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Glorious weather for the 7 Munro Monster!
by Brian_G81 » Fri Jul 29, 2011 7:22 pm
Route description: South Glen Shiel Ridge: 7 Munros
Munros included on this walk: Aonach Air Chrith, Creag a'Mhaim, Creag nan Damh, Druim Shionnach, Maol chinn-dearg, Sgurr an Doire Leathain, Sgurr an Lochain
Date walked: 26/07/2011
Time taken: 11 hours
Distance: 26.7 km
Ascent: 1800m4 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).
We set ourselves the 25 Munro Challenge after my daughter had a serious accident at home which left her fighting for her life in Yorkhill hospital. She suffered serious permanent brain damage and things didn't look good for a number of weeks. She has now made a remarkable recovery and has exceeded all expectations, defying all medical opinions. She is my little miracle and my inspiration to help as many people that may find themselves in a similar situation by walking and climbing as many Munro's as I can to raise funds for the hospital.
The long drive from Glasgow gave us ample opportunity to contemplate the challenge ahead but nothing can prepare you for the first sight of the South Shiel Ridge as you drive along the A82 and the monster continues alongside you for over 9 miles!
We camped overnight at the Shiel Bridge Campsite where there are ideal facilities (24 hour hot showers, drinking water, toilets etc.) and a small shop. At around £6 per person per night it was the perfect alternative to wild camping or highly inflated hotel prices near by.
We took the car from the campsite to Cluanie Inn where you start the walk and parked here, wondering if we would make it the 9 miles back from the finish point at the end of the day but not too worried due to the excellent weather and the prospect of a gloriously sunny day.
The walk along the Land Rover track from Cluanie is a long three miles but gives you the opportunity to stretch your legs out before the climbing starts. We decided to take the more challenging route up the front side of the first Munro, Creag a'Mhaim, which cuts off at the small waterfall halfway along the track. After crossing the style and following a faint path you cross a second style and continue up the heather and grass slopes.
The path gets pretty faint her and we actually lost it at one point, only finding it by chance after cutting across the dried up stream and heading straight for a rocky shoulder of the hill. Two hours after setting out from Cluanie we were at the top of the first of seven Munro's and the views were spectacular, Ben Nevis to the south, The Five Sisters of Kintail to the North, The Cuilins to the West and glorious highlands everywhere you looked.
With not a cloud in the sky and only hills on the horizon in every direction we were in awe of a perfect day in the perfect location. We stopped for 10 mins to take some pics then started off along the ridge where we met the only other two walkers on the ridge who we were to meet again at every summit.
We decided to stop between Peaks two and three, Druim Shionnach and Aonach Air Chrith, for lunch but didn't want to waste any more than half an hour as we knew there was still a long way to go. There was a slight scramble on Aonach Air Chrith but nothing too challenging. The walk along the ridge in weather like this is spectacular and we decided that we had found our new favourite place on earth and with views like this it would be very hard to beat.
Many people don't take on the full ridge and head down an old stalkers path after peak four and I can see why. By this point we had been walking for 5 hours and the thought of heading back to Cluanie Inn for a Lager Shandy and some good food was starting to niggle in the back of my mind. But I set out to conquer 7 Munro's in order to help the kids of Yorkhill Hospital and that's what I was going to do so we charged on stopping only for the occassional drink of water and photo opportunity.
The ascent of the last peak is one of the most challenging on the ridge and with tired and weary limbs and sun baked brains it was not easy. Only the thought of my daughter fighting for her life a few months before made me push myself to continue and I even found myself picking up the pace.
After leaving the last summit and continuing past the cairn the path ahead is very deceptive, it appers to be a straightforward downhill as you would expect but it's not. There is an almost vertical rock face after a couple of hundred yards which is hidden by a rocky ridge.
After all the climbing of the day this is the last thing that we needed or expected! After this it's pretty easy going to the Bealach but at this point the path seems to disappear and we found ourselves clambering down a dried out stream which during wetter times I'm sure would be a torrent and possibly a small glacier in winter. It was steep and loose under foot at some points but we eventually found the path again and made our way down to the very welcome waterfall in the gully below. This was the perfect opprtunity to refresh ourselves with a head under the water and to fill the almost empty bottles.
After this it's a straight forward path back to the road but now the dilema of how to get back to the car at Cluanie Inn 9 miles back along the road. We decided to hitch and after only two minutes a very kind gentleman (Neil) appered who was out to scout the walk for the following day. He obliged us with a lift to Cluanie and in return we offered him a lift the next morning meaning he didn't face the same dilema as we had.
After a very much needed Lager Shandy and a Cluanie Burger at the Inn it was back to the campsite for an even more needed sleep.
If you would like to read more about my 25 Munro challenge or would like to sponsor me for my efforts and help the Children of Yorkhill Hospital please visit my fundraising web page at:
by Graeme D » Fri Jul 29, 2011 7:57 pm
by pollyh33 » Fri Jul 29, 2011 8:35 pm
This is a fantastic report and really useful one. Like Graeme I'm hoping to climb this ridge very soon.
My very best wishes to you and your family. Xx
by erin_niamh » Fri Jul 29, 2011 10:29 pm
Best Wishes ....i'm away to plan a trip to cluanie
by Brian_G81 » Fri Jul 29, 2011 11:53 pm
by ramblingsteve » Sat Jul 30, 2011 1:46 am
I'm sure you could indulge us with some more photos, man.
I'll need to figure out how to get my video on here... think it might need to go thru youtube?
by Gable Gable End » Sat Jul 30, 2011 8:51 am
A classic day on the hills by the looks of things. What I'd give for weather like this....
by dogplodder » Sat Jul 30, 2011 11:05 am
Wonderful about your daughter's progress - hope she continues to surprise you all!
by Morag M » Sat Jul 30, 2011 3:06 pm
hope to get a chance to do this lot soon, looks fantastic
by maryhillmoose » Tue Aug 09, 2011 5:24 pm