This is not
a walk for the unfit or the inexperienced! It takes in three Munros on
the north flank of Glen Dessary, in the wonderful and well-named area
known as "The Rough Bounds." The walk begins at the west end of Loch Arkaig,
where the public road terminates. The road continuing up Glen Dessary
is private, though it is the right of way to Inverie. Take this to Upper
Glendessary and continue along the path above the trees.
Coire nan Uth has a bridge, useful when the burns are in spate. Once across
the bridge, turn up to take the south ridge of the first summit, Sgurr
nan Coireachan (953m). The ridge narrows nicely before the summit.
Now go west
then south-west to the Bealach Coire nan Gall at 733m. There is a good
dry-stane dyke to follow along the ridge, lulling one into an easy navigational
frame of mind. There is one top (Garbh Chioch Bheag, 968m) to pass over
before reaching the second Munro, Garbh Chioch Mhor (big rough place of
the breast, 1013m).
is still followed west (what a labour that must have been) then north-west,
leading to the col at 845m below Sgurr na Ciche. This is wonderfully named
Feadan na Ciche, or the whistle or chanter of the peak, no doubt from
the near-constant drone of the wind at this spot. Above lie the rocky
slopes leading to the summit of Sgurr na Ciche (peak of the breast).
to the car is by going back down to the windy col, then descending a narrow,
boulder-filled gully south-west towards Coire na Ciche. At its foot, at
an altitude of about 670m, contour south-east below the crags of Garbh
Chioch Mhor and follow a small burn down grassy slopes to gain the Bealach
an Lagain Duibh. Finish down the path in Glen Dessary, a bit of a squelch,
to pick up the outward route at the Allt Coire nan Uth.
is known for its high rainfall and with steep, rocky hills the burns are
infamous for becoming raging torrents very quickly. Walkers have been
drowned here. Walking into Sourlies Bothy one winter weekend, we had to
jump one such burn just above the bothy (it's now bridged). Landing at
a bit of rope in mid-stream (if you missed…) I damaged a knee.
I had to
abandon a walk the following day, while obviously worrying about getting
back to the car the day after that. In the event it was quite odd; I found
it too painful walking along the path but could just manage the steeper
slopes, slowly, so we went out via the ridge walk described above! This
provides another option for the walk; go into the bothy (or camp, as it
is sadly too popular now) and walk out via Sgurr na Ciche etc., starting
up the ridge above Sourlies called the Druim a'Ghoirtein.