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I went this way in 2012 with Mad'n'Bad and Wee-Willy-Wilky. I didn't realise it at the time but I was quite unwell with a blood count of 87 and so I wasn't firing on very many cylinders. However, we managed it by plotting a route to A' Chuil that would take two days.
You can see how we coped by clicking on the following two links where you'll find the maps and route we took along with descriptions of the days:
DAY 1: Morar to Coire Dubh
DAY 2: Coire Dubh to A'Chuil
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I wouldn't bother with an FWA for the North Morar Ridge. Take it direct and if the weather closes in take the escape route down Leac Bhuidhe that we took. If I could do it well below par, a fairly fit Challenger should breeze it.
As an aside, the incredibly fit and capable John Hesp continued for the full length of the ridge and found the descent to be quite harrowing. However he took a better ascent line by starting from Kylesmorar rather than clambering up Druim Chuilinn and its precarious stiles over deer fences.
Whatever you choose, good luck The views are stupendous!
"....the incredibly fit and capable John Hesp...."
Well that's a handsome comment in these dreary times. Thank you Alan.
That day was one of the most memorable in the four Challenges I did. I didn't actually get to the end of the ridge, but injured myself slightly descending Bidein a' Chabair, so dropped down into the glen to the south.
The whole ridge is superbly rugged with fantastic views in all directions - highly recommended to those considering it.
More info on my day here:
Back in 2013 I had the same question (but starting fom Malaig). With no feasible FWA available decided the ridge was not for me. Ridges are not my prime interest, I started to do some reading on Morar and found out that travel around these shores was mostly by boat, both on Loch Morar and Loch Nevis. Interesting is though that the North shore of Loch Morar was often used as direct overland route to Tarbert by the wives of the crofters at An Romasaig and Kinlochmorar. When the herring was in season labour was very much in demand in Tarbet. A very welcome extra income for the Loch Morar crofters who could not direct benefit from the yearly herring trek. They seem to have used the route from An Romasaig up through Coir' a' Bhealach and Coire Dubh then down to Tarbet. (see OS 1:25.000 for some of the names).
This raises the question if there is a feasible walking route between An Romasaig and South Tarbet Bay, since there where on some points in time more small communities in between, Especially around Cuil a' Mhuic. All with south facing slopes more suitable for crofting then the communities facing North on Morar's Loch Nevis shore.
So this all lead to Loch Morars North shore being my main and foul weather proof route on my 2013 challenge, which in the end was approved by my vetter. Reading your question it occurred to me I never submitted a report on the route to the vetters as I promised. So maybe this is the time and place to do it.
Basicly the route from South Tarbet Bay to Kinloch Morar is very well doable though in places rough and wet. Even on a very wet day as it was in 2013. The only obstacle is Sròn Mhor, but I'll come to that.
When you reach the Tarbet path from Swordland turn right to South Tarbet Bay. Soon you will see the trees from Glac Falaichte. Work your way over a broken wall and cross the streams (easy) over to the far north-east corner of the trees. An old gate gives access to the open hill. From the gate a faint and rough but clearly path goes East at some height above the shore. The path has traces of an overgrown but well build track of old. This will lead you to some ruines on a knoll (Cuil a'Mhuic). The track ends here. From the knoll a small path (more like deer and sheep tracks) continues, more or less on the same level. After awhile you will loose the poath and meet some very large and overgrown blocks. This is Stròn More blocking your way. The blocks are very solid and save. The difficulty is only about 100 meters long. Stay on the same level and work your way carefully around a corner and the path re-emerges en soon opens out to An Romasaig. I sounds more difficult that it actually is. I needed only twice a hand to hold. A small reconnaissance with no backpack gave us an easy route through within a couple of minutes.
An Romasaig is an interesting place, we camped close to the shore, though level places are very few. From her to Kinlochmorar is straightforward, with Sròn a' Drutain posing no problems whatsoever. See the piccies.
Weather this works for you is up to you. For me it is the only usable FWA avalaible for starts from Malaig or Morar. Since, apart from the above mentioned early exit from the plateau through Corie Dubh, any other exit further on is too steep in any weather for my taste.
