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Scrambles in Lochaber, Western Highlands - Scotland - Sample Route - a Cicerone guidebook

Cover of Scrambles in Lochaber
11 Dec 2009
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.5cm
No. Maps
No. Photos
1st Published
1 Jan 1996
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Scrambles in Lochaber

A guide to scrambles in and around Lochaber including Ben Nevis and Glen Coe

by Noel Williams
Book published by Cicerone Press

A guidebook to scrambles in Glen Coe and Ben Nevis and throughout the Western Highlands of Scotland. Includes Loch Laggan hills, Ben Alder, Mamores, Etive Hills, Blackmount, Cruachan, Appin hills, Ardgour, Loch Lochy area, Knoydart and South Glen Shiel. Well-known and hidden routes.

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This guide describes some of the best scrambles to be found within a 45km radius of the town of Fort William, an area which includes not only Ben Nevis and Glen Coe, but also Ben Alder to the east, Ben Cruachan to the south, Garbh Bheinn to the west and The Saddle to the north. Most of this area falls within the Lochaber Area of the Highland Council. It is the most popular area in the whole of Scotland with hillgoers, and justifiably so, for it contains some of the most varied and spectacular mountain scenery in the Highlands. The guide contains over seventy routes in Lochaber.

This guide is for those who seek more interesting routes. A number of the scrambles described here have been popular for years and are fairly well worn, but many others are little frequented and consequently have a certain pioneering atmosphere about them. Some experience of route finding will be useful in such cases. The majority of scrambles involve lengthy sections of hillwalking in approach or descent, and this should be taken into account when planning an outing.

  • Seasons
    These scrambles are described under dry, summer conditions. In winter conditions they can become serious mountaineering and climbing outings.
  • Centres
    Fort William, Glencoe, Kinlochleven.
  • Difficulty
    A range of scrambles from straightforward with avoidable difficulties to serious, exposed mountaineering days ie Castle Ridge and Tower Ridge on Ben Nevis.
  • Must See
    Aonach Eagach and other well-known trips but also remoter, hidden gems such as Garbh Bheinn. Ben Alder.
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    Grading of scrambles
    Maps, heights and distances
    Geology, history, fauna and flora

    The Ben Nevis Range
    The Loch Laggan Hills
    The Ardverikie Hills
    Ben Alder and Geal-Chàrn

    The Mamores
    North Glen Coe
    The Etive Hills
    The Blackmount
    Ben Cruchan
    The Glen Creran Hills
    The Appin Hills


    The Loch Lochy Hills
    South Glen Shiel

Sample Route

View Sample Route Map

31: Pink Rib of Beinn a'Chrulaiste (Grade 1)

This route follows a prominent pink dyke which runs up the hillside immediately to the right of a small stream in the centre of the south face of Beinn a’ Chrulaiste. It is a delightfully easy scramble on good rock.

Approach: Park at the Jacksonville car park (as for the Buachaille) by a bend in the main A82 road at GR 236 553. Cross the main road and then a fence, and walk over boggy ground to reach the West Highland Way. Cross this and then a broad bouldery stream bed. Head up a shallow depression to steeper heathery ground. Take any line up the centre of the first small outcrop of pink rock. Continue up heather and scree to the start of the rib proper.

The Route: Slant rightwards on good rock beneath a small overhanging wall. Ascend a section of quartzite rib and then break back left onto more broken ground. Ascend rock and heather trending left to reach the best section of rib with good view of the stream on the left.

Continue up the rib on very good holds. The rock becomes slightly more shattered towards the top. The angle gradually eases and the rib peters out into grassy hillside. The outing can be completed by bagging the summit Beinn a’ Chrulaiste (857m), a Corbett which lies 750m to the north-east.

Descent: The quickest descent from the top of the scramble is to head hard left (west) and cross four streams, then descend a broad rib to the west of a gully.

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