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From the right viewpoint Slioch, whose name means "the spear", can also resemble one of those great old jelly moulds, with its series of gullies and buttresses falling down in a seemingly complete skirt around the mountain. The upper part, the 'skirt', is made up of Torridonian sandstone, but the mountain rests solidly on an ancient foundation of Lewisian gneiss, whose slabby outcrops shine faintly across Loch Maree.

At the loch edge, like a hem, woody slopes dip into the loch. The path, over half of which is the approach march to Gleann Bianasdail to the east of Slioch, begins just outside the village of Kinlochewe, at Incheril. A road then a track goes north then north-west along the Kinlochewe River to gain the loch shore briefly. Cross the Abhainn an Fhasaigh by a footbridge then turn right up Gleann Bianasdail for 750m.

Turn north before some waterfalls and head up for the col between Sgurr Dubh and Meall Each. After the col bend left under the north face of Sgurr Dubh for about 750m then steeply up to gain the south-east ridge of Slioch. The ridge leads past two small lochans, up over a false summit at 980m, traverses a wide col then just past a trig point the actual summit at 981m.

It's always good to vary one's return, so from Slioch, assuming you can pull yourself away from the view of mountains and loch, turn east to Sgurr an Tuill Bhain. From there, a descent south into Coire na Sleaghaich (the coire of the spear), takes one back to the col east of Sgurr Dubh and so to the foot-pounding track back to the starting point.


Maps: OS Sheet 19 'Gairloch & Ullapool, Loch Maree'
Distance: 20km
Ascent: 940m
Time: 7 hours
Food & Drink: There is a selection of fairly clone-like hotels at Kinlochewe, Achnasheen, Poolewe, and down the glen in Torridon. Bunkhouse and Barn accommodation also at Kinlochewe.


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