walkhighlands

Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

Kintail overnighter - 3 Cousins, 3 Brothers and 4.6 Sisters

Kintail overnighter - 3 Cousins, 3 Brothers and 4.6 Sisters


Postby rockhopper » Tue Sep 25, 2012 5:11 pm

Route description: Five Sisters of Kintail

Munros included on this walk: A' Ghlas-bheinn, Aonach Meadhoin, Beinn Fhada, Ciste Dhubh, Saileag, Sgurr a'Bhealaich Dheirg, Sgurr Fhuaran, Sgurr na Carnach, Sgurr na Ciste Duibhe

Date walked: 21/09/2012

Time taken: 24 hours

Distance: 46 km

Ascent: 4200m

15 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).

Date: Friday 21 & Saturday 22 September 2012
Time taken: 24hrs [including stops 71/4hrs]
Distance: 46km
Ascent: 4,200m

I’d looked at various options for walking these hills all of which seemed to require long road walks, cycling, two cars or buses. The alternative was a loop – probably manageable by someone a lot fitter than me in a day but I decided on taking the tent. On the plus side, it meant I wouldn’t be too pushed for time. However, the downside was the extra weight – large rucksack with full waterproofs, food for two days plus emergencies, 1.5l water, extra warm clothing etc etc all weighed in at 18kg at the start. As things panned out, this weight was OK when on the level or gentle gradients but not good on the steeper sections. Maybe 20 or 30 years ago it would have been more manageable but not so much nowadays. Now have some work to do over the winter to get the weight down by at least a few kilos…

Image

Drove up to Kintail on the Thursday evening so that I could make an earlyish start the following day. Parked at the NTS car park at Morvich, got ready and set off up the track which leads to the Falls of Glomach.

At the track split, headed upwards through Gleann Choinneachan and could see the Bealach an Sgairne ahead.

Image

Crossed the Allt and got to where the track splits off for Beinn Fhada

Image

From there I followed up the track to the top of the bealach where I left my rucksack behind a rock.

Loch a’ Bhealaich

Image

Looking backwards

Image

Down to Loch Duich

Image

Followed the track up to the first summit of the day, A' Ghlas-bheinn.

Image

Image

Gleann Gaorsaic

Image

Then headed back to the bealach. Could see some rain passing in the distance but not close to my route.

Image

Back to the bealach or Gates of Affric to pick up my rucksack.

Image

Then retraced my steps back to the track split before heading SE up through the corrie and the zig zag track up the hillside.

Image

Clag and mist came down at this point with a little light rain but didn’t come to much – my load wasn’t going to get lightened by having to don the waterproofs after all. Through some boggy sections and got to the summit of Beinn Fhada but couldn’t see anything.

Image

From here it was a straightforward walk along a broad plateau. Clag was still down but it did clear occasionally to let me see where I was headed.

Image

Turned eastwards towards Sgurr a’Dubh Doire and could see Ciste Dhubh in the distance.

Image

I reckoned I could either go further along and descend closer to Camban bothy or just descend SE from just past Sgurr a’Dubh Doire. Opted for the latter and headed down the hillside skirting the side of a deer fence.

Views appearing as the clag disappeared

Image

Could see Camban bothy in the distance

Image

Stopped to fill up with water – using the two bottles for sterilisation rather than the tablets as the latter never seem to dissolve fast enough in cold water.

Image

Was now down at around 300m - Ciste Dhubh looked rather far away and with a steep looking approach. At least the clag had disappeared and I could pick out a line to ascend.

Image

Crossed the Allt Cam-ban without too much difficulty

Image

Then headed up the side of Cist Dhubh. With the heavy pack, I found this extremely hard going. I think all in it must have taken about two hours to get to the summit – the going was very steep and I stopped frequently. Don’t think I’ll be taking a heavy pack on such steep routes again......

Looking back towards Beinn Fhada

Image

And some other views around

Image

Image

Still further to go up the way

Image

Eventually got to the top of Ciste Dhubh

Image

Sun was out, a bit chilly, could see some bad weather in the distance approaching but didn’t come to anything. Managed to get a signal on the phone to text home.

Am Bathach

Image

To the west

Image

Started to head down towards the Bealach a’Choinnich where I planned to spend the night.

