A’ Chailleach, Carn Sgùlain and Carn Dearg

A' Chailleach panorama OMWB

A 360 degree montage from the summit of A’ Chailleach.

With the warm sun of a wonderful ‘Indian summer’ bathing the Highlands with wonderful light, the urge to seek out high places came over me once again. This time, I chose a circular traverse to tackle three more of the Monadhliath mountains, this time a little closer to home near Newtonmore.

On the way up A' ChailleachOMWB

A small bothy can be seen on the way up through the heather to the top of A’ Chailleach.

The walk starts with an ascent up A’ Chailleach (The Old Woman) which finds you up on a plateau of tops which can them be traversed in a long loop round to the north and to the west taking in Carn Sgùlain and eventually Carn Dearg.

bothy OMWB

It is a curious little building with decorative finials at the ends of the roof.

Summit of A' Chailleach looking north.

Taking in the view from A’ Chailleach.

To start the climb up Carn Sgùlain from A’ Chailleach, a deep gully called Allt Cùil na Caillach has to be crossed.

Allt Cuil na Caillich montage OMWB

Allt Cùil na Caillich.

Once over it and climbing again, the summit is reached by traversing slopes over long stretches of dead ground with peat bogs. The summit of Carn Sgùlain is nothing to get excited about – rounded with the minutest of cairns – I spent enough time on it for photographs before heading west towards tops called Meall a’ Bhothain, Carn Ballach and Carn Bàn.

Carn Sgulain panorama OMWB

The view from the rounded top of Carn Sgùlain.

looking back to A' Chailleach

Looking south east back towards A’ Chailleach.

However, from here the circuit consists of a lovely high-level walk over long stretches of grass and rock with the odd peat bog to traverse, taking in various tops on the way.

Towards A' Chailleach montage OMWB

Looking back towards Carn Sgùlain and A’ Chailleach from the first un-named top along the traverse.

Carn Ballach 2 OMWB

Taking a break on the rocky top called Carn Ballach.

The ground became much more strewn with rocks and boulders as the walk progressed towards Carn Bàn and Carn Dearg.

Carn Ballach montage OMWB

Carn Dearg broods over Gleann Ballach, the glen to the left of the crags.

My route turns south to take in the ridge walk over Carn Bàn and eventually up Carn Dearg, a more classic crag and tail shaped mountain.

From Carn Dearg OMWB

Carn Dearg 3 OMWB

Looking over the side of Carn Dearg into Gleann Ballach.

Gleann Ballach OMWB

Allt Ballach in Gleann Ballach which flows into the River Calder.

Carn Dearg looking back montage OMWB

A view of Carn Dearg taken looking north.

Carn Dearg-2OMWB

Carn Dearg was the last Munro of the day – time to walk out along Allt Ballach by heading south towards the old croft at Dalballoch via a slot in the crags.

Carn Dearg walking out OMWB

Heading down the slot in the crags between Carn Dearg and Carn Macoul.

Dalballoch looking up Gleann Ballach montage OMWB

Carn Dearg and Gleann Ballach from the old croft at Dalballoch.

Dalballoch OMWB

Lengthening shadows indicates that it was time to finish the long walk out in the Newtonmore direction along the River Calder. As good a day to spend in the mountains as you could wish for at the beginning of October when the weather in the Scottish Highlands can be truly glorious.

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