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October in Glen Shiel

October in Glen Shiel


Postby malky_c » Sat Dec 05, 2009 10:26 pm

Corbetts included on this walk: Buidhe Bheinn

Date walked: 07/10/2009

Time taken: 5 hours

Distance: 15 km

Ascent: 1390m

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Having spent lots of time on this section of the website over the last few months enyjoying everyone's contributions, I thought it was time to join up and add some walk reports of my own. I decided to start with one of my favourite walks of the last couple of months.

Climbed these hills midweek in early autumn from Glen Shiel. A look at the map suggested that there would be a better circuit from Kinloch Hourn, but Glen Shiel fitted nicely with a work meeting in Kyle of Lochalsh!


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Started walking up the stalkers path towards the Bealach Duibh Leac at about 10ish, with the weather looking less than promising. However, as I gained height, things improved:
101_1157.jpg
(some of) The Five Sisters

101_1163.jpg
Back to Shiel Bridge


Just over an hour saw me on the bealach, at which point I decided to contour around Sgurr a Bhac a Caolais to save some up and down.

I gained the ridge to Bhuide Bheinn and followed a drystone wall. Looking back at this point, the weather was threatening another drenching. Fortunately things were looking better to the south:
101_1168.jpg
Rainbow over Glen Shiel

101_1169.jpg
Southwest to Loch Hourn


Despite these two hills not having enough height drop between them to be separate Corbetts, there is so much up and down on the ridge that it makes no odds really. I hadn't really looked that hard at the map to determine which was the actual summit, so I set about contouring the north side of the bump immediately before the 879m spot height. This was quite rocky, and involved a scramble across greasy slabs to regain the ridge.

The effort was entirely worth it though, as the last section of ridge was a beautiful (although very easy) knife edge, with some short sections of scrambling:
101_1171.jpg
Buidhe Bheinn summit ridge


The best part was the views from the summit straight down Loch Hourn, and across to Knoydart. Although it doesn't come across too well in the photos, the air was very cold and fresh, and made for an astounding light:
101_1174.jpg
Road to Kinloch Hourn
101_1178.jpg
Loch Hourn, Ladhar Bheinn
101_1179.jpg
Sgurr na Ciche


I sat around for 10 minutes or so enjoying the view (complete with rutting stag soundtrack), then headed back the way I came, as sitting around in my shorts was getting a bit chilly! Anyone with good eyesight may just be able to make out some early snow on the Glen Affric hills in the background:
101_1183.jpg
True summit of Buidhe Bheinn


The short knife edge was just as much fun on the way back:
101_1185.jpg
Best summit of Buidhe Bheinn!
101_1188.jpg
Buidhe Bheinn, Ladhar Bheinn


It was only when I had a quick look on the map at the next bump (that I had traversed round on the way) that I realised that it was marginally higher than the summit I had just been on. Therefore, if you are just bagging, there is no need to visit the end of the ridge. Glad I did though, as it was one of my favourite summits.

A short blast of freezing wind and some lovely horizontal hailstones got me picking the pace up a bit as I followed the ridge back towards Sgurr a Bhac a Chaolais. I had noticed the up and down on the way out, but it really hit home retracing my steps. Shame as it was a nice walk, but I just wanted to get it over and get to the next summit. On the upside, I was facing a fairly spectacular aspect of Sgurr na Sgine. Toyed with adding it to the route:
101_1194.jpg
Sgurr na Sgine
101_1195.jpg
South Glen Shiel Ridge
101_1192.jpg
Connecting ridge


After the stunning views from Bhuide Bheinn, the summit of Sgurr a Bhac a Chaolais was a bit of an anti-climax. Just another grassy hump in the south Glen Shiel ridge. I decided to descend towards Sgurr na Sgine, as it varied the route and gave me the option of continuing over it and down Faochag. There was a surprise steep section in the ridge, which resulted in me slithering down some rather precarious scree-filled gully for a short distance. I probably could have avoided this section if I had given it more thought.

