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Tour of Kintail (Day 4) South Glen Shiel Ridge

Tour of Kintail (Day 4) South Glen Shiel Ridge

Postby snowdonia7 » Fri Jul 08, 2011 8:15 pm

Route description: South Glen Shiel Ridge: 7 Munros

Munros included on this walk: Aonach Air Chrith, Creag a'Mhàim, Creag nan Dàmh, Druim Shionnach, Maol chinn-dearg, Sgùrr an Doire Leathain, Sgùrr an Lochain

Date walked: 06/07/2011

Time taken: 5 hours

Distance: 20 km

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After doing all of the munros north of the A87 over the previous few days, Neil and I had camped on the summit of Creag nam Damh on Tuesday evening. We rose at 6 am in order with a view to finishing the ridge nice and early so we could set off for home (North Wales) early in the afternoon.

Although it was dry as we broke camp there were very dark skies heading our way from the east and we decided to start off wearing waterproof jackets (although Neil still gamely wore just his shorts). By the time we got to Bealach Fraoch Choire the rain reached us together with a stiff breeze.

Following the footsteps of thousands of munro baggers we took the path that contoured round Sgurr Beag by which time the wind and rain had intensified making forward motion difficult. By the time we reached the start of the climb up Sgurr an Lochain I was totally soaked and with each upwards reach to plant my walking poles a stream of cold water ran down my arms to my arm pits. Having been awake most of the previous night with the onset of 'man flu' I wasn't on very good form and spent the climb watching Neil pull further away from me (although this is par for the course as he is always much fitter). Still the quick pace that he was setting ensured that my core temperature was maintained.

It would be nice to break up the report with some photos or at least descriptions of the views, but visibility was down to about 20 - 30 metres, so I don't even know if there are any views from here.

A quick climb up Sgurr an Doire Leathain (with the detour for the summit) was similarly bleak and whilst we kept up a jog/walk on the descent we were both starting to feel the cold. Thankfully the well worn path meant we didn't have to waste time navigating and could keep pushing on. However, after topping out on Maol Chinn-dearg Neil said he had to put some additional layers on (we had both started with just a base layer beneath out waterproofs). Our attempts to pull on vapour rise jackets, gloves and waterproof trousers with hands that were not functioning due to cold could have been humourous were it not for the potential seriousness of the position. The short delay was enough to allow my core temperature to drop and I put my foot down for the climb to Aonach air Crith. The route certainly looked as though there may have been some exposure beneath us, but again the visibility ensured that we could not see this.

I knew we had broken the back of the walk by this point and remembered from the route guide that the next climb to Druim Shionnach was refreshingly easy an so it proved to be. Again there appeared to be some airy drops beneath our feet as we headed towards Creag a 'Mhaim, but we could remain blissfully ignorant and continue our jog/walk. Prior to starting we had discussed dropping our rucksacs at Druim Shionnach and returning from the last summit for a descent that avoided the apparent long detour of the path to the rear of Creag a' Mhaim. However, the poor visibility convinced us to allow discretion to be the better part of valour and we jogged down the clear path.

Once we reached the track/path back to Cluanie we ditched all our remaining water to lighten our rucksacks and then ran back to the car parked outside the inn, getting back for a welcome bar snack at lunch.

Although it was disappointing to miss the views, I was relieved to have made it back in one piece in the face of such foul weather. In fact the weather report at the inn showed a severe weather warning for the area, and it was perhaps therefore no surprise that we didn't see anyone at all along the ridge.

Well that's my first post - apologies that there are no photos, I'll make amends in future posts.

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Last edited by snowdonia7 on Mon Sep 26, 2011 8:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: South Glen Shiel Ridge (march or die)

Postby pollyh33 » Fri Jul 08, 2011 8:46 pm

Smashing first post. Well done for persevering despite the hideous weather. I'll look forward to hearing about your next adventures. :D
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