Distance: 15km / 9.25 miles
Time: 4-5 hours
Best reserved for a clear day, or at least with high cloud cover, this can either be tackled as a straight “up and down” to the summit and back again or, having gained the summit, a very pleasant ridge walk can be enjoyed by heading west, tracking the Sound of Mull far below. The ridge walk takes in the peaks of Beinn Thunacaraidh, (648m), Beinn Mheadhan, (637m), Beinn Creagach Mhor, (579m), Beinn Chreagach Bheag, (347m), and then, finally Maol Buidhe, (368m), before descending to the old cemetery at Pennygown. Tackling the summit and the ridge makes for a fine day out, about 12 miles in total and with stunning views over the Sound of Mull in one direction and over towards Ben More and beyond in the other. Care should be taken if tackling this walk in winter, as snow can form deceptive cornices on the edges of the ridge which are liable to collapse under the weight of the unwitting walker.
There are two main ways to get to the summit, the first being the track up to the TV masts, starting from the former Bird of Prey Centre at Upper Achnacroish, on the right just after Torosay Castle, (724348). There’s a parking area near the farmhouse and then you follow the track as far as the higher mast from where access to the summit ridge is fairly easy and from there up to the cairn. (Note it’s not the first cairn, that’s only 757m!).
The other, more challenging route starts from Scallastle farm, just off the road to Craignure. Park by the roadside, (at the end of the golf course); Follow the track through the farm and keep going, following the Scallastle river. It’s hard going underfoot but there are some lovely waterfalls on the way up. Keeping to the east side of the river, (left hand as you ascend), makes for easier access to the summit ridge as the eastern slope of the corry is easier to ascend, (up towards the mast).
Whichever route you choose, don’t forget to look behind you as you ascend, to take in the views unfolding over towards Oban, Loch Linnhe and Ben Nevis. (As both routes start from Sea Level, with very little respite on the way to the top, you may well be glad of the excuse to rest whilst taking photographs!)
If you fancy making an adventure out of it then, instead of descending, you can follow the ridge westwards as described above until you reach the last peak and descend to the cemetery.
It’s quite easy to follow the ridge, keep to the Sound of Mull side of any peaks if you don’t fancy scrambling on the craggy bits, and don’t drop any more than you have to.