Hill: Ben Hiant
Date: Saturday 11th August 2012
Company: Just Myself
Distance: 4.3km, Ascent: 373m, Time: 1Hr 15Mins
Dog friendly: Yes

After a really enjoyable day traversing the Aonach Eagach, and night spent at the Corran Bunkhouse, on Saturday morning I caught the Corran Ferry across to Ardgour. The cost of this ferry is now £7.00 each way. On reaching Ardgour, I drove out to the Ardnamurchan peninsula – a long drive along mostly single-track road.

A few miles before reaching Ben Hiant, there is a small parking area with an information sign about the Ardnamurchan volcano and Ben Hiant.

Information from the sign: “The Building of Ben Hiant”
“Ben Hiant is composed of a variety of rock types, formed at different times and in different ways. The hummocky land surface was carved by a glacier that scraped away rocks that varied in resistance to the moving ice. This revealed a complex pattern of geology and there is still some controversy as to exactly how some of the rocks formed.

The oldest rock of Ben Hiant, the Moine Schist, was deposited as sand and mud in a shallow sea more than 870 million years ago. The rocks were heated and compressed three times, most recently 430 million years ago, during periods of mountain building. Parallel plates of twinkling Mica are the key feature of schists. 60 million years ago, lavas from the Mull volcano flowed over the schist land surface. At the same time, to the West, magma was also rising beneath the Ardnamurchan volcano causing the landscape to form a dome.

The rocks of Ben Hiant were near the edge of this massive volcanic dome. Rising volcanoes are unstable and rocks were washed down the flanks to produce breccias – large lumps of basalt in a matrix of sandstone. The sandstone formed from the erosion of the older Moine schists.

The summit of Ben Hiant is made of dolerite, a coarse-grained form of basalt. It probably came from the magma feeder to the Ardnamurchan volcano but crystallised beneath the surface rather than erupting above ground.”

Information sign about the Ardnamurchan volcano:

Ben Hiant from the Information sign:

On reaching Ben Hiant, I parked in a passing place, a short distance downhill from the start of the path to Ben Hiant. There is a good footpath all the way from the road to the summit. This is not marked on the OS map.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

Not much to say about the ascent, just follow the good path which rises fairly gently for most of the way.

Looking up the lower slopes of Ben Hiant:

Although the day was hot and sunny, there was unfortunately quite a lot of haze. While it was possible to see Eigg, Rum was only faintly visible.

Loch Mudle from Ben Hiant (Isle of Eigg in background):

Ascending lower slopes of Ben Hiant:

Following the easy path up Ben Hiant:

It was nice to get a hazy view across to the Isle of Carna in Loch Sunart. I ascended the Marilyn on the Isle of Carna in 2011.

Oronsay, Carna and Morvern:

Summit of Ben Hiant now in view:

After ascending the lower slopes, the path follows a wide grassy ridge round to the summit dome.

Following the wide ridge round to Ben Hiant:

Ben Hiant:

Looking across to Mull during the ascent:

Ascending Ben Hiant:


On approaching the summit, the path skirts round to the left and then back to the large summit cairn and trig point.

At the summit of the Ben Hiant:

Mull from the summit of Ben Hiant:

At the summit, I could see the other two Ardnamurchan Marilyns – Beinn na Seilg and Meall nan Con. On seeing both hills, I decided to also ascend Beinn na Seilg, leaving Meall nan Con for a return trip.

Beinn na Seilg, above Kilchoan, from Ben Hiant:

I returned to the car via the same route and then drove a further seven miles to reach the lower slopes of Beinn na Seilg.

Hill: Beinn na Seilg
Date: Saturday 11th August 2012
Company: Just Myself
Distance: 4.7km, Ascent: 353m, Time: 1Hr 55Mins
Dog friendly: Yes

I had not previously seen a report of an ascent of Beinn na Seilg, so was unsure if there was a normal route up the hill. On looking at the map, I decided to ascend the hill via the Stacan Dubha ridge.

I parked off the road a short distance from the Fire Station, opposite a recycling area. There is room here for several cars.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

To gain access to the hillside, I walked past the Fire Station and then entered a small grassy area via a gate. I then had to climb over a barbed-wire fence and cross a small very-shallow burn.

Start of walk, beside Fire Station:

I then picked my way through an area of bracken, managing to avoid almost all of it. Once past the bracken, the pathless ascent was through a mix of short and deeper heather.

Rough, pathless terrain:

Looking back to the start:

Ascending Stacan Dubha of Beinn na Seilg:

Ben Hiant from Beinn na Seilg:

Isle of Eigg from Beinn na Seilg:

There were a couple of short descents along the way.

Looking back towards Kilchoan and Ben Hiant:

As I gained height, the going changed from being rough to superb. There are lots of gabbro slabs on this hill, very similar to the gabbro found around Coruisk and in Coire a’Ghrundha. I stuck to the gabbro as much as possible, although one could avoid most of it, if desired.

Final ascent of Beinn na Seilg:

Lochain Ghleann Locha:

I really enjoyed getting my feet onto good grippy rock.

Ascending Gabbro slabs:

Ascending Gabbro slabs:

Although Ben Hiant is a well-known, quality hill, I much preferred Beinn na Seilg. It is a great viewpoint.

Great view:

On reaching the summit area, I wasn’t sure which cairn was higher so I visited both.

According to the Database of British Hills, the smaller cairn is higher. When at the smaller cairn the larger cairn looks higher and when at the larger cairn the smaller cairn looks higher . Both are worth visiting anyway!

Final rocky ascent to summit of Beinn na Seilg:

Looking towards larger viewpoint cairn from summit cairn:

Looking back towards summit cairn from viewpoint cairn:

Mull from Beinn na Seilg:

Ardnamurchan Point Lighthouse from summit of Beinn na Seilg (zoom):

From the summit, I returned to the car via roughly the same route.