Beinn a’Bha’ach Ard: Glen Strathfarrar’s Corbett
This mossy hunk of landmass probably isn’t high up on your list of hills. The walk itself is surprisingly tiring with little to no path at times. The uninspiring hike up is rewarded with some excellent views over the Moray Firth to your east and Strathfarrar’s remote Munros further down the Glen to your west.
If you’re doing this hike early in the year then you’re almost guaranteed to see plenty of wildlife, deer in particular.
1. Beinn a’Bha’ach Ard – 862 metres (2828 ft) – pronounced BEINN-A-VARACH-ARD
From Inverness, take the A862 road towards Beauly. Head straight on past the right turning to Beauly and continue for approximately another 8 miles (12.9 km).
You’ll eventually pass Erchless Castle and very soon after this keep an eye open for ‘Glen Strathfarrar‘ signs pointing right. Head down this road for a couple of minutes until you get to Milton Cottage.
This is the cottage ‘guarding’ the gate and on the left just before it is the car park. Leave your vehicle here for the beginning of the hike!
See the exact starting point here on Google Maps.
The hike itself doesn’t look as though it should be difficult but the terrain makes it more tiring than you may expect. The initial hike is on forestry tracks and is straightforward. This eventually ends and merges into mossy moorland which steeply rises up the Corbett’s south-western slopes. I found this to be a slog and my immediate surroundings to be pretty uninspiring.
Duration & Length
Duration: 4 – 7 hours
Length: 10.3 miles (16.6 km)
Above is my route and time taking according to Viewranger. 4 hours is definitely going at a fair march while 7 hours would be considered as a plod. The walk along the track is relatively fast, no matter your fitness, what slows most folk down will be the ascent up the hillside and possibly the steep descent.
The OS Map you will need for this hike is the Explorer 431.
Where To Stay
There are a few decent options in the nearby area.
- Highland Holiday Caravans.
- Cannich Woodland Camping.
- Culligran self-catering chalets – situated in Glen Strathfarrar itself.
Park up at the small car park just before Milton Cottage and head through the gate. The gate is in place to limit the number of cars allowed into the Glen at any one time, it has no effect on walkers.
The limited number of vehicles along this road means you’re pretty much guaranteed peace and quiet. As the route opens up, the area to your right is known as the Culligran cottages and is a popular accommodation option for hikers and holidaymakers alike. On your left, you’ve got the rather wide River Farrar.
After about a mile you’ll come across the Culligran power station which you’ll most likely hear before you can see. Turn right here onto the forestry track.
Head past the power station tunnel and continue along the forestry track through a pleasant birch forest. The trail will eventually open with the relatively unattractive power lines and pylons stretching into the distance.
Eventually, you’ll pass underneath these lines and the track will begin to ascend steeply straight after a light-creamy coloured building.
From here, it’s really up to you how you get to the summit! There is a boggy path diverting off the forestry track but this ends very quickly. I decided to follow the forestry track until it reaches a small ford in the river. Cross over the river, Allt Doire Bhuig, and follow the map sweeping north-east towards the Corbett’s summit.
At this point, there’s no path and it’s a case of choosing your best route! I decided to go straight up the mossy slope, some may find it easier to head northwest initially to avoid the steep gradient.
Follow the slope all the way up to the trig point on the top of Beinn a’Bha’ach Ard!
On a clear day, you’ll get smashing views of Strathfarrar’s 4 epic Munros as well as a sweeping vista over the Moray Firth. I also caught a glimpse of some of Glen Affric’s mountains further to the southwest.
After enjoying your summit victory you have 2 options. Go back down the way you came or complete the horseshoe walk back to the car park. I, of course, recommend you do the second.
It’s fairly straightforward and is a case of following the ridge to the northeast up and over the lesser summit of Sgurr a’ Phollain. The stony summit of Carn na Gabhalach and its cairn indicate the start of your descent. Enjoy the epic views over the Fairburn Wind Farm to the northeast.
There’s a boggy and at times unclear path following an old fence line to the southeast. It’s quite easy to follow the old metal posts, although some of them do seem to have disappeared. On the Ordnance Survey maps the path itself is clearly marked.
Continue all the way down this mossy descent, passing the pretty Loch na Beiste and linking up with a more distinct path which runs parallel to a fence line. At the end, you’ll have to pass through a couple of gates and you’re back at the car park!
While not the most exciting hike in the world, this Corbett is definitely worth the effort if you’re in the area but don’t fancy stretching yourself to climbing a Munro.
Glen Strathfarrar is one of Scotland’s most remote corners and one of the few places with a ‘quiet road’ guarantee.
Apart from the final slog up to the top and uneven descent, the walk is pretty straightforward and doesn’t present anything too challenging.
Thanks a lot for reading and if you’ve got anything to add or any questions then please leave a comment below! 🙂