Maol Chean-dearg August 2007


Helen Rose Hill Diary


With only six Munros left to climb, I made a trip to Glencarron without knowing my ninety year old father had been taken into hospital. On that weekend I climbed Maol Chean-dearg just after a call to say my Father had died suddenly. Therefore, I dedicate this article to him. He did not have a love of the outdoors but I am sure he would appreciate my doing the climb to clear my head at such a time. None of my family is keen on the outdoors and walking and it is something I started fifteen years ago when I had time at weekends as an empty nester. My husband was a climber and I was used to a house full of books on the mountains and climbing equipment lying around. My Father would listen to my stories of the hills and often suggested I should turn these articles into a book and I may well do that one day.

Maol Chean-dearg means bald red head in Gaelic which is particularly apt for this mountain as it has a dome of rock and sandstone boulders. It is part of a range of three Munros to the north west of Glen Carron in a remote corner of the north west of Scotland. These are sometimes called the minor Toridons being overshadowed by their near neighbours of Liatach, Beinn Alligin and Beinn Eighe

The walk is from Coulags, near Glencarron, and the hill cannot be seen as it is hidden behind Meall nan Ceapairean. The route follows alongside the river on a very good track. This is deer stalking country so there is a good network of paths used for stalking and these benefit walkers. Fortunately, there is a bridge over the river and the path continues to Coire Fionnaraich bothy. This is a fine bothy where I stopped for a cup of coffee on the return journey. We continued to the famous Clach nan Con-fionn stone where the Celtic folk hero Fionn McCuill allegedly tethered his hunting dogs.

The path continues up to the coll and from there up an eroded path through rocks on scree finally reaching the summit dome. The going gets tougher here over boulders finally reaching the cairn. The dome is very similar to Ben Starav at Glen Etive, one of the finest mountains in Scotland although the boulder ascent is shorter on Maol Chean-dearg. The descent is by the approach route. The weather was good and the reward was clear views all around the mountains.


This article is dedicated to Dr John Rose 1917 to 2007.


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Coming attraction;  Sgurr na Ciche


Thanks to John Maclean for the photos