Glen Shiel Trio with Bjork in my head :)
by BlackPanther » Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:29 pm
Route description: Sgurr nan Conbhairean, Carn Ghluasaid and Sail Chaorainn
Munros included on this walk: Carn Ghluasaid, Sail Chaorainn, Sgurr nan Conbhairean
Date walked: 24/03/2012
Time taken: 7 hours
Distance: 18 km
Ascent: 1418m7 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).
Honestly, I have never seen weather like that in Scotland in March. We had similar conditions last year in April, let's hope this year is going to be even better... Fingers crossed
I guess every hillwalker headed for the hills on Saturday and/or Sunday. So did we. We had multiple plans and ideas where to go and what to climb, from Loch Quoich Munros to Beinn Dearg and the Fannichs. Our final choice fell on Glen Shiel and certain Munro triplets: Sgurr nan Conbhairean, Sail Chaorainn and Carn Ghluasaid - hills that are much less popular than their famous neighbours: 5 Sisters, 3 Brothers, Ciste Dhubh... Therefore we hoped they wouldn't be too busy with walkers, whereas views are just as good. Well, to be honest, any mountain in Glen Shiel area is a good viewpoint.
My husband climbed these three almost 20 years ago and he had nothing against re-doing them and refreshing his memories so we got ready in the morning and set off for Loch Cluanie - just over an hour drive from Beauly, depending on how fast your driver is
Our route started in Lundie (car park on the A87). When we arrived, conditions looked... hmmm... very misty:
Initially the ascent route goes along a track and height is gained very quickly:
We passed by a phone mast and turned right, where track becomes a path. This one is quite boggy but we successfully defeated all the mud and charged up the steepening slope:
The relentless push up the mountain side may be annoying for some walkers. For me, paradoxically, it is the big advantage of any mountain in Glen Shiel area: you do your workout early in the day (when you are still fresh and eager to run uphill ) and once on the ridge you can enjoy the rest of the trip without much effort! Not to mention getting to see the great views very quickly.
Views like this, Loch Cluanie from above, with Creag a'Mhaim in the background:
Higher up, the path was still very steep but not so wet any more:
Still in the shadow of the steep mountain side, we were completely protected from wind and the air stood still... It was so quiet... SO QUIET... SHHHH... So paceful... Apart from Bjork singing this annoying tune in my head! Shhh.... Shhhh...
The zigzagging path goes all the way to the summit ridge up the shoulder of Coire nan Clach, with views down to Coire Lair:
I stopped for a moment, looked behind... and there it was, the South Glen Shiel Ridge, the ultimate fitness test for Munro baggers:
The day was still very hazy, but something emerged from the haze on the southern horizon... Something very familiar indeed... Mr Nevis? Is that you?
The final push...Just below the summit area of Carn Ghluasaid:
Soon we were on the small plateau around the summit of Carn Ghluasaid and could enjoy the full panorama of surrounding hills, including the more distant ones, covered in haze:
Here, for the first time, the second (and the highest of the three) Munro came into sight:
Sail Chaorainn, the third triplet, with Glen Affric Munros in far distance:
The summit cairn with our second target in the background. Impressive!
This cairn is situated at the very edge of sheer cliffs (Coire Bodach nan Gobhar) - definitely not a place for those with vertigo:
There are two cairns on the summit so I made sure I visited both:
Panorama to south-west, the South Ridge again:
We didn't spend too much time on the summit of the first triplet, as I was still loaded full of energy and wanted more climbing, more challenge... I almost forced Kevin to storm up the slope of Sgurr nan Conbhairean:
The wind picked up a bit, a nice refreshing blow to my face, and that b***dy Bjork was singing again:
"you ring the bell
you shout and you yell
hi ho hoaaaaaaaaaaaa!"
Well, instead of yelling and shouting I used my energy to charge the slope!
