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Bidein a'Choire Sheasgaich & Lurg Mhor, Map 25
23rd July 2005 & 6th November 2008

Route: Ascent: 2100m = 6900'; 18½ miles (7 possible on bike); 10hrs.


Bidein a'Choire Sheasgaich from Beinn Tharsuinn. Lurg Mhor from Bidein a'Choire Sheasgaich. Bidein a'Choire Sheasgaich from Lurg Mhor.

N.B. The ridge between the tops of Lurg Mhor (the summit and Meall Mor) requires scrambling over rocks which become very slippery when wet. It's much shorter than Aonach Eagach, but of comparable difficulty. The crux is on the west side of the main col between the two ends of the summit ridge. If necessary, it can be avoided by descending sufficiently on the south side and crossing over to or from the south ridge below the main summit.
Access: Parking is in the trees 25 yards up a track opposite the level crossing at Craig.
Route: For those not interested in the Munro top Meall Mor at the eastern end of Lurg Mhor, a start from Attadale avoids all the difficulties. Although several miles longer, there is a huge saving of 570m ascent, the extra miles are along tracks, and there is less walking on hills. With such a start, the total effort is much less, and adding the Munro top is not excluded. Note, however, that in 2016 work was being done on a local hydro scheme which means the track to Bendronaig lodge has been entirely widened and re-surfaced, making cycling along it rather hard. I therefore recommend cycling no further than Loch an Droighinn if an Attadale start is chosen. Although cycling is possible from Craig to Pollan Buidhe, it is very strenuous and the effort does not seem worthwhile.
Despite the extra ascent, the route from Craig seems to offer more interest and perhaps better mountain scenery, although Loch Calavie is certainly a beautiful sight on the Attadale route. From Craig the walk can be navigated in either direction, each with advantages and disadvantages.
The route makes a challenging day, especially if wet with low cloud. It is not for the faint-hearted as the Munro top of Lurg Mhor is an integral part. Beinn Tharsuinn is also a natural part, as it is difficult to avoid en route. So the extra ascent on this route enables another Corbett to be ticked off. There are three problem areas for route finding and/or negotiation:
    i) the wire bridge at Pollan Buidhe;
    ii) the N ridge of Bidein a'Choire Sheasgaich;
    iii) the N slope of Lurg Mhor; and
    iv) the traverse between the tops of Lurg Mhor.
These are described in a little detail next.
First, in June 2016 the wire bridge at Pollan Buidhe was unstable due to erosion and strain on the foundations at one end. The wires were therefore too slack and not capable of supporting sufficient tension beyond being an aid to fording the river. It's worth checking the internet in advance for any more recent repairs if a crossing after heavy rain is expected.
Secondly, the north face of Bidein a'Choire Sheasgaich has an intimidating band of cliffs between altitudes 720m and 780m. The path seems to disappear at the cliff base without further progress being possible. However, from the bealach with Beinn Tharsuinn, ascend the path first by the dike, then zigzag directly up, and eventually go up a crack to the base of the main cliff wall, where the path disappears. Go left horizontally until a steep, airy but easy path is found going diagonally right up a grassy gully. The rest of the ascent is completely straight-forward. Descent of this section is easy as a cairn marks where the path descends the grass gully.
Thirdly, the northern slope of Lurg Mhor is very steep and slippery when wet. It has numerous small cliffs, little more than a few feet high, which are difficult to see on descent. This is mainly between 550m and 700m altitude, but it helps to follow a NNE line rather than a N line from the summit of Meall Mor. More specifically, keep east of the burn which runs north from between the two tops. Possibly easiest is the gully running NNE from 500m east of the top of Meall Mor.
Fourthly, the traverse from the summit of Lurg Mhor to its Munro top Meall Mor is rather tricky at the descent eastwards down to the main col. Some scrambling is necessary but it is difficult to spot the footholds from above. It is much easier in the east to west direction when one should keep to the crest of the ridge. As noted above, an escape is possible by descending on the south side. In the anti-clockwise direction, Meall Mor can be omitted entirely by returning from the summit of Lurg Mhor to the NW end of the bealach with Bidein a'Choire Sheasgaich, and then continuing with a descent north-eastwards. This option is also available in the opposite direction.
Weather 23/7/05: Hot dry day. Cloudy with many long sunny intervals.

