Cranstackie and Beinn Spionnaidh from Loch Eriboll

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If Cranstackie sounds like a bad-tempered old man, you won't be disappointed by this mountain, or more especially its neighbour Beinn Spionnaidh. Ankle-snapping boulder-fields abound and Cranstackie's potential for a skating-rink surface adds to the wet-weather fun, but great fun these are. As a result this is a circuit for well-booted, experienced mountain-walkers.

The drive around gorgeous Loch Eriboll is dominated on its western shore by the skyline of the Cranstackie and Beinn Spionnaidh ridge spiked at the northern end by the cairn of Carn an Righ. The southern tip of the Foinaven - Arkle massif is visible at the head of Loch Eriboll (and beckons to you siren-like for the next weather break), especially from higher viewpoints on the road dropping down from the Kyle of Tongue approach, a superb drive for its cross-moorland feel of remoteness, worth taking just for the sake of the view.

Today's target ridge's mouth-watering rocky profile just cries out to be walked – but beware. It needs balance and agility to negotiate the treacherous foot traps which go on and on and on. Beinn Spionnaidh's boulders are browny-maroony-grey, grippy and granular (quartzite I think, though I'm no geologist); Cranstackie has more limestone especially on its lower flanks, fine in the dry, but tricky when wet. It's well worth the effort though.

The views back down to Loch Eriboll on one side or, once on the ridge-top, right along Strath Dionard out to the Kyle of Durness in the direction of Cape Wrath, are sensational – even on a moody, cloud-laden day such as I experienced. Ben Loyal and Ben Hope are also visible to the ESE, weather permitting, which it wasn't much for me.

Scotland - Highlands and Islands - Highland - Sutherland


Great Views, Hills or Fells, Lake/Loch, Moor, Mountains, Public Transport, River, Sea, Waterfall, Wildlife, Woodland