This was to be our last munro day in Kintail for this holiday, and we had our “sea legs” by this point, so set our sights on these two beasties off the side of the A87 from Loch Cluanie. As is customary in Kintail, we began with a very steep ascent off the road. But having taken on Beinn Sgritheall the other day, we found the path comparatively easier going, despite the aggressive incline.
The weather was pleasingly dramatic, as we headed up through some lovely low level mist coming off the loch. Reaching the bealach after a 1h30 climb, we could see the path up the ridge to the left, set on a much easier gradient and a pretty good path. We were expecting fewer obstacles and difficulty today, so took our time, hoping the thick cloud that had developed would shift! Another 1h15 climb saw us at the impressive submit cairn of A’ Charaliag - but no views to be seen.
Having lingered on the top for coffee and shortbread, the cloud started to lift as we headed down via the ridge connecting the two munros. Now we had some mountain views! Excited to see the Five Sisters route from earlier in the week, and failing to identify which Torridon peak was which, we also had a good view of the Cuillin.
The ridge up to the second munro is rocky and spiky, but the path neatly avoids the rock towers, and we enjoyed a nice long lunch on the second munro. You have to retrace your steps at this point to get back to the col, but without too many complaints, we were soon heading down the path towards the valley floor.
It was amazing to hear the stags bellowing as we made our way through the bog, and we could see 50+ deer on the other side of the valley. The path here is faint! We knew we should head left, to avoid too much unnecessary descent, and were pleased to follow the path round the corner, with one or two accidental bog slides from both members of the party. Reaching the “dirt track” at the bottom didn’t provide much more relief, and it was a slow 2 miles back to the car! However we enjoyed walking through the rugged mountainside, and felt like we had the valley to ourselves.
Approaching the car we saw a mystery bird - baby eagle (lol) or honey(?!) buzzard?! And had fun chasing it along the road to end the walk at 1830. Another excellent day in the hills, albeit longer than we might have hoped, and pleased to tick another two off the list.
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