Hills: Mullach na Dheiragain, Carn na Con Dhu, Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan
(Summit and West Top) and Stuc Bheag
Date: 14th - 16th September 2023
Company: Myself and Ann-Marie
Distance: 49.8km, Ascent: 1970m
Time: 15Hrs 25Mins
I ascended my first Munro with my school hillwalking
club in 1982 and went on to complete my first round of Munros in
At the summit of my final first round Munro (Bidean nam Bian,
I have subsequently completed
the Corbetts (2011), the Furth (2015), the Grahams (2018) and the Donalds
and Donald Tops (2022). I have also concurrently been chipping-away at the
Munro Tops, to potentially complete a 'Full House', and the Munros to
potentially complete a second round.
Following a trip to Knoydart in
July 2023, I had
only two Munros remaining, Mullach na Dheiragain
and Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan. My final Munros would therefore be a bit of an
On pondering over the map, I considered going in
from the Cluanie Inn, from Morvich and from Glen Affric. After some
deliberation, I opted to go in from Glen Affric.
On checking the weather forecast for this weekend, it looked ideal. Not
too hot, no rain and not too windy but with enough of a breeze to keep the
midge at bay. I therefore checked the Glen Affric Hostel website and was
surprised to find there were beds available. I therefore made a last-minute
booking at the hostel, packed my rucksack, and set off in the company of my
On arrival in Glen Affric, we parked in the
River Affric car park, choosing to ignore the 'No Overnight Parking' signs,
deciding this was really meant to deter motorhomes, and once suited
and booted and laden with heavy packs, set off along the track to the
south of Loch Affric.
Day One - The Walk In
Having walked the south side of Loch Affric twice previously in recent
years, the route was familiar. It was nice
to again see Sgurr na Lapaich, a superb demoted Munro which in my view should not have
Looking across Loch Affric towards Mam Sodhail and Sgurr na Lapaich:
As we progressed along the track, I could hear numerous long-tailed tits
in the nearby trees. We also passed numerous bumble bees on devil's bit
scabious. The scenery in Loch Affric is arguably at its best in autumn but
we were still a few weeks too early to see the leaves in their array of
Small beach at west end of Loch Affric:
On reaching the track junction, beyond the west end of the loch, we
continued along the main Glen Affric Way track.
Glen Affric Way signposts:
We then passed Strawberry Cottage and continued on to the bridge and
waterfall in West Affric. Until now, the track was familiar as we had walked
as far as this point in 2020, to ascend An Socach.
At Strawberry Cottage:
West Affric bridge:
Allt Coire Ghaidheil waterfall:
The final few kilometres of track leading to the hostel was new
territory for me. This section of track is a bit rougher but is still
cycleable and in our case walkable.
On arriving at
the hostel, we checked-in and got settled-in chatting with the warden and
other residents. I last stayed in this hostel way back in 2002.
Glen Affric Hostel at Alltbeithe:
After a fairly good night's sleep for a
hostel, we got up nice and early and were walking by 6.30.
Day Two - The Hills
The track to our intended hills starts directly behind the hostel. We
followed the good stalker's path, running alongside the Allt na Faing, up
into Coire na Cloiche.
Looking back to hostel:
The weather and views at the outset of the walk were terrific. While
there was no wind, there was a chill in the air, so no midge
Ascending the stalker's path towards Coire na Cloiche:
During the ascent we passed through two gates.
Once above 600m, the quality of the path deteriorates becoming wetter
underfoot. It didn't take long to reach the ridge between Stob Coire na
Cloiche and An Socach.
Having ascended An Socach in 2020, we now had
to decide whether to ascend Mullach na Dheiragain or Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan
first. As this was to be my final Munro, I opted to ascend the remotest hill
first i.e. Mullach na Dheiragain, completing on the finer of the two hills,
Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan.
Carn na Con Dhu and Mullach na Dheiragain from the ridge:
After walking c.200 metres distance towards Stob Coire na Cloiche, I
looked for and located the diagonal line leading down into Coire nan
Dearcaig. The initial descent was steep and wet underfoot so care was taken
not to slip.
