Which Are The Most Accessible Climbs In The Torridon Peaks?
The Torridon Peaks in Wester Ross the north Highlands of Scotland contain some of the most wild and beautiful landscapes in the UK, and also some of the most testing terrain for serious mountain walkers. Here are some of the most popular climbs and the best place to start if you are new to the area.
The majority of the Torridon mountains are made up of an ancient sandstone landscape that was first formed over 750 million years ago, but some parts are made up of much older metamorphic rocks known as the Lewisian Gneiss Complex.
The Torridon mountains have six Munros (Scottish mountains over 3000ft) over three ranges. These include Liathach, Beinn Alligin, and Beinn Eighe. These are not among Scotland’s highest mountains, but they feature ridges, pinnacles, and sharp drops to test the mettle of the most experienced climbers.
In some places, the severest pinnacles and drops can be navigated around, but nonetheless good levels of fitness, and head for heights and fair scrambling skills are required to tackle these peaks. The most accessible mountain to start with is considered to be Beinn Alligin, which contains the twin Munros of Sgùrr Mòr and Tom na Gruagaich.
The highest peak is Sgùrr Mòr, reaching an ascent of 3,356ft, and from its summit you will have unrivalled views over some of the most enchanting wild and rugged lochs and mountains of Scotland. Together with Beinn Dearg, the three peaks are sometimes referred to as The Horns of Alligin, or their Scottish Gaelic name, Na Rathanan.
The three peaks are usually tackled in a loop trail that covers a distance of 11.5km and takes between 5.5 hours and 6.5 hours to complete. It’s considered a challenging walk, and it’s best undertaken in good weather conditions for safety reasons, and also to get the most out of the spectacular scenery.
It is possible to avoid some of the steepest and most difficult terrain with careful navigation, so for this reason it is important to plan your route in advance, preferably using an OS map. The paths are reasonably well marked in most places, but errors could lead to a fall over steep drops so extra care should be taken especially in poor weather conditions.
Along the way you will have the opportunity to see or hear a rich variety of wildlife. In and around Loch Torridon on the valley floor, you may spot herons and pine martens. Other birds often seen in the area include curlews, greenshanks, redshanks, snipes, and smaller birds such as swallows, wrens and martins.
Higher in the mountains, you may be fortunate enough to see a golden eagle, a rare bird even in Scotland. In the lower woodlands, red deer roam freely, and on the mountain slopes you may glimpse ptarmigan and mountain hares. Students of flora should look out for alpine and arctic flowers and rare mosses and lichens.
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