I hope this helps
I'm very grateful for these detailed route suggestions. It will take me a little time to process all of this. It is reassuring that, while not easy, there are many reports of successful crossings through North Morar.
Will send an update when I've got a bit further with the map studies.
Thanks again everyone for the suggestions and for the encouraging pictures!
There seems to be plenty of options. Probably will submit something like the route at end of this message. Even if the weather's good, going up to Coire Dubh and then down to An Romasaig (FWA #1 below) appears the most straightforward option, if I'm not feeling up to the ridge walk.
P.S. Bert, I think I did meet you briefly at the end of the 2017 challenge but might not have introduced myself. You vetted my route that year. If we're likely to be somewhere near Mallaig at the same time, it would be great to chat with you about the routes.
Morar -> ... -> North Tarbet -> Kylesmorar -> Ascend to Coire Dubh (NM 813 919; camp)
The route up to Coire Dubh looks easier from Kylesmorar (according to Colin's challenger feedback), rather than directly from Tarbet.
Ideal conditions: Coire Dubh -> Sgurr Mor -> Sgurr Breac -> Sgurr na ba Ruidhe -> Sgurr nam Meirleach -> Sgurr na h-Aide -> Bidein a' Chabair -> Meall na Sroine -> Descend E down to Glen Dessary -> A' Chuil
FWA #1: Coire Dubh -> An Romasaig -> Sron an Drutain -> Kinlochmorar -> A' Chuil
FWA #2: Coire Dubh -> Sgurr Mor -> Sgurr Breac -> Sgurr na ba Ruadhe -> Sgurr nam Meirleach -> Bealach nan Daoine -> Coire Dubh -> Finiskaig -> Sourlies or A' Chuil
FWA #3: Coire Dubh -> Sgurr Mor -> Sgurr Breac -> Sgurr na ba Ruidhe -> Descend Leac Bhuidhe -> Glean an Lochan Fanaiche -> A' Chuil
FWA #1 follows the North coast of Loch Morar but avoids the awkward Sron Mhor, as mentioned by Rolf and Bert.
FWA #2 includes more of the ridgeline with exit by descending along Bealach nan Daoine, as Bert mentioned.
FWA #3 includes more of the ridgeline with exit by descending along Leac Bhuidhe, as Alan's route shows.
Where to exit the ridge if conditions/fitness are good enough to follow ridgeline further?
- From Meall na Sroine: East face descent.
- From Meall na Sroine: N decent along Allt na Sroine.
- From Bidein a' Chabair: NE following Druim Coire nan Laoch and Creah Mor nan Lochan.
This video has a group that used the North side of Loch Morar option then on to Glenpean.
Another Morar blog - https://janetswalks.blogspot.com/2020/02/tgo-2019-morar-to-catterline-9th-may.html
I confess to being the lady who mused about an approach from Kylesmorar rather than the high spot of the track to Tarbet. For interest - having read about the problems of FWAs along the shore of the ridge - I had a completely different 2 day FWA though South Morar to Meoble, Loch Beoraid and Gleann Chaorainn. Didn't have to use it but I rather like the look of it
at 4.23 the most scary part of Srón Mor and at 4.25 entering An Romasaig. Compare that to the passage of Sron a Choin at 4.32 or the passage of Lochan Leum an t-Sagairt in Glen Pean at 4.36.
Have fun and stay save
Thanks Janet and Phil,
That's really helpful.
Based on the video and Rolf's information, I think I'd be comfortable with the north shoreline of Loch Morar. As others have said, descending from the ridge is a bit steep and dangerous, so I'll abandon that idea. The aim will be to camp at Kinlochmorar on Day 1.
Be very careful along the north shore of Loch Morar as in places there are shear drops into the loch, which is the deepest in Scotland! Rather than try to stay by the shoreline, from Tarbet Bay, stay up and back from the shore to save continual climbing and descending. If you are camping at Kinlochmorar then take care crossing the Abhainn Ceann-loch-morair as it is quite deep and in spate very dangerous.