascent/descent – as I hate slithering around on steep scree, that was important to me.

all photos my digi-camera – click on for full size

I parked at the walkers carpark near the Sligachan Inn where a path sets off alongside the Allt Darach gorge (quite spectacular but doesn’t lend itself to photos) to head for the nose of Sron a’ Bhealain to reach the grassy ridge of Druim Ruaige. The path was a little sketchy in places as it crosses a lot of bog and it was pretty squelchy but rose at an easy angle and headed directly for the nose. Tip – this path branches off from the path up Glen Sligachan almost immediately so look very early on for a gate through the wire fence on your left – the path then follows between the gorge and the fence until you reach a gate at the top of the gorge where you exit the enclosure for the open moor.

In just over a mile I’d reached the start of the zig-zag path up the Sron and drier ground at last. The path climbs steeply up the nose for around 750 feet and then levels off after the peak of the Sron to head more easily for half a mile to the start of a good zig-zag up the scree of the summit cone of Beinn Dearg Mheadhonach (middle red hill). It’s worth heading briefly back from the path to the little peak of the Sron for a gaze at the view in all directions – Glamaig looks particularly nasty from here – in fact, it looked nasty to me from the whole walk which is why I didn’t include it as most do!

Sron a' Bhealaich, Red Cuillin
Sron a’ Bealain at the end of Druim Ruaige

Glamaig the Pudding
Glamaig

Beinn Dearg Mheadhonaich & Marsco

Heading up Druim na Ruaige with Marsco on the right

Beinn Dearg Mheadonaich Approach

Good views to Marsco and Blaven from the ridge…

Marsco from Druim na Ruaige

Blaven from Beinn Dearg Mheadhonach

The zig-zag eases the ascent up to the summit making the whole hill very enjoyable. On reaching the summit ridge, you see there are two cairns – one where the zig-zag ends and then an enjoyably narrow ridge leads around to the other – not sure which is highest but both should be visited really.

Beinn Dearg Mheadhonach Ridgeline

Beinn Dearg Mheadhonach from far summit
looking back to first summit

The promenade between them gives great views, especially to Loch Ainort.

Loch Ainort from above

You also get very dramatic views from here of your next peak – the narrow and steep-looking sharp cone of Beinn Dearg Mhor (big red hill). I hoped it was okay as it looked quite forbidding but it had looked okay from the side and I trusted there would be a zig-zag path up through the steep scree – most things look horrid end-on.

Beinn Dearg Mhor & Glamaig from Mheadhonach

There is a really pleasant ridge descent heading north over a shoulder to a very easy descent path to the col of Bealach Mosgaraidh at 510 ‘metres’.

Beinn Dearg Mhor from Mheadhonach Ridge

Beinn Dearg Mhor Approach

As is usual on my walks, I hadn’t yet stopped for any kind of break – I’ll only stop after I’ve attained all my objectives. I think that’s something born of all the bad weather I get in the Scottish hills – if I can see where I’m going I always think that’s a temporary state and that the hills will soon be snatched away into cloud. As I reached the col and looked around, I saw that the previous hill was, in fact, starting to disappear into cloud and it looked to be heading my way.

Beinn Dearg Mheadhonach from Dearg Mhor

There was indeed a zig-zag path setting off up through the large-stoned scree. This split into multiple paths as the peak steepened but there was always easy footing and the ascent didn’t take anything like as long as it looked like it would. By the summit my cloud had caught me up but I could see enough to notice how much the actual summit narrowed and what a nasty-looking drop it was down both sides on loose ground with some areas of small crag. This prompted me to not linger but head straight back down for the previous hill which I found the more pleasant of the two. If you’re not continuing onto Glamaig as many do (which involves a vertical-looking descent to the Bealach na Sgairde and then an ascent up another vertical-looking huge scree face with no paths), you have no choice but to reascend Beinn Dearg Mheadhonach.

Beinn Dearg Mheadhonach Return

Loch Ainort from Red Cuillin
Loch Ainort again from near col

Beinn Dearg Mhor & Glamaig
Bealach na Sgairde between Beinn Dearg Mhor and Glamaig which I didn’t fancy

On reaching Bealach Mosgaraidh again I saw the reascent of the first hill looked exceedingly easy – it was. I sat for a while at the cairn as the cloud had cleared again and had a break for a coffee and shortcake and a study of Marsco next door as I’d like to do that sometime. It does look monstrously steep though…

I then headed off on the good zig-zag down the scree back to the grassy Druim and Sron. I’d decided to miss the bog out and head from the foot of the Sron straight down the side into Glen Sligachan – that would at least vary my route as I hate doing the same route out and back.

