Colin's Munros


Beinn Fhionnlaidh & Sgor na h-Ulaidh, Map 384
31st January 2006 & 23rd September 2010

Route: 4.7 miles on forestry track, 6.3 miles on hill mostly without path, total 11 miles; 1660m = 5450' ascent, 7.25 hrs.

Access: From A82 drive 9.1 miles down Glen Etive & park at Invercharnan just before bend/bridge, NN143484.
Route: An anti-clockwise direction is best for this walk because of the steep ascent SW from the bealach between the two mountains. If it is done in reverse, perhaps because of poor weather from the west, the awkward descent from the east top of Beinn Fhionnlaidh can be circumvented by going south to Meall nan Gobhar and contouring northwards to the bealach.
The walk might start with an ascent of the Corbett Beinn Maol Challuim. However, the cliffs between it and the bealach with Sgor na h-Ulaidh cannot be descended. Instead one has to continue N from the Corbett to the col with Bidean nam Bian and then contour NNE back to the col with Sgor na h-Ulaidh. I have done this and it is very straight forward.
Except for the views or the convenience of including Beinn Maol Challuim, an ascent via the col with Beinn Maol Challuim is a stupid way up Sgor na h-Ulaidh. The benefits of the much better view may be outweighted by some tricky sections on the ridge up, and time consuming terrain up to the bealach. Specifically there are crags to avoid at the start of the ridge, and a steep slippery mixture of grass and a number of short rocky strata steps higher up.
For an eastern approach to Sgor na h-Ulaidh, it is normal and certainly easier to ascend Coire Cearcaill to the col between the two tops of Sgor na h-Ulaidh, as in the GPS route link above, and this is the best way to include the Munro top Stob an Fhuarain.
There are two choices for descending from Sgor na h-Ulaidh to the bealach with Beinn Fhionnlaidh. Either go W along the ridge to Corr na Beinne and then S/SE to Bealach Caol Creran as I have done, or go down the SE ridge to the col with Meall a' Bhuiridh and then SW to the bealach. The latter choice seems to incur more boggy terrain than the former.
In good visibility an almost direct ascent is possible from Bealach Caol Creran towards Beinn Fhionnlaidh. This is the trickiest point of the walk, requiring scrambling and time for route finding. It is the fastest and most rewarding route, but the scrambling can be avoided. Contour round S as far as necessary towards Meall nan Gobhar, so that an ascent W to the ridge is easy – probably to Coire na Tullaich if you are happy ascending the 200' steep, exposed grass section north from the corrie at 600m back to the ridge at 660m. However, MunroMagic suggests going as far as the col with Meall nan Gobhar at NN10634924 and this route should be taken if there is no visibility.
2018: There has been considerable harvesting of the timber in Glen Etive Forest for which several new tracks were constructed and existing ones widened. The main change to note is that there is now a track going directly SW from the parking by the bridge at Invercharnan to join the pre-existing track and avoiding the previous detour through the farm. These changes are not yet recorded on the OS map but most can be seen in the satellite view.
Weather 31/1/06: Light, cool breeze on ridge. Clear skies except for temp inversion causing total cloud cover at 700m. –6°C at car at start, rising to 1°C at end. 23/9/10: 14°C at car, very windy, light showers am, some sun, cloud above tops.
Terrain: No snow, but frozen underfoot.
Rating: 5* views of Bidean, Glen Coe hills, Mamores and Ben Nevis from ridge up to Sgor na h-Ulaidh.
Mobile: No Orange at car, but good Orange at all 3 tops.

31/1/0623/9/10 Description Ht.Asc.Dist.Grid Ref.
08350720 Park at Invercharnan, just before bridge at bend.
(0.7 miles after lochan, 9.1 miles from A82.)
  48    00.0 milesNN14304846
0905  Take track (not path) which starts at back right of parking
area. Follow it N up E bank of Allt Charnan to forest edge
1901501.2 milesNN13505020
   Follow track N over to other side of river and back
at a second ford by the river bend, avoiding Coire Cearcaill
3002601.9 milesNN13395140
Ascend N to Bealach Fhionnghaill.    Go as far as fence
at true summit of col for best views and easier ascent.
5795402.66 milesNN13035244
   Follow ridge fence W, keeping S/left of the difficulties:
SW/NW to end of flat area
6706302.9 milesNN12715239
   W to end of next flat area 7507103.05 milesNN12515233
   W to end of next flat area 8708303.33 milesNN12105218
Ridge fence W to T Stob an Fhuarain
(No Orange on 23/9/10.)
9689303.55 milesNN11825231
1100  SSW along fence to col 815 3.8 milesNN11425202
SSW to M Sgor na h-Ulaidh 99410604.1 milesNN11125180
   350m W along ridge by fence; then 200m WSW along
ridge to Corr na Beinne after fence descends to N
915 4.45 milesNN10575164
   Descend ridge steeply S. (An alternative here is to follow
the fence via the SE ridge & Bealach nam Meirleach.)
700 4.75 milesNN10555112
12251230-35 Then descend SW to Bealach Caol Creran. (There are no
discernible paths down to, across, or up from this pass)
445 5.2 milesNN11135062
   Ascend steep cliffs to S but, if necessary, contour south
below cliffs to first major grass gully just before
Coire na Tullaich (not the short one which leads to cliffs)
or to Coire na Tullaich itself. Ascend the gully or corrie,
then branch right to join ridge at top of cliffs
about half way up from the bealach.
66012755.95 milesNN10935011
13151345 Finish ascent of ridge SSW to cairn at top of nose. 84114606.2 milesNN10694978
   Ridge W for 150m 832 6.3 milesNN10544974
13301400 WNW to bealach above Coire Reidh 79514606.53 milesNN10224984
   225yds WNW to ridge bend 86015256.66 milesNN10004991
   275yds WSW to ridge bend 91015756.82 milesNN09704974
325yds W to M Beinn Fhionnlaidh trig pt 95916207.0 milesNN09504977
   Return 325yds E to ridge bend 910 7.18 milesNN09704974
   275yds E to ridge bend 860 7.33 milesNN10004991
1420  225yds E back to col above Coire Reidh 795 7.45 milesNN10224984
14351520 Follow faint path on compass bearing SSW direct to
Col with Meall nan Gobhar
595 7.9 milesNN10634924
15051550 Descend path E on N bank of river to bridge over
Allt nan Gaoirean at forest edge. (Renewed in 2017)
235 8.67 milesNN11814896
15101555 Ascend 250yds E up path to (former) fire break 25516478.8 milesNN12014905
   Path SSE down fire break for 300yds to track (cairn) 230 8.97 milesNN12134870
   Track SE to bend   80 10.25 milesNN13574766
   Track NE to (now overgrown) track fork   55 10.66 milesNN14034819
15551645 Continue straight on back to car park at bridge   48166011.0 milesNN14304846

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