Poolewe to Gruinard (via Beinn a’Chaisgein Mor and Beinn a’Chaisgein Beag)
Date: 27th July 2011
Company: Myself and Jim
Distance: 40.5 km
Ascent: 1600 m
Time: 13.5 Hrs (including quite a few stops)

On Tuesday 26th July, I just happened to check-out the MWIS and MetOffice forecasts to find what appeared to be a really good weather window out west for the following day.

I had been provisionally planning to complete my Corbetts during the weekend of 5-7 August but this good weather window appeared to be too good to miss. It was therefore a spur of the moment decision to book the following day off work, send out a last-minute email to a few friends and pack a rucksack. Less than 24 hours notice isn’t an ideal notice period to give friends, so it was great to hear back from my friend Jim that he wanted to walk with me .

After work on Tuesday, I set out for Camusnagaul where I spent the night at Sail Mhor Croft, a really good hostel. I arrived just in time to see a lovely sunset along Little Loch Broom.

Sunset at Camusnagaul:

Sunset at Camusnagaul:

The following morning, Jim met myself at the hostel and we then proceeded to Gruinard where we left one car. We then continued round to Poolewe in the other car allowing us to undertake a traverse from Poolewe to Gruinard.

It was great to find that the weather forecasts were correct. Wall-to-wall blue skies .


Click here for draggable/zoomable map

From Poolewe we walked along the tarmac track to Inveran; a really pleasant walk alongside the River Ewe.

Beinn Airigh Charr from Poolewe:

After passing Inveran we continued on to Kernsary. I stopped to take a photo at the Inveran river.

Inveran river looking towards distant Baosbheinn:

After passing Kernsary, the views for the next few kilometres are dominated by the fine Corbett, Beinn Airigh Charr. It is a rocky hill from this side.

Beinn Airigh Charr:

Walking along the path brought back good memories of a walk that I undertook in 2009, a traverse from Poolewe to Kinlochewe.

Beinn Lair, Meall Mheinnidh and Beinn Airigh Charr:

Beinn Airigh Charr:

Loch an Doire Crionaich was partially-covered with water lilies – really nice!

View from Loch an Doire Crionaich:

The next photo shows the rockiness of Beinn Airigh Charr.

Beinn Airigh Charr:

Beinn Lair and Meall Mheinnidh:

By now, both myself and Jim were already feeling the heat. We were both carrying three litres of water but this turned out to be nowhere near sufficient for the day.

Beinn a’Chaisgein Beag and Beinn a’Chasgein Mor:

Seeing the Meall Mheinnidh ridge reminded me of its gruelling steep ascent.

Meall Mheinnidh:

As we proceeded along the path the views just got better and better.

Beinn a’Chaisgein Mor, Ruadh Stac Mor and A’Mhaighdean:


Beinn Lair:

One of my favourite views in Scotland is that of Fionn Loch at Carnmore. I wasn’t disappointed to see the view again in perfect weather.

Fionn Loch:

Approaching Carnmore:

Spiky things next to causeway:

After crossing the causeway, we stopped for our first real break of the day. I took the opportunity to tape a couple of hot-spots on my toes. Blister prevention!

Jim crossing the causeway at Carnmore:

Jim then started the ascent of the stalker’s path that leads towards Shenavall while I took a wee detour to have a look inside Carnmore bothy.

Looking towards stalker’s path:

Carnmore Lodge and crag:

Carnmore bothy:

I wasn’t impressed with the bothy. I would need to be desperate to stay in here!

Inside Carnmore bothy:

I then also started the ascent of the stalker’s path and soon caught up with Jim. The view looking back towards Dubh Loch and Fionn Loch was really nice.

Looking back to Dubh Loch and Fionn Loch from stalker’s path:

Jim ascending the stalker’s path:

We continued on to the high point of the path at 530m.

Looking back towards Beinn Lair from path high-point:

We then made our way up the easy slopes of Beinn a’Chaisgein Mor.

Pathless ascent up Beinn a’Chaisgein Mor:

During the ascent a different set of views started to appear. Great views across to Ruadh Stac Mor and A’Mhaighdean (two of the finest Munros), views across to An Teallach, Beinn Dearg Mor and Bheag and even across to the Fannaichs.

Fisherfield Munros:

On reaching the grassy section of Beinn a’Chaisgein Mor it started to sink in that I wasn’t far from completing the Corbetts.
By now, Jim was really starting to feel the heat so I took the opportunity to sunbathe for 20 minutes allowing Jim to catch-up.

Final easy ascent to summit of Beinn a’Chaisgein Mor:

The view across to Ruadh Stac mor and A’Mhaighdean from Beinn a’Chaisgean Mor must be one of the best in Letterewe/Fisherfield.

Ruadh Stac Mor and A’Mhaighdean from Beinn a’Chaisgein Mor:

Seeing An Teallach reminded me that I really do need to do this hill again. I have only been up it once previously, on a foul day, and I didn’t do the ridge.

An Teallach from Beinn a’Chaisgein Mor:

Approaching summit area:

On reaching the summit area, I visited three rocks that I thought were all potentially higher than the cairn and then visited the cairn that is alleged to be the summit.

I was asked recently if I was sad to be completing the Corbetts. Absolutely not. There is nothing to stop me doing any of them again, via different routes, in different weather, combined with different hills, …

Myself at the summit cairn of Beinn a’Chaisgein Mor:

Jim at the summit of Beinn a’Chaisgein Mor:

View from summit:

After having a good break at the summit, we continued on our way to the next target of the day, Beinn a’Chaisgein Beag.

The descent was really pleasant.

Descent towards Frith-mheallan and Beinn a’Chaisgein Beag:

We initially made for Frith-mheallan, a Fiona-top of Beinn a’Chaisgein Mor.

An Teallach, Beinn Dearg Bheag and Beinn Dearg Mor:

Looking back to Beinn a’Chaisgein Mor from Frith-mheallan:

From Frith-mheallan we descended easily to the bealach before making our way up Beinn a’Chaisgein Beag.

Descent to bealach between Beinn a’Chaisgein Beag and Frith-mheallan:

Beinn a’Chaisgein Beag:

The ascent of Beinn a’Chaisgein Beag was really easy; only 180m of ascent from the bealach.

View from summit of Beinn a’Chaisgein Beag:

Trig point near summit of Beinn a’Chaisgein Beag:

We then returned to the bealach before starting the long plod out to Gruinard. Initially, we followed a path towards and then round Creag na Sgoinne.

Descent skirting Creag na Sgoinne (Sail Mhor in background):

As we approached the end of this track, I opted to go cross-country to meet the good track leading out to Gruinard. This was by far the roughest-going of the day.

It was nice to see Beinn Dearg Bheag again. I had a fantastic day on this hill in June 2010: Beinn Dearg Mor and Beinn Dearg Bheag.

Allt Loch Ghiubhsachain and Beinn Dearg Bheag:

Beinn Dearg Bheag (zoomed):

It was great to reach the good track leading out to Gruinard but it was another five miles on hard track with already sore feet.

The long walk out to Gruinard alongside the Gruinard river:

Looking back during walk-out to Gruinard:

We reached Gruinard at 21:00 having started walking at 07:30. This was indeed a long day out.

Approaching Gruinard – a welcome sight:

I have no doubt that this was my most enjoyable day out in the hills.

It would have been great to have Beinn with me but I felt that it would have be too long and too hot for him. On reflection, I have no doubt that this was the correct decision.

The following link contains a review of some of my Corbett highlights – The Corbetts.