SEANA BHRAIGH is one of the great Scottish mountains.
This remote and stately Munro stands in true wilderness country, deep in the heart of Ross-shire, miles from any road.
It’s not one of the calendar pin-ups like Buachaille Etive Mor or Schiehallion, instantly recognisable to non-mountaineers all over the country.
But Seana Bhraigh is loved by those who know her well, and adding to the appeal is the fact there is not one but two fabulous routes to reach the summit.
I first climbed Seana Bhraigh (the old height) from Inverlael, just off the A835 south of Ullapool. I had driven up from Glasgow after work and started out on the forestry track at around 2.30am in darkness.
After a few twists and turns on the lead-in, the track soon zigzags uphill before becoming a fine stalker’s path which meanders gently over open moorland with the serrated shadow of An Teallach as a backdrop.
On the way, there’s a river to cross which can be problematic in spate conditions. The first time I came in this way I boulder-hopped over without a second thought and without getting my feet wet, such an insignificance that I never imagined it would ever be a hazard.
But on another visit I was puzzled to hear a roaring like Niagara as we approached. Suddenly we were confronted by a raging torrent that had failed to register last time. It was impossible to cross and we had to travel further upstream and then wade the waters thigh-deep.
Eventually the path brings you to a succession of little lochs laid out like a string of pearls. On this particular morning, they were glistening in the wakening light and the grass all around was a sea of bright yellow.
Next comes the crux of the walk, a descent into pathless, featureless terrain which can be a nightmare in thick weather - a real test of your navigation skills.
In good visibility, however, there are no problems and after a fairly gentle ascent of the grassy slope I was sitting on the summit with just a few wild goats on the mooch for an early breakfast bonus.
With the early mists swirling around below me, the whole place was bathed in a brilliant white by the brightness of the sun, a bleached-out landscape.
A few years later, I decided to revisit the hill this time coming in from the north at Duag Bridge.
You can cycle in from here or drive for an extra few miles to Corriemulzie Lodge. Either way it’s hard going. The track is rough and pot-holed and it’s a real bone-shaking ride, and, as it was January, there was also a lot of hard snow and icy patches to contend with.
But any grumbles on the way in are soon forgotten as you start following the track beside the Corriemulzie River and catch the first glimpses of your target.
Seana Bhraigh appears on the horizon like a fairytale castle, drawing you ever onward with promises of greater pleasures.
A high-level circuit of the Luchd Corrie, taking in the pointed peak of An Sgurr, puts you in some sensational situations and all the time the views are breathtaking.
On balance the northern approach to this grand old hill is my favourite but it’s a close-run thing. Either way you can be sure of a grand day out.
(First published Daily Record, May 2, 2013).