It is difficult to write about Beinn Eighe without drowning in superlatives. The mountains of Torridon are some of the most magnificent in Scotland. And with its white quartzite upper reaches and scree-covered flanks, and its surprisingly complex and extensive topography, Beinn Eighe is in our view the most magnificent in Torridon: though it's a close run thing with its westerly neighbour, Liathach.
From the Glen Torridon side, Beinn Eighe appears to be a steep and imposing rock wall that takes up where Liathach leaves off, with few features breaking up its long southern face. The northern side looks out across a rough triangular wilderness of rock, peat and heather that stretches almost to the south west shore of Loch Maree. This side is deeply bitten into by vast and lonely corries that separate the northern spurs of the mountain.
The highest point of Beinn Eighe lies on one of these spurs: it is Ruadh-stac Mor, at a height of 1,010m. Until 1997 this was the only Munro (separate mountain over 3,000ft) on Beinn Eighe, but that anomaly has now been resolved with the promotion to Munro status of Spidean Coire nan Clach, at a height of 993m and overlooking Glen Torridon.
Beinn Eighe is not a mountain for the casual walker, and those wanting to climb the Munros will refer to more specific mountain guides for the various routes and options. Despite this, there are ways in which the less ambitious walker can get a feel for Torridon's high mountains and wilderness.
The most straightforward is via the mountain trail from the Beinn Eighe Nature Reserve visitor centre on the A832 about three miles north west of Kinlochewe. This fairly strenuous four mile circular route leads you up to a height of 560m on the north east flank of Beinn Eighe to the "Conservation Cairn" from which, on a clear day, 31 Munros can be seen. These include spectacular views of Slioch, immediately on the far side of Loch Maree.
The second way to sample Beinn Eighe's magnificence without necessarily climbing all of it is via a path from a car park on the north side of the road through Glen Torridon, at the southern exit from the valley between Beinn Eighe and Liathach. From here a path leads all the way around the back of Liathach. Another path branches off it at the west end of Beinn Eighe and leads around the end of Sail Mor, the mountain's most westerly spur.
This brings you into one of the most stupendous corries in Scotland, the north facing Coire Mhic Fhearchair at a height of some 590m. At its heart is a loch named after the corrie, while to its east are the quartzite screes leading up to Ruadh-stac Mor. But most visitors find their attention drawn to the far end of the corrie and the Triple Buttress, a wonderful rock structure that rises 300m to the main ridge beyond.
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Grid Ref: NG 965 596