N.B. (For those doing Munro tops:) The ridge between the tops of Lurg Mhor (the summit and Meall Mor) requires scrambling over rocks which become very slippery when wet. It is 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.
Choices. There are two possible starting points for these Munros: Craig or Attadale.
That from Craig almost inevitably includes the Corbett Beinn Tharsuinn
whereas that from Attadale has the Corbett Beinn Dronaig as an optional extra.
For those not interested in the Munro top Meall Mor at the eastern end of Lurg Mhor, a start from Attadale avoids all difficulties. Although several miles longer, there is a huge saving of 570m ascent, the extra miles are along good 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.
In 2016 work was being done on a local hydro scheme and the track to Bendronaig lodge was widened with large, loose, rough stones, making cycling along it rather hard. However, it is now re-surfaced with finer material and compacted so that cycling issues are reduced to several rather steep sections where one may be forced to dismount.
Although cycling is possible from Craig to Pollan Buidhe, it is very strenuous and the effort does not seem worthwhile.
Route 1 (from Craig)
Access: Parking is in the trees 25 yards up a track off the A890 at NH04034924 opposite the level crossing at Craig.
Route: 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 and the northern slopes of Lurg Mhor are steep. The Corbett Beinn Tharsuinn is also a natural part, as it is difficult to avoid on a necessarily circular route. 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 is worth checking the internet in advance for any recent repairs if a crossing after heavy rain is expected. WalkHighlands recommends fording the river slightly higher up at NH07644658.
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||85||0||0.0 miles||NH03984926|
|0835||Cross railway and bike track E to
bridge over R. Carron
|0910||ESE to highest pt on track.||285||225||2.1 miles||NH06894867|
|Track SSE to lowest pt||260||2.6 miles||NH07154802|
|0925||Track S to path at Pollan Buidhe & leave bike.||270||250||3.4 miles||NH07394682|
|0930||Walk path S from track to wire bridge
over Allt a'Chonais.
|1015||Path S/SW to Bealach Bhearnais||595||570||5.3 miles||NH06004490|
|1100||SW up ridge to C Beinn Tharsuinn||863||915||6.6 miles||NH05524334|
|1135||SW to lochan & col, then down to bealach||545||915||7.5 miles||NH04664233|
|Ascend path SSE to top (See details above)||852||1230||7.9 miles||NH04894175|
|1230||S to M Bidein a'Choire Sheasgaich||945||1345||8.25 miles||NH04924126|
|1250||SE to bealach||735||8.8 miles||NH05454069|
|1315||SE/E to M Lurg Mhor||986||1605||9.5 miles||NH06494046|
|SE/E to col (tricky descent)||915||9.7 miles||NH06794039|
|ENE to T Meall Mor (See remarks above)||974||1650||10.0 miles||NH07234059|
|1450||Direct descent due N to the river at
about 270m. (See remarks above.)
|Path N by Allt Bealach Crudhain to
|1630||NW to path at Bealach Bhearnais||596||12.95 miles||NH06004490|
|1730||Path NE to wire bridge at Pollan Buidhe||285||14.65 miles||NH07484664|
|1740||Path N to collect bike at track||270||14.8 miles||NH07394682|
|Cycle N to lowest pt on track||255||15.6 miles||NH07154802|
|Walk N with bike to highest pt||285||2050||16.15 miles||NH06894867|
|1835||Return at walking speed to Craig car park.
(Could have cycled.)
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||0||0.0 miles||NH03984926|
|0605||Cross railway and take track E to
bridge over R. Carron
|Take left fork after bridge, then
left fork after further ½ mile
|0635||Continue up track to gate in deer fence||255||195||1.9 miles||NH06684873|
|0640||Track ESE to highest pt on track.||285||220||2.1 miles||NH06894867|
|Track SSE to lowest pt||255||2.6 miles||NH07154802|
|Track S to first wire bridge. (If this is used,
gloves are needed as the upper wire is thin.)
|0710||Track S to path for 2nd wire bridge.||275||250||3.4 miles||NH0740846833|
|Path S from track to 2nd wire bridge over Allt
|0810||Path SW to Bealach Bhearnais||595||570||5.3 miles||NH06004490|
|0820||Path SE to Bealach Crudhain||640||600||miles||NH06234477|
|0915||Path SSE on E side of Bealach Crudhain to
ford Allt Bealach Crudhain at about 280m
|0920||Cross 1st path|
|0925||Cross 2nd path|
|0930||Cross Allt Bealach an Sgoltaidh||250||7.45 miles||NH07364182|
|1105||Steep ascent due S up diagonal gully to Ridge
(There are alternatives: easier
ascent further E, many more cliffs further W.)
