Ben More via A'Chioch Walk

Ben More via A'Chioch

Known as the most remote of all Scotland's Munro mountains. Ben More and the Isle Of Mull are well worth the effort. The walk is not one for those who are bothered by heights or exposure. A walk for those who enjoy the adrenaline rush of scrambling up fine ridges with all-round breathtaking views. The walk starts at sea level by the shores of Loch Na Keal and ascends steadily up the valley of Gleann na Beinne Fada to the col between Beinn Fhada and A' Choich. The ridge scrambling then starts with the ascent of A' Choich and then drops down to the col of Ben More's north eastern ridge before ascending its rocky ridge crest to the huge 966M high summit. A gentle and slow ascent is then taken back down Ben More's easier north western side to the road at the shores of Loch Na Keal. Ben More's remote island location provides the most incredible all round panoramic views. This route up it is by far the most exciting. The Isle Of Mull is one of Britain's most beautiful and wildlife abundant places.

Route Directions

  1. The start of the walk is on the B8035 road at the shores of Loch Na Keal. On the map a car park symbol can be seen near the holiday cottage of Dhiseig, there isn't an actual car park here but small sections of leveled grass on the side of the road. Loch Na Keal is a great place for wildlife with sea birds including large Grey Herons and small animals like Otters and Stoats playing and hunting on the shoreline all day and night. The small island in the middle of the loch is known as Eorsa, this tiny unpopulated island is the fictional setting of Nigel Tranter's 1952 novel The Bridal Path, which was made into a motion picture 1959.
  2. From the starting point walk along the road in an easterly direction for just under a mile until you reach the small bridge that crosses the outflow of the Abhainn na h-Uamha. Turn right onto the grassy bank and follow the faint path that follows the Abhainn na h-Uamha up into the valley above. After ascending the grassy hill just under another mile you will reach the waterfalls from the platform of which you have a panoramic view over Loch Na Keal to the small island of Ulva. Ulva is a populated and accessible island with a resident population of just over a dozen. Its impressive geology, wildlife and untouched wild landscape make it an intruiging destination for those exploring Mull. It has a few famous past residents including Lachan Macquarrie, the founder of modern Australia and chief of the Clan Macquarrie.
  3. Continue along the path from the waterfall that heads south east along the floor of the Gleann na Beinne Fada. Follow the line of the Abhainn na h-Uamha for a mile or so and then head up towards the obvious col between Beinn Fhada on the left and A' Chioch on the right. Once at the col you will see in front of you the drop to the remote valley of Glen Clachaig and the mountains of Cruachan Dearg and Corra Bheinn behind. Turn right and you will see the profile of the exciting route ahead, up the A' Chioch north ridge. The way ahead is now an exciting but serious scramble up the narrow ridge with no alternative side paths, it seems to narrow the higher you get and eventually tops out on a small summit which acts as a viewing platform for the huge bulk of the more impressive neighbour, Ben More.
  4. Follow the clear path down the easier south side of A' Chioch to the rocky and narrow col between A'Chioch and Ben More. The obstacle of Ben More's north east ridge seems to be very similar to A' Choich but is slightly easier due to an alternative yet also often unclear path that hugs its left side, I would advise this be used in bad weather. After scrambling up the rocky spine of Ben More you will soon reach the boulder strewn summit.
  5. The summit has a circular boulder shelter of sorts but no trig point which is no sad loss to be honest. Your experience of this lofty summit will of course be dependant on the weather conditions, but if like me your first time at this lofty summit is fortunately in near perfect conditions then the views sea bound and highland bound are quite simply awe-inspiring! The 360 panorama takes in the North Atlantic Ocean and includes Ben Nevis to the north east, the Skye Cullins to the north and the Paps Of Jura to the south.
  6. After taking in the summit views head off the mountain in an absolute north west direction. This north western ridge has a much less dramatic profile and is an easy descent over stone and scree. Follow the ridge into the Coire nam Fuaran where a path develops heading downhill hugging the left hand side of the Abhainn Dhiseig. Follow the path on the left side until a point a mile on where the stream narrows, at this point a safe crossing should be made to the now clearer path on the right hand side of the stream. Follow this path down to the Dhiseig holiday cottage and down the track back to the starting point on the B8035 road at the shores of Loch Na Keal.

Paper maps for this walk

Click to buy OS Explorer 375 Map Click to buy OS Landranger 48 Map Click to buy Pathfinder Oban, Mull & Kintyre Click to buy Mull & Iona 40 Favourite Walks

Route map of this walk

Photos & Trip Reports

Planning for a walk

Check the weather

The weather is a very important part of hill walking. Weather conditions and daylight hours will dictate where you walk, what gear you will need to carry, how far you walk, and may even decide if you go at all. The following links will help you gather information on weather conditions for areas of Britain...

Plan your journey

Planning your journey before you set off for your walk can save you vital hours on the day. You need to make sure you know the area surrounding your starting point as many factors can influence or change the place you park. Don't forget change for parking meters and fees.

Maintenance of your vehicle and being ready for breakdown situations when driving to remote areas is also vital. Pack a full spare petrol can in your boot, and take de-icing tools in winter, including a shovel. The Transport Direct website below is a great resource for anyone wanting to get to the start of their walk using public transport...

Pack the right gear

Carrying and wearing the right gear is essential for walkers to remain comfortable and safe while hill walking in Britain. However, the best gear in the world is of no use to anyone who doesn't know how to use and care for it. Knowing how to use your gear will give you a much more enjoyable experience. The following items are, in my opinion, the essential items to wear and carry for a hill walk in Britain. It would be foolish to head into the hills and mountains of Britain without these essential items and the knowledge of how to use them. Check out the gear section of this site for techniques and gear lists...

  • Footwear
  • Clothing
  • Rucksack
  • Warm Clothes
  • Waterproofs
  • Map & Compass
  • Emergency Kit
  • First Aid Kit
  • Food & Drink
  • Seasonal Gear

Know what to do in emergencies

It is good practise to tell someone where you are going, and when you expect to return. If you don't get in contact when you said you would on your return, and those you told can't get hold of you, at least they will be able to provide the search party with your general location.

Emergency equipment in the check list above means items such as a survival bag, whistle, and emergency food rations. This isn't anything special; any whistle will do, the orange emergency bags only costs a few pounds, and basic food rations can consist of a couple of chocolate bars. Carrying a head lamp is also an important component and a vital piece of kit used for signalling when you require rescuing.

You should always try and get out of a difficult or emergency situation using your own gear, knowledge and energy. If you cannot do this, then you should dial 999 and ask for the police. Use all the gear you have to keep any unwell or injured members of your party or yourself safe and warm, and use your signalling devices to let the rescuers know your whereabouts. To do this blow six good long blasts on your whistle, or flash six flashes of your torch. Stop for one minute. Repeat. Carry on with the whistle blasts until someone reaches you, and don't stop because you've heard a reply.

Never contact mountain rescue unless absolutely necessary, but on the other hand don't ever feel guilty for having to do so, especially if you are a prepared walker. The Mountain Rescue teams are full of fantastic like-minded souls who love nothing more than people who are prepared for being safe in the mountains.