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Corbett bagging: Sgurr Gaorsaic

Written by Fiona

March 11 2024

The Kintail area of the Scottish Highlands has long been a favourite of mine – so it was with great expectations that I drove with my friend D to walk the Corbett Sgurr Gaorsaic. The 20km hike didn’t disappoint and apart from a bit of drizzle and cloud early on, we enjoyed ever-brightening conditions. throughout the day.

Choose your footwear to suit the terrain.

A long glen walk

The route starts at Morvich, a short drive off the A87 close to Loch Duich. We parked the car and then walked a little further along the minor road and on to a track leading to a few houses, before branching right on to a narrower path.

We enjoyed an excellent footpath for some 5km heading east along a fabulous glen. The route tracks high above the river and on the southern side of the glen.

To our right were the lower slopes of mighty Beinn Fhada, a Munro with a dramatic summit plateau and steep sides. I walked Beinn Fhada with Hubby G, as well as A’ Ghlas-bheinn, some 10 years ago but I struggled to remember the same glen walk.

D crossing a river.
Looking up at the bealach.

As D and I made out way gradually uphill through the glen, we chatted and enjoyed the superb views both behind us and ahead. We crossed numerous small burns, each streaming down the mountain and gazed at waterfalls in the fast-slowing river below. But despite all the water, the path remained largely dry.

We could see our next destination, a high bealach that we would need to ascend to a height of around 500m, before descending to walk along the shore of a large, picturesque loch.

The walk was so pleasant that it felt like no time at all before we were over the bealach and striding out along the loch shore.

View east from the bealach.

Climbing again to the Corbett summit

The shoreline was much more boggy than the glen path and we needed to walk around some sections of wetter ground. From the bealach to the base of the Corbett was another 2km and we lost around 120m in height.

Spotting a fence line heading almost directly up the Corbett in a north-north-easterly direction we left behind the trod and climbed on to much rougher terrain.

It wasn’t long before we were stomping uphill on a steep, snow-covered slope. There was 460m of elevation to gain and it felt like the summit at 839m was a very long time in coming.

The wind had also picked up and we were much less sheltered at the higher altitude. But still there were superb rewards with every growing views across the spectacular Highlands landscape.

The contrast of the lower slopes and higher snowline made for a stunning vista.

Eventually, after cresting over a number of high points, we could see a cairn ahead. Standing on the cairn, we checked a phone map and realised the the actual top was a little further north, where a few marker stones sat on a rocky outcrop at 839m elevation.

Summit area of the Corbett.

Descent of Sgurr Gaorsaic

The wind was cold and strong and we endeavoured to descend slightly further west to stay away from the worst of the icy blasts. It wasn’t really until we were back at the loch shore that we could find a spot out of the wind to stop for something to eat. By then I was feeling a bit hangry and the food helped a great deal.

Walking back along the loch shore, we looked up at the bealach, knowing we would need to ascend this again. The total ascent of the route is almost 1200m over a distance of 20km.

The walk back along the glen proved to be beautiful. The sun was shining and we were once again sheltered from the wind. We enjoyed superb views ahead and also down to pretty waterfalls and pools.

This proved to be one of my favourite Corbetts and in very enjoyable company.

A sunny view as we walked back along the glen.

Route: Strava and OS Maps

Corbetts bagged: 142

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