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.

A Circular Kintail Walk

A Circular Kintail Walk

Postby weaselmaster » Sun Aug 22, 2021 11:16 pm

Munros included on this walk: A' Chralaig, Aonach Air Chrith, Aonach Meadhoin, Creag a'Mhàim, Creag nan Dàmh, Druim Shionnach, Maol chinn-dearg, Mullach Fraoch-choire, Sàileag, Sgùrr a' Bhealaich Dheirg, Sgùrr an Doire Leathain, Sgùrr an Lochain

Date walked: 22/08/2021

Distance: 54.2 km

Ascent: 4135m

6 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).

Allison was heading for her holidays (again) in Torridon this week so it seemed sensible to dovetail the hills with her holiday - we would go up to Kintail on Thursday night, then Craig would come and pick her up on Sunday and they could head back up to Torridon. Weather promised to be okay, no storm-like winds. I had drawn up about half a dozen options for what we could do depending on how things went - we'd start with the South Shiel Ridge, maybe continue over Sgurr na Sgine/Saddle; maybe add The Sisters; do the Brothers and maybe add on Mullach Fraoch and A'Chralaig. And a Simm or two :wink:

2021-08-19_2049 Raw.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

With the nights drawing in we only got about 3km along the road to the start of the South Shiel Ridge before we had to stop and select an acceptable spot to pitch - I had previously used a pitch by the bridge as you start up the path to Creag a'Mhaim but I knew there wasn't a lot of choice there and it would be hard to find a spot by head torch. Where we chose was alright, although you could still see the road. The morning was dry, a bit midgy but it looked like there would be cloud on the tops. As we were eating breakfast we heard the footsteps of a walker go past...later on we spotted him taking a direct route up Creag a'Mhaim...seemed a bit daft when there was a perfectly good stalkers path to use, but there you go. We - using the aforementioned path - overtook him just before the top.

ImageABEBAF77-AB33-4F73-BAA7-8FE1234F8152_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageC6D21A55-B704-4B55-A72F-D48BA4EA253B_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Summit Clag
ImageB07229EA-3474-40B2-ACB1-3D533694B761_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

It wasn't a bad day to be out, little wind and you could see down into the glens even if the mist was lying along the ridge for much of the way. We'd last done these hills in 2018, together on an extremely hot day where I had severe toothache - I remember little of that outing :lol: After we passed Maol China Dearg the mist lifted. We met one more person, on the top of the fifth summit, but it seemed really quiet for a reasonable day in mid August. Being lazy this time, we took the bypass for Sgurr Beag as we approached the final Munro. We now had to make a decision...werre we continuing to Sgurr na Sgine and doing the Sisters, or heading down to do the Brothers? With big packs on, the ups and downs of the ridge were taking their toll on knees and other bits and we ended up making the sensible decision to head down off Creag nan Damh and find a spot to camp, doing the Brothers and Mullach/A'Chralaig with the Sisters being left for another day. This allowed us to head down the NW shoulder of Creag nan Damh and to include the Simm of Sgurr a'Chuillin, following a fence line all the way. Lots of stags prowling around the hillside here. I thought this was a reasonably good way off the final Munro, shorter than the standard route and closer to the Cluanie end of the glen if you're walking back up there.

Image4EB8FDBD-1709-4A48-AEE0-F8262DC059DD_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image31730AB2-C088-4DFC-8CCD-F772091E42AC_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageC9C393CC-50DE-4E64-89CD-D52D7DC3FFA7_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image97F0C2B8-839E-4040-84C1-F370CA2CC9A0_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image76418D14-CE20-4A89-B457-99DB3AA2A861_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Sgurr a'Chuillin
Image1854B6FF-4E45-49F1-B1ED-3252FA07B6D2_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image0E9457AF-F18E-41DB-945F-DEAA188BC21E_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image617C1825-F8AD-4664-9905-9ABB82A36636_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageAB1DE042-0A7E-4BA2-9786-A04646321388_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image84DCCBA2-9806-479C-8632-F847BE1ED045_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Anyway we weren't, we - after some struggling - found an almost alright place to pitch in the trees near the road - we could have used a much frequented spot by the river, but suspected it might be in use by others, this being a Friday night and all. Although we could hear the road, the traffic noise was dissipated by the trees and it was quite peaceful, There was enough breeze to let us sit outside to eat out Huel - I spotted a spider that had gathered several tall stalks of grass to form the frame of its web...just sitting there, suspended upside down. Thinking spidery thoughts, no doubt. What do spiders think about?

