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Glencoe Walks – 5 Favourite Corbetts in Glencoe

Posted on Sep 14, 2016 by Gordon Anderson

The Glen Coe area has long been a favourite of mine. The famous mountains here – such as Buachaille Etive Mor and Bidean nam Bian – deservedly attract a lot of superlatives and many visitors. 

Glencoe walks

However, among the lesser-known hills in the area are some absolute gems and here I describe 5 of my favourites.  These are all Corbetts, i.e. Scottish hills between 2,500 and 3,000 feet in height.

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So, if you are looking to get off the beaten track and soak in views that are at least the equal of those to be had from the higher tops, then I’m sure you will find something here to fit the bill.

1.  Garbh Bheinn

  • Glencoe Walks - Garbh Bheinn
    Glencoe Walks - Garbh Bheinn

This short walk is ideal for those with limited time.  The walk starts from Caolasnacon, 3 miles west of Kinlochleven. A short, rugged ascent takes you up the west ridge to the summit of Garbh Bheinn. Perched high above Loch Leven, this is a truly magnificent viewpoint.

The 360o panorama includes Ben Nevis rising above the Mamore range to the north and the scrambler’s playground of the Aonach Eagach immediately to the south.  The descent can be varied by dropping south off the west ridge to pick up the path down Gleann a’ Chaolais. 

  • Map needed is OS Landranger Sheet 41 or Harvey’s Superwalker Glen Coe. The walk will take around 3.5 to 4.5 hours.

2.  Beinn a’ Chrùlaiste

  • Glencoe Walks - Beinn a' Chrùlaiste
    Glencoe Walks - Beinn a' Chrùlaiste

Although prominent at the east end of Glen Coe, this hill goes virtually unnoticed by most visitors as eyes are inevitably drawn to its majestic neighbours.  However, an ascent of Beinn a’ Chrulaiste provides one of the truly outstanding Highlands vistas. The view south westward  to the gable end of Buachaille Etive Mor is one which is sure to live long in the memory. 

Starting at Altnafeadh, for a short outing, I would recommend going up and down the west ridge, although a longer walk can be made by descending to Kingshouse and returning to the start point along a section of the West Highland Way.

  • Map needed is OS Landranger Sheet 41 or Harvey’s Superwalker Glen Coe. The shorter walk will take around 2 to 3 hours, while the longer option will take around 4.5 to 6 hours.

3.  Beinn Trilleachan

  • Glencoe Walks - Beinn Trilleachan
    Glencoe Walks - Beinn Trilleachan

This hill is a long granite ridge running parallel to the shore of Loch Etive. It is from the end of the single-track road down Glen Etive that it is most easily climbed.  Once the north-east ridge is gained, it is followed all the way to the summit with increasingly mesmerising views across the loch to Ben Starav and back up Glen Etive toward Buachaille Etive Mor and Buachaille Etive Beag. 

By far the easiest return is to retrace your outward route. I have descended steep gullies south westward to pick up the lochside path, but this is extremely tough going and your knees will not thank you for taking this option.

  • Map needed is OS Landranger Sheet 50 or Harvey’s Superwalker Glen Coe. The walk will take around 4.5 to 5.5 hours.

4.  Fraochaidh

  • Glencoe Walks - Fraochaidh
    Glencoe Walks - Fraochaidh

There is something very satisfying about traversing a mountain on a point-to-point walk and, by catching the morning bus from Duror to Ballachulish, it is possible to walk back to Duror via Fraochaidh. 

This route offers a new perspective on Beinn a’ Bheithir whose bulk dominates the view ahead for those driving south over the Ballachulish Bridge, but whose southern slopes are seldom seen.  On the descent westward from the summit, the views down Loch Linnhe to the islands of Lismore and Mull are captivating.

Curiously, although the Gaelic name of this hill means ‘heathery’,  it actually has very little heather on its slopes and is a predominantly grassy hill.

  • Maps needed are OS Landranger Sheets 41 & 49. The walk will take around 6.5 to 8 hours.

5.  Mam na Gualainn

  • Glencoe Walks - Mam na Gualainn
    Glencoe Walks - Mam na Gualainn

This route is the longest of the five described here, but you will surely agree that it is worth every ounce of effort.  Initially following the West Highland Way out of Kinlochleven for 4 miles, the route then climbs to Mam na Gualainn before enjoying a stunning high-level walk eastward to Beinn na Caillich. 

The ridge is sandwiched between Loch Leven on one side and the Mamore range on the other. The views are never short of breathtaking – on a clear day you will find it hard to tear yourself away for the descent.     

  • Map needed is OS Landranger Sheet 41 or Harvey’s Superwalker Glen Coe. The walk will take around 7 to 9 hours.

Mesmerized by Glencoe’s rugged outlines? See it for yourself on the following trips which visit Glencoe: Luxury Walking – Glencoe and the Highlands, Guided West Highland Way, Self-Guided West Highland Way and the Scottish Foodie Adventure Tour

Want to find more walks in the Scottish Highlands? Have a read of 5 Walks You Must Do in Highland Perthshire and our series Top 5 Walking Routes in the Cairngorms.

About the author

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Gordon Anderson

I guess I have followed a diverse career path. Starting out as a research scientist, I then spent many years working in the corporate IT world. Five years ago, I opted to put my lifetime’s experience of hillwalking to use and become a walking guide – one of the best decisions of my life.

Read more articles by Gordon


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