My friend Ben and I enjoyed three days of bagging from Corbett in the far northwest of Scotland. The first day we walked a double route from Corbett to Arkle and Meall Horn; the next day we approached Foinaven from the north; then on the third day we walked Ben Hee. We were lucky with good weather although the clouds persisted at summit level over Foinaven.
Arkle horn and mall
Parking south of Arkle and Meall Horn, just off the A383 single track road in Achfary, between Lairg and Laxford Bridge, and on the south bank of Loch Stack, we started the walk on a decent track. If you fancy a short cycle, the track is ideal for a mountain bike or gravel bike.
Even as we started the walk, we could see the impressive outline of Arkle ahead, with the steep quartzite slopes to the southwest rising up beyond the loch.
At first the track remains close to the shore of Loch Stack before turning off. We pass a nice-looking house with a chicken garden, then an abandoned cabin. At a fork in the tack, we headed left and through a very pleasant forest of tall pines.
At the edge of the pine forests there are two huge rocks that form a kind of gateway. We stood and looked at the rocks and wondered how they were created.
Through the trees the tracks start to climb and then continue to ascend on different slopes. After crossing a stream, we see a small cairn to the left of the track that marks a pass that we follow up the mountainside.
The path is steep, but not that ridiculous, and every once in a while we stop to look back and see the view beyond. I love the Sutherland landscape and we enjoyed a view that included the Quinag trio of peaks.
We came across two red deer who seemed surprisingly unconcerned by our presence.
There is a flatter section further up the bealach of Arkle and Meall Aonghais. The slope was wide and rocky as we ascended towards the eastern summit of Arkle. We could see the second Corbett of the day, Meall Horn, clearly on the other side of the glen now. Foinaven was in a cloud at this point.
With the cloud coming and going in Arkle as well, we came to a cairn marking a 758m summit. To get to the highest point of the ridge, we went down a rocky incline and then up again into a big bend in the ridge. This is a magnificent ridge and is rivaled only in area by Foinaven.
There is a short, narrow section that I had been worrying about, but it barely registered on my « fear of exposure » radar. I suppose I could have stopped to watch the sudden drops on either side, with Loch Stack far below on one side and a large bowl of rocks between Arkle and Foinaven on the other, but to save my fear I kept looking ahead and up. . !
Part of the ridge formed an astonishing platform of huge flat blocks with little gaps between them. He reminded me of when I was a kid and I avoided the holes in the pavement.
The ridge widens further up and we soon reach the true summit of Arkle at 787m.
After stopping to eat something and enjoy the panoramic views, we retraced our route to the glen. Aiming to stay as high up as possible, we took a northerly route through the glen, crossed a track, and then made our way to the top of Meall Horn.
I climbed Meall Horn last year in wind and rain so it was good to see the mountain in better weather. In any case, it was Ben’s first time on this Corbett and it made sense for him to do a two Corbett day.
Corbett 2: Food Horn
There’s not much to report about the Meall Horn ascent, except to say that it’s mostly lightly traveled and quite steep. We hiked through heather, grass and some boggy sections to gain the broad ridge for an easier walk to the summit at 777m.
By now it was approaching afternoon and the sky was still bright, albeit with increasing clouds. It was hot and as we made our way southwest from the peak we basked in the glow of the evening sun now lower in the sky.
We hiked the ridge for a bit and then took a more direct route downhill to get back on the track we’d walked on earlier in the day.
As usual, the walk back to the van seemed much longer than it had at the start of the route, but it was a pleasant enough walk, and on a beautiful summer afternoon.
This is a great walk from Two Corbetts in the North of Scotland if the weather is good. In fact, I recommend that you leave these for the best weather.
Arkle and Meall Horn route details
Corbett’s count: 119.
- Thanks to Ben for some of the photos.