walkhighlands

Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

Back to the Start - Kintail part II: The Five Sisters

Back to the Start - Kintail part II: The Five Sisters


Postby Grisu » Thu Jan 28, 2021 2:22 pm

Route description: Five Sisters of Kintail

Munros included on this walk: Sgùrr Fhuaran, Sgùrr na Càrnach, Sgùrr na Ciste Duibhe

Date walked: 08/08/2020

Time taken: 9 hours

Distance: 16 km

Ascent: 2731m

7 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

Only two days after the Brothers Ridge (see if you like: https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=102874) I was back for another amazing day out in Kintail.
I parked my car at the parking for walkers in Ault a' Chruinn and cycled up the Glen to the start of the walk.
20200808_102938690.jpg
parking for walkers at Ault a'Chruinn

With the rising sun it became quite warm in some parts but it was still chilly in the shadow of the mountains, and with all the traffic around it was not as enjoyable as two days before when I have cycled along the quite road from Cluanie Inn back to the parking in the evening. The 13 km took me 45 minutes.
I locked my bike and pretty confidently that I won't miss the path up to the Bealach na Lapain again, I started the steep ascent.
IMG_1142 php690.jpg
bike locked at the sign

But guess what happened? I missed the turn, didn't see any signs or hints :roll:
I can't say why I kept going althoug it was clear that the path was leading me too far southeast. I think I was hoping for an exit which would not be so steep. I really wasn't eager to go up the steep slopes cross country again as I have done already two days before. :?
strava 1.png
missed the right turn and followed the wrong path

I was quite desperate about this and my spirits became very low while the sun became relentlessly hot.
Meanwhile I already had crossed several small burns when I came acrosse another burn which was quite steep and very muddy on each side --
I slipped badly and the pain was breathtaking. :shock:
A look at my left shinbone nearly made me faint. On my right upper leg the muscle was badly torn and the skin looked as if it had been maltreated with a wire brush.
Keep going, Keep going was the only thought I could cling to. Taking deep breaths and doing one slow step after another I tried to fight the pain and the panic. For a moment I considered going back to the parking but then I decided to go straight up, I simply didn't want to miss this walk on a day like this.
It was a struggle and some slopes had been so steep that I only could move forward on all fours. But this way I got distracted from the pain and kept my legs moving. I think I would not have been able to do one further step if I had sat down after I have slipped.
It is quite nerveracking when you can't see when it's over, because of the steepness. Finally after 3.2 kilometers which had been the longest in my life so far, I think, and 1 hour and 40 minutes which still feels like an eternity, I finally reached the cairn at the Bealach an Làpain where I cared for my wounds.
It was the first time I had to get out my first aid kid and I was happy that I had it with me.
IMG_1174 php690.jpg
clean, neat and well protected now

The pain was not too bad but I was worried about the wound at my shinbone which was quite deep and looked pretty disconcerting. But I tried to put all worries aside, telling myself everything will be fine and as long as I can keep going it can't be too bad, right?
I was lucky. I didn't get an infection but it took several weeks until the wound was closed and some more until it was finally healed. Meanwhile only a faint mark is left as a reminder of how quick these things can happen.
Still with mixed spirits I continued my walk along this great ridge up and down the rough undulating path but with no further complication, my legs kept going and after a little while I started enjoying the walk and the fantastic views around, I hope you'll enjoy the pictures:
IMG_1145 php690.jpg
looking back to the Brothers Ridge, my walk two days ago

IMG_1147 view ahead php690.jpg
very impressive outlook towards what was lying ahead this day.

IMG_1150 php690.jpg
and a close up with Sgurr na Ciste Duibhe to the left, Sgùrr na Carnach in the middle and Sgùrr Fhuaran to the right

IMG_1151 php690.jpg
The route was very rocky.

IMG_1154 php690.jpg
passing steep cliffs with great views down

IMG_1156 php690.jpg
view between two crags towards Sgùrr na Carnach and Sgùrr Fhuaran

The walk to Sgùrr nan Spainteach was long, pretty rough, and it was a bit disappoiting that this top is not a munro after all the effort.
20200808_144256690.jpg
Cairn at Sgùrr na Spainteach, looking southeast

20200808_144313 690.jpg
... and to the northwest

IMG_1162 php690.jpg
looking back to Sgùrr na Spainteach

IMG_1158 php690.jpg
some steep scramble down

IMG_1161 php690.jpg
and across to the left to tackle the next steep and rocky ascent for the first munro

IMG_1165 php690.jpg
These little pinnacles look a bit delicate and like a decoration to me.

IMG_1166 php690.jpg
the massiv cairn of today's first munro: Sgùrr na Ciste Duibhe

IMG_1170 php690.jpg
The Cuillins of Skye

IMG_1171 php690.jpg
Ben Nevis

IMG_1172 php690.jpg
Looking back southeast

IMG_1173 php690.jpg
... and to the west, I wish I could name the mountains

IMG_1175 php690.jpg
another shot of Loch Duich and the Cuillins

IMG_1178 php690.jpg
Passing a campsite with young people enjoying their freedom after the lockdown, hopefully.

