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Ben More Coigach

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The unbeatable combination of sea and mountains is never more appreciated than here, on the Coigach peninsula north of Ullapool. The picture shows the view over the Summer Isles, and the keen-eyed may even pick out the ferry, left of the cairn. The drive is easily worth the effort. This is eagle country. In May 2000 I described the ascent of Sgurr an Fhidhleir, which is also taken in with this walk, but here we make several ascents from a seaward approach.

Start from a lay-by on the shoulder of the hill a few hundred metres north of Culnacraig (061 043). Head over the moor and up gently steepening slopes to the first top of the day, Cairn Conmheal (541m). The cairn lies at the top of a steep arÍte, the Acheninver Pinnacle. Now head inland along the ridge then down to a flat col with several strange, weathered rocks of sandstone.

From the col climb the slopes to the second top, Beinn nan Caorach (649m). Its ridge then leads gradually northeast in just under a kilometre to the top at 648m. There are superb views of the battleship bow of Sgurr an Fhidhleir, the next target of the day. Descend SSE to the col then up to the Sgurr, gradually turning to the ENE. The views from its summit at 705m are not for the faint-hearted!

Now descend, picking your way down rocky tables of sandstone, at first south, then southeast, to gain the col at about 545m. Above lies the convex slope leading to the summit ridge of Ben More Coigach. The actual summit lies almost a kilometre along, on a buttress jutting out north from the ridge. At 743m it is the highest elevation gained on this walk.

Go back to the ridge and continue WSW to the final top, Garbh Choireachan (738m). A little way further the end of the ridge is reached, with descent towards Culnacraig. The summit ridge of Ben More Coigach is narrow and fairly level, and though scrambly in parts is not difficult. A path may also be taken along its north flank for those wishing to avoid all rocks.

Cross the moor above Culnacraig and below the gorge and waterfall of the Allt nan Coisiche to regain the road just before the starting point. If time is short it is also possible to descend into the coire from the summit of Sgurr an Fhidhleir but the going is unpleasant in places with tussocky grass.

 

Maps: OS Sheet 15 'Loch Assynt, Lochinver & Kylesku'
Distance: 12 km
Ascent: 1085 m
Time: 6 hours
Food & Drink: There is a friendly inn at Achiltibuie with fine ale.

 

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