0825 Park at P on A890 at Craig NH040494  85   00.0 milesNH03984926
0835 Cross railway and bike track E to
bridge over R. Carron
 65    50.6 milesNH04784930
0910 ESE to highest pt on track. 2852252.1 milesNH06894867
  Track SSE to lowest pt 260 2.6 milesNH07154802
0925 Track S to path at Pollan Buidhe & leave bike. 2702503.4 milesNH07394682
0930 Walk path S from track to wire bridge
over Allt a'Chonais.
2852653.6 milesNH07484664
1015 Path S/SW to Bealach Bhearnais 5955705.3 milesNH06004490
1100 SW up ridge to C Beinn Tharsuinn 8639156.6 milesNH05524334
1135 SW to lochan & col, then down to bealach 5459157.5 milesNH04664233
  Ascend path SSE to top (See details above) 85212307.9 milesNH04894175
1230 S to M Bidein a'Choire Sheasgaich 94513458.25 milesNH04924126
1250 SE to bealach 735 8.8 milesNH05454069
1315 SE/E to M Lurg Mhor 98616059.5 milesNH06494046
  SE/E to col (tricky descent) 915 9.7 milesNH06794039
1340
-1350
ENE to T Meall Mor   (See remarks above) 974165010.0 milesNH07234059
1450 Direct descent due N to the river at
about 270m.   (See remarks above.)
270 10.7 milesNH07034177
  Path N by Allt Bealach Crudhain to
Bealach Crudhain
637201512.8 milesNH06234477
1630 NW to path at Bealach Bhearnais 596 12.95 milesNH06004490
1730 Path NE to wire bridge at Pollan Buidhe 285 14.65 milesNH07484664
1740 Path N to collect bike at track 270 14.8 milesNH07394682
  Cycle N to lowest pt on track 255 15.6 milesNH07154802
  Walk N with bike to highest pt 285205016.15 milesNH06894867
1835 Return at walking speed to Craig car park.
(Could have cycled.)
  85208518.2 milesNH03984926


Route 6/11/08: This version is taken in the opposite direction from the version above. Note the various comments above about the route. A torch was necessary at this time of year, with sunrise at approx 0730 & sunset at approx 1630.
Weather 6/11/08: 6°C at car at start; clouds down on all tops & ridges. Dry, light fresh breeze.

0555 Parking at P on A890 at Craig  85    00.0 milesNH03984926
0605 Cross railway and take track E to
bridge over R. Carron
 65    50.6 milesNH04784930
  Take left fork after bridge, then
left fork after further ½ mile
1651051.3 milesNH05794907
0635 Continue up track to gate in deer fence 2551951.9 milesNH06684873
0640 Track ESE to highest pt on track. 2852202.1 milesNH06894867
  Track SSE to lowest pt 255 2.6 milesNH07154802
  Track S to first wire bridge. (If this is used,
gloves are needed as the upper wire is thin.)
255 3.2 milesNH0722247096
0710 Track S to path for 2nd wire bridge. 2752503.4 milesNH0740846833
0715
-0720
Path S from track to 2nd wire bridge over Allt
a'Chonais
2852653.6 milesNH07484664
0810 Path SW to Bealach Bhearnais 5955705.3 milesNH06004490
0820 Path SE to Bealach Crudhain 640600 milesNH06234477
0915 Path SSE on E side of Bealach Crudhain to
ford Allt Bealach Crudhain at about 280m
280 7.0 milesNH07264247
0920 Cross 1st path      
0925 Cross 2nd path      
0930 Cross Allt Bealach an Sgoltaidh 250 7.45 milesNH07364182
1105 Steep ascent due S up diagonal gully to Ridge
(There are alternatives: easier
ascent further E, many more cliffs further W.)
88012408.3 milesNH07764076
1120
-1125
WSW to T Meall Mor 97413358.6 milesNH07234059
  Interesting ridge with some minor scrambling
E to Col (difficult if wet – see above)
915 8.95 milesNH06794039
1150
-1155
W to M Lurg Mhor 98613959.1 milesNH06494046
1220 W/NW to bealach 735 9.8 milesNH05454069
1250
-1255
NW/NNE to M Bidein a'Choire Sheasgaich 945161510.3 milesNH04924126
1305 N to lochan on col 825 10.6 milesNH05004163
  S to top 852163510.7 milesNH04894175
1320 Due N to cairn at cliff top      
1345 Taking time to zig-zag back and forth to
find path as necessary, path down gullies SW
to path through dike at Bealach an Sgoltaidh
545 11.1 milesNH04664233
1415 NNE to col on Beinn Tharsuinn 700179511.5 milesNH04924291
1430 E to lochan 765185511.8 milesNH05334303
1445
-1450
N to C Beinn Tharsuinn 863196012.0 milesNH05524334
  NNW to col 775 12.25 milesNH05404372
1500 N to top 817200012.35 milesNH05354387
  NE over bumps to ridge end 750203512.85 milesNH05844449
1525 Steep descent to Bealach Crudhain 640 13.15 milesNH06234477
1535 Path NW to Bealach Bhearnais 595 13.3 milesNH06004490
1615 Path NE/N to wire bridge at Pollan Buidhe 285 15.0 milesNH07484664
1620
-1625
Path NW to track 275 15.2 milesNH0740846833
1630 Track N to 2nd wire bridge 255 15.4 milesNH0722247096
  Track N to lowest pt 255204016.0 milesNH07154802
1650 Track NNW to highest pt 285207016.55 milesNH06894867
1655 NW to gate in deer fence 255 16.67 milesNH06684873
1720 Track WNW to Bridge over R Carron   65 18.0 milesNH04784930
1730 Track WSW/N to car park at Craig   92210518.6 milesNH03984926


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