|WSW to T Meall Mor||974||1335||8.6 miles||NH07234059|
|Interesting ridge with some minor scrambling
E to Col (difficult if wet – see above)
|W to M Lurg Mhor||986||1395||9.1 miles||NH06494046|
|1220||W/NW to bealach||735||9.8 miles||NH05454069|
|NW/NNE to M Bidein a'Choire Sheasgaich||945||1615||10.3 miles||NH04924126|
|1305||N to lochan on col||825||10.6 miles||NH05004163|
|S to top||852||1635||10.7 miles||NH04894175|
|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
|1415||NNE to col on Beinn Tharsuinn||700||1795||11.5 miles||NH04924291|
|1430||E to lochan||765||1855||11.8 miles||NH05334303|
|N to C Beinn Tharsuinn||863||1960||12.0 miles||NH05524334|
|NNW to col||775||12.25 miles||NH05404372|
|1500||N to top||817||2000||12.35 miles||NH05354387|
|NE over bumps to ridge end||750||2035||12.85 miles||NH05844449|
|1525||Steep descent to Bealach Crudhain||640||13.15 miles||NH06234477|
|1535||Path NW to Bealach Bhearnais||595||13.3 miles||NH06004490|
|1615||Path NE/N to wire bridge at Pollan Buidhe||285||15.0 miles||NH07484664|
|Path NW to track||275||15.2 miles||NH0740846833|
|1630||Track N to 2nd wire bridge||255||15.4 miles||NH0722247096|
|Track N to lowest pt||255||2040||16.0 miles||NH07154802|
|1650||Track NNW to highest pt||285||2070||16.55 miles||NH06894867|
|1655||NW to gate in deer fence||255||16.67 miles||NH06684873|
|1720||Track WNW to Bridge over R Carron||65||18.0 miles||NH04784930|
|1730||Track WSW/N to car park at Craig||92||2105||18.6 miles||NH03984926|
Route 2 (from Attadale)
Access: Parking is on the right immediately after turning into the Attadale Estate from the A896 at NG92423875.
Route: There is much scope for varying this route but take note of the remarks above regarding the Munro top Meall Mor. Use of a bike saves only a small amount of time but may be worthwhile if you are carrying overnight gear as well. Leave the bike by the bridge and path split after Bendronaig Lodge at NH01823919, for eaxmple. Bendronaig has a bothy but this was still padlocked on 7th May 2021 because of the pandemic. The walk can be done in one day by fit persons.
|1950||Walker’s car park at entrance to Attadale Estate||2||0||0.0 miles||NG92423875|
|Cycle on track 175yds by river, then NW to jn||2||0.33 miles||NG92843893|
|2015||Rt on track SE to bridge||36||34||1.6 miles||NG94483794|
|2055||Track by forest edge to Loch an Droighinn||255||255||3.03 miles||NG95953644|
|2115||Track NE to Loch na Caillich||285||285||3.7 miles||NG96863693|
|2130||Track NE to flat bealach||345||345||4.33 miles||NG97573760|
|2155||Track ENE down to bridge||195||6.33 miles||NH00283819|
|2210||Track ESE to Dronaig Lodge & leave bike.||215||365||7.3 miles||NH01373884|
|0600||Depart Dronaig Lodge on foot||215||365||7.3 miles||NH01373884|
|Ascend SE to ridge||675||825||8.2 miles||NH02493786|
|0755-00||Ridge E to C Beinn Dronaig trig pt||797||945||9.0 miles||NH03713819|
|0900-10||Ridge E then path N to ford of loch outlet
|0930||NE to near Shieling||365||965||11.0 miles||NH06223850|
|1145-05||ENE across ridge to T Meall Mor (E top)||974||1590||12.6 miles||NH07254061|
|1235-40||WSW over difficult col to M Lurg Mhor
(See warnings above)
|1315||W to bealach||735||13.93miles||NH05474069|
|1355-00||NW/NNE to M Bidean a Choire Shea.||945||1855||14.5 miles||NH04924128|
|1440||SSW/SW to Sail Riabhach||771||1875||15.43miles||NH03744048|
|1525||SSW to valley path||350||16.2 miles||NH03183936|
|1550||Path W to valley track at bridge||225||17.0 miles||NH01823919|
|1600-25||Track S to Lodge. Pick up cycle||215||17.4 miles||NH01373884|
|1635||Cycle on track W/SW to bridge||195||18.33miles||NH00283819|
|1740||Track W/WSW to flat bealach||345||2020||20.33miles||NG97573760|
|Track SW to forest edge||255||21.33miles||NG96353671|
|1810||Track NW to bridge||36||23.1 miles||NG94483794|
|Track WNW to junction||2||24.33miles||NG92843893|
|1822||Left then right at river back to A896||2||2020||24.67miles||NG92423875|