An Teallach one of the finest mountains in Scotland ? Destitution Road.

Is there a finer mountain in Scotland than An Teallach? To see it’s jagged profile in the distance makes any mountaineer want to reach its summits. This to me is best seen from “Destitution Road” the A832 which has a sad history built during a time of famine.

During the 1840s there was great poverty in the Highlands. The failure of the potato crop in 1846 meant starvation for the people. The Central Board for the Destitute Highlands was set up and paid for various improvement projects. The ‘destitution roads’, such as this lonely road across the moor, were built by labourers in return for food. A day’s work involved eight hours of labour, six days a week. Oatmeal rations for the workers were set at 680g for men, 340g per woman and 230g per child.

The guide books tell you that 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 Sgurr Fiona

An Teallach

Thus was due to its topographic prominence (150 m) and distinct nature.] The complete list of Munros and Tops (subsidiary summits appearing on Munros is now as follows:]

An Teallach

• 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

.To many it is in 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.

To me many just grab the two Munros on the ridge how much do they miss as it can be so wild looking at the main ridge. It can be such a great adventure with so many ways to these summits.

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.

It is then you see the views of the Fisherfield wilderness and these great wild hills are always a place to stop and savour. You see the vastness of this area and despite the times we live in still so special.

I always advise to when you climb An Teallach climb all the ridges and tops and then you will appreciate this mountain fully. Climb it from the Corrie Hallie path then you see the mountain in its majesty.

2016 Aug – Goats An Teallach – Shane Roussel photo.

I love the area so well  it is famous for wild life especially 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 a great wilderness and of course the famous Mountain Bothy at Shenaval a place to spend a night after a great day out. An ascent from the bothy is another special way up.

Be safe but go and enjoy the hill once we are allowed.

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.

The Great Corries of An Teallach

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 these wild places. It was so refreshing to be in such a place and just to look at wonderful

My last Munro Top

That day these Corries was well worth the slog from the road. As an added bonus it was winter. I was exhausted at the time but to be alone in this vastness again.

• Climb all these tops and tell me how I’m 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 nowadays we wear a helmet when scrambling and I think it is a good idea as you never know what can happen.

1950’s The RAF Kinloss MRT troops on An Teallach

It can be an especially busy a mountain on a summer day 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 wonder of winter mountaineering – An Teallach incredible winter mountaineering .

The pinnacles are great fun and the sandstone so rounded at times and weathered takes care. This is especially true when as it can be have the sandy gravel on the ledges, take care with your feet and test the holds.

Great days on An Teallach

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.

Is this the mountain to rush ? I would save it for a good day it will be so worth it.

An Teallach at its finest.

The famous Climber Tom Patey carried out a massive call – out on his own. The story is of a huge fall on An Teallach and the survivors attempt to save them.

Some great ice

RAF Kinloss MRT 18-19/04/66

An Teallach

Two climbers killed on Sgurr Fiona. This incident was recently reconstructed and filmed for television. Hamish McIness film “Duel with An Teallach” Tom Patey was awarded a medal for his part. Well worth a watch lots of lessons from this sad event.

About heavywhalley.MBE

Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 37 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 3 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer and loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Articles, Friends, Mountain rescue, mountain safety, Mountaineering, People, Recomended books and Guides, Scottish winter climbing., SMC/SMT, Views Mountaineering, Well being, Wildlife. Bookmark the permalink.

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