Beinn Eighe – Ruadh-stac Mor and Spidean Coire nan Clach

Beinn Eighe is more a mountain massif than a single mountain: it comprises of Munro summits Ruadh-stac Mor and Spidean Coire nan Clach and the subsidiary Munro Tops Sgurr nan Fhir Duibhe, Sgurr Ban, Coinneach Mhor, and Sail Mhor. The Corbett Ruadh-stac Beag is also arguably part of Beinn Eighe but I have described it separately. Beinn Eighe is a wonderful, wild and beautiful play ground comprised of shattered Cambrian quartzite on top of Torridonian sandstone that has been formed into fine ridges and wild corries by glacial action. It lies in the east of the Torridon area and Sgurr nan Fhir Duibhe, its eastern most top, towers over the lovely wee village of Kinlochewe. The villages of Torridon or Kinlochewe are perfect bases for exploring Beinn Eighe – you can search and book accommodation here.

The mountain is within the Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve, the first in the UK and now over 70 years old. It was originally protected to conserve and restore the ancient pinewoods, and other habitats and species.

Read on to see and find out more about this great mountain or jump straight to one of the options below:

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Beinn Eighe’s Munros – Ruadh-stac Mor and Spidean Coire nan Clach
Table of Beinn Eighe Munro summits and tops
DoBIHIDMountainHeightClassificationImage 1Image 2Image 3
955Beinn Eighe - Ruadh-stac Mor1010m/3314ftMunroContext ImageDetail ImageSummit Image
956Beinn Eighe - Spidean Coire nan Clach993m/3258ftMunroContext ImageDetail ImageSummit Image
959Sail Mhor980m/3215ftMunro TopContext ImageDetail ImageSummit Image
960Coinneach Mhor976m/3202ftMunro TopContext ImageDetail ImageSummit Image
961Sgurr Ban970m/3182ftMunro TopContext ImageDetail ImageSummit Image
962Sgurr nan Fhir Duibhe963m/3159ftMunro TopContext ImageDetail ImageSummit Image

Adapted from The Database of British and Irish Hills (DoBIH) under CC BY 4.0

Explore Beinn Eighe with the interactive map of the peaks, photos and indicative routes below. Click on a feature to see photos and more information; see a legend by toggling the side panel and switch layers on and off. View a larger map here. Please let me know what you think!

Interactive map of Beinn Eighe including the Munro summits tops and photos

Important note: Routes on this map are provided as an indication only in good faith. They are approximate and indicative and should not be relied on for navigation or as a guarantee that any specific person will be capable of completing them. Read more here.

Climbing Beinn Eighe’s Munro Summits – Ruadh-stac Mor and Spidean Coire nan Clach

Climbing Beinn Eighe’s two Munro summits makes for a fantastic day on the hill and they can be combined into a round trip that gives a great tour of the central and western part of this big mountain – also taking in the excellent Coire Mhic Fhearchair, famed for the majestic Triple Buttress. Start either via the Coire Dubh Mor path below the east end of Liathach, where there is a good car park, for a clockwise route; or on the Coire an Laoigh path below Spidean Coire nan Clach and the main bulk of Beinn Eighe for anti-clockwise.

Clockwise via Coire Mhic Fhearchair gives a long gradual ascent on a good path to the coire through spectacular scenery. After passing through Coire Dubh Mor between the steep sides of Liathach and Beinn Eighe the views open out to the northern coires of Liathach, Beinn Dearg and gradually the remote peaks of the Flowerdale Forest. Eventually the path turns around the northern crags of Sail Mhor and up into Coire Mhic Fhearchair where the sight ahead is spectacular.

The path continues along the east side of Loch Coire Mhic Fhearchair towards the south east corner of the coire and leads to the base of a gully that ascends to the bealach between Coinneach Mhor and Ruadh-stac Mor. This is short lived but quite steep and loose and needs care. Ruadh-stac Mor, although Beinn Eighe’s highest summit, is an outlier from the main ridge; from the top of the gully the summit is reached by an easy walk north with great views.

Return south to the top of the gully and on up to join Beinn Eighe’s main ridge at the north east corner of Coinneach Mhor’s summit plateau area – which is itself well worth exploring. The views from directly above the Triple Buttress are superb. For Spidean Coire nan Clach turn left to the east south east and follow the lovely undulating and curving rocky ridge high above Coire Dubh Mor to the south and wild Coire Ruadh-staca to the north.

The summit of Spidean Coire nan Clach is unusual in having an Ordnance Survey trig point 170 metres south west from, and 21 metres below, the mountains highest point. Ascending from the west, or Coire an Laoigh to the south, the trig point is reached first and easy shattered quartzite pinnacles are negotiated to reach the true summit from where three ridges fall away – radiating out from this spectacular high point.

The quickest route down from Spidean Coire nan Clach is back to the trig point and then to drop south down the scree on a path to the head of Coire an Laoigh – the path then descends steeply down the headwall of the coire to the east and winds on down to the road. This route can be used in ascent for the anti-clockwise round of the Munros.

