Looking to Cul Mor from Cul Beag

Cul Beag and Cul Mor

Hillwalking route to up Cul Beag and Cul Mor from Loch Lurgainn

A rough hillwalking from Loch Lurgainn exploring the lochans of Inverpolly and Drumrunie forests on route up to Cul Beag to Cul Mor.

Route outline


Cul Mor, 

Cul Beag

Ascent 1650m (5410ft)
Distance 16km (10m)
Time 6:25hr
Start/finish Loch Lurgainn
Grid Ref : NC127089
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easy hard
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ok fab

A few miles north of Ullapool and Coigach, rugged Cul Beag and Cul Mor sit above the lochan pitted lands of Inverpolly and Drumrunie forests.

Instead of bagging these peaks separately, this route combines them into one demanding hillwalking day, where elusive gems that would normally remain hidden, such as delightful woodland and sparkling beaches, can be discovered.

Although fine paths access the area, much of the terrain between the two Corbetts is rough and pathless.

Route map

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Route description

1. Getting to Loch Lurgainn

Cul Beag above Loch Lurgainn

Cul Beag above Loch Lurgainn

North of Ullapool, the A835 continues north-east through Coigach to Ledmore Junction. Around halfway between Ullapool and Ledmore Junction are a couple houses that make Drumrunie, immediately south of which a narrow unclassified road heads westwards towards Achiltibuie.

Turning onto this road, head for around 3km to Loch Lurgainn and then a further 2km above its eastern shore to just before the road turns westwards, where you should be able to see a path heading uphill on your right (east) - there was a sign here on my last visit warning of fire risk. If you've reached the cottage of Linneraineach, then you've gone too far !

Parking is a bit tricky - there are a couple of spaces close by - but no parking is permitted in passing places.

2. Cul Beag

Heading up Cul Beag

Heading up Cul Beag

From the roadside, find the start of the stalker's path heading through some gorse bushes and uphill aiming for some tall old Scots Pine trees.

Follow this path around and behind the trees and continue to its highest point , around 100m above the roadside and close to Lochan Fhionnlaidh.

Leave the path and head east aiming across some green lines in the otherwise brown heather-clad hillside.

As the incline steepens, a faint path forms, which wynds its way up to a small dip in Cul Beag's northern spur at around c500m.

Upon reaching the dip, turn south and follow a path up loose gravel to Cul Beag's grass covered summit dome with a small cairn marking the top. There are some precipitous drops to the west of the summit and superb views over Stac Pollaidh and Ben More Coigach.

On Cul Beag's summit, looking to Ben More Coigach

On Cul Beag's summit, looking to Ben More Coigach

If you simply wanted to hike up Cul Beag, then it's an about turn to re-trace your steps up. This would make for an ascent of 700m over a distance of 5km, estimated to take around 2:25hr.

On Cul Beag's summit, looking to Ben More Coigach

On Cul Beag's summit, looking to Ben More Coigach

3. Lochan Dearg a' Chuil Mhoir

Lochan Dearg a' Chuil Mhoir

Lochan Dearg a' Chuil Mhoir

Return to the dip on Cul Beag's northern spur, then turn north-east and begin to descend downhill into Gleann Laoigh. The drop is fairly steep and pathless, though is fairly straightforward keeping in the main to grassy lines cutting through thick heather.

Once in Gleann Laoigh, aim for the outflow of Lochan Dearg , then cross it (I'm not sure what this would be like in spate, though I would guess possibly uncrossable) and then climb up the steep hillside ahead on grass and through a few ferns, aiming northwards and keeping to the right of some crags. There's a climb of around 200m before Lochan Dearg a'Chuil Mhoir comes into view, upon when turn north-east and aim for eastern end of this lochan.

Lochan Dearg a'Chuil Mhoir is central to a wonderful 'lost valley' and has a soft sandy beach with intriguing views over to Stac Pollaidh.

4. Cul Mor

Heading up to Creag nan Calman

Heading up to Creag nan Calman

After spending some time taking in the beauty of Lochan Dearg a' Chuil Mhoir and its surroundings, leave it and follow the Allt Lochan Dearg a' Chuil Mhoir upstream. A faint path can be found picking a route through heather and grass, though it disappears quite quickly.

After around 1km from leaving Lochan Dearg a' Chuil Mhoir, and shortly after where the burn turns northwards, the start of a grassy bank on the left (west) can be see cutting a route though heather uphill. Follow the bank to around the 600m contour where a path can be picked up.

A visit to Creag nan Calman is worth the detour from the path - leave the path at 700m and climb up rougher terrain onto the grass-covered dome of this minor summit .

North of Creag nan Calman a drop on mixed terrain leads to a sandy bealach followed by a delightful climb up a gentle grass-covered slope onto a final bouldery section leading to Cul Mor's summit .

On Cul Mor's summit, looking to Suilven and Canisp

On Cul Mor's summit, looking to Suilven and Canisp

Views from Cul Mor's summit trig point are outstanding and vast !

On Cul Mor's summit, looking to Suilven and Canisp

On Cul Mor's summit, looking to Suilven and Canisp

5. Return

Creag nan Calman with Cul Beag beyond

Creag nan Calman with Cul Beag beyond

From Cul Mor's summit, return to the bealach between it and Creag nan Calman. From the bealach, instead of heading back up Creag, take a path heading south-east - this path is the continuation of the path left at around 700m , so follow it downhill, then re-trace your footsteps back to Lochan Dearg a' Chuil Mhoir .

Return to Glenn Laoigh and cross the Allt Gleann Laoigh slightly downstream from earlier , where you should be able to find some vague ATV tracks to follow. Aiming north-west, the ATV tracks become faint and as they do, simply aim west over heather between some rocky bluffs to meet with the southern tip of Loch an Doire Dhuibh .

Heading back to Gleann Laoigh

Heading back to Gleann Laoigh

Pick up an old worn path, cross a burn (footbridge) and meet with some delightful woodland. Follow the old path above the woodland as it gradually turns south-west, making its way to Lochan Fhionnlaidh from where you can re-trace your steps back to the roadside.

Heading back to Gleann Laoigh

Heading back to Gleann Laoigh

Route profile »

Maps and GPX downloads »

Recommended map :

Harvey Mountain Map,
GPX file(s) :
Download GPX
of route
Always carry a decent compass.

Information on maps and GPX files is on this page.

Weather forecasts »

Alternative and nearby routes »

Cul Mor from Knockan Crag

A short hillwalking route in Sutherland heading from Knockan Crag and following a fine stalkers path most of the way to Cul Mor.

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Stac Pollaidh from Loch Lurgainn

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Canisp from Loch Awe

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