IMG_1168 php690.jpg
superbe views towards Loch Duich and the next destinations

I can't remember any details other than that it was very warm and after the long undulating overture at the beginning the following munros had been reached realtively quick but nevertheless the ascents and descents had been very steep each time, rough and bouldery.
However, it didn't take me too long until I reached the second munro. The views had been almost the same but still amazing and I took my time to inhale this great scenery.
IMG_1189 php690.jpg
the second munro: Sgurr na Carnach and the next one in front

IMG_1188 php690.jpg
a glimpse of the interesting shape of the cliffs of Sgurr nan Saighead

IMG_1202 view to Fharan php690.jpg
and off to the next

IMG_1206 Cairn Fhurarn Skye php690.jpg
Cairn of Sgurr Fhuaran with view to the Cuillins of Skye

IMG_1219  Run and Sky Cuillins form Fhuaran php690.jpg
another one including the Cuillins of Rùm
The Cuillins are always fascinating me and I hardly can take my eyes off

For a moment I was thinking about leaving the ridge at this point, but then I decided against, because I didn't really fancy to walk along the road back to the car.
So I contiuned along the norhtwest ridge, but leaving out the next peaks of Sgurr nan Saighead and Beinn Bhuidhe, feeling too exhausted after my accident in the morning and several hours of walking in the sun (not that I would complain about this!).
IMG_1222 Sgurr nan Saighead php690.jpg
the cliffs of Sgùrr nan Saighead

So what can I say about the descent? It was even longer than the one down the Brothers Ridge to Cluanie Inn but I tried to enjoy the views over Loch Duich in front of me and the sunset as good as a could.
IMG_1220  ridge view back to Fhuaranphp690.jpg
looking back while following the northwest ridge

IMG_1223 descending now php690.jpg
the way down seemed to be a never ending story

20200808_180327690.jpg
having fun with my companion

Since I was on the last munro I have heard voices from time to time but couldn't see anybody. Finally, after I have passed Sgùrr nan Saighead I saw walkers coming down behind me. We didn't socialize but they were going the same direction like me until they suddenly turned left which made me feel a bit uneasy. But a look at my map told me that I had to follow the path and try to find the crossing over Allt a' Chruinn to the left, definitely!
While the path was quite nice at the beginning, further down the ground became more and more boggy and the path petered out several times until finally I had to go over rough boggy ground with thick heather and peathags before I could cross the Allt a' Chruinn to get on a propper path parallel to this burn. Shortly after the crossing two runners passed me and they were out of sight in no time while it still took me almost an hour to reach the road of the little village.
Apart from another couple which was scrambling some steep rocks up while I tried to find my way down, the two walkers from Sgùrr nan Saighead and the two runners, I only met a woman with whom I had a little chat, although it was such a perfect sunny day for walking.
20200808_201452690.jpg
never ending story

After 2 hours and a half since I have left the last munro I finally arrived at the parking and the sun was casting a nice warm light on the mountain leaving a peaceful and reconciliatory impression at the end of another adventurous day.
strava 2.png
https://www.strava.com/activities/3884538547

20200808_205433690.jpg
Goodbye mountain and thanks for this day!

I was very happy being back at my car safe and in one piece. I said good by to the mountain and then drove back to get my bike.
It was changing day and from the parking I drove further on to East Craigdhu, between Struy and Beauly, were I arrived at the new cottage around 11pm, looking foward for a decent shower and a cosy bed. zzz
User avatar
Grisu
Walker
 
Posts: 262
Munros:57   Corbetts:2
Grahams:1   
Hewitts:33
Wainwrights:27   
Joined: Mar 13, 2017
Location: Ostfriesland, Germany (Eastfrisia)

Re: Back to the Start - Kintail part II: The Five Sisters

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Thu Jan 28, 2021 7:46 pm

Well done on completing this challenging route with an injury, I'm not sure I would have made the same decision, but I'm glad for you that it worked out well. Kintail is a really stunning area and your photos bring back some very happy memories, thank you :D :D
User avatar
Huff_n_Puff
Walker
 
Posts: 1061
Munros:271   Corbetts:19
Grahams:9   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:19   Hewitts:5
Wainwrights:1   Islands:19
Joined: Apr 13, 2012

Re: Back to the Start - Kintail part II: The Five Sisters

Postby past my sell by date » Fri Jan 29, 2021 6:24 pm

Nice Report and pics - ! was 17 when I did the Five sisters - with the school "Rovers". :)
You really DO need to start using poles - like almost everyone else! They may not prevent falls, but they do mitigate them and help you avoid serious injury :(
past my sell by date
Mountaineer
 
Posts: 884
Munros:282   Corbetts:85
Grahams:27   Donalds:6
Sub 2000:6   Hewitts:145
Wainwrights:159   
Joined: Apr 24, 2013

Re: Back to the Start - Kintail part II: The Five Sisters

Postby scottnairn » Fri Jan 29, 2021 10:42 pm

Agree with above comment - poles make life so much easier, especially on the longer, more tiring and more challenging hill walks!