Once in the coire, we chose a line leading onto the
ridge between Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan and Carn na Con Dhu a little higher
than the col.
Sgurr nan Ceathreamhan from Coire nan Dearcaig:
Once onto the ridge we opted to leave our rucksacks for the out and back
to/from Mullach na Dheiragain.
View from Carn na Con Dhu out to Mullach na Dheiragain:
It was fantastic to reach the summit of this remote Munro. The last time
I visited this summit was for a friend's final Munro on a Cairngorm Club
weekend meet. On that occasion we also ascended its Munro Top, Mullach
Ann-Marie approaching the summit of remote Mullach na Dheiragain:
Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan from Mullach na Dheiragain:
From Mullach na Dheiragain, we returned to Carn na Con Dhu and beyond to
collect our rucksacks.
Return from Mullach na Dheiragain to Carn na Con Dhu:
The Database of British Hills suggests the summit of Carn na Con Dhu is
a cairn. I am not convinced this is correct. I thought the boulders in the
next photograph looked higher.
Summit boulders atop Carn na Con Dhu:
With packs collected, we then made our way up the NE ridge of Sgurr nan
Ceathreamhnan to its summit.
Ascending Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan:
Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan Tops:
Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan West Top from Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan summit:
After a few pics at the summit and a quick congratulations, we agreed to
head over to the West Top and along the North ridge. I'm not a fan of
crowds, or fuss, so it was nice to again complete a round in the company of
one friend, as per my Corbett and Graham completions.
Round Two Munros Compleat:
There is a short section of scrambling between the summit and west top
which can either be taken directly or there is an easier line round and up
on the right.
At the West Top of Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan:
View from the West Top of Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan:
Looking back to the summit of Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan from the West Top:
From the west top we continued on out to Stuc Bheag. We were however
increasingly conscious of getting further and further away from the hostel
and that if we continued on we would have to return over three of the Munro
tops as well as the summit of Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan.
Approaching the summit of Stuc Bheag:
From Stuc Bheag we therefore decided to return back to the hostel
leaving Stuc Mor and Stuc Fraoch Choire for another visit. I will return to
do these Munro Tops on a day walk possibly also including the Marilyn, Meall
We reascended the west top and then the summit of Sgurr nan
Ceathreamhnan before then taking the ESE ridge towards the 970m top and on
to Stob Coire na Cloiche.
Return via 970m, 941m and Stob Coire na Cloiche tops:
We eventually reached the col that we had ascended to earlier in the day
and then followed the stalker's path back to the hostel.
Descent to the col between Stob Coire na Cloiche and An Socach:
Job done, 282/282
Day Three: The Walk Out
had a fairly good night's sleep in the hostel the night previous, the same
could not be said for our second night in the hostel. We now had two
seriously loud snorers in the dorm so sleep was next to impossible.
checked my watch at 3am, 3.30am, 4am and by 4.30am I decided 'f*ck this', so
we got up, packed our sleeping bags and were off walking by 5am.
The first hour of our walk from the hostel was as dark as pitch. There
was no moon and as well as being dark we were also walking in low cloud
(inversion). As we walked along with our headtorches shining brightly, it
felt like we were in the Millennium Falcon travelling through hyperspace as the
headtorchs were lighting up the specks of water like little stars.
A short distance
before reaching Strawberry Cottage we were able to switch off our
headtorches. Soon thereafter I had to stop to put Compeed on one of my toes
As we then progressed along the loch, we were treated to nice sunrise
colours as well as wisps of inversion.
Loch Affric sunrise:
Playing some random tunes on my iPhone during the walk out helped pass
the time and when 'Beautiful' by Christina Aguliera started playing, the
title described the walk alongside Loch Affric perfectly.
Loch Salach a' Ghuibhais:
It was great to reach the car at which point I decided I had now actually
completed the Munros for a second time as the summit is arguably just
Think I am now going to take a few weeks off walking for my
back to recover from carrying the heavy pack and for my toes to recover from