Another couple of the mountains of my childhood: Ben Killilan and the wonderfully (if unpronouncably) named Sgùman Còinntich. These in fact turned out not to be the mountain that was visible, neatly framed between two slopes, directly out the front of our house, which I had been wondering about climbing them for years; in fact, after some careful work with Google Maps afterwards, these were the mountains next to that one. Yes, I climbed the wrong mountain. The one I was intending to climb was actually Faochaig, which is much harder to get to. But never mind…

The reality turns out to be, as is usual for Scotland, mostly wading through swamp. The ascent was only about 900m in an 19km walk, but a lot of that was cross country through trackless moor. The top of Sgùman Còinntich was rocky and dry and had some fun scrambling but the traverse to Ben Killilan was a bit of a slog. The descent down the back of the mountain was slow and squidgy and I did put my foot down a hole, but luckily didn’t break anything.

Route here.

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On the other side of the ridge at the top of Sgùman Còinntich, we're looking south over Inverinate and Kintail towards the Five Sisters.

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From near the top of Sgùman Còinntich, looking west along Loch Long, in the middle distance; that's Loch Alsh on the left, which divides Skye from the mainland; Loch Carron on the right. The distant mountains are the Cuillins, on Skye, some 50km away.

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The rocks up there are covered in lichen. Some kind of sterocaulon, maybe?

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looking north over the rocky summit of Ben Killilan towards Lochcarron. The twin peaks on the right are, I think, Sgorr Ruadh and Fuar Tholl, which I climbed the other day. They look smaller from here. The ground up here is a bewildering mixture of barren rock, dry grass, and swamp.

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I found a vestige of native Scottish forest, not yet eaten by the red deer! (There were red deer up here, but they never got close enough to photograph.)

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This field vole did get close enough to photograph.It gave me the side eye for just long enough to get a couple of pictures, and then legged it.

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Why did the highland cattle cross the road? Because I was circling around, trying to avoid having to walk through the middle of the herd. (Highland cattle are armed.)

In the background are the lower slopes of Ben Killilan (on the left) and Sgùman Còinntich (on the right).