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Loch Lochy Munros and a Corbett, Ben Tee

Written by Fiona

March 22 2023

The Loch Lochy Munros, Sròn a’ Choire Ghairbh and Meall na Teanga, from Kilfinnan near Spean Bridge, are two of the more popular summits in the list of 282 Scottish mountains with a summit of more than 3000ft (914m). They are easily accessed from the Great Glen Way and while the ascents are steep, they are not too long. To provide a longer and more challenging outing, my friend Cath and I added the Corbett, Ben Tee.

While the forecast was a bit unpredictable, we were fortunate with mostly clear views, no rain and very little wind. The temperature was fairly mild for March, although we did feel the chill of a north-westerly breeze.

Cath is training for the Dragon’s Back Race later this year and she is mainly in pursuit of elevation gain. Her target for the day was 1500m and we easily passed this with an overall total of 1635m.

Summit of Munro one.

Two Loch Lochy Munros

Parking close to Kilfinnan Farm, at the end of a single-track tarmac road, Cath and I set out on a track south, along the shore of Loch Lochy. The first part of our adventure followed the undulating Great Glen Way.

Cath’s aim is to run the flatter sections and downhills, while walking fast at the uphills. This suits me perfectly and it is a great way to complete longer mountain routes because it allows me to move fast but without becoming too energy depleted.

At this run-hike pace, it’s fairly easy to take on food without digestive upsets. I confess Cath is a lot better at this than me and while she ate her way through filled rolls, crisps etc, I survived on snack and energy bars. I need to be better at eating proper food on these sorts of outings.

Cath eating while on the run.

After about 3km, a wooden sign pointed our way off the Great Glen Way and straight uphill. At first, the route took us through forestry, before we then emerged on to open hillside. Our aim was a bealach between Sròn a’ Choire Ghairbh and Meall na Teanga.

We followed a well-trodden path alongside a stream in a westerly direction. The bealach became clearer the higher we climbed, as did our first Munro, Meall na Teanga.

From the bealach, the gradient steepened and we had to negotiate large banks of snow. Mostly we could follow a steeply ascending path and as we pushed upwards at a brisk walking pace, we chatted about this and that and more this and that.

One of the great advantages of Munro bagging with a friend is the excellent opportunity for lots of chat.

The views from Meall na Teanga summit cairn at 917m (note, this is just above Munro height) were superb, taking in Ben Nevis and Loch Linnhe, as well as Loch Lochy far below. We took a few photos, ate a snack and then retraced the same route back to the bealach.

Looking across to the zig-zag path on Sròn a’ Choire Ghairbh,

As we descended, we looked across to the next mountain and we could see a fine zig-zagging path heading back upwards.

The wide zig-zags on the lower slope of Sròn a’ Choire Ghairbh helped to reduce the steepness for the first couple of hundred metres or so. The final 100m was more of a straight line upwards but still on an easy-to-see path.

Again, the views from the summit of Sròn a’ Choire Ghairbh at 937m were fantastic. We could see north-east along the Great Glen and out over the Knoydart mountains. I wish I knew the names of the mountains better because I have some Corbetts to bag in that area.

Summit of Sròn a’ Choire Ghairbh
Pointing out Ben Tee!

And on to Corbett Ben Tee

While the mountain Ben Tee was obvious as we looked to the north-east, the route was not well trodden. We caught glimpses of vague trods here and there, but for the next 5km or so, Cath and I needed to navigate off-path.

We discussed our chosen route and checked in with each other at intervals to be sure we were both happy with where we were going. At first, a wide ridge of soft mossy ground allowed us to run, before we met a more rocky terrain, which slowed us to a brisk walk again.

The steep sides of Ben Tee looked daunting from all angles but after checking the map and looking at the landscape, we made a joint decision on where we could descend the ridge before making the ascent of Ben Tee. Tracking further north towards a slightly gentler gradient gave us what we felt would be a safer climb.

It was still relentlessly steep and we made our own zig-zags through heathery ground cover and rocks to try to lessen the strain on our leg muscles.

From around 700m elevation, the gradient eased a bit and we headed easterly. The higher slopes of Ben Tee are very rocky, which meant Cath and I needed to pick our way carefully to the top.

At one point I heard a whoop from Cath as she noted her 1500m elevation gain.

The vista from Ben Tee was fantastic and we sat for a moment drinking it in. We could also look back with satisfaction at where we had been.

Ben Tee at 9034m is just 10m shy of a Munro.

The descent from Ben Tee found us on a well-trodden path again. The most popular way to summit Ben Tee is on an out-and-back path from Kilfinnan. But, goodness, this path is wet and boggy. We congratulated ourselves on choosing to bag the two Munros before this Corbett because it meant we did not suffer soaked and muddy feet until the final descent.

The last stretch of the circuit started to feel very long indeed, although the slope was mostly gentle. I had tired legs by this point and I was keen to eat the rest of a tea cake that I’d left in Cath’s car.

This is a great circuit of three mountains and in the fabulous landscape of the Scottish Highlands.

Total route: 21.35km and 1635m of ascent. Our moving time was just over four hours.

I have now reached half-way on my list of 222 Corbetts.

Corbetts bagged: 111

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