Coire Mhic Fhearchair – A Perfect Torridon Night

For many years I’ve wanted to spend a night camped at the spectacular Coire Mhic Fhearchair in Torridon. This magnificent coire is one of the finest in Scotland, owing to its remote location and its incredible geology.

The coire lies on the north side of Beinn Eighe, among some of the wildest terrain to be found anywhere in Scotland. A 7km walk with around 500m of ascent is the shortest way to reach it. Once within its rocky walls it is all but impossible to see any sign of mankind, save for the trail.

Scout keeping watch over the wild heartland of Torridon.

The finest feature of the coire is the spectacular ‘Triple Buttress’ – three conjoined rock towers several hundred metres in height that dominates the view. Not to be overlooked however are the elementaly clear waters of the loch, which flows out of the coire in a series of impressive waterfalls.

Sunset light reflected in the clear waters of the loch. Ancient rock striated and worn smooth by the passage of long vanished ice.

Since it lies on the north side of the mountain the coire is in shadow for much of the time. However, this being Scotland, the summer sun rises and sets to the north east and north west respectively. This means there are a few hours of each day at sunset and sunrise when the sun can reach the back of the coire; providing the gorgeous golden light for which Scotland is so famous.

Triple Buttress from the loch.
‘Standing Stone’ – I was delighted to find this pillar of Torridonian sandstone, with the light perfectly highlighting its texture and curves.

Upon arrival we were happy to find ourselves the only ones camping there for the night, and even better was finding a perfectly flat and soft patch of ground among the boulders for us to set up our tent. After feasting on our boil-in-the-bag dinners we had all evening to relax and enjoy watching the light grow stronger and richer.

Lowering sun beyond the hills.

For several hours I wandered back and forth among the unspeakably ancient stones of the coire floor, lost in reverie and dreams of all the sunrises and sunsets this place must have seen. Far out beyond the hills I could see the sunlight glittering on the waters of the Minch, with the Hebrides beyond. As the sun lowered it laid a strip of rose pink across the sea. Too far off for my little camera to record, but close enough to fill the soul.

Last of the sunlight turns the Triple Buttress to flaming gold.

As the last of the sunlight faded we retreated to our tent, to spend a quiet and peaceful few hours of twilight. Outside the sun dipped and wheeled below the northern horizon – the red glow never fading in the course of the night. When it returned again in a few hours the hills were once again painted in a golden glow.

Sail Mhor and Triple Buttress in the morning light.
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3 thoughts on “Coire Mhic Fhearchair – A Perfect Torridon Night

  1. Hi David, Great post – thanks! We are hoping to do this walk and camp in the next couple of weeks with the dog. I’m curious to know if we will get our 3p tunnel tent pitched (requires pegs into the ground to stay up) or if we’d be better with our self-standing dome? Did you end up going up the tops of Eighe and if so, did the dog manage it?

    Cheers and keep them coming!

    Also,

    1. Hi Brian, thanks for your comment.

      Without seeing your tents I don’t feel comfortable advising which would be best, but the ground around the coire rim is very rocky. We found a nice smooth patch of earth close to the loch with soft ground for the pegs, but it was dry when we were there. The same spot is possibly quite muddy when wet, or it might even be a puddle. I’d suggest you take whichever tent is sturdier as the coire can be extremely windy. I’ve the waterfall going backwards there in the past.

      We didn’t head up to the summit this time as we had really big rucksacks, it was hot and we’d already achieved what we set out to do. I’ve been up before though – it’s an amazing mountain. Scout is pretty robust and is happy to do the odd munro day, but I wouldn’t take him up top in winter conditions.

      Hope you have a great trip. Bear in mind it will be winter so not much daylight on that side of the mountain and long hours of darkness. Hot water bottle recommended!

      1. Thanks David,

        We’ve got two tents from Hilleberg. The Allak (2p dome, freestanding) and the Nammatj 3gt (3p tunnel). Always a bit of a risk taking the tunnel as it’s so heavily reliant on good anchoring. But…they’ve both kept me safe in some pretty horrific winds on the plateau!

        We’ve got a loose plan to pitch at the coire but accept plans change if the ground is unsuitable etc (as one must be in Scotland). Thanks for your advice on the climb, will keep Bruce (our shep/husky) off the summit this time around.

        Keep up the good work, really enjoying your posts.

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