Hills: Beinn na Caillich, Beinn Dearg Mhor, Beinn Dearg Bheag
Date: Wednesday 1st January 2014
Company: Myself, Graeme, Shona and Penny
Distance: 10.6km, Ascent: 1015m
Time: 5Hrs

On Hogmanay, I was pleased to find that the weather forecast for New Year’s Day had improved significantly. Monday’s 20% cloud-free Munros forecast had been superseded with a Tuesday forecast of 70% cloud-free Munros .

As neither myself nor Graeme had previously ascended Beinn na Caillich and Beinn Dearg Mhor we agreed to get up at 08:00 to be off by 09:00 for an ascent of these hills on the Isle of Skye. What better way to start the year than a visit to Skye!

From our base in Plockton it was only a short drive to reach the chambered cairn starting point on the B8083. For a slightly shorter walk we could have parked at Coire-chat-achan on the Old Corry road.

The weather was pretty-good from the outset and remained so throughout the walk.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

From the chambered cairn, we followed a good track leading to Coire-chat-achan. It was nice to find a good bridge over the Broadford River.

Looking towards the Beinn na Caillich horseshoe from the chambered cairn:

Beinn na Caillich horseshoe:

After passing through the farm we made our way across fairly wet ground towards the base of Beinn na Caillich. From a distance Beinn na Caillich looked steep, close-up it also looked steep .

Beinn na Caillich:

We initially followed various faint tracks which might or might not have been animal tracks. We could not find a good path leading up Beinn na Caillich, my guess is there isn’t one.

Looking back towards Broadford:

Looking back towards Broadford from an erractic boulder:

As we gained height, I stopped several times to take photographs looking back towards Broadford, Sgurr na Coinnich and the mainland hills.

Panorama from lower slopes of Beinn na Caillich:

Once above the lower slopes, we clambered up steep boulderfield to eventually find some traces of a path higher up.

Steep pathless ascent of Beinn na Caillich:

Seeing Dun Caan on Raasay reminded me that I need to revisit Dun Caan on a good day having previously ascended it in mist.

Dun Caan, Raasay (zoom):

Looking back from ascent of boulderfield:

Seeing Scalpay during the ascent also reminded me that I need to arrange to visit there in the near future to ascend Mullach na Carn.

Looking across to Scalpay during ascent:

As I approached the summit, I was hoping that the Cuillin would not be capped in cloud. I was not to be disappointed.

Graeme at the large summit cairn on Beinn na Caillich:

The view towards the Cuillin from the summit of Beinn na Caillich was outstanding. I’m fairly sure I was grinning like a Cheshire cat on seeing the ridge. We spent a good bit of time at the summit taking photographs, having a bite to eat and chatting with two other walkers who were also undertaking the horseshoe in the same direction as ourselves.

Bla Bheinn and the Cuillin ridge from the summit of Beinn na Caillich:

Looking West from summit of Beinn na Caillich:

Looking East from summit of Beinn na Caillich:

View from atop the large cairn:


Ridge out to Beinn Dearg Mhor:

Sgurr Mhic Choinnich, Sgurr Dearg and In Pin (zoom):

Looking across to the summit cairn from the trig point:

We eventually left the summit of Beinn na Caillich, making our way down a wide, gentle ridge towards Beinn Dearg Mhor.

Heading for Beinn Dearg Mhor:

The ascent of Beinn Dearg Mhor was very easy compared with the steep slog up Beinn na Caillich.

Heading for Beinn Dearg Mhor:

Looking back to Beinn na Caillich from Beinn Dearg Mhor:

At the summit of Beinn Dearg Mhor, I took some zoom shots of the Cuillin.

Bla Bheinn (zoom):

Northern Cuillin ridge (zoom):

The descent from Beinn Dearg Mhor to Beinn Dearg Bheag was definitely the trickiest part of the route. No hands-on, just a steep descent via a very-eroded track.

Steep descent towards Beinn Dearg Bheag:

Beinn Dearg Bheag from col:

Looking back at steep descent from Beinn Dearg Mhor:

Bla Bheinn – Clach Glas (zoom):

From the col between Beinn Dearg Mhor and Beinn Dearg Bheag, we next made our way up Beinn Dearg Bheag.

Panorama from col:

I arrived at the summit a few minutes behind Graeme and Shona as I was getting carried away soaking in the views and taking photographs. However, this turned out quite good as it was nice to take a couple of photos of Graeme, Shona and Penny at the summit.

Summit of Beinn Dearg Bheag:

Penny and Eigg:

Eigg and Rum:

The descent from Beinn Dearg Bheag was straight-forward. We followed a fairly good path much of the way before having to cross an expanse of boggy ground to get back to Coire-chat-achan.

Descent towards Coire-chat-achan:

It was nice to reach Coire-chat-achan to get onto the good track leading back to the chambered cairn starting point.

A great start to 2014 on hills I would definitely do again.