Hill: Beinn a'Bhaillidh (Eilean Shona)
Date: Sunday 6th February 2011
Company: Just myself
Time: 3Hrs 50Mins (excluding 1Hr 20Min wait at ford)

On looking across Loch Linnhe this morning the cloud was down to around 200m. I decided to drive a bit further West towards Glenfinnan to potentially ascend some Loch Shiel Corbetts. On arriving in Glenfinnan I was not inspired to even get out of the car.

To stay below the cloud, and hopefully get some views, I needed to ascend a Sub2000 Marilyn. Inspiration came to me as I remembered my pal Chris had recently ascended a nearby tidal island called Eilean Shona. A quick check of the SatNav confirmed that the starting point was only circa 18 miles away. I didn't have a clue about the tides but decided to head there anyway .

I parked on the roadside verge at the start of track leading down to the ford (NM673744). I made up the route as I went along.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

The walk along the track leading to the ford was pleasant - nice oak trees and moss-covered boulders.

Track towards Ath a'Chaolais:

In just over ten minutes I reached the water separating me from Shona Beag and Eilean Shona.

Loch Moidart:

North Channel:

My heart sank as I saw a considerable expanse of water between me and Shona Beag. As I stood looking at the water, I realised that the water was moving quite quickly from Loch Moidart out to sea. The tide was going out.

I put a small stone at the water's edge and had a wee look about. Ten minutes later I noticed that the stone was now about 6 feet away from the water's edge.

Too close to high-tide :

I put on all my spare clothes and waited patiently for the tide to go out sufficiently to let me cross. I took a photo one hour later. The tide goes out really quickly .

One hour later:

Another 15 minutes later and I decided to go for it. The water was still almost to the top of my gaiters but I got across with just slightly wet feet.

Looking back:

Once on Shona Beag, I followed the road/track towards Invermoidart.

Hut near Invermoidart on Shona Beag:

On reaching Invermoidart, I took to the hillside heading generally in the direction of Eilean Shona.


The going on Shona Beag was really rough and very wet. The descent back down to sea-level to the bit of land between Shona Beag and Eilean Shona was steep. I opted to descend a gully that was littered with boulders including one really big one.

Descent gully towards Port Thairbeirt Dheas:

Looking back at descent gully:

I thought the view from Port Thairbeirt Dheas was quite nice. Nae bad for a dreich day.

Port Thairbeirt Dheas:

Beinn a'Bhaillidh from Port Thairbeirt Dheas:

The land between Shona Beag and Eilean Shona was just as rough and wet. My boots were now full of water.

Land between Shona Beag and Eilean Shona:

On reaching the North Channel inlet between Eilean Shona and Shona Beag, I found and followed a good track leading towards Eilean Shona house.

North Channel inlet between Eilean Shona and Shona Beag:

While walking along the track, I passed a couple of small dams and a reservoir.

Reservoir on Eilean Shona:

Was quite surprised that an island as small as Eilean Shona has a village hall.

Eilean Shona Village Hall:

On reaching Eilean Shona House I had a look for the path marked on the map that ascends through the woods. Took me a bit of time to find it. The start of the path is at the top of the gardens of Eilean Shona House.

Eilean Shona House:

I followed the path up through the trees next to a small burn.

Path through the woods:

Alongside the path is a blue plastic pipe. It ran up to a small reservoir at the top of the woods.

Small reservoir at top of woods:

View from just above the treeline:

It was nice to get out of the trees and head for the top of the hill.

Beinn a'Bhaillidh:

I was impressed with the views during the ascent. On a good day the views must be spectacular.

Tioram Castle (zoomed):

View towards Riska Island and Tioram Castle:

Beinn a'Bhaillidh:

It didn't take long to reach the summit from which there is a cracking view of Eigg.

Approaching the summit cairn and trig point:

View from summit:

View from summit:

An Sgurr on Eigg is right up at the top of my wishlist for Sub2000 Marilyns. The rock on Eigg is apparently pitchstone, which is not abundant in the UK.

Edit: I subsequently visited Eigg and had the most fantastic time: Trip Report from Eigg (and Canna).

An Sgurr, Eigg (zoom):


I would have liked to have spent longer at the summit, however, I was a bit anxious about getting back across the ford.

I returned via the same route. On reaching the ford there was no water to cross .

Easy low-tide crossing:

Was nice to get some views on what was mostly a dreich day. This is a great wee hill but the going is pretty-rough in places!