A’Mhaighdean and Ruadh Stac Mór are two of the more remote Munros. Their summits provide some of the best views in Scotland, a fitting reward for those who make the effort to reach them. Ideally, these hills should be visited in clear weather in order to avail of the views. They are two of the famed group of hills known as the Fisherfield 6 and they can be visited in a number of ways.
One possibility is to combine them with the other 3 Fisherfield Munros and the Corbett, formerly a Munro, Beinn a’Chlaideimh, by starting and finishing at the Corrie Hallie parking area.(NH1143 8502). This route is approximately 45kms long with approximately 2900m ascent. It also involves at least two river crossings that may be very troublesome or even impossible after heavy rain or snow melt. While it‘s possible to complete this route in a single day, it is more usual to have an overnight stay enroute, either at Shenavall Bothy (NH0659 8099) or by wild camping. (Shenavall is from the Gaelic, Seann Bhaile, meaning old town, indicating the area was well populated at one time.)
The river crossings and overnight stay can be eliminated by dividing the group into sub-groups and visiting each sub-group separately, on long, tough days from either Poolewe or Kinlochewe.
A route from Poolewe which combines visits to A’Mhaighdean and Ruadh Stac Mór is approximately 50kms with 1450m ascent. At least 12 kms and 60 metres ascent of this route can be cycled. The Poolewe route is more scenic than the approach from Kinlochewe as the steep west and south-west sides of A’Mhaighdean are in view. .
The route from Kinlochewe to visit A’Mhaighdean and Ruadh Stac Mór is approximately 38kms with 1240m ascent. Approximately 17kms and 310 metres ascent can be cycled, although some of the cycling is along very rough landrover track. The first 4 kms, as far as the Heights of Kinlochewe junction, NH 0720 6418, is quite smooth as it serves several houses. The ascent over the first four kms is only 70m. The following 4.5 kms is quite rough with some steep sections and water channels which may require dismounts. The ascent on this section is approximately 240m.
This track is a record of a hike from the parking area at Incheril, NH0376 6234, near Kinlochewe, that visited A’Mhaighdean, Ruadh Stac Mór and Beinn Tarsuinn. Bicycles can be used as far as NH 063 681 and then left there, in the words of A.E. Robertson, “to browse in the heather”. The cycle in from Incheril took approximately 80 minutes. The cycle out in the evening took approximately 60 minutes.
Passing through a gap where a gate and portion of a deer fence had been broken down, the route continued on a good path to Lochan Fada, then along the shore of the loch, before leaving the loch at approximately NH044 705 and headed NW across rough ground towards A’Mhaighdean.Beinn a’Chlaideimh makes a brief appearance during a snack break on the ascent of A'Mhaighdean
After climbing to approximately the 600m contour the route met a faint path from Beinn Tarsuinn to A’Mhaighdean.
Long, easy, grassy slopes then lead to the summit of A’Mhaighdean, 967m NH0078 7490. If the weather gods have been favourable, one of the best views in Scotland can be enjoyed from the summit.A'Mhaighdean summit area with its tiny cairn
The route then continued down and across the col aptly named “Poll Eadar dha Stac” to Ruadh Stac Mór over ground that is quite rocky and tricky in places. Ruadh Stac Mór, 919m, NH0185 7564, is also aptly named as it is composed of Red Sandstone. (A’Mhaighdean is mainly Gneiss).Ruadh Stac Mór from the summit of A'Mhaighdean
Ruadh Stac Mór summit area
The route then returns to the col before heading roughly south back to meet the ascent route taken to A’Mhaighdean. Ideally, stay around the 760 / 770 m contours when traversing to the A’Mhaighdean ascent route. When recording this track, in thick clag, a descent of approximately 40 metres below the optimal was made and a re-ascent of about 30 metres was then required to avoid tricky ground approaching Stac a’Chaorruinn. A descent along the easy, grassy A’Mhaighdean ascent route met the faint path, from Beinn Tarsuinn to A’Mhaighdean encountered earlier and followed it for a short distance. Unfortunately, when recording this track, the path petered out and in thick clag, was not found again until almost at the summit of Beinn Tarsuinn. Making slow progress in pathless, tiresome, thick wet herbage, it was decided to head for the north ridge of Beinn Tarsuinn, where there was likely to be a path. A steep climb to reach the ridge and, sure enough, there was a path along it leading to Tarsuinn. Thankfully there was little wind as this part of the route involved a little interesting scrambling. The hike continued in thick clag, passing a spot where a well-used path, which seems to come from the direction of A’Mhaighdean, reaches the ridge. Easy walking from there to the summit of Beinn Tarsuinn, 937m, NH0396 7278.
Leaving the summit of Beinn Tarsuinn the hike followed a path heading roughly south-east. The path petered out after a few hundred metres and map and compass was used, in thick clag, to reach the east side of the Allt na Creige Glaise at approximately NH0475 7228, 670m.
A path was picked up on the east side of Allt na Creige Glaise which led down to the east end of Lochan Fada and the path back to Incheril.
It is important to get onto the east side of Allt na Creige Glaise as high and as soon as possible as, a little farther down the hillside, it flows into a very steep sided gully and is quite difficult to cross until you get much nearer Lochan Fada.A glimpse of Beinn Eighe through Glean Bianasdail, between Slioch and Beinn a'Mhuinidh, across Lochan Fada during the Beinn Tarsuinn descent.
As the day was quite claggy, there were only glimpses of the fine views that are available on a clear day. Fortunately, there had been little rain or wind.
A.E. Robertson, generally recognised as the first person to “compleat” all the Munros, visited A’Mhaighdean on 29th May 1898, also from Kinlochewe. It rained all day and he had no views at all.
Track 2636, recorded by Peter Walker, has an excellent photo of A’Mhaighdean and Ruadh Stac Mór taken from Slioch.