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Walk up Arkle

By Ian Tupman   

on November 17, 2018    No ratings yet.

Posted as a walk in – Europe, Scotland, Sutherland and Caithness

Walk up Arkle

Further Details

Route Summary:

An easy walk in on a track followed by a long ascent over rough and pathless ground to the summit ridge. Superb traverse of a rocky ridge with views in all directions.

This walk includes the Corbett of Arkle

Route Start Location: The parking area adjacent to the A838 at grid reference NC296402

17.82 km 1015 m 5-6 hours

Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.

Activivity Type: Hard Walk

Summits and Places on this Route


Nearest at Scourie (21kms)


The summit ridge is narrow for a short section which requires some easy scrambling. Care is required if the rock is wet or in windy conditions.

The summit plateau and ridge are probably best avoided in mist unless you possess good navigational skills.

Remember that we cannot outline every single hazard on a walk – it’s up to you to be safe and competent. Read up on Mountain Safety , Navigation and what equipment you’ll need.

Parking : n/a

Free parking at start/finish

Public Transport:

None to the start/finish.

Traveline for UK Public Transport

Recommended Maps


Walk up Arkle Ordnance Survey Map and GPX File Download

Download file for GPS

Walk up Arkle

An ascent of this impressive mountain with an easy approach followed by mainly pathless terrain and a rocky ridge traverse to the main summit of Arkle.

Walk up Arkle Route Description

Park at the large parking area where the estate track leaves the A838 approximately 1.5km north of Achfary.

Walk up the track and cross a relatively new bridge. Continue past the lodge at Airdachuilinn.

Surfaced road leading to shooting lodge. Arkle beyond

Beyond the lodge the track becomes rougher. Continue and pass a low storage shed and bothy. Just after the bothy take the path on the left which leads over the timber bridge.

Take the path which crosses the timber bridge

The path takes you between the split boulder and then rises through the pine plantation.

Pass through the split boulder

Continue on the track as it gently climbs above the left side of the Allt Horn. Looking back there is a fine view of Ben Stack.

Ben Stac and Loch Stack

When the track dips to cross a stream continue for 20 metres and take the faint path which climbs steeply up the bank on the left. The path disappears and reappears but the aim is to keep above and parallel to the stream on the left.

The stream eventually swings north-west so continue parallel to it, gaining height all the time. The gradient eases and the route crosses the large rocky plateau to reach the east summit at 758m.

The superb ridge from the east summit

The view of Foinaven is spectacular and with clear conditions the Isle of Lewis is visible on the western horizon with the main peaks of Assynt also visible including Ben Stack ans Quinag.

Looking south-west. Ben Stack and Quinag beyond

From the east summit head west north-west passing a smaller cairn which marks the descent path. Continue down to cross a col and climb again to the main ridge. There is a short, slightly exposed scrambling section where care is needed if the quartzite rock is wet.

The ‘limestone pavement’

The ridge then broadens as it crosses what looks like a limestone pavement and then broadens further as the route swings north to arrive at the west summit of Arkle at 787m.

Approaching the west summit

Again the views are stunning but on a windy day the summit cairn provides little shelter.

From the summit, unless you enjoy descending steep rock and scree followed by boggy ground, it is best to reverse the ascent route.

Returning along the ridge

It is unlikely that you will exactly follow your route of ascent but the idea is to keep parallel to the stream on the right and stay high before dropping down to cross it where it swings south. Climb over the boulders on the other side and keep high until picking up the faint path which will bring you back down to the estate track. From there simply follow the track back to the parking area at the main road.

Ian lives In Ardrossan and being only a fifty five minutes ferry crossing to Brodick, the Isle of Arran is his 'back yard'. He knows the mountains of the north of the island well and has walked every permutation of routes over the various summits. He is now spending more time further north exploring the Cairngorms, the far north-west and the mountains of the west of Scotland.

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