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Glorious weather for the 7 Munro Monster!

Glorious weather for the 7 Munro Monster!


Postby 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: 1800m

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My brother and I decide to tackle this monster at the last minute after both having a bad weekend, knowing that a good walk would clear our heads and give us both a chance to escape the dailly slog. It also gave us the opportunity to add 7 Munro's to our target total of 25 which we set in June to raise money for Yorkhill Childrens Foundation.

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!

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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.

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Sunset at Shiel Bridge Campsite


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.

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A couple of red deer at the dried up stream.


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.

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My Bro (On the right) and me on the first summit with Ben Nevis in the background


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.

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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.

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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.

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My brother (Stevie) at the top of the 7th Munro of the day!


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.

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Stevie and the steep scramble after the last summit!


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.

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Believe it or not Stevie doesn't have a t-shirt on, he's just well tanned on the arms and neck after a glorious day.


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.


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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:
http://www.justgiving.com/Brian-Gibson2
Brian_G81
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Re: Glorious weather for the 7 Munro Monster!

Postby Graeme D » Fri Jul 29, 2011 7:57 pm

What a day you got for it Brian. I sincerely hope I get the same sort of day in September when I plan to do this route. I also take my hat off to you for your sterling fundraising efforts. I know how it feels to have a loved one fighting for life and to want to give something back to the people who helped her to make it through. I shall take a look at your page and would be happy to give something. I look forward to further reports! Thanks for sharing. :thumbup:
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Re: Glorious weather for the 7 Munro Monster!

Postby pollyh33 » Fri Jul 29, 2011 8:35 pm

There are loads of valid reasons for climbing hills but when people do it for the greater good of others then it takes on a whole new meaning.
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
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pollyh33
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Re: Glorious weather for the 7 Munro Monster!

Postby erin_niamh » Fri Jul 29, 2011 10:29 pm

Great report and great photos! like the others I will definitely be giving this a shot soon. All the best with your fundraising efforts, I will have a look at your page and donate :D

Best Wishes ....i'm away to plan a trip to cluanie :lol:
erin_niamh
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Re: Glorious weather for the 7 Munro Monster!

Postby Brian_G81 » Fri Jul 29, 2011 11:53 pm

Thanks for takin the time to read my report folks. If you would like to see any more pics there are plenty on my facebook page but you will need to add me as a friend.
http://www.facebook.com/BrianGibson81

Thanks again.
Brian_G81
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Re: Glorious weather for the 7 Munro Monster!

Postby ramblingsteve » Sat Jul 30, 2011 1:46 am

What a fantastic day, One I'll never forget!
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?
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ramblingsteve
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Re: Glorious weather for the 7 Munro Monster!

Postby Gable Gable End » Sat Jul 30, 2011 8:51 am

I'm picturing a sick Gammy Leg Walker envious of the weather....

A classic day on the hills by the looks of things. What I'd give for weather like this....
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Gable Gable End
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Re: Glorious weather for the 7 Munro Monster!

Postby dogplodder » Sat Jul 30, 2011 11:05 am

Great pics bringing back great memories! Not being so young and fit I did the ridge in two sections. The first 4 were on a glorious day but for the last 3 we had cloud and rain. Not sure if that's what made it a harder day or that my knee was sore on the descent. I remember heaving myself up a vertical bit and my dog waiting at the top and going nuts with excitement that I'd made it!

Wonderful about your daughter's progress - hope she continues to surprise you all!
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Re: Glorious weather for the 7 Munro Monster!

Postby Morag M » Sat Jul 30, 2011 3:06 pm

Great report and photo's, well done for reaching you target +++, my very best wishes to you and your family,
hope to get a chance to do this lot soon, looks fantastic :D
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Re: Glorious weather for the 7 Munro Monster!

Postby maryhillmoose » Tue Aug 09, 2011 5:24 pm

What a fantastic report, great pictures and a humbling sense of perspective...sometimes we take our good fortune for granted... Im forever planning this epic each time we go to Glenelg for a holiday, you have inspired me to just do it! Fingers crossed for your good weather in September!
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