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South Glenshiel Ridge 4 Eastern munros

South Glenshiel Ridge 4 Eastern munros

Postby gld73 » Wed Apr 28, 2021 8:38 pm

Route description: South Glen Shiel Ridge: 7 Munros

Munros included on this walk: Aonach Air Chrith, Creag a'Mhàim, Druim Shionnach, Maol chinn-dearg

Date walked: 22/04/2021

Time taken: 6.9 hours

Distance: 21 km

Ascent: 1440m

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Sitting having breakfast at home, I was still trying to decide where to go mid morning. Weather conditions were excellent everywhere, the only potential challenges would be snow remaining on very high ground, and river/burn crossings anywhere where snow melt was in full flow. It was very much a last minute decision to head for the Glenshiel area, and I was later kicking myself for not being more organised about it and getting the whole ridge done in the near-perfect conditions. But regrets aside, it was still a cracking day, and nice to find a good route to get up/down the ridge mid way and do a circular walk.

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Anyway, parking in the almost-empty small parking area just east of the Cluanie Inn I still wasn't entirely sure if I'd get a munro done, maybe 2 or 3, or just do the adjacent corbett Beinn Loinne instead. I decided to make my way up and make the choice further up. I took the longer route round the east side of Creag a'Mhaim to take the zig zagging path up as the shorter, steeper route branching off the track earlier had looked from a distance like it headed up into the underside of a cornice. The path made for a straightforward ascent to the first munro summit and I could see that the route along the ridge to the next summit was clear so I continued on.
View of the ridge from the parking area - promising blue skies!

Continuing up the track to skirt around the east side of Carn a'Mhaim

Couldn't miss the start of the path up

Beinn Loinne - I'll come back and do the corbett another time

Fab views south to the Loch Quoich munros of Spidean Mialach and Gleouraich as I headed up the path

First summit - Carn a'Mhaim, with the ridge stretching west

...and to the east down Loch Cluanie

...and south again to Loch Quoich munros

Setting off for the second munro, view into Coire nan Leac

Druim Shionnach, munro number 2, was duly summited and I was really enjoying the walk. With no inclination to head down, I continued on to number 3, Aonach Air Chrith. By now I was regretting not looking up the bus times along the A87 for either the start or end of the walk and setting off earlier in order to do the full ridge. I also wasn't rationing the 2 litres of water I'd taken with me so that was also far too depleted by now to last another 4 munros. Still, it would last to the next one I decided. I took the steep rocky down bit very carefully; I'd only seen one other person on the ridge all day (he'd been going west to east) so didn't fancy my chances of help if I slipped!
Looking back along the ridge to Carn a'Mhaim

..and then also from the summit of the second munro, Druim Shionnach

...and ahead to number 3

Getting nearer no.3, Aonach Air Chrith, highest of the 7 Glenshiel Ridge munros

Aonach Air Chrith summit

Direct descent down from Aonach Air Chrith by Druim na Ciche looked a bit too scrambly, so it was a good excuse to continue on to number 4 :)

A steeper, rockier section to get down lay ahead on this next leg ..

...but took it slowly and got to look back at it and admire the view!

Still looking back at it! (and Aonach Air Chrith,)

At munro number 4, Maol Chinn-Dearg, I reluctantly had to accept this would be the end of the ridge for me today. I sat and had my sandwich, loathe to descend, and studied the map, checking that I was at a good place for getting back down to the A87. The map looked like Druim Coire nan Eirecheanach was as good a route as any to leave the ridge around here, and I was pleasantly surprised to find a worn path leading down, confirming it as a suitable up/down option (my map just showed the dotted line of a path at the bottom, not heading all the way up to the main ridge).
The fourth and, sadly, final summit for today, Maol chinn-dearg

Would have loved to continue on to number 5 ... :(

Descent route down Druim Coire nan Eirecheanach

It was a tough descent on the knees, then the zig zag path towards the bottom half helped ease the gradient. Somehow though, I failed to take a zig after a zag, or a zag after a zig and lost the perfectly good, clear path. It's a skill I have. I was low enough down by now not to really care, I could easily head to the road still, but I did end up briefly in a steep sided gully before deciding the sound of fast running water in an adjoining gully was a much more appealing option for refilling a water bottle. After downing half a litre of Glenshiel Snow Melt 2021 vintage far too fast and getting an ice cream headache, I was off again, joining the path marked on the map and up onto the grass verge of the A87.
Heading down into a gully - I should have been over to the right on higher ground still if I'd managed to stay on the path, but I was in sight of the road so just headed for that (A87 running along the bottom of the forestry area in the picture)

I took a detour even further left to get to the fast running water as I was needing a drink again by now

I found the path again as I headed up to the verge by the road - this is looking back south at that point, a clear path to follow from the road, which passes an estate information board.

A walk alongside a main road is never a great option, but it was surprisingly benign on this occasion - the last week of little traffic on the road, an easy grass verge to walk on all the way from this point, and resurfacing work being done overnight meant that 30mph restrictions were still in place during the day so anything that did pass passed me slowly.

So back at the car in under 7 hours for 4 munros, a brilliant day, and actually a good, easily manageable route if you want to be self sufficient with transport and not use a second car, bus or bike as would probably be needed if doing the whole length of the ridge.

Shame I was working the next day otherwise I'd have been back to do the remaining three munros immediately!
Posts: 535
Munros:135   Corbetts:54
Grahams:50   Donalds:6
Sub 2000:61   Hewitts:42
Wainwrights:58   Islands:13
Joined: Aug 11, 2015
Location: Inverness

Re: South Glenshiel Ridge 4 Eastern munros

Postby aaquater » Wed Apr 28, 2021 9:30 pm

Looks amazing! Hard to say if the snow masks or accentuates the contrast between the ridge's northern and southern sides - but at least it seemed to stay out of the way and not interfere with walking :D
Posts: 41
Munros:40   Corbetts:23
Grahams:21   Donalds:12
Sub 2000:19   
Joined: Jul 8, 2019

Re: South Glenshiel Ridge 4 Eastern munros

Postby Coop » Thu Apr 29, 2021 4:23 pm

Hey well in G, I've yet to meet anyone who went up that " shorter steeper route" at the start.
Enjoy the peace and quiet on the roads just now.
I was out today and every campervan, caravan , car towing a boat and motor home in existence seems to be heading north up the A82 - no doubt its the same on the A9
Mountain Walker
Posts: 1128
Munros:273   Corbetts:119
Grahams:61   Donalds:82
Sub 2000:7   
Joined: Jun 5, 2016
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