Scrambling the Big Three Ridges

By 30th September 2020 October 22nd, 2020 Scrambling, Summer

Introduction

What is meant by scrambling the ‘big three’ ridges? Well, the most serious, technically difficult and complex mountain ridge in the UK to traverse end-to-end is without doubt the Black Cuillin on Skye. Given that it is located on the Isle of Skye, it is not on mainland Great Britain. However, there are a further three mountain ridges that may not be quite so demanding but are no less worthy of attention. These are located on mainland GB and are An Teallach in Wester Ross; Liathach in Torridon; and the Aonach Eagach in Glencoe. These are the ‘big three’ mainland ridges and on this trip we traverse all three of them in four days.

Booking and Prices

If you’d like to know more about scrambling the ‘big three’ ridges of An Teallach, Liathach and the Aonach Eagach, then see our main page for more details and prices. When you are ready, then get in touch to make an enquiry or a booking.

We also run scrambling courses elsewhere in Scotland as well as in the Lake District and in Snowdonia.

Scrambling the Big Three Ridges – Overview

The four day trip to scramble the ‘big three’ ridges starts in Inverness on ‘Day 0’ of four. We drive over to Dundonnell, just south of Ullapool ready to start the following day. Day 1 is the longest of all the days, and includes the very long traverse of An Teallach, followed by an hour’s drive south to Kinlochewe in Torridon. On Day 2 we traverse our second ridge, Liathach and return for a second night in Kinlochewe.

The third day, Day 3 is something of a rest day, as we travel south on a car  journey of about three-and-a-half hours, punctuated with breaks and sightseeing stops along the west coast. At the end of the day we reach Glencoe, and prepare ourselves for Day 4. The final day, Day 4, is the traverse of the Aonach Eagach ridge after which we end up in the Clachaig Inn to celebrate the whole achievement.

Scrambling the Big Three Ridges – An Teallach

The first of the ‘big three’ ridges to scramble is An Teallach. Scrambling An Teallach is a big day, covering over 16km with 1400m of ascent, so you can expect it to take in the region of 10 hours. The traverse of the Corrag Bhuidhe Pinnacles is Grade 3 scrambling. One of the highlights of the An Teallach traverse is Lord Berkeley’s Seat. This rocky pinnacle has a vertical to overhung face, and the very brave can sit on its edge dangling their feet over the vertiginous drop. For the Munroists, this traverse will tick off two more from the list – Sgurr Fiona and Bidein a’Ghlas Thuill.

Scrambling the Big Three Ridges – Liathach

Liathach is one of Torridon’s giants. Layers and layers of ancient Torridonian sandstone have created huge bulky mountains which seemingly rise up out of the surrounding bogs. The mountains here, including Liathach, are sometimes likened to fortresses with impregnable walls. Or, they are described as sleeping dinosaurs lying on the surface of the bogs around them. Either way, they are impressive mountains. Scrambling Liathach entails a 12km walk with 1300m of ascent. Like the others in this trip, there is a highlight of having to cross some pinnacles. These ones are the Am Fasarinen pinnacles, involving Grade 2 scrambling. The whole traverse is likely to take 8-9 hours and you will have completed another two Munros – Spidean a’Choire Leith and Mullach an Rathain.

A view of the Torridon mountains, including Liathach - one of the big three ridges” width=

Scrambling the Big Three Ridges – Aonach Eagach

The final one of our ‘big three’ ridges to scramble is the Aonach Eagach. The ‘notched ridge’ forms the skyline on the north side of the Glencoe valley. The shortest of our three days, this is 10km long with just 1150m of ascent, taking around 6-7 hours. Once again, the highlight is a section of pinnacles and overall the scrambling is classed as Grade 2. You will have ticked off a further two Munros – Meall Dearg and Sgorr nam Fiannaidh.

Many mountain walkers/hikers or scramblers will have these three ridges on their ‘to do’ list for many years. But on this trip we will do all three ‘big ridges’ in just four days. It’s a fantastic trip, all the more rewarding or doing them back to back.