Hiking both Beinn Fhada and A’ Ghlas Bheinn

May 13, 2018 | Munros, Scotland

Before I did this hike, I had read several reports online saying that combining the 2 Munros was extremely difficult. This made me even more determined to do both and I was surprised at how misleading that information was.

I hope this guide can set you right and demonstrate that it’s actually quite easy to combine Beinn Fhada and A’ Ghlas Bheinn.

You may be surprised by the number of cars on arrival but don’t be, the vast majority of these will be heading to the popular Falls of Glomach. You’ll be going a different direction but have the option to incorporate these spectacular falls into your hike on the way back. This is also a popular area for hikers of the Affric Kintail Way.

Beinn Fhada and A' Ghlas-bheinn path

Beinn Fhada is a long sweeping mountain with very contrasting features on each side. A fun fact is that its length is almost the same as the entire Five Sisters of Kintail! A’ Ghlas Bheinn is small in comparison and has a much rockier ascent.

 

Contents


 

Munros Climbed


  1. Beinn Fhada – 1032 metres (3386 ft) – pronounced BAYN-ATTA
  2. A’ Ghlas Bheinn – 918 metres (3012 ft) – pronounced AGLAS-VAYN

If you’d like to know more about Scotland’s mountains then read this.

 

Getting There


Deep in Glen Shiel, chances are you’ll be doing a fair bit of driving to get to these Munros. I definitely recommend staying nearby. There are several Munros in this part of the country so you can maybe spend a couple of nights and do a few hikes.

Follow the A82 until you get to Invermoriston where you’ll turn onto the A887 road towards the Isle of Skye. Follow this road for 39 miles (62.8 km) until you get to Morvich. It’s clearly signposted and you turn off right, follow this single track road and take a right as you approach the caravan park.

The Morvich Outdoor Centre and hike starting point are ahead.

Click here to see the starting point on Google Maps.

 

Difficulty


4/5

I give this a 4 mainly because there’s no ridge walk between peaks. After climbing Beinn Fhada you have to drop down roughly 620 metres (2000 ft) before beginning the ascent to A’ Ghlas Bheinn.

This makes for a lot of climbing! Beinn Fhada is the easier hike with a straightforward walk to the top, A’ Ghlas Bheinn is smaller but may require a couple of mild scrambles.

 

Duration & Length


Duration: 6 – 9 hours

Length: 13.3 miles (21.4 km)

My time was approximately 6 hours 30 minutes and I was going quite fast. For fast walkers 6 – 8 hours is realistic or if you are slower or take your time then aim for 8 – 9 hours.

My route according to Viewranger is below.

Viewranger route

 

Where To Stay


There are a few good options in the surrounding areas.

  • The Caravan Club in Morvich.
  • Shielbridge Caravan Park and Campsite.
  • The Cluanie Inn.

 

The Hike


Leave your car by the Morvich Outdoor Centre. It’s often full because of the Falls of Glomach but you should find a space. If not then there are no problems parking up on the grassy verge.

Follow the road and take a left over the wooden bridge. Don’t be put off by the feeling that you’re walking up someone’s driveway, I felt the same way but it is the correct route. There’s a small sign with an arrow just before the house which directs you onto the mountain path.Start of hike

You’ll head through a couple of gates and after about a kilometre or so the path will be out into the open. There’s a wooden post with a fork. Left is for the Falls of Glomach, right for the Munros!

Keep your eyes open for feral goats. They are pretty shy so will do a runner if they see you coming but there are so many of them in this part of Scotland.

Follow the clearly marked path for about 2 miles. You’ll begin a steady ascent getting higher above the river Abhainn Chonaig down to your left. The path winds its way up the valley and the only real obstacle is crossing the Allt a’ Choire Chaoil river. You should be able to find a walkway of rocks but if there has been significant rainfall then this could be a challenge.

River on Beinn Fhada route

Shortly after the river, you’re at the end of your 2 miles and at the next fork. There’s a small cairn directing you towards Beinn Fhada. Head right onto this path and continue up into a corrie.

Continue on the path and soon after a significant section of zigzagging you’ll sweep around to the right and then come off the path.

Continue south-east onto the ridge of Beinn Fhada – the summit is near. There are a few semi-worn sections which could be used as a path but the ground here can get very boggy. I recommend sticking as far left as you can closer to the rocks.

Following the ridge leads you to the top of Beinn Fhada!

Beinn Fhada cairn

I was unfortunate. The weather was great until I got to within about 150 metres (450 ft) from the top and was subsequently engulfed in a blanket of cloud…typical!

On a clear day, you’ll be rewarded with some excellent views of the Brother’s Ridge to the south the Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan to the north-east.

