Sgùrr nan Ceathramhnan

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Sgùrr nan Ceathreamhnan
Ross-shire, Inverness-shire
Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan from Mam Sodhail.jpg
Sgùrr nan Ceathreamhnan from Mam Sodhail with the Kintail Hills behind
Range: Affric Hills
Summit: 3,776 feet NH057228

Sgùrr nan Ceathreamhnan is a mountain of the Affric Hills, its summit on the border of Ross-shire with Inverness-shire. It is 3,776 feet tall and so it qualifies as a Munro. Sgùrr nan Ceathreamhnan is in the remote and lonely mountainous country between Glen Affric and Glen Elchaig, some 19 miles east of Kyle of Lochalsh.

With a height of 3,776 feet this it is ranked as the third highest mountain north of the Great Glen (after Carn Eighe and Mam Sodhail) and is regarded as one of the finest hills in the whole of the United Kingdom. It is different from the other neighbouring Affric Hills, characterised by sweeping flanks and long slender ridges, which emerge from the central summit crest in the manner of the spokes of a wheel.

Its name means "Peak of the Quarters".

Geography

Sgùrr nan Ceathreamhnan is rated as one of the remotest Munros and a great prize for any hill walker, with E.J. Yeaman in his Handbook of the Scottish Hills regarding Ceathreamhnan as the fourth most difficult Scottish Munro to climb, taking into account its remote position and its altitude.

It is a massive mountain which covers 24 square miles and stands many miles from the nearest public road. It has a tent like appearance and throws down many long ridges to the valleys.

Sgùrr nan Ceathreamhnan has five subsidiary tops above 3,000 feet listed in Munro's tables as "Monro tops":

  • Western Top, NH052228, 3,750 feet (on the western ridge)
  • Stùc Bheag, NH053237, 3,527 feet (on the northern ridge)
  • Stùc Mòr, NH053242, 3,415 feet (on the northern ridge)
  • Stob Fraoch Choire, NH052253, 3,012 feet (on the northern ridge)
  • Stob Coire na Cloiche NH075227, 3,002 feet (on the eastern ridge)

Name

Sgùrr nan Ceathreamhnan's name looks notoriously difficult to pronounce for non Gaelic speakers and is often referred to as "Chrysanthemum" by hill walkers with no wish to tackle the troublesome sounds of Gaelic. The name means "Peak of the Quarters", referring to the large amount of land it divides with its ridges.

Ascents

The ascent of Sgùrr nan Ceathreamhnan is a major undertaking best done during the long hours of summer daylight. The shortest approach is from the Alltbeithe youth hostel in upper Glen Affric at grid reference NH079202 2 miles south of the summit; however, it is a major undertaking just to get to the hostel, with long walks in from Loch Cluanie to the south or from the road end in Glen Affric. It is also possible to start walking from Iron Lodge in Glen Elchaig but a bicycle is needed to travel up the estate road, another approach starts from the car park in Strath Croe. From the Alltbeithe hostel the ascent goes north up a stalkers path to the col between Sgùrr nan Ceathreamhnan and An Socach, a smaller Munro which can be easily "bagged" on the way to Ceathreamhnan's summit with little extra effort.

The view from the summit is one of remote mountainous country, although with the help of binoculars it is possible to see Inverness and the Kessock Bridge, 44 miles away to the east.

Sgùrr nan Ceathreamhnan's summit has twin peaks linked by a curving ridge with the western pinnacle lying 500 yards away from the highest point and reaching 3,750 feet in height. There is a small amount of scrambling involved in traversing between the two summits.

References