Is there a finer mountain in Scotland than An Teallach? I was speaking to the current RAF Lossiemouth Team Leader who was just back from a weekend on the North West and had enjoyed a great day on An Teallach as I have done so many times. To many it is most peoples top 5 it is a hill I love and I been privileged to climb it over 50 times. I have climbed the ridge several times in winter adding in a few of the Classic Gullies and what an adventure this mountain is. I have also added it to the Fisherfield 5/6 Munros in one huge summers day, it is a place I love and always try to visit. Many just grab the Munros on the ridge as it can be so wild looking but can be a great adventure with so many ways to go. This mountain has so many tops plus the two Munros and many secrets hidden in the big Corries, it is a mountain to explore and the best way to do it is along summer day and take in all the Munro tops as well. If you go to these tops then views of the incredible Fisherfield wilderness and these great wild hills are a place to stop and savour. I always advise to when you climb An Teallach climb all the ridges and tops and then you will appreciate this mountain fully.
I love the area so well it is famous for the Goats that you may meet and smell before you see them on the ridge as they come wandering by. They make you feel so insecure of your abilty to climb especially if you meet them on the ridge on a ledge. They also hang about by the main road and be careful as you drive to hill, they may be about in a big group.
It is also the gateway to the great wilderness and of course the famous Mountain Bothy at Shenaval a place to spend a night after a great day out. It has also been the place of many call -outs for Mountain Rescue and in the early days a remote area where locals and keepers were the first port of call for those who had an accident. These were the days before mobile phones and helicopters and many incidents involved man power only to recover a casualty. The RAF Kinloss Team (now no longer with us) was on many of the early incidents. Looking at the effort involved in a accident recovery below this is a serious place if you have an accident.
Yet these are great hills and when fit and moving well a place of unrivalled wildness. I love the shapes of the great Corries, the huge deep clefts,the colours of the sandstone sculptured cliffs and the shapes of the rock as it is weathered by time. Add to that the West Coast light and we have a mountaineers heaven.
The hidden Corries are wonderful and all sides of the mountain have huge Corries and ridges away from the crowds that offer incredible ridges on to the summits. When I was ill a few years ago as I was slowly recovering I wandered into these places and was as always in awe of the cliffs and the grandeur of thees wild places. It was so refreshing to be in such a place and just to look at wonderful Corries was worth the slog from the road. The long walk in was rewarded by the views and peace of the Corrie and then always tempting you onto the ridge even when not firing on all cylinders it was a must to go higher.
This is a real mountain: An Teallach is a complex mountain massif, with ten distinct summits over 3,000 feet (914.4 m). From 1891 to 1981, only the highest of these, Bidean a’ Ghlas Thuill, had the status of a Munro – a separate mountain over 3,000 feet. In 1981 the SMC granted Munro status to Sgùrr Fiona, in recognition of its considerable topographic prominence (150 m) and distinct nature.] The complete list of Munros and Tops (subsidiary summits appearing on Munros is now as follows:]
- Bidean a’ Ghlas Thuill 1062 m (3484 ft)
- Glas Mheall Mòr 979 m (3212 ft)
- Glas Mheall Liath 960 m (3150 ft)
- Sgùrr Fiona 1060 m (3478 ft)
- Corrag Bhuidhe 1040 m (3412 ft)
- Lord Berkeley’s Seat 1030 m (3379 ft)
- Sgurr Creag an Eich 1017 m (3337 ft)
- Stob Cadha Gobhlach 960 m (3150 ft)
- Sàil Liath 954 m (3130 ft)
- Corrag Bhuidhe Buttress 945 m (3100 ft) – deleted from Munro’s Tables in 1997
- Climb all these tops and tell me how incredible this mountain is. The views will be spectacular as will the scenery of this wild place. Get to summit in the summer and if lucky watch the sunset set over the hills.
In the RAF Mountain Team they nowadays we wear a helmet when scrambling and I think it is a good idea as you never know what can fall on you from above. An Teallach at times can be an especially on a busy a mountain which in winter can become a huge expedition under heavy snow. Never take this mountain lightly is can be a serious proposition and the navigation can be tricky and if you get it wrong at the least you may have a long walk out.
The pinnacles are great fun and the sandstone so rounded at times and weathered invites you to take care, especially when as it can be have the sandy gravel on the ledges. Always take care with your feet and test the holds, this is a mountain enviroement. The exposure will keep you aware but newer walkers may find this intimidating so it is well worth while using the easier parts of the ridge to gain experience and familiarity with the rock and terrain.
The hard parts on the ridge can be avoided as there are paths that cut below the ridge but again these can be tricky and care is needed. As always when descending take your time and a short rope may be handy for those who need a bit of confidence.
It is hard to believe that in my youth I would run along this ridge not nowadays. It was always a great place to teach the newer team member’s some basic rope skills at times and get used to moving together especially on a wild day in the rain and wind.
An Teallach – Toll a Choire Lochan
No partner ,
A bony day, head for the North West.
It is best.
Cross the river,
No path, pick a line up quartzite slabs.
Blue skies, no wind, frozen ground.
In the Glen that few visit.
All rushing for a summit or a route.
Now sandstone slabs.
Pebbled and glaciated, the odd cairn.
Views of snow covered cliffs, frozen loch,
No words for this beauty.
Toll an Lochain.
2013 April Heavy Whalley