Not much snow left on the high hills as for that early in the year:
One glimpse back to the bulk of Carn Ghluasaid:
The push to the second triplet may be off-putting but don't feel discouraged by this never-ending, stony slope. It's not as bad as it looks and there's a path all the way up:
Once we reached the summit (1109m), it became clear it was another fantastic viewpoint, the highest point on the whole ridge! Here we unpacked our lunch box, poured some tea from the flask and had a good 20min break in truly magnificent scenery.
The summit cairn:
View north to the ridge of Sail Chaorainn:
Two little lochans:
Undoubtedly the best view was on the south-western side, to all the peaks of Glen Shiel:
The South Ridge (left in the background), The Brothers Ridge (in the middle) and some of The Sisters peeking out (to the right):
The Brothers of Kintail:
The Sisters, with the Cuilin Ridge clearly visible behind them:
Me, Loch Cluanie and Ben Nevis emerging from the haze:
Kevin propping up the cairn :
As nice as it was, we still had one more triplet to do, so eventually we headed for Sail Chaorainn...
On the way to the last Munro:
The north face of Sgurr nan Conbhairean:
A quick look down to Coire nan Locha Uaine:
Walking next to the neighbouring ridge and the pointy top of another Munro, Mullach Fraoch-Choire:
Gleann na Ciche:
It didn't take us much time to walk along the ridge to Sail Chaorainn. The summit of this Munro isn't very impressive, just a small cairn:
We checked our watches and it was only half past one, still early and with so much daylight left there was no need to hurry. We walked a short distance past the summit and found a perfect spot for... hmm... a mountain nap
I couldn't sleep for too long though and that because of Kevin. He sat next to me and opened a big pack of hot-cross buns, the smell of cinnamon was overwhelming
Eventually, we began our return walk, first stage was climbing back to the summit of Sgurr nan Conbhairean, where we witnessed an interesting change of colours in the sky, though it was still long before sunset:
Close up to Mullach Fraoch-Choire and the scary-looking ridge of pinnacles:
One last chance to record some views:
From the top of the highest Munro we headed south-west to descend along the shoulder of Drochaid an Tuill Easaich:
On the way back we experienced some more good ridge-walking:
This little lochan is called Toll Easach:
Looking back to Sgurr nan Conbhairean:
Descending along the ridge Drochaid an Tuill Easaich:
Another body of water, this time it's Gorm Lochan:
I didn't forget about one picture for "me on the rock" gallery
Walking down along the ridge was very pleasant until the ground steepened. The final bit along the stream was, of course, boggy and slippery, nothing unusual for Scottish mountains! Finally a quick march down the A 87 brought us back to the car park. Three Munros bagged, some superb views, another day to remember and another story to share. Meow!
While driving back home we discussed options for Sunday (as it looked just as good and we couldn't imagine staying indoors for another lovely day) and finally decided to head north and conquer Quinag. Hooooray! I always wanted to tackle the Assynt multi-Corbett...
My Quinag report will follow soon.
by ChrisW » Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:43 pm
by SusieThePensioner » Mon Mar 26, 2012 4:13 pm
I don't know whether you realise but, I'm now ambulant disabled and unable to walk any distance so, just love reading people's reports as I then get a sense of having been there myself! We've driven along by Loch Cluanie many times in the past 5 years so it's brilliant knowing what the walking is like We stayed at Elgol last October and had excellent views back to the mainland, your "Cuillin" view in reverse
Thank you for a great report Pity about Bjork
by ChrisW » Mon Mar 26, 2012 5:36 pm
by dogplodder » Mon Mar 26, 2012 6:04 pm
When I did these 3 it was before I was into report writing mode so took very few pics. But having said that your pics are much better with the snow patches giving such good definition.
by skuk007 » Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:55 pm
Might be a while before I get to have a go at these hills but always good to see those views.
Another reason I like to start my walks early, if I'm ahead of schedule I do like a siesta on a summit.
by audreywaugh » Mon Mar 26, 2012 10:04 pm
by LeithySuburbs » Mon Mar 26, 2012 10:18 pm
by mrssanta » Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:05 pm
by Greigers » Tue Jun 26, 2012 6:15 pm