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two tons on the North Glenshiel Hills

two tons on the North Glenshiel Hills

Postby mrssanta » Wed Jul 17, 2013 9:32 pm

Munros included on this walk: A' Chralaig, Aonach Meadhoin, Càrn Ghluasaid, Ciste Dhubh, Mullach Fraoch-choire, Sàil Chaorainn, Sàileag, Sgùrr a' Bhealaich Dheirg, Sgùrr Fhuaran, Sgùrr na Càrnach, Sgùrr na Ciste Duibhe, Sgùrr nan Conbhairean

Date walked: 09/07/2013

Distance: 50 km

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This was of course meticulously planned with weeks of scheming beforehand, which is half the fun - but as we all know plans are made to go wrong, and we had a few "learning points" on this trip.
1. check the bus fare before you get on the bus and remember to take plenty of cash
2. factor 20 is not strong enough sometimes
3. remember to take the full gas cylinder
4. water is heavy and lots of water is very heavy!
and others.

After coming off the Saddle at about 3 in the afternoon on Monday our plan was to change our clothes, restock our packs with food and gas, park near the Kintail Lodge hotel and catch the ten to five bus to the other end of the walk at Lundie.
So far so good, the bus was right on time, but when the bus driver said "fifteen pounds" and it had to be cash, we just had to get off the bus again as we only had £12 thinking that would be more than enough
We tried the Shiel Bridge shop for cashback but no joy. As we had a booking at the Cluanie Inn for Thursday night the next idea was to see if they could lend us a fiver against our bill and we would be just in time to catch the last bus up the glen. Unfortunately the Cluanie wasn't able to do that for us either, but what they could do was much better! The proprietor Andrew (bless him) got in his car, followed us down to Loch Duich, showed us the best place to park saving us a mile road walk at the end of the trip, and then dropped us off at Lundie, for which he charged us £15 to go on our bill.

kintail north.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

so, call it Day 0 we set off just after 6pm up the track from Lundie; soon you go through a gate, pass a mast on your left and turn right up the hill, initially following some interesting marker posts!
what's this doing here?

We stopped at about the 550m contour mark to pick up 7 litres of water between us as there would not be any more easily available water for a long time. It was at this point we remembered we had not swapped over the gas cylinder so had only the dregs of a nearly empty one to do us for three nights - so no cups of tea :( :( and we were carrying enough milk sticks for a small army! we would have to be careful and just have our dehydrated food and drink plain water.
nearly at the top looking back - just having a wee rest

The path is pretty clear all the way up the ridge to the large flat summit, where there are two cairns perched right on the edge of the cliff; we went to both just to be sure. By this time it was about 9pm and we were pretty shattered after a long day so it was time to share a blow-up meal and instant custard before bed, but not before enjoying a beautiful sunset and splendid views in every direction.
Ben Nevis in the distance

Rudolph on summit Carn Ghluasaid

and me

sunset behind sgurr nan conbheiran

and in the morning,

Day 1
The plan was to climb the next 4 munros and camp on the bealach between Ciste Dubh and Sgurr an Fhuarail. Usually we are not good at getting up at stupid o'clock (correction - I am rubbish at getting up) and wild camping is a great way to get an early start. We were away just after 8am and just over an hour saw us on the summit of the first munro of the day, Sgurr nan Conbheiran.

still wearing windproofs at this point

We dropped our bags shortly before reaching the summit as it seemed pointless to carry them all the way to Sail Chaorann and back. Then it was a really lovely ridge walk to the next summit, and then back again nearly to the top off Sgurr nan Conbheiran again to pick up the bags.
beautiful ridge towards Sail Chaorainn

summit Sail Chaorainn

Sail Chaorainn again with Sgurr nan Conbheiran behind

looking back towards Carn Ghlusaidh from sail chaorainn

From this point there is a long grassy descent to the west ending in a steep bouldery slope down to the bealach Choire a'Chait. the path down to this bealach and up the other side towards A'Chralaig is indistinct at best and it was hard going up the other side in the increasing heat. I started to wonder if we had bitten off more than we could chew, but the car was a long way away and we had to get to it!
photo (rest) opportunity looking into Glen Affric from the stiff climb up to A'Chralaig

The summit of A'Chralaig has an enormous cairn visible from the Cluanie, and it was great to reach this, my 99th Munro.
summit A'Chralaig with brothers behind

and again with the lovely ridge to Mullach Fraoch-Choire behind Rudolph

So from here there is a really beautiful ridge all the way to Mullach Fraoch-Choire via the exciting scrambly bit where the bypass paths are not visible from afar giving Rudolph a bit of pause for thought!
hmmm not sure about that