Image

Back to Ciste Dhubh

Image

Point at 877m

Image

Got to the bealach which was fairly boggy. When descending Beinn Fhada, I could see what may have been running water to the west of the bealach so headed over there to find a spot to set up the tent. Looking back up towards Ciste Dhubh there was a bird soaring high up but no way could I get a picture with my camera. The deer had been bellowing on and off all day – seemed even louder now and was to continue through the night.

Pitched the tent, got in some water supplies and made dinner. Mountainhouse chilli followed by custard and raisins – just the job. Not a great sunset but still some colour in the sky later on.

Image

The skies cleared and it got very cold. That said, the wind dropped and there were no midges. Not a bad night but ice on the tent and on the inside of the outer cover in the morning.

Image

Having woken very early with the intention of making a start predawn, I cooked up breakfast. Then made the mistake of lying back down again and fell asleep. As a result, I didn’t actually set off until after 0700hrs which did, however, man that I could leave the head torch in my rucksack.

Initially went SE past the various bogs before starting SW up Sgurr an Fhuarail. Couldn’t find a track but at least it wasn’t as steep as my last ascent the previous day.

The sun was gradually appearing with mist still low over Loch Cluanie

Image

Sunlight on the hills over to the west

Image

View upwards was clear

Image

And surrounding views opening up

Image

Image

Image

Got to the top with view east over Loch Cluanie

Image

Headed off towards Aonach Meadhoin which I could see clearly

Image

Over to the south ridge

Image

Not long to get top the summit of Aonach Meadhoin

Image

Next was the walk along the ridge towards Sgurr a' Bhealaich Dheirg

Image

Image

Approach to the summit

Image

Then the summit itself with a large well built cairn after a detour over the rocks

Image

Retraced my steps before continuing along the ridge towards the third Brother, Saileag

Views ahead, across the road and up towards Gleann Lichd

Image

Image

Image

Final approach

Image

Before getting to the summit of Saileag

Image

Looking back where I’d been

Image

Next I headed down to the Bealach an Lapain – still only late morning I was happy with progress but knew that the hardest part of the day was still to come as I expected the Sisters to be steeper and rockier under foot. There were also five of them….

First up was Sgurr nan Spainteach

Image

After which I could see the track clearly up Sgurr na Ciste Duibhe

Image

Started to tire a bit at this point as the ascents were getting steeper – did wonder a bit as to whether I’d make it but kept going and got to the top

Image

Some views ahead and looking back

Image

Image

Had yet another break before starting off for Sister no. 3, Sgurr na Carnach

Another steep climb

Image

Had met quite a lot of people on this section going in different directions. Stopped to speak with many of them – gave me yet another excuse to get my breath back

Then the summit of Sgurr na Carnach

Image

This left the highest of the five Sisters, Sgurr Fhuaran which looked a bit foreboding from the distance

Image

Still had the views around although it was starting to cloud over quite a bit – no sign of rain fortunately

Image

Image

The approach from the foot of the made it look even worse but the track made it not as bad as it looks

Image

Summit of Sgurr Fhuaran and I now felt I was on the homeward run albeit with one Sister to go.

Image

Zoomed westwards out to sea

Image

Set off downwards towards the final Sister - some nice looking lines towards Sgurr nan Saighead

Image

Image

The low point of the ridge before the ascent is at about 820m with just over 100m ascent to the summit. Part way up I came across a bypass track at around 880m by which time I’d covered around 60% of the ascent. I was really starting to feel the effects of the rucksack weight by this time – as noted earlier, on the level was OK but the ascents were now getting just too hard and I gave in to temptation and opted to take the bypass.

From here on I could either return more directly over Beinn Bhuidhe and Sgurr na Moraich or take the longer but easier/no ascent route down by the Allt Chruinn. Not surprisingly I opted for the latter.

Image

Did get some views over towards Skye – Cuillin and Macleods tables maybe ?

