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A slice of the South Glen Shiel Ridge

A slice of the South Glen Shiel Ridge


Postby SMRussell » Mon Aug 30, 2021 8:45 pm

Munros included on this walk: Creag nan Dàmh, Maol chinn-dearg, Sgùrr an Doire Leathain, Sgùrr an Lochain

Date walked: 29/08/2021

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Stats (according to my Garmin):
Day 1 (pitch at lochan and out and back along the west side of the ridge):
Distance 11.77 m / Ascent 6046ft / Descent 3986
Day 2 (descent back to the glen):
Distance 2.64 m / Ascent 137ft / Descent 2247ft

Over the last few years I have revisited 14 Munros and only bagged five fresh summits, keeping me hovering around the halfway mark on my first round. Having to travel up from the North East of England creates a logistical issue. Add in some very poor luck with the weather when new summits were on the cards and there we have it - a frustrated me.

However, for the last few weeks I have been working remotely and spending time with family, back home at my folks place in Aberdeenshire. While home I’ve managed to tick off a Corbett and go on two excellent multi-day trips with a good friend, Mark. But I’ll be heading back south of the border soon and with my time back home drawing to a close I knew I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I didn’t manage to tick off a few new Munros. The weekend weather was looking ideal, and having an English employer, I had the advantage of a bank holiday on the 30th. This weekend had to be it.

The thought of a solo trip somewhere high with a possible night in the tent had me happily perusing my Munro map. As I glanced over it the South Glen Shiel Ridge stared at me, and I stared back. After pondering how feasible the ridge would be as a solo day trip, I concluded the >six hour round drive from Aberdeenshire and back was probably pushing it. And the obstacle of the possible trudge along the A87 had me a little irritated. A compromise presented itself once I saw a potentially ideal spot to pitch by a lochan, north east of the summit of Maol Chinn-dearg. I shared my thoughts with the afore mentioned fellow happy camper, Mark, who proclaimed he’d camped in that spot himself. He sent through some photos from his camp that sealed the deal – that was where I was going to pitch.

Of course the downside of opting for a wild camp was the thought of carrying all the additional weight along the ridge. And the thought of a walk along the A87 continued to killed any desire to do the ridge in one outing. So after a bit of pondering I decided to commit to an out and back along the west side of the ridge, taking in Maol Chinn-dearg, Sgurr an Doire Leathan, Sgurr an Lochain, and Creag nan Damh before doing an about-turn and heading back along the ridge to the pitch by the lochan. Same effort as the whole ridge but with three less Munros – erm, perfect?!

I parked up in a layby off the A87 at 09:30 on the Sunday and after some general faffery and popping back to check I’d definitely locked Morag, my trusty car, and check that the handbrake was definitely on, I started off on my solo adventure. As I followed the good track that leads to the summit of Maol Chinn-dearg the cloud that was hanging around the highest points on the ridge was clearing as forecast and I started to wonder whether I’d remembered to pack some sunscreen. After pitching the tent by the lochan and dumping the camping weight, I found my sunscreen and cracked on applying some. And then off I went to Maol Chinn-dearg. Bliss and some serious thigh burn awaited.

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Heading up to the ridge

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Tent pitched



And what a day for it! Views to die for. I think I must have exclaimed “wow”, “my god”, “I’m in heaven”, “this is excellent” to myself to excess throughout the day. Though a few of those “wows” and “my gods” were probably uttered while heading back up Sgurr an Lochain on the return leg. That was the point where I noticed that my thighs and glutes were having a good workout. But I didn’t much care, I was having an excellent time – I got to appreciate the western side of the ridge in both directions, I stopped and chatted away with various friendly fellow ridge walkers, and got to stay hello to two gorgeous dogs.

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Once I had returned to the summit of Maol Chinn-dearg I sat down and pondered adding on an out and back to Aonach air Chrith – turning four ticks into five. But the tent and its contents of food, a hip flask with a couple of drams worth of single malt and a comfy(ish) place to have a relax for the rest of the afternoon called to me. So off I went back to the tent.

The breeze was minimal and the weather still fine. I sat outside the tent as I boiled up some water for my tea, all the while with a stonking view of Aonach air Chrith, whose summit came in and out of view as cloud intermittently passed through. My heart was saying “ooo, go on, once you’ve had yer tea just go get her”, but my head and my thighs declined. AaC would have to wait for another day.

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After some noodles, three vegan chocolate and beetroot cookies (yes, three, don’t judge me) and a dram I wandered back onto the ridge for a final glance towards the Loch Quoich Munros who had put on a fine display all day. The tops were draped in cloud, a sight that made me think I too should probably tuck myself in for the night - so sauntered on back for my second dram and to do just that.

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The tent at night


The following morning was a clag-fest, but calm and thus fine for breaking camp. As I dropped back to the glen, and to my faithful Morag, the sun burst through, highlighting the Cluanie Inn, like a beacon or an oasis - a thought I am sure has passed through the minds of many over the years.

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Heading back to the glen


I got back to Morag, who seemed to have survived her night by the A87 unscathed, pleased with my adventure and pondering exactly how I will tick off those last three on the ridge.
Last edited by SMRussell on Tue Aug 31, 2021 9:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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SMRussell
 
Posts: 524
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Re: A slice of the South Glen Shiel Ridge

Postby gld73 » Mon Aug 30, 2021 11:11 pm

No need to go there and back (unless you want to) when doing the 3 you have remaining on the ridge; the eastern munros lend themselves quite well to a circular walk as there are some decent routes down off the ridge - I did the 4 eastern ones like that [https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=104421] but there'll be walk reports covering just the 3 no doubt (or even just 1 or 2).

And beetroot cookies? I'd certainly give them a go :D Carrot cake probably sounded odd at one time!!
gld73
 
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Re: A slice of the South Glen Shiel Ridge

Postby SMRussell » Tue Aug 31, 2021 8:53 am

gld73 wrote:No need to go there and back (unless you want to) when doing the 3 you have remaining on the ridge; the eastern munros lend themselves quite well to a circular walk as there are some decent routes down off the ridge - I did the 4 eastern ones like that [https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=104421] but there'll be walk reports covering just the 3 no doubt (or even just 1 or 2).

And beetroot cookies? I'd certainly give them a go :D Carrot cake probably sounded odd at one time!!


Hey gld73 :D
Yeah so far I've thought about
a) walking into Glen Quoich to set up a base camp before and doing the east side of the ridge as a circular and then the following day doing Gleouraich and Spidean Mialach as a circular and possibly staying for a second night before walking out.
b) including it in a circular multi-day lightweight/fastpack from Kinloch Hourn aiming to take in Sgùrr a' Mhaoraich, Gleouraich and Spidean Mialach, the Brothers Ridge, the Five Sisters of Kintail, The Saddle and Sgùrr na Sgìne as well. Would require some proper, serious pondering. 
c) out and back from the parking by the Cluanie. Longish day, so possibly something to do when staying locally. 
d) doing it as a circular, coming off at the exit route off Maol chinn-dearg that I used this time, and committing to a short section of walking along the A87 - much like your TR :wink: .  

Chocolate and beetroot is a delicious and pretty common combo. The cookies were from Morrison's vegan range and they certainly hit the spot and went very well with a dram :D
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SMRussell
 
Posts: 524
Munros:163   Corbetts:13
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Sub 2000:18   Hewitts:104
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Joined: Aug 8, 2011
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne

Re: A slice of the South Glen Shiel Ridge

Postby jmarkb » Tue Aug 31, 2021 9:11 am

gld73 wrote:No need to go there and back (unless you want to) when doing the 3 you have remaining on the ridge; the eastern munros lend themselves quite well to a circular walk as there are some decent routes down off the ridge - I did the 4 eastern ones like that https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=104421 but there'll be walk reports covering just the 3 no doubt (or even just 1 or 2).


The N ridge of Aonach air Chrith is a fun scramble - not too hard, but quite exposed. Could be a bit of a shock if you weren't expecting it, though, and maybe best avoided in adverse conditions.
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jmarkb
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Re: A slice of the South Glen Shiel Ridge

Postby SMRussell » Tue Aug 31, 2021 1:15 pm

jmarkb wrote:The N ridge of Aonach air Chrith is a fun scramble - not too hard, but quite exposed. Could be a bit of a shock if you weren't expecting it, though, and maybe best avoided in adverse conditions.


Oooooo, I hadn't thought about Druim na Ciche. Another possible option :thumbup:

BlackPanther's TR offers another variant worth noting if conditions rule out DnC - https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=37216
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SMRussell
 
Posts: 524
Munros:163   Corbetts:13
Grahams:5   Donalds:18
Sub 2000:18   Hewitts:104
Wainwrights:81   Islands:8
Joined: Aug 8, 2011
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne

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