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Slioch: A Fine Munro in Wester Ross

Posted on Jul 04, 2017 by Sonja Jones

Slioch or ‘the Spear’ rises dramatically above Loch Maree and is great for hikers who love a challenging munro

We love this hill and even suggested it as the Best Munro for Wanderlust’s 20 best hikes in Scotland listWhy you ask? For starters Slioch has a picture-postcard aesthetic rising up against the beautiful Loch Maree, but it’s the adrenalin of the challenge that really gets us going. Ascending the looming mountain is a long but rewarding day on the hill. It’s a highlight of our High Points of Wester Ross & Torridon walking trip and we include it whenever our fickle Scottish weather allows. It’s our most challenging scheduled walking trip and each day we aim to climb a new peak!

Magical Loch Maree

Loch Maree and Slioch

Photo credit: P.Tomkins/Visit Scotland

 

Not far into the route to Slioch we reach the shores of magical Loch Maree, one of Scotland’s largest fresh water lochs. Over sixty islands lush with undisturbed woodland are dotted across the loch and are home to rare birds such as the Black-Throated Diver. Sea-eagles were also reintroduced here in the 1990s. The islands have been designated a Natural Nature Reserve to protect these rare species and their habitats.

The loch itself is named for 8th Century Irish monk, St Maelrubha, who built a chapel on a tiny island (Isle Maree) which became a pilgrimage site for those seeking a cure for mental illness. The dunking of ‘lunatics’ in the loch’s waters and sipping from the holy well were practiced until the 19th century and rumour has people still come in secret looking for a cure to this day.

Take on the Spear

Slioch

Photo credit: P.Tomkins/Visit Scotland

 

Despite its daunting appearance and rough terrain the route up Slioch isn’t as steep as you’d imagine but we’ll admit hiking to its summit is challenging. Over 12 miles we ascend via a high corrie enjoying the picturesque lochans before making the final push up to the summit at 981m. At the summit we follow the path along the east ridge which soon narrows to the fine peak of Sgurr an Tuill Bhain, a top. We enjoy views northwards across the Fisherfield wilderness and Letterewe Forests, before making our descent. The whole route takes 7-9 hours but you’ll be rewarded with fantastic views the whole way.

Rest and Refuel

When the adrenaline high has ebbed we’ll enjoy hearty Highland cooking and reflect on the beauty, wilderness and wildlife of this remarkable corner of Scotland. Perhaps we’ll toast the Spear with a dram or pint before we bed down for a peaceful night and prepare to tackle the next peak in the morning.

So is it the best munro? Come join us for the High Points of Torridon and Wester Ross and decide for yourself.

About the author

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Sonja Jones

Sonja left the big smoke behind to focus on combining two of her great loves: Scotland and storytelling.

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