Hill: An Cuaidh
Date: Tuesday 25th May 2010
Company: Myself and Beinn
Dog friendly: Yes
Time: 2Hrs 10Mins

An early start this morning allowed me to get up and down the Graham Meall Doire Faid, and back to Ullapool by 09:30, plenty of time to subsequently go for a drive round the West Coast. From Ullapool, we drove to Corrieshalloch, Dundonnell, Aultbea, Poolewe and then onto Gairloch. I had been to Gairloch several times previously but had never driven out the peninsula to Melvaig and Rubha Reidh. I was aware of a Marilyn out there called An Cuaidh, which I thought would provide good views given its location. I wasn't to be disappointed.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

I parked at the car park just beyond Melvaig where there is room for 6 or 7 cars. It would be possible to drive further along the road towards Rubha Reidh, but parking further along the road is limited. Views across to Skye and Harris, from Melvaig, were pretty good.

Trotternish, Skye from Melvaig:

Red and Black Cuillin, Skye from Melvaig:

Skye from Melvaig:

Harris and Shiant Islands from Melvaig:

From the car park, I followed the road for a few hundred metres before taking to the hillside pretty-much heading in a direct line towards the summit. The going at first was pretty-good, over short grass. After walking 0.5km, I saw what I thought was a head pop above a peat hag. I made directly for the hag and as I got closer an elderly gentleman, armed with a rifle, popped out to say hello. I asked what he was shooting. He responded, “Not much today”. We got chatting. His first question was “Am I lost?”. I replied, “No, I am heading for the top of the hill.” He looked a bit bewildered and advised, “Lots of hags up there”. I responded, “Thanks, I'm used to hags.” We got chatting about the different views and he advised, “It is good to sit up here at night as you can see the lights of Stornoway from the hill”. After bidding farewell I was on my way.

Elderly gentleman sitting on hill with rifle:

An Cuaidh:

Trotternish, Skye (zoomed):

As I continued I started to encounter hags, hags, more hags and bog. He was correct!


More hags:

After crossing about 1.5km of hags and bog, via a variety of techniques including long jump, high jump with the odd bit of sinking like the titanic, I was at last approaching the summit trig point.

… and more hags, approaching summit trig point:

En-route to the trig, I saw my first Dragonfly of the year. Four-spotted chaser:

The views from the summit were quite spectacular – my photos in no way do the views justice.

View towards Assynt/Coigach:

Looking towards Beinn Ghoblach and Sail Mhor:

Pano – Assynt/Coigach/Fisherfield:

View towards Fisherfield/Letterewe:

Transmitters on Maol Breac:

I was reluctant to leave the summit but had to get back to the car, as we had an appointment with a beach (for Becky). However, no way was I returning via the hags.

Beinn at summit of An Cuaidh:

From the summit, I made for Maol Breac and from Maol Breac followed a good surfaced track down to the road. I then walked along the road back to the car.

Approaching transmitters on Maol Breac:

Skye again:

Islands North of Skye:

Harris and Shiant Islands:


On the summit, as well as views to Assynt, Coigach, Fisherfield and Letterewe there were also views across to Torridon. While on the summit, Torridon was in cloud. On the way back towards Gairloch, the cloud had cleared so I stopped for a photo.

Torridon hills from road back to Gairloch:

On reaching Gairloch, we spent some time at the beach – one of my favourite mainland beaches.

Gairloch beach:

Gairloch beach:

Gairloch beach:

An Cuaidh is a wet boggy hill covered in hags, however, it is a fantastic viewpoint.