by Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com ? Nov/2012
This route has been read 1,594 times


Ross & Cromarty, SCOTLAND

google map Graded moderate ?

Voting 5*
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Distance 8.51 miles (13.69 km)

Total ascent 1,082m

Steepest climb 34% (1 in 3)

Time 5 – 6 hours (Walking)

Start/finish Car park by the A894, NC232273

Summits included en route:
Hill Quinag - Sail Gharbh 808 m
Hill Quinag - Sail Gorm 776 m
Hill Quinag - Spidean Coinich 764 m

Nearest town Lochinver

Terrain Clear well-used paths throughout, with some steep slopes. Despite the formidable appearance of the hill from most angles there's no scrambling on this route.

Seasonal variations A good medium-length route for shorter winter days. In winter conditions a bit of care is needed on some of the steeper slopes and the occasional fairly narrow bit of ridge.

Weather and hill conditions mwis: Northwest HighlandsMet Office: West Highlands

Public transport Not a great option. Local buses from Ullapool to Lochinver, then Lochinver to Skiag Bridge several km south of the start point as described. www.travelinescotland.com

Guidebooks The Corbetts & Other Scottish Hills, SMC

Maps OS Explorer 442 (1:25,000), OS Explorer 445 (1:25,000), OS Landranger 15 (1:50,000)

Accommodation Inchnadamph Lodge hostel – tel. (01571) 822218

Find more Classifieds near this route

Tourist info Lochinver (0845 22 55 121)

A unique mountain, one of the best of its size in Scotland, Quinag has the freaky sculpted form and stand-alone character typical of all Assynt's headlining hills. It is a many-topped range rather than a single entity, and the three main summits are each distinct enough to qualify separately for Corbett status, with a drop of at least 150m between them. Yet they are so close-packed than the traverse of all three (plus a few un-named tops in between) must be one of the easiest multi-Corbett days. Cliffs guard almost every flank, and this fact combined with the promontory-like nature of the summits tends to limit the choice of walker-friendly routes. The line described here is the most logical and popular on the mountain.

Close this photo
+Spidean Coinich from point 745m, 194 kb
Spidean Coinich from point 745m


Detailed description

NC2325627372 Turn left along the road very briefly, then cross it to join an engineered path heading towards Quinag. The mountain is owned and managed by wild land conservation charity the John Muir Trust ( www.jmt.org ). For the return leg note a signed path detour designed to reduce erosion damage. The built path surface ends before Lochan Bealach Cornaidh but the trail continues very obviously just north of the loch, climbing to the Bealach Chornaidh.

NC2014228538 At the bealach take a narrow path northeast on a rising traverse across a steep hillside to reach the col between point 745m and Sail Garbh. The broad rocky ridge crest leads up to the trig point on the summit of Sail Gharbh. Most of Quinag is made of sandstone, but the very top slice of its highest peak is quartzite; the division between the two is very clear.

NC2093529200 Retrace your steps to the col, then go towards point 745m. Just before the last climb to this minor summit bear right, traversing the hillside to pick up an eroded path that descends northwest into a little col at the start of the ridge connecting to Sail Ghorm. Ahead is a steep-sided minor summit with a distinctive sawn-off top; a path traverses its right flank. Beyond this, continue along the crest over a lower, less defined top, and past the head of a dramatic gully on the left. Then it’s an easy ridge-top stroll to the summit of Sail Ghorm, Corbett no.2.
NC1984430427 You're at a dead end here, so backtrack along the ridge. In passing it is worth climbing the un-named sawn-off summit. From the little col beyond this feature go back up the eroded path towards point 745m, this time continuing right to the top. Though it lacks a name, this little summit is the pivotal point in the middle of the Quinag range. From here a path drops quite steeply into the Bealach a’ Chornaidh. Continue south for the lung-busting pull onto yet another excellent-but-un-named summit, point 713m (714 on some maps); the final climb takes you along a grassy knife-edged ridge. An easier descent now leads to a level col. Pass a tiny lochan and continue up rough rocky ground onto the summit of Spidean Coinich. This is Corbett no.3, and arguably the best of all Quinag's tops, with a spectacular north face.

NC2060227719 On leaving the summit bear briefly south at first to avoid a steep gully that cuts in on the left. Once this is passed trend more southeast to follow a well-used line down steep rocky slopes into a broad col. Climb over a minor top and continue down the mountain’s rocky east spur, following the edge of a line of small cliffs. Towards the base of the hill look left for the new approved route (as mentioned in stage 1) which leads north past a small lochan to rejoin the approach path.

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