My first Corbett was either The Merrick or Goatfell definitely aged about 5 . I did many more in my youth living in Ayrshire and so near Arran that was over 60 years ago. Over the years I became fascinated by the Munro’s and did not climb that many Corbetts so it’s taken over 60 plus years to get to my last one. Looking back I did many great Corbett’s on my mountaineering trips.
What is your favourite Corbetts ? Hear are some of mine.
As I said I rarely went out to climb just a Corbett then not being so wise tagging them onto a big Munro day or a rock climb and the odd winter Climb .
Here are some of my favourite Corbetts a few that I rock climbed on to the summit.
The Arran Corbett’s (Four of the Arran hills qualify as Corbetts – Scottish peaks over 2500 feet, but less than 3000 feet.)
Cir Mhor -799 metres ( Great Comb) Arran – is one of the most magnificent of the Corbetts. ( Walk Highlands) Rising at the very heart of the Arran hills, it forms a perfect rocky cone when seen from almost any direction. I remember seeing rock climbers on the huge Granite cliffs on my first trip to Arran.
I rarely walked up it but climbed it many times by the famous Sou Wester Slabs, South Ridge Direct and many other classics.I will never forget walking with my Dad aged about 8 talking to real climbers with ropes below Cir Mhor. I vowed to climb on these great cliffs and that was accomplished many times. A great day is all the Corbett’s on Arran in a day.
Many of my early Corbett’s were rock climbed on one of my first away from my home ground was on the Cobbler via a “mod route”near the South East Arête?
The Cobbler – This is one of the most easily accessible Corbetts from the Central Belt of Scotland, the Cobbler occupies a perfect spot on Loch Long, near Arrochar. Easily navigated, it’s one of the best walks in the country with a scramble to the summit. Also great rock climbs as a grand way to the summit. I have been so lucky to climb many of the routes climbing onto the ridge then to the summit.
Ben Aden 887 (hill of the face) – Knoydart
To me this is classed as one of the finest Corbetts in Scotland and one of the toughest to climb, remote and the mountain is steep and rocky on all sides. The nearest village is Inverie . I have climbed it from the bothy at Sourlies in summer and winter. It’s a real mountaineers mountain and can offer some great route finding. It is situated amongst some of the finest mountains in Scotland. Descent in bad weather or in winter can be tricky. I did this mountain on a few bothy trips.
An Ruadh – Stac 892 metres ( The red Conical hill) . What an area to wander in.
This Corbett is missed by many for the Munro’s and in many views is no way overshadowed by its higher Munro’s all grand hills . It makes up for the marginally lower height by being incredibly rocky. It was on a good day a classic outing with quartzite, and provides a memorable scrambly ascent. In winter it os not to be taken lightly.
Fuar Tholl – Cold Hole 907 metres
On the way you pass Fuar Tholl another classic. This is a mountain that I had on many adventures in winter in its Northern Corrie regularly meeting the late Martin Moran climbing or Guiding. On the way you pass the famous cliffs. This is a multi-faceted mountain of Torridonian sandstone. A few worthwhile summer routes have been recorded but it is in winter that the cliffs offer the best climbing on the Northern corrie. The normal approach by the wonderful stalkers path This has good views of the huge Mainnrichean Buttress.
Garbh Bheinn Ardgour (rough mountain)- 885
This hill like all the Ardgour Corbetts is another classic. Especially if you get the wee ferry over Loch Linnhe, near Fort William, Garbh Bheinn is a lesser-climbed Corbett but is well worth checking out for the stunning views throughout the ascent. Again there are great rock climbs to the summit. My first ascent of many was by The Great Ridge and Butterknife ( what a climb) classic as are all the Ardgour hills.
Beinn Lair 859 metres (Hill of the Mare) – is a mountain in the Northwest Highlands, Scotland. It lies in the Letterewe estate on the northeastern safe and egg hore of Loch Maree in Wester Ross. The mountain has two contrasting sides. I first climbed the Corbett by Wisdom Buttress At that time little was little known about this climb to us and we had an hard day especially route finding. It’s a long route and then as now not great in protection. I carried the rope “Big Al”and took minimum gear (as always I carried some extras) it was graded Very Difficult but it seemed med a lot harder it was pretty wet near the top and the route finding was serious. My extra gear as always came in handy at times. Al managed as always to get up the route, he was a big strong man and I kept him on the rough line. He was dressed in his very light red wind-suit he never felt the cold and we ticked the Corbett and ran of the hill to get warm. My wee Olympus camera got wet and I lost all the photos.
