Bidean nam Bian

Sgurr na h-Ulaidh to Bidean nam Bian

Hillwalking route on Munros and Corbetts south of Glencoe

Starting from Glencoe, Sgurr na h-Ulaidh can be linked to Bidean nam Bian and Stob Coire Sgreamhach, taking in the Corbetts of Meall Lighiche and Beinn Maol Chaluim. A big and rough undertaking !

Route outline


Bidean nam Bian, 

Stob Coire Sgreamhach, 

Sgurr na h-Ulaidh, 

Leum Uilleim, 

Meall Lighiche


Beinn Maol Chaluim

Meall Lighiche

Ascent 2375m (7790ft)
Distance 25km (16m)
Time 10:15hr
Start Western end of Glencoe
Grid Ref : NN118565
Finish Three Sister's car-park
Grid Ref : NN171569
easy hard
easy hard
easy hard
ok fab

Bagging Sgurr na h-Ulaidh takes most hillwalkers a summer's afternoon to complete, Bidean nam Bian and Stob Coire Sgreamhach take not much longer. Combining them together makes not only for one epic outing, but also gives the opportunity to add in a couple of Corbett peaks on the way.

Away from the main paths, terrain is rough and confident navigation skills will be needed. There is some easy scrambling on the high crest of Bidean nam Bian. The sense of achievement in the day culminates with a walk out through the atmospheric 'Lost Valley' to the foot of the Three Sisters.

Route map

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Route description

1. Getting to start in Glencoe

Meall Lighiche above the farm in Gleann Leac na Muidhe

At the western end of Glencoe on a sharp corner of the A82 by Achnacon Farm there is space for a few cars to park in a layby on the north side of the road. The hillwalking route starts on the opposite side of the road.

The route finishes a few miles up in Glencoe at the Three Sisters car-park, so ideally transport would be arranged to avoid a walk alongside the busy A82 at the end of the day.

2. Meall Lighiche

Crossing the Allt na Muidhe on way up Meall Lighiche

From the layby, following the road, walk northwards and cross the bridge over the Allt na Muidhe. Shortly after this, turn left (west) and head up the track marked with a sign for Glencoe Mountain Cottages.

After 1.5km, a sign points walkers off the track and onto to a path around the holiday cottages.

The path re-joins the track beyond the cottages and a further 1.5km further up, the track then passes some farm buildings and comes to an end by the edge of forestry . A path leads on and follows the east bank of the Allt na Muidhe. Cross the burn where convienient (easy if not in spate), then strike uphill aiming south-west on the grassy slopes ahead.

Higher up and once onto the northern shoulder of Creag Bhan shoulder, a faint path can be traced that eventually meets up with a line of fence posts coming up the south-eastern shoulder from Bealach Easan, the bealach below Sgurr na h-Ulaidh. Follow the fence posts westwards to Meall Lighiche's rocky summit with its fine views and small cairn.

3. Sgurr na h-Ulaidh

On Sgurr na h-Ulaidh's summit, looking west

Return eastwards along the crest of Meall Lighiche following the fence posts . Where the path turns north, keep to the fence posts and drop down to Bealach Easan .

Cross the bealach, turn southwards and keeping to the grassy ground to the right (west) of the crags ahead, aim uphill. Meet up with the line of fence posts again to follow to Sgor na h-Ulaidh's summit .

4. Stob an Fhuarain and Beinn Maol Chaluim

Looking from Sgurr na h-Ulaidh over Stob an Fhuarain to Beinn Maol Chaluim

Leaving Sgurr na h-Ulaidh's summit behind, keep to an obvious path eastwards, then turn north-east down steep ground to a bealach. From here its straighforward following fence-posts up to the cairn on Stob an Fhuarain , the Munro Top on the Sgurr na h-Ulaidh.

A fainter path heads south-east following the line of fence posts - the path eventually disappears, but keeping more or less to the line of posts with lead you down to the Bealach Fhionnghaill , the col below Beinn Maol Chaluim. Some occasional rocky outcrops on the way are easily avoided by keeping to just south of the crest.

From here there doesn't appear to be an obvious direct route up Beinn Maol Chaluim - instead, begin to contour northwards to reach the hill's northern shoulder around 500m north of the summit , then turn south and climb up over grassy terrain and a section of scree to gain Beinn Maol Chaluim's summit with its two small cairns.

5. Bidean nam Bian

On Bidean nam Bian looking over to Beinn Maol Challuim

Retrace your steps along Beinn Maol Chaluim's northern shoulder , continue northwards and cross the col ahead. Begin striking uphill on Bidean nam Bian's western shoulder, a grassy bank ahead can be seen cutting through boulderfields. The grass eventually gives in to the boulders, and care is needed climbing the steep ground, particularly in the wet.

The summit crest of Bidean nam Bian is reached - continue eastwards to the main summit , you should be able to follow an obvious path. A small pile of boulders make the summit cairn, the highest point in Argyll, from where views are amazing on a clear day.

6. Stob Coire Sgreamhach

Heading from Bidean nam Bian to Stob Coire Sgreamhach

Leave Bidean nam Bian's summit and head south-east along a ridge following a path. Narrow at first, and with some easy scrambling, the crest widens further on as height is lost.

Reach the bealach between Bidean nam Bian and Stob Coire Sgreamhach and since this is where you'll return to, this might be a good place to drop-off rucksacks. There views from here are impressive, particulary down the Lost Valley to the Aonach Eagach.

On an obvious path, head up more bouldery ground eastwards, taking care not to be drawn by some lose paths too far northwards. Not before long ascent easies and it's onto Stob Coire Sgreamhach's crest, and then the summit cairn .

7. Return to Glencoe

Crossing the Allt Coire Gabhail

Return to the bealach , then with care, head down Coire Gabhail - loose steep ground higher up leads to boulder-field, then a constructed path lower down. The path is initially quite steep, but levels out giving fine walking/running is enjoyed down a gradual gradient crossing occasion burns. The Allt Coire Gabhail is crossed and you're into the Lost Valley - a strange but wonderful place where the river disappears into the ground.

The path continues down the east side of the glen and further down, the river needs to be crossed - if in spate, retreat back up the glen a bit, into the trees where the crossing is easier. Once over, remain on the path on the west side of the river, there are several points with drops into the gorge below, so take care ! Reach a gate through a deer-fence and follow the path through regenerated woodland down to cross the River Coe via an army constructed bridge over the deep and narrow gorge.

If you've not organised transport, follow the remains of the old road, then the Millenium Path aside the A82 back to the start-point.

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