Slioch

Rather a bit unusually, the weather forecast was relatively favourable for a narrow strip of land along the west coast of northern Scotland; narrow, but wide enough to promise dry conditions on Slioch, a Munro I’d been eyeing for quite a while. With a fellow hillwalker we started our adventure shortly before 9am at a cark park about half a mile off the main road to Kinlochewe. After passing through the gate we followed a path along the river Kinlochewe through ‘the bracken jungle’ – huge patches of fern, sometimes as tall as myself. The path was narrow most of the time, but relatively flat.

After about one hour later we reached the stream Abhainn an Fhasaigh, flowing at the bottom of a steep gorge. After a short stop, we crossed the gorge via a footbridge and started climbing initially gentle, but gradually steeper and steeper slopes of Slioch. It took about 1.5 hours to get to ‘the bowl’ – a plateau surrounded from three sides by steep ridges. We had to climb one of them, and my choice was the one to the west. It looked deceptively short and easy; it turned out to be nothing like that. It took us ages to climb the lower part of it through the heather, grass and slippery mud. At times it was surprisingly steep. Eventually we turned northward and climbed the upper part; that was a bit easier as the slope had a bit gentler angle, and it was drier underfoot with shorter vegetation. When we eventually reached the ridge, the view was breathtaking, and worth every drop of sweat!

From there we followed the ridge towards the highest point of the mountain, beckoning from the west. That part of the walk was very relaxing and pleasant, not strenuous in the slightest. The weather was excellent, with gentle breeze and the sun coming out more and more often. About 40 minutes later we reached the cairn at the summit of Slioch, and the view westward over Loch Maree was superb!

The way down was quite challenging along the path disappearing so often on the steep eroded slope; it was tiring mentally as well as physically. We were able to relax a bit when we reached the bottom of ‘the bowl’. The path there was relatively flat, though quite boggy at times. The descend towards Loch Maree was exhausting and took as longer than expected. We reached the footbridge with a sigh of relief. Soon after the rain started spitting; that spurred us to walk fast back to the car. At the end of the day it must be said: was a fantastic day out!