Colin's Munros


An Socach & An Riabhachan from Glen Strathfarrar, Map 25; 25th October 2004

Route: 1235m = 4050' ascent; 13 miles; 6hrs 30mins

Access: The road through Glen Strathfarrar is private with a locked gate at Inchmore some 500m from Struy Bridge. Entry to the glen is given by a gatekeeper who lives in the cottage next to the gate. There are no problems at any time for either walkers or cyclists but cars are only allowed limited access. Roughly, vehicular access is only while British Summer Time is in force, and excludes Tuesdays and the morning of Wednesdays. Otherwise, opening is always at 9am but closing is at 6pm (Apr, Oct), 7pm (May, Sept) or 8pm (June, July, Aug) according to the month. Precise details are arranged by Mountaineering Scotland and advertised here. Also, there is a limit of 25 vehicles allowed in the glen. The gatehouse was closed for lunch 1300–1330 when I was last there, but that may have changed. (The glen is apparently maintained by Scottish National Heritage, but they do not seem to publicise official opening times or any long term commitment to allow vehicular access.) Traditionally there is no deer stalking on Sundays, but it might be a problem on other days during the stag stalking season (1st July to 20th October) – see here.

The road along Glen Strathfarrar is metalled as far as the parking point by the power station at NH183381, which is the farthest point that vehicular access is currently allowed and the starting point for this walk. It is an 18 mile drive which takes one over the two dams of Loch Monar and takes about 45 minutes each way. I had to move quickly to complete the walk within the opening hours of the estate.
Another choice to complete these Munros involves starting from the dam at Loch Mullardoch – see here – and involves either a two-day circuit of Loch Mullardoch or a long walk out at the end of the day along the north shore of the loch. Although the latter is a 20 mile walk, such a route would give greater flexibility timewise, there is better provision of paths, and the scenery is arguably better.

Weather: Cloud at 900m; Rain 13:00-14:00; Snow at 15:00 for 10 mins.

0915 From Struy, take Glen Strathfarrar road
to gatehouse, and collect permit
  0.0 milesNH39354059
1000 Drive 18 miles along road passed Monar Dams
to power station where metalled road stops.
215 18 milesNH18313814
1015 Track W to sluice/dam, 1km above power station. 245   300.7 milesNH17273793
1115 Path WSW along N side of Allt an Fheadain to path end 5002853.0 milesNH13823658
1130 WSW to watershed 5253103.5 milesNH13233626
  Head SW directly for An Socach, contouring upwards
into Coire Gorm Mor.
6454305.5 milesNH10983412
1300 Either: Ascend S to Bealach Bholla 8606455.87 milesNH11053350
1330 then W to M An Socach trig pt 1069(875)(6.5 miles)NH10053327
  — Or (preferred): Ascend W to ridge, then
S to M An Socach trig pt
10698556.45 milesNH10053327
1355 Then: ENE to Bealach Bholla 8608757.1 milesNH11053350
1420 E/NE to T An Riabhachan W Top 104010557.57 milesNH11683384
  SE to col 1005 7/75 milesNH11923365
1435 SE to T An Riabhachan SW Top 108611408.0 milesNH12293362
  NE to col 1060 8.15 milesNH12473373
1500 NE to M An Riabhachan (main top) 112912108.9 milesNH13373449
  Continue ENE to col 1105 9.05 milesNH13593469
1510 ENE to An Riabhachan NE Top at ridge end 111712309.3 milesNH13943480
  Descend due N then NE to Meall Garbh 830 9.85 milesNH14143558
1600 Steep, mossy descent NE to plateau, then
deep peat bog over to path at plateau edge   (or
head down further north before turning east to path).
610 10.45 milesNH14843626
1615 Path NW down to ford Allt an-Fheadain 350 11.25 milesNH15703705
1625 Cross river to path junction 350123511.5 milesNH15943732
1645 Path ENE to sluice/dam at top of track 240 12.4 milesNH17273793
  Track E to parking by power station 215123513.1 milesNH18313814

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