Hills: Beinn Mhor (Graham), Ben Corodale (Marilyn), Hecla (Marilyn)
Date: Thursday 19th August 2010
Company: Just me
Time: 8 Hours
For this walk, I parked opposite Loch Dubhrain (parking is very limited). The
SMC Corbetts book states, “These hills are by far the most important hills in
the Outer Hebrides outwith Harris and Lewis. The round of the three hills in
either direction makes a fine excursion with about 1200m of climbing”. I would
say 1200m is an under-estimate given all the ups and downs of this route and
re-ascent on the way out.
For the first kilometre of the walk, I followed a land-rover track starting at
the North-end of Loch Dubhrain. At the end of this track, I crossed an area of
wet boggy ground en-route to the base of Maola Breac. From the outset, Beinn
Mhor was capped in cloud/clag. I therefore had two options in mind. Option 1) –
ascend Beinn Mhor (if hills remained in cloud) Option 2) – ascend Beinn Mhor,
Ben Corodale and Hecla (if cloud-lifted)
Beinn Mhor, capped in cloud:
I found a faint path ascending Maola Bhreac. The ridge from Maola Bhreac is nice
Approaching start of ridge from ascent of Maola Breac:
Beinn Mhor from Bealach Carra Dhomhnuill Ghuirm:
Looking back to Maola Breac:
The visibility was far worse than my photos suggest. I took a photo each time
the clag momentarily cleared.
Ascent of NW ridge:
During the ascent, I passed a sizeable cairn. Not sure why there is such a
prominent cairn there.
Cairn on ridge:
Looking towards 608m top:
The ascent from the start to the 608m top is straight-forward.
Stone shelter at 608m top:
From the 608m top, there is a 0.5km ridge leading out to the summit. This ridge
has numerous rocky towers and is a bit exposed in places. There is however an
easy path that winds its way round the towers, so no need to take hands out of
pockets. This path is quite muddy so you do need to take care not to slip.
Ridge towards summit:
Ridge towards summit:
Ridge towards summit:
Approaching summit of Beinn Mhor:
I spent around 15 minutes at the summit, hoping for the clag to clear. It
Large summit shelter and trig point at summit of Beinn Mhor:
Myself at summit of Beinn Mhor:
Looking back along summit ridge from summit of Beinn Mhor:
From the summit, I returned along the ridge to the 608m top and then descended
around 50m in height to the start of the ridge leading to Ben Corodale. As I
made my descent the cloud lifted enough to provide a view of the ridge across to
Ben Corodale. It looked bumpy but straight-forward so I decided to give going as
far as Ben Corodale a go.
Ridge leading to Bealach Hellisdale and Ben Corodale:
Ben Corodale from start of NE ridge:
This ridge could be interesting in the mist. There is however a grassy line
which I managed to find and follow to the Bealach Hellisdale. I didn't find the
“several short vertical steps” mentioned in the SMC book. I descended with no
From the bealach, I wasn't quite sure how best to ascend Ben Corodale. The SMC
book only suggests, “the ascent is straight-forward”. I decided to ascend via
the grassy diagonal running top-left to middle-right in the next photo. This
ascent was steep – no place for a slip or fall.
Ben Corodale from Bealach Hellisdale:
Looking back at descent from Beinn Mhor:
Looking back to Bealach Hellisdale from steep ascent of Ben Corodale:
As I ascended Ben Corodale, I could see that the cloud was still lifting and
that Beinn Mhor was now almost free of cloud.
An almost cloud-free Beinn Mhor:
It was nice to reach the Feith-bhealach, as my legs were starting to feel the
Approaching Feith-bhealach of Ben Corodale:
From the summit of Beinn Corodale I followed the SMC advice to look for a scree
gully, 50m East of the summit cairn. This scree gully drops between two rock
buttresses. I found the scree gully but wasn't sure why this route was advised.
Instead, I returned to the summit cairn and continued back for a 100m or so
towards Feith-bhealach. From there I walked round on grass onto the ridge
leading out to Hecla – no need to drop down between the buttresses.
Hecla from summit of Ben Corodale:
Looking back to rocky summit of Ben Corodale:
The bealach between Ben Corodale and Hecla involves quite a few ups and downs.
Heading towards bealach between Ben Corodale and Hecla:
Looking back to Ben Corodale:
Hecla from small lochan at bealach:
The SMC guide describes the ascent of Hecla as “steep”. I found the ascent
really easy compared to the ascent of Ben Corodale, which the book described as
Hecla from bealach:
Looking back to Ben Corodale and Beinn Mhor:
I was starting to feel thirsty as I approached Hecla, as I had finished off my
water at the summit of Ben Corodale. Still a long walk out to face with no
Hecla from summit ridge:
Approaching rocky summit of Hecla:
At the summit of Hecla, I stopped to take a few photos.
Looking North from summit of Hecla:
Ben Corodale and Beinn Mhor from summit of Hecla:
Myself at summit of Hecla:
I found the return from Hecla to the starting point to be quite demanding. I
descended back to the bealach between Ben Corodale and Hecla. From there I
descended Maolaidh Creag Nam Fitheach. I then attempted to skirt round Maola
Breac but ended up going over the top of it to re-join the faint path I had used
to ascend Maola Breac.
Looking back to Ben Corodale from line of fenceposts:
Looking back to Hecla:
I programmed the end of the land-rover track into my GPS to allow me to walk out
the final kilometre on good track.
Hecla, Ben Corodale and Beinn Mhor:
These are a fantastic group of hills. I would strongly recommend doing these
hills as a circuit instead of only ascending Beinn Mhor, and returning the same
way. However, be prepared for a tough day with lots of ups and downs and lots of
pathless terrain. After a quick shower, and a meal in the Lochmaddy Hotel, I
headed back out with the family with the intention of finding a beach and
watching the sunset. I headed for the beach at Baleshare, where I did some
off-road driving to get close to the beach.
Few photos from beach below.
Beinn and Becky at Baleshare beach, North Uist:
Worm casts on beach:
Looking towards Hecla, Ben Corodale and Beinn Mhor: