Cruach Choireadail and Corra-bheinn (Isle of Mull)

by backpackingbongos

Ok now that is not the most snappy of post titles but it does do what it says on the tin.  Anyhow I was originally going to call it ‘Cruach Choireadail, Beinn a’ Mheadhain, Corra-bheinn and Cruachan Dearg from Teanga bridge’ but you may have nodded off before you even got started.  I had spent another rather peaceful evening and night in the Bongo even though the main road had moments of very heavy traffic.  There seemed to be a pattern which involved a couple of hours of pretty much nothing then all of a sudden there would be a convoy of about 50 vehicles stuck behind a caravan.  I have a funny feeling that these bottle necks were the result of a ferry docking and then everyone finding to their dismay that a caravan got off the ferry before them.  Anyway I revelled in the fine sunny weather which extends pretty much into the middle of the night.  I even heated up some water out of the river and got myself smelling a bit fresher.  As usual the rather attractive bit of grass I had parked next to was a tick metropolis, but being in the van meant that I did not have to commune with them.  They really do like hanging out together, some areas have none whilst others are infested.  What you can count on is the fact that they usually like that cropped nice tent sized piece of grass that you fancy erecting you tent on.  The one that probably had some tick infested deer having dinner a little while before.  This is one of the main reasons why I have always favoured tents over tarps and sometimes a campervan over a tent.

Anyway this is the last of the Mull days out, I need to get a bit quicker on the write ups.

8.4 miles with 1,180 metres ascent

I have to admit at being a little bit disappointed at finding out that this walk was less than 8.5 miles as it really was a tough day out.  I spent a fair few days feeling a little tender and it goes to show that you should count the contours after cobbling together a mountain route.

It was hot already when I set off up the main road through Glen More, although this main road was single track.  Somewhere between the Allt Ghillecaluim and Uisgeacha Geala I left the security of the road, climbed a steep bank and hopped over a rusty fence.  Already Ben More was dominating the view and would only appear bigger throughout the day.

All that I can say is that this section was steep and very rugged in terms of vegetation.  After reaching the 150 metre contour I can remember thinking to myself I had climbed a considerable height until the illusion was squashed when I checked the altimeter on my watch.  The view opened up to Ben Buie which I had failed to climb on my first day on Mull.

The 300 metre contour brought an easing of the unrelenting steepness and I was on course for the stream at a pleasant little waterfall.  It now felt really hot and I sat at the top of it, filling up my water and wetting my cap in the cold clear water.

With some altitude under my belt the climb to the summit of Cruach Choireadail was not too bad and the vegetation was now composed of short rough grass.  For a ‘small’ mountain the views from the summit cairn were pretty extensive.  Ben More dominated much of it but there was a great view down the entire length of Loch Scridain and the Ross of Mull.

My next aim was for the pass of Mam Choireadail, contouring and bypassing Cruachan Beag.

Not exactly a huge drop but enough of a descent to get the leg muscles working.  The climb to the summit of Beinn a’ Mheadhain was on easy grass and the small cairn gave more big views, pretty much the same as from the last summit but with a slightly different perspective.  I was not even at the magic 2000ft but I definitely felt like I was on the summit of a mountain.  Just below the summit cairn there was nice grassy space against a blocky boulder where I wedged myself in to eat lunch.  I decided that I should move on when my eyelids started to get heavy!

As I was leaving the summit I noticed a figure approaching from the distance, for me this sort of spoiled the feeling of wildness and isolation!  I started the descent towards Mam Bhreapadail and really started to regret not counting the contours whilst planning this walk.  The pass lays at 390 metres and the mountain ahead rises to 704 metres, a pretty big descent and re-ascent!

At the bottom of the pass the slopes of Corra-Bheinn appeared even steeper and I headed for a ‘nose’ like ridge that sticks out of the main slope.  The climb however was worth it and leads to a pleasant ridge where Ben More is framed perfectly between the twin peaks.

The summit of Cruachan Dearg is a perfect cone and the approach from Corra-bheinn makes it appear steeper than it actually is, from here the view across to Ben More is breathtaking and you can appreciate what a beast of a mountain it really is.  It’s just a shame that the weather was not as good when I climbed it a few days previously.

As I dropped height down to Carn Cul Righ Albainn a gusty wind appeared out of nowhere and I had to remove my cap to prevent it being blown off my head.  A herd of red deer were watching me nervously from a distance before suddenly deciding that I was simply too dangerous and legging it off into the distance.  At the col a feint path continued in the same direction heading for the summit of A’Chioch, although I could not work out how it would ascend its steep summit cone.  I instead turned left at the large cairn and started the descent into the valley of Allt Teanga Brideig getting one final glance up at the summit I had just descended off.

I was struck whilst descending just how green the grass was, I am not sure what word describes a green that green and this photo really does not do it justice.  The colour was absolutely stunning, a colour I have never before witnessed whilst out in the British hills.

The path soon brought me out into the wide Glen More with a lovely late afternoon view up the valley.  I could see the Bongo not that far below, I was tired but at the same time wanted to drag out the time I had in the mountains.  Today was my last day on Mull and I would be sad to be heading off onto the mainland and the long drive home.  There was still much more fine walking to be done on the Island and I had only just scratched the surface.

That evening whilst at the campsite at Craignure I was treated by one of the finest sunsets that I have seen outside of India, the horizon was on fire.  What a fine way to remember an outstanding week on Mull.

The following morning whilst queuing for the Calmac ferry back to the mainland a member of staff let me know that the ferry had blown up and all reservations had been cancelled.  The replacement was much much smaller and it would be first come first served.


17 Comments to “Cruach Choireadail and Corra-bheinn (Isle of Mull)”

  1. Another fine route, James. Equipped as usual with some great pictures. Great views of Ben More and good that you actually got to see it after your earlier climb. That grass really is a crazy shade of green, the kind of colour you usually only see after accidentally eating ergot.

    After another long day in the saddle, it’s good to read about someone else’s exertions! Much as I really am loving all the jungle-biking down south, your posts are giving me a hankering to get back to the Western Isles with my backpack on and getting out amongst it all again.

    • I have to say that I am looking forward to reading about your travels around the western Isles Pete. That grass really was green, the sort of green that if it was paint would not sell very well.

  2. It sees such a wonderful place to walk. Green and pleasant indeed. Take that Scarp and go back James and do a mini coast to coast. Great photos and like you say the camera cant do the landscape justice.

  3. One of my favourite places on earth, I love Mull! Really want to explore its hilly south eastern corner as I’ve spent so much time on its west and north west coast in the past. I know what you mean about those sudden crazy traffic jams when everyone rushes of the ferry or when there is one about to go, was talking about that with someone last week. Read someone saying how bizarre it is that Craignure is dead until a ferry arrives or is about to leave and then its suddenly a mass of noise then an hour later its all quiet again.

  4. Martin there is so much scope to do a coast to coast on Mull. Just can’t wait for the Scarp to arrive, hopefully not much longer now.

    Cheers Graham the sunet was magical.

    Jamie the south east around Lochbuie is well worth a visit. Rugged hills and coastline and no one around. I really fancy exploring the Ardmeanach area where the fossil tree is, looks amazing. Maybe a good place for a 2 day backpack? Just a shame that calmac charges so much for the ferry.

  5. James, Martin, What’s a Scarp?

  6. Excellent. These reports brought back good memories of trips to Mull, and of the green paint that people were using on their lawns in the drought years of the early ’80’s.

  7. Mouthwatering!. A definite contender for expanding to more islands after Arran, it looks like just our kind of place.

    “a member of staff let me know that the ferry had blown up”

    • Geoff I highly recommend a visit to mull for a backpack. Great coastline and mountains with few people once u leave the touristy bit behind.

      Go to Jura first though, even more stunning. Direct passenger boat from mainland till the end of summer.

      The staff members words were exactly that, he then mentioned it was the engine that blew up, luckily not the whole boat!

  8. Have to put a word in at this point for the high speed ferry to Jura from Tayvalich. 12 seater rib with 4 point harness belts and it takes bikes and goes like a rocket. Worth every penny what is a quite expensive ticket. I have used it twice this year – fantastic

  9. James – that would be seventeen pounds and fifty pence each way. But again I have to say that it is fantastic. First time I used it for a cycle loop that went to Jura, over Islay to the mainland and then back to Tayvalich along the coast at Kilberry. The second time I took my in-laws to the distillery for a dram and a kelly kettle tea on the beach.

  10. That’s the good thing about islands, you can get a great view from most of the hills, due to the not being too many in the near vicinity!

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