Foinaven – Ganu Mor ( White hill ( big wedge or head) 914 metres.
In the Far North is nearly a Munro by just a few metres short of being a Munro .m Foinaven in Sutherland has in fact got six separate summits connected by ridges. Reaching the top of all six is possible in a single day, though it’s not for the novice. There is also a grand scramble if you want onto the main ridge. Walking in this way by the track and the Loch shows the wonderful Corries at there best.
It was another Corbett never just Walked on but rock climbed often was a real adventure over many years involving a few late nights. There is a great long day if you add Arkle, Meall Horn.
Quinag ( Milk bucket or water stout)
Spidean Coinich 764 metres
Sail Garbh 808 metres
Sail Gorm – 776 metres.
Three Corbetts in one day !
This great hill has triple summits of Quinag provide a dramatic backdrop to nearby Loch Assynt, in Sutherland. It made up of three separate Corbetts – Spidean Coinich, Sail Gorm and Sail Gharbh, that make for an incredible day’s walking for experienced hikers. In winter it’s a cracker! Again with a few winter routes climbed on it.
Beinn Dearg Mor – 910 metres
Beinn Dearg Bheag – 820 metres
These classic hills are usually climbed as a pair, making one of the most spectacular and challenging Corbett outings; they are also extremely remote. As a day walk, the approach from Gruinard given above is extremely long but avoids any serious river crossings; the route can be amended by including the scramble over the north ridge of Beinn Dearg Beag if required.
The other main approach is via Shenavall bothy; this is shorter but involves a great deal more ascent and descent to reach the bothy. After fording both rivers this route then climbs very steeply up the lower slopes to reach the corrie south of the summit.
Another classic climbed a few times by the big Gully on winter exploration.
Off course there are the Corbett’s on the far Islands.
Corbett Askival – 812 metres (hill of the spear.)
Corbett Ainshval – 781 metres ( rocky ridge hill)
One of the best days in my opinion in Scotland. The journey over to Rum is superb a ferry is always the most wonderful way to travel. The views as you approach Rum are superb. The complete traverse offers some of the best scrambling in Scotland outside Skye. Add the views of the sea and Skye. The traverse of the 5 summits is a long day with a long walk in or out but so worth it.
Paps of Jura
Beinn Nan Oir – 785 metres ( hill of gold)
The steep, scree-girt cones of the wonderful Paps of Jura . They
Offer a challenging and memorable hill round, ranking amongst Scotland’s most distinctive groups of peaks. Beinn an Oir – the Mountain of Gold – is the highest but actually also the easiest to ascend. Look out for the Colby camp on the summit ?
Clisham 799 metres ( The rocky hill) An Cliseam) horseshoe.
The best way to climb Clisham is as stated by Walk Highlands. This was the way I climbed it one winter when I was a regular visitor to RAF Stornaway. I was there bi – monthly doing audits and checking prices for foodstuffs. I have climbed it over 20 times. The ridges were tricky in the winter snow.
The long approach to Clisham (An Cliseam in Gaelic and on OS maps) over the dramatic and rugged ridges of Mulla-Fo-Thuath and Mulla-Fo-Dheas is a Hebridean classic, with views to match. The route makes a full days’ hillwalking but is much more demanding than the standard. I have been so lucky to see St Kilda looking like a scene from a picture. What a privileged that is as was my visit last year spending an hour on the summit looking in awe. Despite forgetting the sandwiches !
The Corbetts & Other Scottish Hills was first published in 1990 as a companion volume to the Scottish Mountaineering Club’s comprehensive guide to The Munros. This new edition has been fully updated by both previous and new authors and is complemented throughout by new mapping and a large number of new photographs. The guidebook details routes up all 222 Corbetts (Scottish hills between 2,500 ft. and 3,000 ft.) and many other popular lower hills. Other hills include popular classics such as Criffel, Tinto, The Pentlands, The Eildons, The Ochils, Ben Venue, Mount Blair, Bennachie, Stac Pollaidh, Suilven and a wide range of hills throughout the islands, from Lewis to Arran. The book has been edited by Rob Milne and Hamish Brown.