Sgurr nan Gillean across Glen Sligachan
Sgurr nan Gillean across Glen Sligachan

As I descended the Druim I met a lovely German couple and we chatted for ages. I outlined my route to them and they thought they might use it – they were undecided about Glamaig at that point. They mentioned they might hire a guide for a walk on the Cuillin Ridge another day so I gave them Jonah’s number. I saw him a few days later in the Slig for a chat though but they hadn’t rung him and had left the islands by then.

My drop down the side into Glen Sligachan was very easy on pathless but drier ground and I enjoyed my mile back along the good glen path – I’ll definitely walk the glen sometime to reach Sgurr na Stri.

Glen Sligachan

In Glen Sligachan

All that was left was to call in at the Sligachan Inn for a pint of my favourite, re-hydrating lime and soda…

Stats: 7.5 miles, 3343 feet of ascent, 4.5 hours

Advertisements

Actions

Information

22 responses

2 08 2016
45degreesmc

Great hills – did them on an unbelievably gorgeous day in November yes November in Skye, a couple of years back.

Like

22 07 2016
smackedpentax

wow! Shows me what I am missing and makes me wonder why I haven’t been back to Skye for years. Marsco was the first climb I did when I was there…superb.

Like

23 07 2016
mountaincoward

You didn’t go up that craggy end of Marsco in my photos did you? 😮

Like

23 07 2016
smackedpentax

I remember it being very steep and there was a lot of scree – took the Labrador, he wasn’t too happy. But it is nearly 40 years ago so memory has faded..

Like

21 07 2016
Mark

How very timely! I’ve got these hills on my agenda for Sept. Got Andy Ravenhill booked for a two day Cuillin traverse. Any spare days could well be spent on the Grahams of the Red Cuillin. Thanks, I’ll be referring to this again.

Like

21 07 2016
mountaincoward

It’s another non-Cuillin Skye hill report next 🙂

Like

21 07 2016
chrissiedixie

Looked a nice walk that – and I do love a good zig-zag path!

Like

21 07 2016
mountaincoward

It was a nice walk the way I did it – not sure I’d have enjoyed the inclusion of Glamaig though – not even sure I’ll ever do that one as it doesn’t appear to have a nice side!

Like

21 07 2016
Blue Sky Scotland

I like the Red Cuillin. Much quieter than the black but you still get great views on them. Feels more like Skye before the tourists arrived.

Like

21 07 2016
mountaincoward

I have to say I prefer the Black but that was a nice walk. Not sure how many other Red Cuillin I’ll do – Marsco definitely but Glamaig probably not.

Like

20 07 2016
Paul Shorrock

I’ve never been on the Red Cuillins Carol, I’ve always headed for the Black – my loss, I’ll have to do some catch-up!
Have you changed over permanently to Digi cameras now? I’ve got to say they have transformed mountain photography for me.

Like

20 07 2016
mountaincoward

Nope definitely not changed to digital – just I use my digital in places like Skye (when I was originally planning to do the Black Cuillin) as I think it is too dangerous a place for my precious SLR!

I still find the clarity of my film photos is far superior to the compact digital cameras though so won’t be changing until I can’t get any more film!

Liked by 1 person

19 07 2016
fedup

On the list so good to see 😀

I must admit it is always driech when I visit Skye unless I’m late for a ferry and don’t have time for a sneaky walk then its wall to wall sunshine! I used to visit a lot with my dad in my teenage years and it was always cloudless blue skies!

Cheers Si

Like

19 07 2016
mountaincoward

Are you going to include the dreaded Glamaig presumably when you do them?

Like

26 07 2016
fedup

I’ll try but it will probably be raining!

Like

26 07 2016
mountaincoward

That will be better for Glamaig – it will firm up the scree!

Like

19 07 2016
tessapark1969

Nice report and some cracking views. I do like a nice zigzag path!!

Like

19 07 2016
mountaincoward

and better still a grassy ascent for the steep bit!

Like

19 07 2016
Gaslight Crime

Looks a grand circuit.

Like

19 07 2016
mountaincoward

Most people add on Glamaig to make it a true circuit but I thought it looked too monstrous!

Like

19 07 2016
underswansea

That sounds like a great day. Wonderful views towards the lake. I looked up the area on a map. That has to be a heck of a drive. Probably had to pass more than a few whiskey distillers. It is good looking country.

Like

19 07 2016
mountaincoward

I think there’s only one distillery on Skye (Talisker) – not sure – but I pass plenty on the way up Scotland!

Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: