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Return to the Cluanie 3

Return to the Cluanie 3

Postby GillC » Sat May 29, 2021 5:07 pm

Route description: Sgùrr nan Conbhairean, Càrn Ghluasaid and Sàil Chaorainn

Munros included on this walk: Càrn Ghluasaid, Sàil Chaorainn, Sgùrr nan Conbhairean

Date walked: 29/05/2021

Time taken: 8 hours

Distance: 17 km

Ascent: 1322m

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With the bank holiday weekend approaching, I had been thinking on going to the Grey Corries with Heather and David, but John was due a weekend away so I was happy to go along with his plans for Kintail. Packed up the van and headed off late afternoon, dinner stop at the Fort then on up to Cluanie. Parked up in the car park at Lundie and set up for the night. Had a lovely walk down to the lochside in the evening sun, still chilly with the breeze coming in over the loch so puffas on.

The plan was to do the trio but John had been considering adding on A' Chralaig and Mullach Froach Coire too,,,,me,,,,not so sure lol.

Heading out

We were up, fed and headed off just after 8am on the old military track up to the wee radio mast. We saw a couple of individuals head off ahead of us and we leapfrogged one girl and her dog constantly on the way up,,all day in fact lol :D

Looking back down Cluanie from the path

Over to the South Shiel Ridge

As we climbed up, the tops were still shrouded in clouds but we could still see pretty good views. The South Shiel Ridge was also tantalising with a wee head of cloud, considering this for tomorrow. The rocky zig zigs taking you up through Coire nan Clach keep it interesting and easy just to chip away at the ascent.

Up towards Carn Ghluasaid

Great wee path up

You gain height fairly quickly on this one. Turning east, the gradient eases and you climb easily up and over to the first Munro, Carn Ghluasaid at 957 mtrs.

Over to the summit

Made it

Contemplation at its best

The visibility was fine here now, but it was a chilly wind and the tshirts just weren't cutting it, fleece time. Had a wee 20min break, enjoying the views although there was a bit of cloud swirling around the higher tops (this is the lowest of the 3 by some 50mtrs)

Headed off NW around the rim of the coires. Snow was sliding off the tops so no issue walking but it wouldn't be hanging around there long in the next few days as the forecast was for high temps.

Keep above the coire and the slipping snow

Looking back to the first summit, under cloud again

As you ascend towards Munro #2, you get good views of the descent ridge under Drochaid an Tuill Easaich which i had descended in horrendous rain on my last visit.

The summit of Sgurr nan Conbhairean is reached easily on a long incline around the coire below to the right but again, the clouds were swirling around the higher summits and down into the coires. It was a pretty cold wind now as we reached the summit, layered up, switched from the sun hat to something a tad cosier, buff, gloves,,the lot. A reasonable sized cairn with a wee shelter spot. Had another wee break sitting here enjoying the surroundings from the the edge of the Coire. We had seen a few others around, behind, ahead etc but we were pretty much on our own at the summits and while walking, just people in the distance or hi in passing.

Second Munro and weather turned a tad wintery

John walking off the edge lol

Dropping off Conbhairean we could see Sail Chaorainn off in the distance, it looked a seriously long way out :shock: :shock: :shock:

Path out to #3

Nothing for it but to stride down and out. Again you just descend around the Coire nan Lochan Uaine. Looking back, Conbhairean was disappearing and reappearing under swirling cloud and the 2 neighbouring summits to the West were still subbornly wearing their cloud caps too.

Looking back at Conbhairean as we headed out to #3

We saw a bird dotting around in the rocks, got a couple of pics,,any ideas what this is?

A wee birdie in a waistcoat

It's a great easy path over to Chaorainn and we reached the summit (1002mtrs) must have been about 1pm. There is another top further out at 1001mtrs but the first wee cairn is the summit, so fine to have a break here. I was toying with the idea of joining John on the other two, and he was toying with the idea of not doing them at all hahaha. Met up with the girl and her dog here again too.

3rd Munro of the day and its only lunchtime

Heading back to retrace our steps is where it starts to feel a bit of a labour.

Conbhairean out of the cloud again and easy to see our slog back

To get to the descent, you have to climb almost the whole way back up to the second Munro before turning West at a small cairn. It's quite a slog lol

Reaching the marker cairn, we had another chat about A' Chralaig and pal,,,both of which were now free of cloud. I was still considering even adding A' C but then decided I was having a good day and didn't want to push it. It did look a long way off with Fraoch Coire even further out.

A' Chralaig coming out of the cloud

Contemplating the next two above the ridge of my descent.

Headed off towards Drochaid an Tuill Easaich and around the top of Gorm Lochan, said cheery bye to John at 2:15pm as he continued along the ridge to the North West towards A' Chralaig as I headed South down the easy ridge before turning East at Meall Breac and onto the much steeper, grassier (pathless) descent towards the confluence of the Coire Lair and nan Clach burns. My feet had been great all day,, very unusual lol But one slight twist in a step and I felt the old "flare" of the neuroma issue in my right foot. Worked on keeping my points of impact from the mid foot to heel I managed to prevent it getting any worse but was a bit ouchy.

It was pathless here and I get the feeling I turned East a little early but I could see my target for the river crossing so just picked my way down. Leading with the ouchy foot reduces the impact and pain there too, all good.

On my last trip here on my own, the rain had started on summit 3 and by now was torrential and the river crossing was in doubt so I had continued down on the West of the bouncing burn to the trees almost down at the road where the crossing was still a bit dodgy lol. This time, I was able to cross easily just after the streams meet then off down to pick up the improving path towards the old military road which leads back up and round the hill to the original path of ascent and the wee radio mast.

The track improves well before you reach the military road and to be honest, you are only yards from the A87road. I considered the two return options and decided to head for the main road instead of the rocky track round the hill (which involved a little more up)

Just before the road, I spotted a fab spot for an overnighter. A stone hearth and a grating shows this is quite well used for either camping or van stops. Brilliant spot so I had a look around for any evidence it was private or no access but there wasn't any. Checked the fence posts on the track at the bottom and again, nothing to say private access etc. Sussed out the van would easily reach this and reverse in for a fab spot. The entrance is hard to see so I took note of where i was, trees etc and headed out along the road to the car park ,,,the walk along the A87 took about half an hour, reached the van simply threw my pack in, jumped in and drove off to blag the prime site, hoping no one had nipped in first. Found the entrance, up ,,reversed in and staked my claim.

What a spot

We had a plan for John to let me know when he was off the hills and I would pick him up but i was now about half way along the road so txt initially to say I had moved the van but we were able to speak just as he was leaving the second summit. Didn't want to leave the site in case we lost it lol. I had thought it was a little over 3 km from Johns point of meeting the road to where I was now,,,turns out it was 2.6 miles,,,but hey,,,hes a fit man, so that hours walk was a dawdle to a man of his calibre lol.

Anyway,,hills done, amazing wee spot for a gorgeous evening, a few midges but nothing too bad, a wee campfire involving some singing, pulting a cat (catapulting) then a peaceful nights sleep.

Pulting his cat

Beautiful Sunday morning inversion

Home with 1 tick, several midgie bites, 1 white patch where my watch strap is and a pile of washing.

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Posts: 1545
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