1980 – The “Torridon Trilogy” Beinn Eighe, Liathach and Beinn Alligin.

When you read of modern achievements like Tranters Round in 9 hours most of the days we did long ago do not seem relevant. Yet they were in my view. I have always loved Torridon the rock the nearness to the sea and the vastness of the area makes my heart still skip a beat. These big days are long gone but I am over the West often and see these majestic hills in all seasons. They change every visit with the wonderful light that is on the West hitting the buttress’s and sandstone pillars on the ridges. There are also huge Corrie’s on all the hills that are rarely ventured into they have so many routes in them some awaiting an ascent.

Just heading for the Black Carls on Beinn Eighe

Never one for doing things easy we tried the Trilogy in winter first getting called of descending Liathach as the light was failing for a call out on Cruachan . I will never forget that night drive to the Police Station and a few hours sleep in the cells. We tried it again with a visiting Hong Kong Civil Aid Team but again sadly came of after Liathach.

Torridon Hills from SMC District Guides North West Highlands.

I was posted to RAF Valley in North Wales and we arrived up for 10 days in Scotland to be split in Torridon and Fort William. It was a long drive up and I remember arriving in Scotland and the weather was magic. I had sowed the seeds of a big day and as Kinloss had not done the 3 in a day we went for it.

It was an early start we left from the old village hall at 0500 and we’re on the Beinn Eighe ridge by 0700. We raced along the Black Carls and onto the first Munro . Spidean Coire Clach 993 Metres. It was a warm day and I had my dog with me the views were stunning. It was ridge walking at its best a bit of scrambling on the Black Carls then magnificent ridge walking.

Beinn Eighe at its best. The Black Carls


Ruadh-stac Mor (1010m, Munro 120) is the Second Munro on the peak I knew the route well and we were soon out and heading back to descend into Coire Dubh Mor by the steep screes. In these days you could run down them. We hammered down it and had a drink at the burn and some food then headed up onto our next peak Liathach.

Beinn Eighe

It’s so steep from the Glen floor and through a huge Boulder field then onto the ridge and the first top. The dog was ahead picking a line as we weaved through the steep grass and buttresses. The route from Coire Dubh Mhor is hard work but you pass two munro tops on route. Steve Fallon writes this about Liathach “Liathach is considered by many mountaineers as one of the greatest mountains in Scotland. It is rivalled by only An Teallach and the Skye Cuillin. Liathach has two munros, Spidean a’ Choire Leith (1055m) and Mullach an Rathain (1023m). These are connected by an 8km ridge (crossing eight separate tops in total). The Am Fasarinen pinnacles is Liathach’s most identifiable features. It is a notorious section of scrambling, located approximately halfway along this ridgeline. A true classic, Liathach fully deserves its reputation as one of Scotland’s best mountains.” I agree with every word he says .

Liathach

From the last Munro we descended into the Glen. It was hard work no path and water was short. There was no time to hang around we followed the dog through the sandstone terraces he was in his element. There is a worry when you hit the path it’s so easy to descend to the car park. Yet Beinn Alligin and the Horn’s beckoned. From the main path and you start the horns it clears your mind and you gain extra strength engrossed in the scrambling.

Beinn Alligin

I love this mountain it’s a joy to be on the views you get looking back and West make it special. Despite the drop in Height from the corrie floor it’s a great day. That day I felt we could do anything and we pushed on a bit dehydrated but still going strong. From the last Munro Tom Na Gruagaich the descent is easy on a clear day and we romped down the hill. Rehydrating at the river and feeling so pleased. Teallach was ahead all day what a dog but even he felt tired at the end. The Land Rover was waiting for us and we were soon heading back to the bothy at Kinlochewe. We met a group on Alligin and they asked where we had been we said the “Torridon Trilogy” unashamedly and they did not believe us.

Over the next few days 3 other parties completed our day from Valley and we sent a card to the team at Kinloss – “Torridon Trilogy done it “. Others have added more hills to the day and run it in times that make you amazed. We took just under 12 hours including walking from Kinlochewe. We travelled light but had the Team radios with us. I think I wore Karrimor lightweight boots and carried 2 water bottles and food for me and the dog.

Dave Tomkins took the photos to remind us of a great day and the other two stars had a day to remember. The quote “The mountains are not a gymnasium for your ego” They were that day I have to say. What a day in winter a classic .

A month ago I struggled up Beinn Alligin with ongoing chest problems but it was a slow but wonderful day how things change but you still get the love of the mountains !

Summit of Beinn Alligin on a slow but great day .

I would love to hear there comments 40 years later?

Looking towards Beinn Eighe and Liathach. Photo D Tomkins.

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 when body slows, loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Articles, Books, Mountaineering, Munros, People, Recomended books and Guides, SMC/SMT, Views Mountaineering, Weather, Well being. Bookmark the permalink.

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