Walk up Arkle
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.
|17.8 km||1013 m||5-6 hours|
Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
Start and Finish: The parking area adjacent to the A838 at grid reference NC296402
Nearest at Scourie (21kms)
Check out the businesses nearby for more places to stay and drink.
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.
None to the start/finish.Traveline for UK Public Transport
Parking and Post Code for Sat Nav (where applicable): n/a
Free parking at start/finish
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Walk up Arkle Route Map and GPX Download
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Walk up Arkle Details
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.
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.
The path takes you between the split boulder and then rises through the pine plantation.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.