UKH

Ben Klibreck and Loch Choire Walking

The Flow Country of Scotland's far north is Europe's largest blanket bog, a waterlogged landscape of mind-boggling expanse. Rising as a rounded wave on the western side of this great moorland sea, Ben Klibreck doesn't immediately grab the imagination, its main attraction seemingly the ease of ascent for Munro baggers. But a linear dash from the road won't do justice to the scale of the setting. Better to nip over Bealach Easach to the obscure lochs stretched below the mountain’s hidden eastern flank, a place of unexpected grandeur, before making a return along the full stretch of Klibreck’s high, grassy spine. Though the A836 is fairly close this does little to dent the sense of remoteness; after all, it’s a single track A-road on which a dozen cars per hour would count as traffic. Even the walk’s starting point has a back-of-beyond feel, the Crask Inn being almost the only habitation in miles.

Looking into the expanse of the Flow Country from Meall Ailein  © Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com
Looking into the expanse of the Flow Country from Meall Ailein
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Detailed description

1
NC5237824709 Go short way south along the road, then turn left through a little gate and follow a track roughly east alongside the River Tirry, which runs almost dead straight past two big pine plantations. Once level with the second plantation the path climbs the left flank of a vague corrie to reach the remote Bealach Easach, a historic cross-country through-route.

2
NC5746025135 The fine old track descends gently into the rugged glen, following the north bank of Loch a'Bhealaich to reach the shore of the larger Loch Choire. Beyond a patch of tall pines by the shore and an adjacent forestry enclosure is a wooden bridge over a gorse-flanked river.

3
NC6250128464 Leave the track and head north up an open grassy slope. There is no path, but since the hillside is also free of the usual Scottish duo of tussocks and heather, the going is fairly easy. Pass a small cairn to reach a broad rocky ridge, and a while later a stone memorial to the victims of an air crash. This long ascent eventually gains the little rugged peak of Meall Ailein, a grand viewpoint from which to survey the enormous emptiness all around.

4
NC6132231461 Follow the ridge west. At first the going is gentle, then a rougher climb through peat hags leads over Meall Meadhonach. From here it's grassy again, the well defined crest of the main peak's northeast ridge rising airily to Meall nan Con, Ben Klibreck's sole Munro summit.

5
NC5851429919 In poor vis, descent requires care. Drop steeply almost due west to the crest of A'Chioch, which then swings southward to a broad col (spot height 688m). Continue on the gradual ridge up to Creag an Lochain. From here briefly head south before bearing southwest and then west, descending a steady slope cut with peat hags to reach a low col – there is a path, though it's easily misplaced. A last climb now reaches the minor summit of Cnoc Sgriodain.

6
NC5518527067 Descend the vague south spur, bearing rightwards across the tussocky lower slopes to pick up a wide 4WD track. This returns to the A836 just north of the Crask Inn.

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