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My Favourite Hike: Torridon's beautiful Beinn Alligin

My Favourite Hike: the Horns of Alligin
On the Horns of Alligin, with mighty Liathach beyond (Image credit: Nicola Hardy)

Beinn Alligin

Next in our My Favourite Hike series, komoot (opens in new tab) ambassador Nicola Hardy (opens in new tab) takes us up Torridon's Beinn Alligin in the Scottish Highlands. She bagged its two summits in August 2019 as part of her mission to hike all of Scotland's 282 Munro mountain peaks.

"The Torridon region is unike anything I’ve experienced before on the UK mainland," she says. "Photographs can’t possibly do justice to the majesty of this area. For me, and for any peak bagger ticking off the Munros, it’s important to save this route for a beautiful weather day."

The route

  • Start/Finish: Beinn Alligin Car Park
  • Distance: 6.7 miles / 10.8km
  • Elevation gain: 3,018ft / 920m
  • Difficulty level: Challenging
  • Duration: ~6 hours

The trail leads first to the summit of Tom na Gruagaich before linking over to Sgùrr Mhòr. The route ends with some Grade 1 scrambling on grippy Torridonian sandstone over the dramatic Horns of Alligin, but there’s also a bypass path for those that would prefer to avoid it. As this is a remote mountainous area, good navigation skills are required.

My Favourite Hike: Nic Hardy on Beinn Alligin

Jaw-dropping views across to neighbouring Beinn Dearg (Image credit: Nicola Hardy)

Beinn Alligin: why I love it

I hiked this route in the summer of 2019 with my boyfriend James and we had such a good experience that I worry it would never be quite as good if we walked it a second time. Plus, there are so many other mountains in the area, particularly those which don’t meet the Munro criteria, that I would love to walk in the future. 

The view from Beinn Alligin over the Horns of Alligin and neighbouring Liathach and Beinn Eighe is simply outstanding. I actually picked up some Peruvian, Inca Trail vibes from this landscape and the shapes of the surrounding mountains. Another highlight was the view to the Cuillin ridge on the nearby Isle of Skye. Well worth the tough hike up from sea level.

My Favourite Hike: Nic Hardy near the Horns of Alligin

Happy on the Horns of Alligin (Image credit: Nicola Hardy)

The initial ascent, particularly in summer, is a steep slog up a wide gully but frequent stops to turn and take in the beautiful views over Loch Torridon make all the effort worthwhile. Eventually, you arrive on the sensational Tom na Gruagaich, the first of the two Munro summits.

An interesting feature of the hike is the great cleft on the south-western face of Sgùrr Mhòr. The path passes right past this breathtaking natural feature. The deep gash in the side of the mountain is known as Eag Dhubh na h-Eigheachd which translates to black gash of the wailing.

My Favourite Hike: Nic Hardy above the Eag Dhubh

Taking in the views from above the great cleft of Eag Dhubh (Image credit: Nicola Hardy)

The castellated ridge of the Horns of Alligin provides some exciting but low-grade scrambling. Walking the route clockwise means that this is a final treat before the descent back to the car, an attempt to make the route last as long as possible.

At around 11km, the route is relatively short so being able to have time to stop frequently and really savour the views from the upper reaches of the mountain is a joy. For me, it was a t-shirt hike in August but that also meant starting quickly to outrun the hungry midges! Luckily once a bit of height was gained, our experience was midge-free. 

Highlight: Sgùrr Mhòr

My Favourite Hike: view towards Liathach

Looking towards Beinn Eighe and Liathach from Beinn Alligin (Image credit: Nicola Hardy)

Sgùrr Mhòrr is the higher of Beinn Alligin's Munro summits and provides simply astonishing views in all directions. Close by is the great cleft of Eag Dhubh, while the summit can easily be linked to the scrambling fun found on the Horns of Alligin.

My Favourite Hike Collection

To see the other hikes in the series on komoot, click on the Collection below... 

My Favourite Hike

(Image credit: Future)
Nicola Hardy