Guided Mountain expeditions in Scotland, Torridon
Last autumn we took our first group on the first guided mountain expeditions in Scotland. As with all our multi-day expeditions, the aim is to give the clients an unforgettable experience. We want to allow you to fully immerse yourself in the adventure. We allow you to reconnect with the wilderness to explore these amazing environments. Learning how to enjoy the simplicity of a journey through some breathtaking scenery.
About Loch Torridon
The expedition will take you across the Torridon Mountain Range. We will look to bag multiple peaks whilst immersed in a truly beautiful wilderness area. Some of the oldest rocks found in the world throw up peaks, Liathach, Beinn Eighe, Beinn Alligin, Beinn Dearg and Baosbheinn.
Each of the Torridon mountains sits very much apart from one another and they are often likened to castles. They have steep terraced sides and broken summit crests, riven into many pinnacles. There are numerous steep gullies and the summit ridges provide excellent scrambling. These mountains provide a really committing venture that you will not forget easily.
Whilst in walking in Torridon you will be surrounded by wildlife in abundance. The trip provides good opportunities to see Golden Eagles, Raven’s, Dippers, Red Deer, Otters and numerous other species.
Our guided mountain expeditions in Scotland comprised of…
This was a five-day trip meeting the clients in Inverness before travelling to the stunning Loch Torridon. We spent five days in the mountains climbing three of the famous ridges Beinn Eighe, Ilathac and Beinn Aligain. We spent some nights wild camping under the Scottish stars and others in a highland pub by the fire. Here’s the story of how it went…
We met up with both clients Simon and Arthur, the night before. Where we enjoyed a pint to discuss the week’s plans. The next morning we picked them up and drove west towards Loch Torridon. It takes about two hours to drive to Torridon, with stops. It is one I always look forward to driving through the striking highlands.
We arrived at the car park at the bottom of Beinn Aligien, and take five minutes to stretch the legs. Then it is time to share out the food and fuel, to prepare for the three-day mini-expedition. We give a quick demonstration of what and how we pack our rucksacks, it is important to only take the essentials.
Before the trip, we help everyone prepare properly, by sending a comprehensive kit list. Also if you have any questions we are happy to answer them before the trip.
We where soon ready and eager to set off walking into the mountains. Day one is a half days walk into the Torridon valley. We walk for three hours along the valley floor surround by magnificent peaks. Along the way we teach navigation techniques, allowing you to practice your map reading. Soon enough we arrive at a couple of lochans and start exploring for the perfect wild camp. It takes a little while to find a flat area big enough to accommodate four tents.
Eventually, we find a good spot and pop the tents up before making some dinner. There are a good variety of dehydrated meals to choose from and set about boiling water. Soon enough we have all eaten and it time to explore the local area. We make the most of the good weather, as we are expecting a storm to come in midweek. The evening is spent watching out for deer and other wildlife. Moving on to picking lines of weakness on the steep mountainsides. Eventually, settling into some stargazing for the remainder of the night.
We wake to a clear still morning, with birds singing and deer’s piping and bellowing. I get the water boiling for a cuppa to warm up the hands. It is an early start as we have a long day ahead, the aim is to climb Iliathac. At 8 am we leave base camp and head east, back along the valley floor. One we leave the main path we contour around the bottom of Iliathac, slightly gaining height. It is rough going with thick heather underfoot, we slowly gain height traversing around the south-east side. Finally, we find the main track up and continue up to the ridge.
Once on the ridge, we take in the views have a breather and grab a snack. It is a spectacularly clear day, allowing us to see the striking landscape. Ilathac’s ridge is pretty impressive, it has many peaks connected by knife-edge ridges. It also takes at least 4 to 5 hours to comfortably walk from one end to the other. You are humbled at the base and amazed when on top it is a truly a magnificent place to experience. Each horizon line gives you differ offers another spectacular view. Every now and then you have to stop and take it all in.
After a long but thoroughly enjoyable walk and scramble, we make it to the end of the ridge. It is now time to find our way back to basecamp, picking our way down the steep sides. We find a steady route down and before long we are back at camp ready to tuck into some dinner. With tired legs and sore feet, we enjoy a cold but refreshing swim in the little stream near camp. Relaxing into a night of stargazing, and listening out for bellowing deer.
Another early start as we have another long day ahead of us, today’s mountain is Beinn Aligain. It is a cloudy start to the day, with patches of blue peaking through. We have breakfast and break camp with conversations about the days plan. Today we are dropping our big bags at the car park first. We then head up Beinn Aligain, taking the beating track from the south peak ending at the Pinnacles.
Beinn Aligain is another magnificent mountain, and provides another great day out. It is slightly less intimidating than Ilathac, but still has some exposed ridges to get the juices flowing. A steady walk up to the first peak, with the cloud settling and visibility low we practice navigation techniques. The tricky section make us take time to find the right route, but we find the next ridge and make away along. The cloud soon lifts and leaves us with more amazing views, this landscape is so rugged and vast you can easily get lost in views.
We make our way up to the second pitch, passing a striking gully which looks like the to mountains have been pulled apart. Its time to break for lunch on top of the second peak enjoying some cheese and chorizo thins. After lunch its time to tackle the impressive three pinnacles, these steep and narrow peaks are are truly unique. Once we have completed the pinnacles we make our way back down the Torridon along the fast-flowing river to car park. It is the end of the three day mini-expedition and we have earnt a shower and good meal.
On to the local Torridon youth hostel nestled at the bottom of Ilathac, one of the best YHA’s I have stayed. The night is spent at the Torridon Inn a 5 minute drive from hostel. We sit by the fire feast on a delicious meal enjoying the local ales and whisky, the perfect end to a few day wild camping.
On the fourth day we wake in our comfy hostel beds, and enjoy a cooked breakfast. It is a slower start to the day, with the storm finally arriving in the night. We decided in the pub to listen to forecast and give Beinn Eighe a miss and go canoeing on the Loch instead. Luckily we had our fleet canoes with us from finishing the Whisky explorer the week before. So we jump in the van and headed to the nearby coastal town of Shieldaig.
We spend about 3 hours exploring this incredible bay, full of wildlife and fishing boats. The storm brings in some nice winds and manage to get the sail up. This gives Arthur and Simon a taste for canoeing, so we spend the rest of the afternoon canoe coaching. Teaching them paddle strokes and trim and all things solo canoeing.
As the rain gets heavier we call it a day pack away the canoes and equipment and head down the coast. Our destination is the beautiful coastal town of Applecross. The journey is an adventure in itself, driving over the famous Bealach na Bà pass. It is a winding single track road through the mountains of the Applecross peninsula. It has the steepest ascent of any road climb in the UK, rising from sea level at Applecross to 626 metres (2,054 ft), and is the third-highest road in Scotland. Once over the pass, we head down to the stunning town of Applecross. To enjoy a meal at the Applecross Inn, my favourite restaurant in the UK. Our evening is then spent back at the Torridon youth hostel playing games into the night.
The next day is a relaxed affair travelling back to Inverness. We aim to get people back by 3 pm at the latest. This allows you to get connecting flights or trains home. Alternatively, you can spend one more night enjoying Inverness.