On Conival looking to Ben More Assynt

Assynt Munros from Glen Cassley

Hillwalking route up Ben More Assynt and Conival from Glen Cassley

Most hillwalkers will head up Ben More Assynt and Conival from Inchnadamph, but this fine alternative approach from quiet Glen Cassley shows another side to these mountains.

Route outline


Ben More Assynt, 


Walk ascent 660m (2160ft)
         distance 8km (5m)
         time 3:00hr
Bike ascent 375m (1230ft)
         distance 18km (11m)
         time 1:20hr
Start/finish Duchally Lodge
Grid Ref : NC389167
easy hard
easy hard
easy hard
ok fab

This is a quiet approach to aim up Ben More Assynt and Conival from the east through Glen Cassley. Decent estate and hydro tracks enable a bike to be used to get within around 2km of Ben More Assynt's summit. Alternatively a shorter more direct route can be done on foot for some of the approach, but expect ground to be a bit soggy !

The OS Explorer map covers this route, but if intending to use OS Landranger maps, then map 15 and map 16 will be needed as the route crosses these maps. Neither of Harvey's Mountain map or Harvey's Superwalker map detail the area needed for this approach.

Route map

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Route description

1. Getting to Glen Cassley

End of public road in Glen Cassley

End of public road in Glen Cassley

On the A837, 20km north-west of Bonar Bridge and 9km east of Oykel Bridge, there is a narrow road heading north-west up Glen Cassley. This is a very quiet glen, perhaps a bit isolated, but there are some interesting bits, including the Cassley Falls and a fair amount of Scots Pine woodland. Drive up this road, past the Achness Hotel, to its end near Duchally Lodge. There is parking for a couple of cars.

2. Initial approach on foot

Bridge over River Cassley, Ben More assynt in distance

Bridge over River Cassley, Ben More assynt in distance

So you've decided to do the entire route on foot ! From the end of the public road, start by heading south down a path through grass and cross the River Cassley via a suspension footbridge .

Once over the other side of the River Cassley, head north-west on some faint ATV tracks over rough ground and bog. The remains of a rough track are picked up and followed for around 3km. The track can be pretty wet going, as it passes between forestry and the River Cassley. The track turns uphill to meet with the better hydro track and pipe .

Turn left (south-west) for 200m to come to a junction in the track .

3. Initial approach by bike

Track alongside pipe above River Cassley

Track alongside pipe above River Cassley

A longer, drier and ultimately quicker approach can be made by bike ! From the end of the public road, heads through the gate towards Duchally Lodge. A large hut is met, immediately behind which, turn left, drop slightly and cycle around Duchally Lodge and along a fine estate track.

A lovely cycle with a few ups and downs of around 4km leads through upper Glen Cassley to a bridge over the River Cassley, just downstream from a dam and small power station.

Cross the bridge, cycle a short steep twisty section uphill on a slightly rougher track to meet up with a hydro pipe. Follow the pipe and track southwards for around 1.5km to pass the top of the track used by for the initial approach on foot and come to a junction in the track .

4. Ben More Assynt

Nearing Ben More Assynt's summit, looking north

Nearing Ben More Assynt's summit, looking north

Leave the main track at the turning circle and head over the pipe using a metal grating. Continue west on another, yet rougher track for around 3km.

The track comes to a large turning circle and if you've cycled, this is probably the best place to leave your bike. A well defined track heads right (north), but alas this isn't going in the direction of Ben More Assynt. Instead take a rougher and narrower track aiming north-west uphill ahead.

This track gradually becomes fainter and after around 500m completely disappears from where it is onto pathless, grass-covered and tussocky ground. Continue north-west, cross the Alltan Aonghais where appropriate to reach the northern side of Coire Reidh. Grassy ground for a fair distance gradually gives way to stoney ground further up, which in turn is replaced by the bouldery ground on the final 1km and 200m of ascent to Ben More Assynt's summit .

There are two cairns on the summit crest of Ben More Assynt, with the northerly one sitting above an easy scramble indicating the highest point.

5. Conival

On Conival looking back to Ben More Assynt, Ben Klibreck beyond

On Conival looking back to Ben More Assynt, Ben Klibreck beyond

From the summit of Ben More Assynt, aim due west, following the crest of the ridge connecting the two Munro summits. Although it's only around 1.5km between the summits of Ben More Assynt and Conival, most of the ridge is covered in scree and boulderfield. Apart from one section of slab which falls to the north (and which needs a little care but is avoidable by going under) and a bit of rock hopping for the final pull up onto Conival, there are no difficulties to be encountered on the way.

A large cairn sits on Conival's summit overlooking drops to the south-west and from where superb views over to Quinag and the Outer Hebrides can be savoured.

6. Return

Returning down the track to Glen Cassley

Returning down the track to Glen Cassley

The return is a case of about turning and retracing your steps. The view walking back along the crests bewteen the Munro is quite amazing with Ben More Assynt's southern ridge dominating the view ahead.

Upon reaching Ben More Assynt's summit, an option would be to head down the southern ridge, over the 'bad step' and up to the southern top, from where a descent could be made eastwards to return to the estate tracks - one of these days I'll get around to this !

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Alternative and nearby routes »

Assynt Munros from Inchnadamph

Ben More Assynt and Conival are the highest mountains in rugged Assynt in the north-west of Scotland. This route heads in from Inchnadamph to the west with the option to extend over the nearby Corbett of Breabag.

Peaks : 2 Munros and option of 1 Corbett

Ascent : 1190m (3900ft)
Distance : 16km (10m)
Time : 6hr

Seana Bhraigh from Corriemulzie

Drive down a forestry track, cycle along a quiet glen and hike up grass and heather clad slopes - this is the easiest route up Seana Bhraigh !

Peaks : 1 Munro

Ascent : 930m (3050ft)
Distance : 27km (17m)
Time : 4:30hr

Beinn Leoid and neighbours from Loch Merkland

Heading in from the roadside by the forestry plantations just west of Loch Merkland, this route takes advantage of fine stalker's paths to bag Beinn Leoid and its neighbouring Grahams Meallan a' Chuail and Meall an Fheur Loch

Peaks : 1 Corbett, 2 Grahams

Ascent : 1175m (3850ft)
Distance : 17km (11m)
Time : 6:10hr

Breabag and the Bone Caves

A hike of two halfs - fine paths on lower ground to the 'bone caves', followed by pathless grass and heather covered terrain to Breabag's summit crest.

Peaks : 1 Corbett

Ascent : 700m (2300ft)
Distance : 10km (6m)
Time : 3:40hr


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