Image

Image

And the final view down over Sgurr an t-Searraich towards Loch Duich

Image

Pleasant enough walk back to the car in the dusk. Got changed, put some money in the car park honesty box and drove back to Glasgow stopping in Fort William at the fish and chip shop.
User avatar
rockhopper
 
Posts: 6308
Munros:282   Corbetts:201
Grahams:59   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:8   Hewitts:2
Wainwrights:3   Islands:19
Joined: Jun 1, 2009
Location: Glasgow

Re: Kintail overnighter - 3 Cousins, 3 Brothers and 4.6 Sist

Postby pigeon » Tue Sep 25, 2012 5:26 pm

Brilliant again Rockhopper.We are heading back up this way early november and will probably try Ciste Dubh along with the Brothers one day and then Ben Fhada the next,staying in the comfort and warmth of the kintail hotel trekker lodge :lol: Anybody who lugs the tent and the gear round a route like this gets my respect,well done man :thumbup: :clap: Oh aye ,when you say you've got some work to lose a few kilo's over the winter,do you mean from you're pack :lol: :lol:
User avatar
pigeon
Hill Bagger
 
Posts: 1356
Munros:282   Corbetts:92
Grahams:35   Donalds:35
Sub 2000:16   Hewitts:2
Wainwrights:1   Islands:2
Joined: Apr 29, 2010
Location: Linlithgow

Re: Kintail overnighter - 3 Cousins, 3 Brothers and 4.6 Sist

Postby Johnny Corbett » Tue Sep 25, 2012 6:02 pm

Another cracker Rockhopper and glad to see you're getting a spell of good weather for your reports now. Like Pigeon i take my hat off to you, doing those rounds with all the gear. :thumbup:
User avatar
Johnny Corbett
Hill Bagger
 
Posts: 2940
Munros:18   Corbetts:206
Grahams:160   Donalds:74
Sub 2000:269   Hewitts:1
Islands:14
Joined: May 14, 2010
Location: Livingston

Re: Kintail overnighter - 3 Cousins, 3 Brothers and 4.6 Sist

Postby malky_c » Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:36 pm

Wow 8) . Possibly one of your best routes to date. Often thought of doing both sides of Glen Shiel as a weekender, but for some reason this looks even better :)

Great photos and tough route. I tend to struggle a bit on steep slopes with a heavy load too - time just seems to drain away.
User avatar
malky_c
 
Posts: 5817
Munros:282   Corbetts:222
Grahams:219   Donalds:74
Sub 2000:250   Hewitts:256
Wainwrights:102   Islands:33
Joined: Nov 22, 2009
Location: Inverness

Re: Kintail overnighter - 3 Cousins, 3 Brothers and 4.6 Sist

Postby jonny616 » Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:53 pm

Epic & stunning :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:
User avatar
jonny616
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1552
Munros:274   Corbetts:12
Grahams:2   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:17
Wainwrights:8   Islands:7
Joined: Aug 19, 2009

Re: Kintail overnighter - 3 Cousins, 3 Brothers and 4.6 Sist

Postby Bod » Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:06 pm

A lovely read and great photos rockhopper, superb effort there. Kintail is just wonderful and soo deserving of many a trip. Inspiring stuff staying out there for the overnighter, and cutting out the need for any other modes of transprt :D :D :D :D :D
User avatar
Bod
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 1511
Munros:282   Corbetts:47
Grahams:27   Donalds:20
Sub 2000:28   Hewitts:9
Wainwrights:7   Islands:24
Joined: Jul 30, 2010
Location: Cowdenbeath

Re: Kintail overnighter - 3 Cousins, 3 Brothers and 4.6 Sist

Postby RicKamila » Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:07 pm

Great report, really enjoyed the photos and yes, that looks like MacLeods Tables in your photo :D
User avatar
RicKamila
Walker
 
Posts: 2358
Munros:5   Corbetts:5
Grahams:3   
Sub 2000:16   
Joined: Jul 17, 2010
Location: Aberdeenshire

Re: Kintail overnighter - 3 Cousins, 3 Brothers and 4.6 Sist

Postby Alan S » Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:26 pm

Stunning mate, brilliant pics 8) 8)
User avatar
Alan S
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1457
Munros:204   Corbetts:4
Grahams:3   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:4   
Islands:12
Joined: Nov 10, 2008
Location: Stirlingshire

Re: Kintail overnighter - 3 Cousins, 3 Brothers and 4.6 Sist

Postby simon-b » Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:28 pm

Possibly your best yet, Rockhopper? Excellent photos, I'm glad you got the weather to suit this epic journey.