ImageE3FBCAB8-B281-4375-8D1E-6439242B0AF8_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

In the morning we got the tent packed away and set off across the road to walk maybe a kilometre to the route up to the Brothers via Bealach an Lapain. Allison hadn't been here before, I think I came down here the first time I did the Brothers but that's so long ago I can barely recall it. The first section involved going through wet bracken; the rain came on and off, but it was really too hot climbing up here to keep a waterproof jacket on. It felt a long way :lol: Eventually we did get to the bealach, then the next 200 odd metres to the summit of Saileag. A brazen raven was giving us the flypast as we neared the cairn, then alighted upon it, stalking off with a proprietal air as we arrived.

ImageC5E15A62-C3EB-4351-94AD-19CE28C9AA90_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image28F87CF1-C3D7-4587-AFDA-C7D6A69F8CAB_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageEA5BD9E7-E6B0-4B27-B6C4-7859050A3B01_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageFB3F6883-CAA3-4B6E-A68F-F87230A84AB2_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

We paused for lunch before attempting Sgurr a'Bhealaich Dheirg. As we pressed on along the ridge I noticed one of my boots was falling to bits - hopefully it would hold out for the next 24 hours :shock: Out to the wee crag at the summit of Dheirg, then onwards to Aonach Meadhoin, being passed by a runner, the only person we saw on the hills all day. The rain had started in earnest now, a bit earlier than forecast and the clag descended too. I managed to take the wrong shoulder off Sgurr an Fhurail, meaning we had to contour a bit to get the northern shoulder, not the SE one down to the Cluanie. From here we got glimpses of Bealach a'Choinich, where we were headed and I started to think about where to pitch for the night. I had fears that everywhere would be really sodden, the recent and current rain adding to this. Wanting to leave less mileage for tomorrow, we headed towards the Allt a'Chaorainn Mhoir, although with a bit of a sinking feeling. After scouting about I found a hummock beloved by deer which would just about do. As we started to unpack the rain got even heavier and the midges came out in force - I admit that I howled curses at every midge that had ever been born and told the rain to stop at once...not that it made any difference, but I vented some anger :lol: We spotted a guy walking along the path to the Cluanie in shorts - that looked a bit mental, but he probably had the same thought about us putting up a tent...

Image9D558AEE-A8FE-4137-95C9-CBA07B5E20BA_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image83F96D5D-9EAD-4098-A706-948F03CB631D_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Aonach Meadhoin
ImageCEBE8280-3068-429C-992C-2D31B77E3C99_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Bealach a'Choinnich
Image96E9CE47-CA9C-4393-A652-CA5062A70EBB_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image3FCF1053-025B-4E0E-A7BC-EA7FFFE64854_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Ciste Dhubh
ImageE354D768-F248-4EE8-915A-98BCBB96E19E_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageE58A3AC3-75C4-4BB4-895E-2F14EC9DEE6E_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

It isn't easy to get yourself and your stuff inside a tent when its pouring without getting everything soaking, or without letting one hundred thousand midges in, but we managed a fair job and shut up shop for the night. The rain continued til 9 or so - I had soaked trousers and shirt, which I attempted to dry with body heat overnight (reasonably successful). A nice drop of Lagavulin helped ease the distress :wink:

It was dry on Sunday morning, but the midges were around, there being virtually no wind at all. I had intended to walk round to Coire Odhar, where I remembered there being a path up to Mullach FC but the shoulder to the south of Coire a'Glas Thuill on A'Chralaig looked too inviting to avoid...it was a steady sweat up 600m on short grass most of the way. Allison was annoyed at me for not giving her the Smidge before she set off, I reckoned that walking would avoid the beasts, but she must have been walking at their pace, as she complained of being eaten alive all the way up. I just kept getting keds on my head.

The nice shoulder up in backdrop
Image091A5EDE-DD7F-4437-A8AD-54ED44222B80_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image3DBD0C48-0ADA-4414-9BF9-30BDCBC693F7_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image2064CA6E-BF37-4F26-BD9D-DA10AE5E9D1B_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageB7F7AD5B-BE0A-4E5C-9B80-D6F93D5A4811_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

The pinnacles of Mullach FC
ImageA97D719F-4E2E-4B36-A6A8-761F8DD6B296_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Once on the A'Chralaig ridge, we walked along to Stob Choire a'Craileag where we dumped our packs before doing an out and back to Mullach FC. Always a little scary going along here, I find, especially in snow. But there was none of that today. Nobody else around either. Views were rather good, with mist coming and going from the many surrounding hills. We headed next to the summit of A'Chralaig, where we had lunch, just about avoiding the midge menace. One more hill to be done - the Top of a'Choich. We left our packs near the top of the steepish scramble down from the 1051m point and enjoyed a nice amble out to the top - this would make a nice camp spot, enveloped in mountains. Back up to where we'd come down then the knee jarring descent from A'Chralaig and a mile along the road to the car, where Craig was waiting to take Allison off on her hols.

Image82852965-21D3-444D-9D1D-5DF65B88B35E_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image79BA0514-CF54-4DE5-AF73-78E0D6FE53D5_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageD505A87D-8E8B-45D5-88A7-6D2349DF7770_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageCDCA73E8-5158-44A2-AC72-791D6D16AA62_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image16769611-3DFE-44DB-8F96-CC8BCEB2A918_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image851C2867-1E6F-4B02-AE49-8069B82F3068_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image5D18753F-EE46-4D93-9964-C880DBB649FC_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image26EBD65D-8BCB-47CC-AC7A-28728FD360FC_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Mullach FC
ImageC58E3335-9AB2-42CB-B895-31F7C49C4728_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Top of A'Chioch
Image9C3B237C-A6E7-431D-93DD-6898C03B2DEE_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image9B53C80F-67DB-4B17-908D-2FEF22200897_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr
User avatar
Hill Bagger
Posts: 2023
Munros:254   Corbetts:102
Grahams:106   Donalds:86
Sub 2000:383   Hewitts:31
Wainwrights:15   Islands:28
Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

Re: A Circular Kintail Walk

Postby R1ggered » Mon Aug 23, 2021 1:59 pm

Fantastic effort. Would not think there is much that could put either of you off going into the mountains. :clap: :clap:
Mountain Walker
Posts: 93
Joined: Nov 28, 2012

Re: A Circular Kintail Walk

Postby BlackPanther » Mon Aug 23, 2021 4:21 pm

That is a proper Weaselwalk :clap:
I admit I never did the whole South Glen Shiel ridge in one go... Not that I'm not fit enough for it, just never happened. I remember cycling down the A87 after traversing one of the Shiel routes. Arghhh, killer lorries everywhere :lol: :lol:

BTW guess where we ended up yesterday...
2021-08-22 klibreck vampyre 459.JPG
I found myself a Vampire gun!
User avatar
Mountain Walker
Posts: 3753
Munros:260   Corbetts:172
Sub 2000:60   
Joined: Nov 2, 2010
Location: Beauly, Inverness-shire

Re: A Circular Kintail Walk

Postby weaselmaster » Mon Aug 23, 2021 7:25 pm

Yay! I’m delighted you finally got there😊
User avatar
Hill Bagger
Posts: 2023
Munros:254   Corbetts:102
Grahams:106   Donalds:86
Sub 2000:383   Hewitts:31
Wainwrights:15   Islands:28
Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

Re: A Circular Kintail Walk

Postby Mal Grey » Tue Aug 24, 2021 1:18 pm

Excellent circuit, some pretty tough climbs on that with camping gear, especially that endless steep slope from the road up to the Brothers ridge. Good effort.
User avatar
Mal Grey
Posts: 3988
Munros:112   Corbetts:20
Sub 2000:3   Hewitts:113
Wainwrights:71   Islands:5
Joined: Dec 1, 2011
Location: Surrey, probably in a canoe! www.wildernessisastateofmind.co.uk

Re: A Circular Kintail Walk

Postby rockhopper » Wed Aug 25, 2021 10:10 pm

Nice route :clap: Thought about something like this when looking at options a few years back for these hills but in the end did different loops - certainly beats cycling up the road at the end - cheers :)
User avatar
Posts: 6943
Munros:282   Corbetts:222
Grahams:75   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:10   Hewitts:2
Wainwrights:3   Islands:19
Joined: May 31, 2009
Location: Glasgow

6 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: caitlin2705, DaveSan, ejzbrown, horsieheid, RayK, Sgurr and 27 guests