Coulin Circuit

By James Carron

The Coulin Circuit provides a taste of Torridon's dramatic mountain scenery. Here are the most southerly upthrusts of Torridonian geology, a bold landscape of competing sandstone and quartzite layers revealing uniquely impressive upland scenery. The route climbs from Glen Carron into this spectacular landscape, riddled with bubbling burns, leaping white waterfalls and quiet ancient woodlands.

From the phone box on the A890, follow the track up to Achnashellach railway station. Cross the line at the gated level crossing and turn left at a three-way junction of forest roads. A level track runs for three quarters of a kilometre to reach a culverted stream at its end. Turn left here and a path heads through the trees for a short distance to reach a riverside path. Join this, turn right, and a little way on the route emerges from the woodland. It rises quite steeply past first one waterfall and then another coursing down through a rocky gorge.

The path leaves the company of the River Lair as it climbs steadily towards the entrance of Coire Lair. Bear right at the first cairned junction you reach - just beyond another waterfall down to the left - and, when the path forks around 100 metres on, go right again. and climb gently over boulder strewn ground into the wide bealach - sitting at just under 400 metres above sea level - below the south-eastern flank of Beinn Liath Mhor.

With the highest point of the route now reached, the path descends towards the Easan Dorcha (translates as 'dark waterfalls'). Three kilometres from the col, a bridge crosses the burn and an MBA-maintained bothy is reached. The charming but tiny wooden shed is called Easan Dorcha, after the stream, but is known as the 'tea hut' due to the fact it is more suited to a sheltered brew stop than an overnight stay and has long been used by estate workers and walkers for this purpose.

A good track follows the Scots Pine flanked Easan Dorcha down the glen from the bothy to a junction a kilometre and a half away where there are marvellous views north to the Torridon mountain of Beinn Eighe. Go right here, crossing a stone bridge over the river, and the track climbs steadily south to reach the Coulin Pass at 286 metres above sea level. The ancient Coulin Pass right of way runs from Glen Torridon to Glen Carron and is a grand walk for those who can organise transport at either end.

Once over, the route drops into Achnashellach Forest, entering the trees at a stile by a gate. The track curves down before heading west for the final two kilometres back to Achnashellach Station and the end of the route.


Distance 8 miles/13km.
Map OS Landranger sheet 25.
Start Phone box at Achnashellach on A890. GR: NH 005484.
Parking Spaces at start.
Grading Good tracks and paths on well graded route through rugged terrain. Stalking takes place from August to the end of October.