Manageable in a day by someone? I believe his name is Steven Fallon...

http://www.stevenfallon.co.uk/kintailroute.html

...but he wouldn't have been carrying the weight you were :clap:.
User avatar
simon-b
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1911
Munros:282   Corbetts:30
Grahams:7   Donalds:12
Sub 2000:1   Hewitts:156
Wainwrights:214   Islands:4
Joined: Jan 2, 2012
Location: Wakefield, West Yorkshire

Re: Kintail overnighter - 3 Cousins, 3 Brothers and 4.6 Sist

Postby PeteR » Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:30 pm

Superb :D :D I'm itching to get back to Kintail and your collection of photos just whets the appetite :D I'll not be lugging my house on my back though. I still have some way to go to mach your feats there :lol:
User avatar
PeteR
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 1952
Munros:282   Corbetts:150
Grahams:86   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:157   Hewitts:3
Islands:7
Joined: Jan 27, 2010
Location: North Ayrshire

Re: Kintail overnighter - 3 Cousins, 3 Brothers and 4.6 Sist

Postby gammy leg walker » Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:34 pm

Another cracking report & route rockhopper.
User avatar
gammy leg walker
Walker
 
Posts: 3222
Munros:258   Corbetts:7
Grahams:3   Donalds:3
Sub 2000:2   
Islands:7
Joined: Jan 30, 2010
Location: Central Region

Re: Kintail overnighter - 3 Cousins, 3 Brothers and 4.6 Sist

Postby rockhopper » Tue Sep 25, 2012 9:42 pm

pigeon wrote: when you say you've got some work to lose a few kilo's over the winter,do you mean from you're pack
:lol: :lol: absolutely - if I lose anymore weight, there won't be much left of me :lol:
Johnny Corbett wrote: glad to see you're getting a spell of good weather
thanks - certainly makes all the difference :D
malky_c wrote: I tend to struggle a bit on steep slopes with a heavy load too - time just seems to drain away.
yup - I end up stopping a lot more frequently and as you say it all adds up - still, I was surprised just how long it took on Ciste Dhubh 8)

jonny616 and Alan S - cheers - it's such a great area that makes it all the easier to get some reasonable photos

Bod - fully agree about Kintail- think I'll be back...but will want to wait for another round of good weather

RicKamila wrote: and yes, that looks like MacLeods Tables
cheers - I walked up one of them a long time ago and the photo reminded of how flat they were but I'm rather limited by the rather basic camera I use

simon-b - had a look at your Steven Fallon link and have seen/borrowed some others in the past - think he tends to understate the distances/ascents a bit though......and he also would have to get back to his start :wink:
PeteR wrote: I'll not be lugging my house on my back though
ach - why not give it a go....I only tried for the first time early last year and have really enjoyed the trips so far despite the extra effort

gammy - cheers...certainly good not to be in clag all the time :lol:
User avatar
rockhopper
 
Posts: 6308
Munros:282   Corbetts:201
Grahams:59   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:8   Hewitts:2
Wainwrights:3   Islands:19
Joined: Jun 1, 2009
Location: Glasgow

Re: Kintail overnighter - 3 Cousins, 3 Brothers and 4.6 Sist

Postby burnsider » Tue Sep 25, 2012 10:25 pm

Fantastic trip report - I stand in awe at your stamina!!.

I was in Kintail on Friday, with my non-hillwalking better half and I must confess that I was looking enviously at the hills - you got a West Highland day to die for and no mistake.
burnsider
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 4
Munros:91   Corbetts:25
Grahams:9   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:6   
Joined: Sep 19, 2011

Re: Kintail overnighter - 3 Cousins, 3 Brothers and 4.6 Sist

Postby rocket-ron » Tue Sep 25, 2012 10:30 pm

Well done rockhopper. Thats some walk. What conditions you got :clap: :clap:
rocket-ron
Walker
 
Posts: 895
Munros:102   Corbetts:32
Grahams:9   
Sub 2000:7   
Joined: Jul 19, 2010
Location: Inverness

Re: Kintail overnighter - 3 Cousins, 3 Brothers and 4.6 Sist

Postby Graeme D » Tue Sep 25, 2012 10:36 pm

Not sure I could add any more superlatives to what has already been said. Brilliant! :clap: I do like the Mountainhouse stuff myself, although I'm not so keen on the chilli con carne one. Love the sweet and sour chicken and the curry one though. :D
User avatar
Graeme D
 
Posts: 3446
Munros:215   Corbetts:102
Grahams:64   Donalds:22
Sub 2000:56   Hewitts:36
Wainwrights:27   Islands:6
Joined: Oct 17, 2008
Location: Perth

15 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).
Next



Walkhighlands community forum is now advert free

We need help to keep the site online.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by setting up a monthly donation by direct debit?



Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 28 guests