Looked like a great day to tackle it - and good to see there's ample scrambly goodness as well as room to park a tent for a summit over-nighter!

Grand stuff, all the best :D
Scott
User avatar
scottnairn
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 29
Munros:64   Corbetts:30
Grahams:9   
Sub 2000:4   Hewitts:1
Wainwrights:1   Islands:3
Joined: Jun 25, 2015
Location: Nurn

Re: Back to the Start - Kintail part II: The Five Sisters

Postby HalfManHalfTitanium » Mon Feb 01, 2021 7:30 pm

Fantastic photos! Such a shame about the injury.

Tim
User avatar
HalfManHalfTitanium
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1806
Munros:106   Corbetts:13
Grahams:2   Donalds:2
Hewitts:148
Wainwrights:103   
Joined: Mar 11, 2015

Re: Back to the Start - Kintail part II: The Five Sisters

Postby Grisu » Wed Feb 03, 2021 5:23 pm

past my sell by date wrote:Nice Report and pics - ! was 17 when I did the Five sisters - with the school "Rovers". :)
You really DO need to start using poles - like almost everyone else! They may not prevent falls, but they do mitigate them and help you avoid serious injury :(


scottnairn wrote:Agree with above comment - poles make life so much easier, especially on the longer, more tiring and more challenging hill walks!
Looked like a great day to tackle it - and good to see there's ample scrambly goodness as well as room to park a tent for a summit over-nighter!
Grand stuff, all the best :D Scott


Huff_n_Puff wrote:Well done on completing this challenging route with an injury, I'm not sure I would have made the same decision, but I'm glad for you that it worked out well. Kintail is a really stunning area and your photos bring back some very happy memories, thank you :D :D


HalfManHalfTitanium wrote:Fantastic photos! Such a shame about the injury.
Tim


Hello everybody, and thanks for your comments :D :D
About the poles - they would have been of no use at this burn, I simply should have turned around, it was obvious that I was going into the wrong direction (but I hate to turn around :-x ).
Luckily everything has healed without any complication and it is so far a great walk to remember and an area I definitely became hooked on.
Stay safe!
User avatar
Grisu
Walker
 
Posts: 262
Munros:57   Corbetts:2
Grahams:1   
Hewitts:33
Wainwrights:27   
Joined: Mar 13, 2017
Location: Ostfriesland, Germany (Eastfrisia)

Re: Back to the Start - Kintail part II: The Five Sisters

Postby past my sell by date » Wed Feb 03, 2021 5:49 pm

Hello everybody, and thanks for your comments :D :D
About the poles - they would have been of no use at this burn, I simply should have turned around, it was obvious that I was going into the wrong direction (but I hate to turn around :-x ).
Luckily everything has healed without any complication and it is so far a great walk to remember and an area I definitely became hooked on.
Stay safe![/quote]
They STILL slow down your falls and reduce the scale of your injuries
past my sell by date
Mountaineer
 
Posts: 884
Munros:282   Corbetts:85
Grahams:27   Donalds:6
Sub 2000:6   Hewitts:145
Wainwrights:159   
Joined: Apr 24, 2013

Re: Back to the Start - Kintail part II: The Five Sisters

Postby dav2930 » Thu Feb 04, 2021 12:47 pm

What a great report and beautiful photos. Such a superb walk. That took determination to overcome the pain of your injury and keep going. I'm sure the whole experience will have far outweighed the temporary discomfort and route-error. Days like that are remembered for years, while pain is soon forgotten. :clap: :)
User avatar
dav2930
Ambler
 
Posts: 1487
Munros:241   Corbetts:13
Grahams:16   Donalds:45
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:163
Wainwrights:214   Islands:2
Joined: Feb 13, 2015
Location: Cumbria

Re: Back to the Start - Kintail part II: The Five Sisters

Postby Grisu » Mon Feb 08, 2021 10:52 am

dav2930 wrote:What a great report and beautiful photos. Such a superb walk. That took determination to overcome the pain of your injury and keep going. I'm sure the whole experience will have far outweighed the temporary discomfort and route-error. Days like that are remembered for years, while pain is soon forgotten. :clap: :)

Hi dav2930!
Thanks for your comment, I am happy you enjoyed the pics!
Meanwhile there are some walks with special events and memories and this one certainly belongs to that category. In addition this ridge walk on such a super day in such a crazy time makes it a real treasure.
And in the meantime I got to know some different places in Scotland and each time I thought: Wow, but there is something special about Kintail, I still don't know how to describe.
I have booked another holiday for summer there and hope I'll will be able to come back and find out this year. :D
Cheers!
User avatar
Grisu
Walker
 
Posts: 262
Munros:57   Corbetts:2
Grahams:1   
Hewitts:33
Wainwrights:27   
Joined: Mar 13, 2017
Location: Ostfriesland, Germany (Eastfrisia)

7 people think this report is great.
Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).




Walkhighlands community forum is advert free


Your generosity keeps this site running.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by donating by direct debit?



Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: dogplodder and 92 guests