A fascinating tangle of rock and loch, of empty glens and unbridged rivers, the Fisherfield/Letterwe Forest lives up to its romantic alias the Great Wilderness. The peaks at its heart are famously among the least accessible of the Munros, and this isolation is both their biggest challenge and chief attraction. The horseshoe linking the so-called Fisherfield Six, five Munros and one peak latterly demoted to Corbett status, is a long-distance stamina test, with ascent and rough ground to match; but it is most notable for the aura of remoteness. Widely touted as the Munro summit furthest from a road, A’Mhaighdean takes top billing on the round, a rocky bastion rising at the head of the remarkable mountain trench of Carnmore to offer some of the most inspiring views of any Scottish summit. Its neighbours are rugged and characterful peaks, too. Though the route is possible in a single mega day, most walkers make a weekend of it.
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Distance: 24.92 miles (40.10 km)
Total ascent: 2,890m
Time: 12 – 14 hours (Walking)
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SummitsBeinn a' Chlaidheimh 914 m
Sgurr Ban 989 m
Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair 1018 m
Beinn Tarsuinn 937 m
A' Mhaighdean 967 m
Ruadh Stac Mor 918 m
Layby on A832 at Corrie Hallie, NH114850
Rough rocky hills with several steep ascents and descents, and occasional easy scrambling, notably on Beinn Tarsuinn (optional). Paths are intermittent at times, and there's plenty of boggy ground in glens and low cols. The major river crossings in Strath na Sealga need thought; in a wet spell they may be impassable.
In winter conditions the Great Wilderness needs a well-honed team. With tricky ground, patchy phone coverage, and help far away, this is about as serious as winter hillwalking in Scotland gets. Even from a base at Shenavall the Six would be an achievement in one winter day - expect to be doing much of it in the dark. Steep sections are found on all the hills, and none would be trivial in snowy or icy conditions. Be prepared for some easy mountaineering on Beinn Tarsuinn’s narrow west ridge.
Weather and Hill Conditions: mwis: Northwest Highlands – Met Office: West Highlands
Infrequent bus service between Gairloch and Ullapool. This area is a bit of a public transport black hole.
Great Mountain Days in Scotland, by Dan Bailey (Cicerone)
OS Explorer 433 (1:25,000), OS Explorer 435 (1:25,000), OS Landranger 19 (1:50,000) Directory Listings:
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Ullapool (0845 22 55 121)
by Dan Bailey UKH