Hill: Ben Shieldaig
Date: Friday 1st August 2014
Company: Just myself
Distance: 13km, Ascent: 680m
Time: 4Hrs 40Mins

On Friday morning, I set off for Applecross to spend the weekend camping and walking with friends from the Moray Mountaineering Club. En-route to Applecross, I decided to ascend Ben Shieldaig.

The weather forecast had suggested poor visibility and showers. On reaching the roadside viewpoint between Torridon and Shieldaig, I was pleased to find the weather significantly better than forecast.

Beinn Alligin, Beinn Dearg and Liathach from roadside near Shieldaig:

I parked just off the road on the A896 opposite the transmitter (room for 1 or 2 cars only).

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

Ben Shieldaig is a wee classic. Instead of a quick smash and grab to the summit, I decided to do the hill justice by fully traversing its ridge and visiting each of its tops. From the roadside, I followed a faint path leading up towards the transmitter.

Instead of wearing boots for this ascent, I decided to wear trail shoes. While these were much comfier on the feet, my feet were wet within a matter of minutes.

Ben Shieldaig from just below the transmitter on Meall Dubh:

As I gained height, I got increasingly good views of the Coulags hills and Sgurr a'Gharaidh. I ascended Sgurr a'Gharaidh in April this year.

Beinn Damh, Maol Chean-dearg and An Ruadh-Stac during ascent of Meall Dubh:

Sgurr a'Gharaidh:

Maol Chean-dearg, An Ruadh-Stac and Sgurr a'Gharaidh across Loch Damh:

During the ascent of Ben Shieldaig, I stuck to walking on rock as much as possible. There are lots of nice Torridonian sandstone slabs on this hill.

Ascending Meall Dubh:

Nice sandstone slabs on Meall Dubh:

It was nice to see Maol Chean-dearg, which I have ascended twice previously and also An Ruadh-Stac which I think is one of the best hills in Scotland.

Maol Chean-dearg (zoom):

An Ruadh-Stac (zoom):

A balanced rock:

Beinn Alligin, Beinn Dearg and Beinn Damh:

Beinn Alligin, Beinn Dearg and Sgurr na Bana-Mhoraire of Beinn Damh:

Just below the summit of the 439m top of Ben Shieldaig, I spotted two large birds circling high in the air between Ben Shieldaig and Ben Damh. I wasn't sure if these were Buzzards or Golden Eagles although I suspected the latter. A knowledgeable friend has confirmed, Golden Eagles.

Golden Eagles:

Golden Eagles:

Golden Eagle:

Coast south of Loch Torridon:

As well as getting great views towards the Torridon hills, it was also nice to look West to the Applecross hills. Beinn Bhan is a fantastic hill with numerous fine coires.

Beinn Bhan above An Staonach:

Beinn Damh is a hill I am looking forward to re-visiting.

Beinn Damh:

Looking back to 439m top of Ben Shieldaig:

Beinn Alligin, Beinn Dearg and Liathach:

Looking towards summit of Ben Shieldaig from 497m top:

Un-named lochan en-route to summit:

Beinn Alligin, Beinn Dearg and Liathach across Loch Torridon:

After passing the 497m top en-route to the summit, I came to a stile over a six-foot deer fence. This fence would prove useful during the descent.

Stile over deer fence en-route to summit:

Circa five minutes from the summit I got the only rain shower of the walk. It was light and lasted less than five minutes :). It was nice to reach the summit however there was more ridge ahead.

Looking towards the 529m top from the summit of Ben Shieldaig:

Atmospheric view across to the Torridon hills from the summit of Ben Shieldaig:

Beinn Bhan from summit of Ben Shieldaig:

I felt it would be a shame not to carry on along the ridge, so I continued along to the 529m top and beyond to a viewpoint where there is a large stone shelter.

View from the 529m top of Ben Shieldaig:

Loch Torridon from near the end of the ridge of Ben Shieldaig:

Panorama from near the end of the ridge of Ben Shieldaig:

From the stone shelter, I returned to the summit of the 529m top and then to the summit of Ben Shieldaig. However on reaching the stile, I crossed over the fence and then descended back to the road by following the deer fence down the hill. I was glad to find that the deer fence went all the way to the base of the hill avoiding all crags in the process. The descent was steep in places.

Loch Dughaill during descent:

Looking back at the fenceline descent:

On reaching the A896, I walked back along the road for circa 2.5km to reach the car. I was not disappointed by Ben Shieldaig, it is a great wee hill.

I then drove round to Applecross to spend the weekend there. I was treated to a lovely sunset but the midges were from hell!

Sunset from Applecross: