Ruadh-stac Beag and Meall a’ Ghiubhais

SITTING like twin portals to the delights of inner Torridon, two shapely Corbetts dominate the watershed between the Loch Maree basin and the otherworldly landscape that lies to the north of Beinn Eighe’s serrated ridgeline

A beautifully restored stalker’s pony path runs between the two hills, Ruadh-stac Beag (little red peak) and Meall a’ Ghiubhais (pine hill), offering easy access to both. While most of the guidebooks recommend out-and-back ascents of both hills from the high point of this path I’ve never been entirely happy with this route. While Meall a’Ghiubhais is a straightforward climb from the path, the steep screes and formidable northern crags of Ruadh-stac Beag makes a direct ascent a tricky prospect. It is better to climb Ruadh-stac Beag by its back door - from the high saddle that connects its south ridge with Spidean Coire nan Clach of Beinn Eighe.

From the upper reaches of Toll a’ Ghiubhais it is a straightforward climb to the summit saddle, just a matter of plodding up the steep slopes. Again, the views are outstanding. Island-dotted Loch Maree stretches into distant Loch Ewe and away to the west the far Hebrides ride the horizon as a dim outline. Closer at hand the shapely extravagance of Beinn Alligin, Beinn Dearg and Baosbheinn claim their reputation as pearls in this Torridonian crown.


Map: OS 1:50000 Landranger sheet 19 (Gairloch & Ullapool); Harveys 1:25,000 Superwalker, Torridon.

Distance: 11.5 miles/19km

Time: 6-8 hours

Start/Finish: SNH Visitor Centre at Aultroy on the A832 near Kinlochewe (GR: NH020630).

Transport: See separate panel.


Route: Follow trails behind Visitor Centre and about halfway round you’ll find an unsignposted (new) path leaving main tarmac trail in a W direction. Follow this path as it climbs, veers S and joins up with the old pony path that follows Allt Sguabaidh towards the NE ridge of Beinn Eighe. When you can see a deer fence on the skyline look for another path branching off L. Follow this path, through a gate, and continue up towards Beinn Eighe. Before the ridge begins to steepen leave path and cross scree fields in a W direction to enter narrow valley between Beinn Eighe’s NE ridge and Ruadh-stac Beag. From bealach at the top of this glen climb Ruadh-stac Beag by its rocky S ridge. Descend the same way, and follow the Allt Toll a’ Ghiubhais into the upper reaches of Toll a’ Ghiubhais from where it’s an easy climb to Meall a’ Ghiubhais, first N, to the foot of its summit slopes, then NW to the summit saddle. The SW top is the highest. Descend to the pony path and return to the start.

Note: Some OS maps show Meall a’Ghiubhais as Meall a’Ghiuthais, though there seems to be no justificatrion for this. For clarification, the peak is at NG976634.


Spotlight on Kinlochewe


Torridon Youth Hostel, Torridon by Achnasheen, IV22 2EZ; 01445 791284;

Kinlochewe Bunkhouse, Kinlochewe by Achnasheen, IV22 2PA;; 01445 760253

Cromasaig Guest House, Kinlochewe, IV22 2PE; 01445 760234;

Public Transport

Bus: A ‘dial-a-bus’ service is operated by Lochcarron Garage (01520 722205), connecting with the train from Inverness. The bus leaves Achnasheen at 12.25pm (Mon & Sat only). The local bus (operated by DMK Motors; 01520 722682) meets the train at Strathcarron at 12.30pm (Mon to Sat). Westerbus service 700 (Inverness-Gairloch) passes through Achnasheen and Kinlochewe (details from ). Lochcarron Garage also run a school bus to and from Gairloch.

Train: Take Scotrail’s Kyle of Lochalsh Line to either Achnasheen or Strathcarron and connect with the bus (see above).