At the col, I decided that I was running too late to include Sgurr na Sgine (had to get back to the office to do some work!), so I dropped into Coire Toiteil. This was fairly straightforward, and looking back up, there were more impressive views of Sgurr na Sgine:
101_1201.jpg
Sgurr na Sgine


Rejoining the stalkers path in the corrie made for quick progress back to the car, which I reached just after 2:30. Slightly too much retracing of steps to be the perfect walk, but on the whole a brilliant day out.
Last edited by malky_c on Sun Mar 06, 2011 10:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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malky_c
 
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Re: October in Glen Shiel

Postby mountain coward » Sun Dec 06, 2009 3:01 am

Great report - looks an interesting day out - thanks for the pics of Sgurr na Sgine - I've been wanting some more pics of that for ages as I still have it to do...
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Re: October in Glen Shiel

Postby malky_c » Mon Dec 07, 2009 11:47 am

Thanks. Asent of Sgurr na Sgine is normally from the other side, which is not as steep as what you can see in the picture. Descent off Faochag is quite steep though!
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Re: October in Glen Shiel

Postby Graeme D » Mon Dec 07, 2009 12:33 pm

A work meeting in Kyle of Lochalsh! Why do such things never happen in my work? Make it happen NOW!!!! I demand a work meeting in Kyle of Lochalsh! :(

Brilliant pics and report by the way there Malky ..... :)
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Re: October in Glen Shiel

Postby malky_c » Mon Dec 07, 2009 1:25 pm

Heh! It was more of a site visit really, but one of the main perks of my job (as far as I'm concerned) is that I get lots of site visits to construction sites in the NW highlands. Most of the time there is the opportunity to add a walk in somewhere!
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malky_c
 
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Re: October in Glen Shiel

Postby mountain coward » Tue Dec 08, 2009 1:30 am

malky_c wrote:Thanks. Asent of Sgurr na Sgine is normally from the other side, which is not as steep as what you can see in the picture. Descent off Faochag is quite steep though!


I think I'm going to ascend Faochag (to me one of the most terrifying looking mountains in Kintail) - I think I'd hate going down it! And then traverse round onto Sgurr na Sgine - hopefully the descent from that should be fine - I can always descend to the south (looks great on the map) and work back round to one of the cols to descend. Any idea how narrow the connecting ridge is between Faochag and SnaSgine?
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Re: October in Glen Shiel

Postby malky_c » Tue Dec 08, 2009 11:58 am

I don't remember the ridge being narrow - certainly not in the knife-edge sort of way that it appears on the map - but it was about 10 years ago that I was last up there, and it was misty.

There are a couple of photos in Geograph that give some idea:
http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/773126
http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/646362
http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/1548760

For the descent, I think if you drop down to the Bealach Coire Malagain, you can traverse round under the Forcan Ridge and pick up the good stalker's path which most people use to get up the Saddle.
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Re: October in Glen Shiel

Postby mountain coward » Fri Dec 11, 2009 10:42 pm

thanks for those - they are great - very reassuring - it all looks fine after all. :D I'm assuming the green ridge going up to the saddle (looking over the col of Sgurr na Sgine/Faochag in the 3rd pic) is the route for mountain cowards up to The Saddle?

This was the view of Faochag which stuck in my mind's eye and terrified me - and that was even before I started going up hills - I used to drive to the islands and wonder what the hell that monster was!
Faochag & Kintail Hills.jpg
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Re: October in Glen Shiel

Postby malky_c » Sat Dec 12, 2009 7:07 pm

It's fairly impressive, isn't it!

As you say, that green ridge on the Saddle is the way up which avoids the Forcan Ridge. It is fairly common to go up the Forcan Ridge and back down that way, so there is something of a path. It is fairly steep, much like Faochag, but no more so than anything else in the area.

I've read some of your Kintail reports. If you were fine(!) with the 5 sisters, Beinn Fhada and A' Ghlas Bheinn, I don't think you would have any problems here.
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