- Guided Hillwalking Across the Scottish Highlands

Assynt Munros – 2nd August 2019

by JohnKing

At the start of August I was leading a walk in the far northwest of Scotland, in the region of Assynt to visit the two Munro summits of Conival and Ben More Assynt. Here is an account of the day…

Conival from Ben More Assynt in summer

Looking back along the ridge to Conival from Ben More Assynt with Cul Mor visible in the distance

When I met Alastair in Ullapool on Friday morning the sun was out and the views were fantastic. An Teallach had been looking at its very best on the drive west and as we drove north towards Assynt the hills were all clear, catching some nice early morning light above a layer of mist hanging in the glens. It was an absolutely glorious morning when we arrived in Inchnadamph and we enjoyed a fine walk up Gleann Dubh following the narrow path by the scenic stream cutting through the unusual (for Scotland) limestone bedrock.

Early morning view of An Teallach from Loch Droma

An Teallach looking mighty fine beyond Loch Droma in the early hours

At the head of the glen we turned up towards the hills. It was hot work but at a steady pace we made good progress. As we climbed the views back to the peaks of Assynt and further to Wester Ross were getting better and better. Then, as we crest the ridge, some cloud came through somewhat obscuring the views to the north! It did regulate the temperature a little though for the steep final pull to the summit of Conival.

With little views at the top and almost no breeze meaning the very real possibility of midges we carried on, picking our way over the broken rocky terrain to the unusual summit of Ben More Assynt. As we went things cleared off once more and from Ben More we got a grand vista out over the far north from Foinaven and Arkle in the west to Morven in Caithness. It was also a good overview of the area of the Central Sutherland Crater Walk which I’ll be backpacking in the coming months and over Glen Cassley and Strath Oykel, the area covered by the Ordnance Survey’s least sold map!

Although the views were fantastic, there was still practically no breeze and, even at almost 1000m above sea level, the midges were out. So after a brief lunch we headed back along the ridge and over the summit of Conival once more. This time there was better views and we started to encounter a fair few other parties going the other way enjoying the super summer conditions.

Starting our decent we followed the initial ridge gradually downwards, enjoying the views over Loch Assynt as we went and even having to put on more sun block. Just down from the summit ridge, on a small grassy patch a red deer hind and a very young foal were grazing, which was a nice sight and our main wildlife sighting of the day. Then it was a steady downward stretch back into Gleann Dubh. The walk out was equally nice as the walk in and we were back at the car 7 hours exactly after leaving. It was a great walk and served as a nice warm up for both of us ahead of further adventures in the area over the proceeding weekend (which you can read about here…).

Loch Assynt and Quinag from Conival

A fine view of Quinag and along Loch Assynt to the west coast on the descent from Conival