The further north you venture through the Scottish Highlands, the more individualistic the mountains become. Rather than the tightly packed ridges evident in the West Highlands, the far north is home to huge standalone massifs that glare back at each other across wide open, lochan-speckled landscapes.
In few places is this as evident as in Torridon, perhaps Scotland’s finest hiking region. Here, gigantic forms spring up with awesome verticality from the glen. These gargantuan mountains are built of tiered sandstone and topped with quartzite peaks. Each mountain has its own beguiling character.
This is truly ancient geology. Torridon’s mountains are some of the oldest on Planet Earth. The sandstone at their core is over 60 million years old, while their gneiss foundations are thought to be around 2,600 million years old! An adventure here not only makes you feel wonderfully insignificant due to its scale but also due to the sense of deep time that permeates from the landscape.
In this Collection, I present eight hikes that explore the best this region has to offer. There are beautiful low-level routes, spectacular hillwalking days and thrilling traverses that involve scrambling over airy pinnacles and along superb ridges. The Tours are ordered in terms of difficulty, with the easier hikes coming first.
All of the routes enter remote landscapes, so a strong degree of self-sufficiency is key. Carry more food than you think you’ll need and plenty of water. Taking a filter so that you can fill up from mountain streams is a great idea. You can stock up on supplies at Kinlochewe’s service station, while there are a few cafes, hotels and restaurants dotted about the region for the post-adventure refuel.
The best times to hike in Torridon are late spring or autumn. During July and August the midges can be a massive nuisance, while winter calls for mountaineering skills and equipment. Even in spring and autumn, use insect repellent and I’d recommend wearing trousers to shield your legs from ticks. Always carry a tick twister to carefully remove any unwanted, blood-sucking hitchhikers and check yourself after every hike.
Regardless of season, the weather can be unpredictable and often brutal up on the peaks. I wouldn’t recommend attempting any ridge scrambles in anything over 25mph (40 kmh) winds. Always carry waterproofs, warm layers and, ideally, a survival shelter for your party. Quality hiking footwear is a must.
Accommodation wise, there’s everything from a basic campsite to a luxury hotel in Torridon. The Torridon Youth Hostel is a great option for hikers, while the Kinlochewe Hotel also has a bunkhouse. There are plenty of private rentals too. Whatever you decide, book well in advance to avoid disappointment.
By far the easiest way to access the Torridon region is by car, though there are ways to get there by public transport. Inverness is the closest city and can be reached by rail – including the Caledonian Sleeper from London – and by plane.
From there, you can arrange a transfer with local provider Donald MacDonald Tours or you could take the train to Achnasheen and get picked up from there. See dmhighlandtours.co.uk/your-transport to arrange a lift.
See you in the mountains.
This low level walk takes you to a stunning peninsula and one of the region’s finest waterfalls. It’s a treat all year round and makes for a great winter option, when the snow-clad mountains are out of bounds to hikers. Summer is also colourful, when the rhododendrons are in full bloom.
From the Torridon…
This low level route ventures around Liathach, taking you into the lochan-speckled hinterland hidden behind the mountain’s great bulk. Keep your eyes out for herds of roaming deer and enjoy the immense scenery, as you discover Torridon from new vantage points.
Starting from Torridon village, you head…
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One of the most celebrated Corbetts, Beinn Damh – the Hill of the Stag – rises to the south of Loch Torridon in the Coulin Forest region.
Like Spidean a’ Choire Leith on Liathach, the mountain is composed of Torridonian sandstone with a lofty quartzite summit. A traverse rewards with blockbuster views…
In the classic view across Loch Maree, Slioch is a giant’s clenched fist, petrified in ancient stone. It stands, seemingly impregnable, haughtily showing off its wares to the shores below. However, a fist is only knuckled on one side and this is very much true of Slioch too.
The popular route up the mountain…
Beinn Eighe is a huge and bewilderingly complex massif, more of an entire range than a single mountain. It’s characterised by the vast piles of shattered quartzite that line its higher ramparts, though its most famous feature is the gargantuan amphitheatre of Coire Mhic Fhearchair, which is home to the…
Torridon’s ‘Jewelled Mountain’, Beinn Alligin is more graceful than the aggressive architecture of Liathach and Beinn Eighe. Its curved shape makes it perfect for a spectacular horseshoe traverse that includes Na Rathanan, the Horns of Alligin – a trio of blunt pinnacles that make for an aesthetic grade…
It’s almost impossible to bite off Beinn Eighe in one go. It’s not so much a single mountain as an entire range and the adventure potential up here is huge. This route tackles the massif from the east, starting in Kinlochewe, and takes on the Black Carls, an exciting grade one scramble.
Liathach is widely regarded to be one of Scotland’s most spectacular mountains. It’s a quartzite-crowned monster of tiered sandstone that towers above Glen Torridon in an awesome display of brute strength. A traverse of its lofty spine is an unforgettable adventure, featuring huge views and thrilling…
Hiking Collection by BMC
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