Head straight back down the same way and retrace your steps all the way back to the small cairn that directed you off the initial route.

Left would take you back over the stream in the direction you originally came from. Go right and follow the path through the narrow pass.

This is a dramatic part of the hike and reminded me of something similar to the scenery of ‘Lord of the Rings’.

Glen between Munros

Continue through and follow the path up to the left towards the Bealach na Sgairne. There’s a big cairn at the Bealach and the path continues up onto the rocky slopes of A’ Ghlas Bheinn.

From here it’s a simple case of following the path up the rugged terrain to the summit of Munro number 2!

This shouldn’t really pose any problems, the main annoyance is that there are quite a few false summits!

Cairn on A'Ghlas-bheinn

From here, you have a couple of options:

  1. You can continue north and include Falls of Glomach into your route.
  2. You can head directly west and take a shorter route back to the start.

I’ll focus on number 2 because that’s what I did but I’ll briefly outline number 1 in a later section.

I missed out Glomach because visibility was generally very poor and it had started to rain quite heavily.

The descent is really as straightforward as following the pathless and quite boggy slopes of A’ Ghlas Bheinn all the way down to the forestry track linking back to Morvich.

There are a few worn out remnants of paths but they never amount to anything so I recommend just going where you feel most comfortable.

Again, my view was severely hampered by the clouds but on a clear day, you’ll get great views all around. The clouds briefly parted and gave me a great view of Loch Duich.

View of Loch Duich

Try and stick to the right and head down the ridge of A’ Mhuc. This is basically where the descent is as gentle as possible and it’s very easy to follow.

Continue east down A’ Mhuc until you get to a fence line. If the weather is clear and you can see the fence line from a distance then I recommend getting as far to the right as you can because it does get very steep by the fence line.

If it’s not clear then just get to the fence line and follow it (going right) until it links back to a forestry track.

WARNING: some sections by the fence are very steep and require care.

Fence line on the descent

When you get back to the forestry track it’s a case of following it down through Dorusduain Woods.

Eventually, you’ll get to the Abhainn Chonaig river. You’ll see a big gate up ahead but you want to head left before this. Cross the wooden bridge and follow the narrow path up the bank.

This path links back to your starting route and all the way back to where you started!

 

Alternative Routes


There are a couple of popular alternative routes to the one above. I chose the above route because I was keen on bagging the 2 Munros but for the more relaxed out there you can do one hill at a time.

A’ Ghlas Bheinn and the Falls of Glomach

The most attractive option is combining A’ Ghlas Bheinn with the Falls of Glomach. From the top of A’ Ghlas Bheinn, continue north and descend to Bealach na Sroine. From here, take a right at the path and continue to the spectacular falls.

Return back along the Bealach na Sroine. After crossing the bridge, follow the path which will cross back over the river and head into Dorusduain Wood. Stay right at the fork and follow the path through the woods, over the Allt Choinneachain river and retrace your steps back to Morvich.

Beinn Fhada

If you want to do Beinn Fhada by itself then stick to the initial route described in this post. The easiest return is to simply retrace your steps but I’m never a fan of this.

To make a loop, retrace your steps from the summit until you see a plateau heading down to your left. Follow the plateau down until it starts to slope up to Meall an Fhuarain Mhoir.

Plateau descending Beinn Fhada

A narrow ridge forms here and descends through what’s called the ‘Hunter’s Pass’. There’s a tough scramble up the rocky Sgurr a Choire Ghairbh before the route drops down to Bheinn Bhuidhe. This section of the route has a couple of rocky summits but nothing too treacherous.

From Beinn Bhuidhe head west and straight down to the starting path.

 

Nearby Hikes & Things To Do


Hikes

Kintail is a haven of both challenging and easy hikes.

For a challenge then try the South Glen Shiel Ridge.

For something easier then give the First Kintail Munros a try.

 

To Do

  • Isle of Skye is just around the corner (literally).
  • Falls of Glomach as described above.
  • Eilean Donan Castle.
  • Get a coffee and cake at All The Goodness.

 

To Conclude


You may sometimes see the name ‘Ben Attow’ when you’re looking for Beinn Fhada. It’s the same mountain, this is just the Gaelic pronunciation!

All in all, whatever way you decide to hike Beinn Fhada and A’ Ghlas Bheinn will prove to be enjoyable. It’s a long walk but not too taxing and offers magnificent views.

It’s a fair distance to the initial ascent but this is through some spectacular Glens and there are often plenty of wild goats.

For those of you who haven’t already, Falls of Glomach is a must-see if you’re in the area.

As always, thanks a lot for reading and if you have any questions or queries then drop a comment below. 🙂

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