Torridon Giants 2023

The spectacular Torridon mountain-scape.

The Munros of Torridon are some of the most spectacular in the Highlands so I was delighted to be taking a Thistle Trekking team to enjoy their wonders for the first time. An incredible start to the summer weather was set to continue and this made the prosect even more exciting.

Beinn Alligin

It was great to see some familiar faces from previous Thistle trips including my fellow guide Dean, and to welcome some new ones at the fantastically located accommodation. We were staying in the Torridon Estate right on the shores of Loch Torridon at the foot of Ben Alligin, which was to be our first objective of the week.

The gently rising approach begins right from the front door soon leaving the Scots pine woodland of the estate for the grand open glen leading towards the Horns of Alligin. Here the hard work begins as the lower slopes of the mountain kick up steeply from the glen. Gaining height rapidly on a good path with some scrambly steps we were soon beginning the traverse of the ‘Horns’ which are a fun section of grade 1 scrambling and a fine narrow ridge walking. The vast open landscape beyond offering views to our next mountain objectives and out to the sea at Gairloch.

Once over the horns we walked steeply up to the first Munro of Sgurr Mhor and past the impressive cleft of Eag Dubh (the Black Notch) with dizzying views down to the valley floor. Steady gradients lead down to the saddle and back up to bag the second Munro of Tom na Gruagaich. The descent from the summit at 922m to our cottage at sea level seemed to go on for ever and with weary legs we fantasised about a cup of tea, a biscuit, and a nice sit down!

Ascending Ben Alligin
Ascending Ben Alligin on Day 1.
Ben Alligin
What a glorious day to be in the mountains!
Sharing seafood Badachro
Enjoying the catch.

Day 2 offered a welcome rest for the legs on a day trip to Gairloch for our “Shellfish Safari” which was a wonderful experience on a local fishing boat learning all about the shellfish in the local seas, with Ian and his daughter who is learning the trade, we then enjoyed a lovely lunch of the catch of langoustines, crabs, and squat lobsters.

The afternoon involved strolling on the beach at Gairloch bumping into Thistle Trekking founder and now Gairloch resident, Scarlet enjoying a sunny day on the beach with her kids. A short loop around the woods at Loch Maree completed our recovery day and some good food together had us set up for another big day.

Beinn Eighe

Beinn Eighe is the least technical of the three Torridon giants but not to be underestimated as it is a big day. The long approah via Coire Mhic Fhearchair rewarded by the awesome sight of the triple buttress with mist swirling spectacularly around. A loose scree section above the coire saw us crest the ridge to fine views, snow buntings and just enough breeze to deter the midges.

A quick out and back to bag the first Munro of Ruadh Stac Mor and we were off along the ridge, a spectacular quartzite crest leading up to Munro no 2 Spidean Coire nan Clach with a scrambly final section the summit felt airy, and we had luckily escaped the clouds.

Almost 1000m above the valley, the views are truly bird’s eye. We are still working the legs hard as we descend back down to the glen, Dean running ahead to fetch the minibus. The local tame Red Deer stag welcoming us back to ground level from our wanderings in the clouds.

Ascending Beinn Eighe
Climbing out of Coire Mhic Fearchair
Snow Bunting
Snow Bunting
Beinn Eighe ridgeline
A rest with a view.

Another rest day for Day 4 saw us enjoying a recovery potter around the lochs of the Coulin estate with great views and an Osprey sighting. This was followed by tea and cake in Kinlochewe and a relaxing afternoon by the loch.

Liathach

The final days challenge is Liathach ‘The Grey One’. Sadly, the previous hills have taken their toll on an old injury for one of our walkers, so we’re down to 5 for this one. The most technical of the days, we have our mountaineering gear packed so the bags feel heavy as we puff our way up the steep slopes of Coire Liath Mhor, grateful for the occasional cloud to block the sun. The ridge is gained at 833m in a little over 1km from the road so that’s roughly a 1 in 1 gradient!

With even quartzite slopes falling either side the traverse of Spidean a Coire Leith feels like walking along the ridge of an enormous roof, the steep sandstone tiers dropping away below the slopes. We are soon down to the main difficulties of the ridge the Am Fasarinen pinnacles. For this section we don harnesses and scramble carefully along and through the incredible towers of sandstone, occasionally using a rope to protect the most exposed sections.

The team did a grand job of negotiating this section, a fine achievement for anyone but a special mention must go to Peter who at 75 is an inspiration to us all! With the scrambling over, there only remains the walk over Mullach an Rathain the second Munro and the long steep descent to the valley, for some the most challenging part of the day!

Liathach views
Another cracker of a day in Torridon.
Am Fasarinen Pinnacles
Negotiating Liathach’s sandstone pinnacles.
Liathach ridgeline
Looking back on the ridge.

Over a final communal meal of the week, we savoured our epic days here and plotted future trips. The mountains of Torridon never disappoint but the weather and the great company and camaraderie of the week made them extra special this time.

Our Hillwalking & Scrambling Holidays

If you like the look of our Torridon Giants or any of our hillwalking holidays you can find out more on their individual trek pages. If you would like to have a chat to help you decide what might be most suitable to you then send an email to contact@thistletrekking.co.uk and we can arrange a suitable time for a phone call.