Beinn Eighe’s eastern tops – Sgurr nan Fhir Duibhe and Sgurr Ban

Sgurr nan Fhir Duibhe, the Black Carls (Bodaich Dubh) and subsidiary Creag Dubh are best accessed from the Allt a’ Chuirn path to the east. The path leaves the A896 Kinlochewe to Torridon road a kilometre south of Kinlochewe where there is parking for several cars by the roadside. It follows the north bank of the Allt a’ Chuirn stream across moorland and past lovely Scots pine woodland. After two kilometres or so an arm of the stream is crossed near a junction and the ground steepens on the lower east ridge of Creag Dubh. The main path heads into the shallow coire on the north side of this ridge before doubling back on to the ridge. This is straight forward to Creag Dubh from where the views open out wonderfully to the rest of the mountain to the west.

The ridge on southwards to Sgurr nan Fhir Duibhe is guarded by the Bodaich Dubh or Black Carls, jagged quartzite pinnacles that need some scrambling on steep, rough ground to negotiate. The ridge is noted as a grade 1 scramble in the SMC’s Highland Scrambles North guide book. All descents from Sgurr nan Fhir Duibhe are steep and rough; a route down steep scree can be found to the east ridge to descend back to the Allt a’ Chuirn path but the west ridge on to Sgurr Ban is more satisfying.

Sgurr Ban is a fine Munro Top between Sgurr nan Fhir Duibhe and Spidean Coire nan Clach and I suspect often neglected. The east ridge from the Sgurr nan Fhir Duibhe direction is straight forward and there are super views north across coire Toll Ban and south to the Coulin Forest and beyond. The west ridge on towards Spidean Coire nan Clach is rough, relatively narrow and enjoyable but without any real difficulty.

Beinn Eighe’s western tops – Coinneach Mhor and Sail Mhor

The summit of Coinneach Mhor is on top of the famous Triple Buttress of Coire Mhic Fhearchair and is likely often visited on traverses of the Beinn Eighe Munros – it is only just off the direct route between Ruadh-stac Mor and Spidean Coire nan Clach. Sail Mhor is much less likely to be visited in this way but it is a very fine, quiet top in a wonderful situation. It overlooks Coire Mhic Fhearchair, the Triple Buttress, Liathach, Beinn Dearg and the wilderness of the Flowerdale Forest – highly recommended.

The route to Sail Mhor from Coinneach Mhor is complicated by a steep rock step – the Ceum Grannda – essentially where the triple buttress cliffs cut the west ridge of Coinneach Mhor. It is a short lived grade 2 scramble and on dry rock is relatively straight forward in ascent or descent if the best line can be ascertained. Beyond the Ceum Grannda step the ridge to Sail Mhor is pleasant and without further technical difficulty.

Beinn Eighe – three further scrambles

Sail Mhor – Lawson, Ling and Glover’s Route (grade 2 scramble)

The Lawson, Ling and Glover route follows the left to right ridge from the top right of the scree in the first photo below before turning to the left along the rocky sky line to the summit. It is an excellent alternative route to the summit of Sail Mhor.

Spidean Coire nan Clach – North Ridge (grade 2 scramble)

The north ridge of Spidean Coire nan Clach ends abruptly above Lochan Uaine on the bealach before Ruadh-stac Beag. A sweep of lovely quartzite slabs lies on the east end of the ridge and provides an entertaining alternative route to the summit of Spidean Coire nan Clach. It is a convenient route if combining with an ascent of Ruadh-stac Beag or approaching from the Kinlochewe direction. Once on the ridge the going is airy but straight forward in summer conditions.

Coinneach Mhor – Coire Mhic Fhearchair East Buttress (Difficult rock climb)

This is a route up the spectacular easterly Triple Buttress starting from a ledge between the Torridonian sandstone below and quartzite above. The ledge gives access from the east. At climbing grade Difficult it is at the very top end of what could be termed “scrambling” and is not a route I’ve done – but would love to. The SMC’s Highland Scrambles North describes the route as “perhaps the best route of its grade in Scotland”. In the 2nd and 3rd photos below there is a party just visible about half way up the quartzite of the ridge.

Beinn Eighe – summer and winter climbing

There are many excellent summer and winter climbs on Beinn Eighe, primarily on the Triple Buttress and crags of Coire Mhic Fhearchair. These are detailed in the SMC’s Northern Highlands South climbing guide.

The Beinn Eighe crash site of Lancaster TX264

The crash site and widely scattered wreckage of Lancaster TX264 are a sad and sombre sight. The crash happened in March 1951 on a training flight out of RAF Kinloss; tragically all eight crew members were lost as the flight attempted to return to its Moray coast base in bad weather. It occurred high on Coinneach Mhor, only a few metres below the summit, and wreckage is now scattered from here down the gully at the west end of the Triple Buttress all the way into Coire Mhic Fhearchair. Here a plaque is mounted on a propeller and a wheel and engine are easily found.

View a single gallery of all Beinn Eighe images

Discover and explore more through the links and articles below.

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