An Riabhachan

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An Riabhachan
An Riabhachan.jpg
An Riabhachan from Sgurr na Lapaich
Summit: 3,704 feet NH133344
57°21’42"N, 5°6’21"W

An Riabhachan is a remote mountain in Ross-shire, found 22 miles from Kyle of Lochalsh in an isolated position at the western end of Loch Mullardoch, seven miles from any public road. It reaches a height of 3,704 feet at its summit, and so it qualifies as a Munro.


At 3,704 feet, An Riabhachan is one of the highest mountains north of the Great Glen. The name An Riabhachan is Gaelic and means "The Brindled One", which is believed to refer to the flecked effect given by the stone-studded turf on the hill.[1]

Apart from the main summit, An Riabhachan has two tops high enough to be listed as Munro tops:


An Riabhachan is mainly grassy mountain. The only rocky area is at the north-east end of the summit ridge, above the fine craggy coire of Coire Gnada containing the lochans of Loch Mòr and Loch Beag.

The east ridge links to the adjacent Munro, Sgùrr na Lapaich and follows the steep edge above Coire Gnada. The mountain has a 1½ mile-long summit ridge which does not drop below 3,000 feet throughout its length and contains three other high points. At the north-east end of the summit ridge is the Northeast Top with a height of 3,691 ft: in the 1921 revision of Munro's Tables it was named as the principal summit of the mountain, but reverted to the current summit in the 1933 and subsequent editions. It was deleted from the list of Munro Tops in 1997.[2]

With the demise of the Northeast Top, An Riabhachan has been left with just two subsidiary Tops. The West Top, 3,314 ft, stands at the western end of the summit ridge, before descending to the Bealach Bholla and reascending to the adjoining Munro, An Socach. The South West Top, 3,563 ft, is 750 yards south-west of the West Top. The summit ridge falls away on both sides over grassy slopes to Loch Mullardoch to the south and to the upper part of Glen Strathfarrar to the north.


The mountain is usually climbed together with two or three of the other Munros on the north side of Loch Mullardoch. The most convenient ascent of all four Munros starts at the Mullardoch dam in Glen Cannich (NH219316) and proceeds 5½ miles along the loch's northern shore before climbing An Socach, continuing to An Riabhachan and returning by way of Sgurr na Lapaich and Càrn nan Gobhar. The long walk along the shore can be bypassed by hiring a boat, currently available between 1 April and 1 August.[3] The walk can be shortened by omitting An Socach, but it would be a shame to do so as it is a remote summit one would not pass by otherwise.

The alternative route starts in Glen Strathfarrar to the north at the hydroelectric power station in Gleann Innis (NH182381), reached by a 17-mile drive from Struy along a private road; the locked gate at the entrance to this road is opened at specified times to give access to vehicles.[4] From the power station a stalkers' path leads to the Bealach Toll an Lochain between An Riabhachan and Sgurr na Lapaich, from where there is a further climb west of a thousand feet to reach the summit. A return to the power station can be made over Sgurr na Lapaich and Càrn nan Gobhar.

Outside links


  1. "The Magic of the Munros" Page 148 Gives details of translated name.
  2. The Munros and Tops 1891-1997. Spreadsheet giving details of changes in successive editions of Munro's Tables.
  3. Contact details for boatman.
  4. Strathfarrar Access Arrangements