Rudolph is a perfect gentleman (sometimes) and although he usually walks ahead and I pech on behind, he stands back at the summit to let me get there first. What a fantastic spot to reach the century! and the last Munro of the day.
Yay 100!!!! Glen Affric behind

and 97

We dropped down the steep slope into Coire Odhar, now feeling very hot and thirsty, and very grateful to reach a burn at last. It was a hard, tired slog down the coire into the heat and stillness of the afternoon, where the clegs soon started to annoy. Up the other side through rough grass with no path, we were grateful at last to reach our camp spot for the night at the Bealach a'Choinich where we could drink as much as we wanted, eat our tea and pretty much crash out.
when we reach that bealach we can stop.

nice flat dry site with running water nearby, what more could we ask? oh yes, a view as well! not bad.

day 2 ciste dubh and the brothers
It was a warm night and we woke up in the morning to thick mist and heavy dew on the tent. But the sky was bright and it didn't look like it would last very long. we decided to leave the tent pitched while nipping up Ciste Dubh with just a snack and some water. What a treat! About the top of the steep boggy bit we came right out the top of the cloud and into bright sunshine, and also saw our first ever Brocken Spectre, which followed us along the ridge.
double brocken spectre

The top of Ciste Dubh is remarkably steep and pointy with only a very small summit area. but what views!
top of ciste dubh, five sisters behind, and the Cuillin in the far distance

me on top Ciste Dubh, can't quite work out which direction, perhaps someone can remind me.

At this point I have run out of attachments so I will post the rest in part 2. watch this space!
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Re: two tons on the North Glenshiel Hills

Postby The Rodmiester » Wed Jul 17, 2013 9:54 pm

Just read mountainloves report, and waiting for your part 2 with interest :) . Seems like these hills have been busy in the good weather, (13/7/2013) I was behind you part of the way on the Brothers ridge, started on the wee corbett Am Bathach, Ciste Dhubh then the Brothers, and the long walk back, but well worth it, wonderful hills. Great photographs! :D
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Re: two tons on the North Glenshiel Hills

Postby rockhopper » Wed Jul 17, 2013 9:54 pm

Jings, you wait ages for "North Glenshiel dozen" reports then two come along at the same time ! :lol: Quite an epic - must've taken a fair bit of planning especially coming up from Yorkshire :clap:

Gas trials and bus tribulations aside, I'm enjoying it so far and looking forward to part 2 :thumbup: Cracking inversion as well - it's a great area for them - cheers :)
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Re: two tons on the North Glenshiel Hills

Postby mrssanta » Wed Jul 17, 2013 9:58 pm

As we descended the cloud lifted, beginning to disperse, and by the time we came back to the tent it was dry and getting hot again. We could not detect a path up to the next hill, Sgurr an Fhuarail, so we zigzagged up the shoulder and were soon on the top, with a short descent and reascent to the next Munro, Aonach Meadhoin.
top aonach meadhoin

and again, with Loch Cluanie in the background

This was number 99 for Rudolph. Number 100 was another cracker, but first we had to find more water. this was the last point where we could get running water until the end of the ridge. We went off the ridge about 100 yards to a waterfall at about 038140 where we filled our bottles with 8 litres of water - 4each. Again very chivalrously Rudolph carried the two 3litre bottles and I carried the two one litres, given that he is stronger than me and probably fitter as he doesnt sit at a desk job all day.
life saving water!

Sgurr a'Bhealach Dheirg is another cracking summit with an enormous cairn at the end of a narrow ridge to the north, surmounted by another strange wall made of huge boulders. what on earth was the wall doing there and who built the great cairn in such an exposed place I wonder.
Rudolph touching the top of the cairn, that's 100 for him too :-D

and meself. Not very fashionable tucking the top into the trousers but it stops the camera swinging about when I tuck it inside my shirt on its lanyard round my neck

looking back the way we came

we decided we would allow ourselves 2 litres each for the afternoon and overnight, leaving two for next day. How lovely it was to reach the grassy top of Saileag, where we rested for a while and chatted to a walker we had bumped into a couple of times already that day.
Top of Saileag, with Beinn Fhada behind

and himself

he was the only person we were within speaking distance of for the whole excursion. we considered camping at the top of Saileag where there is a nice flat smooth area just about the size of a wee tent, but in the end decided to go on to the bealach an Lapain, which looked from the map to be the last place for a while where there would be a good spot. It was a gorgeous evening and we sat in the sun and rested before turning in for an early night again.
nearly there

what a place to spend the night!

day 3the sisters (most of them anyway)
We planned a good early start to get well on before it got too hot. Another dewy morning and we were away by 7 (not usually a time I am anything like conscious). this morning we had a treat, as we had a little gas left, just enough to make a cup of tea for me and coffee for Rudolph, and that used up every last drop of gas. First cup of tea for 3 days and it was like nectar!
certainly it was worth it getting up early with beautiful misty views up and down the glen.
up Glenshiel

towards Affric

interesting ridge

Sgurr nan Spainteach is a lot of up and down and was great fun with the odd surprising scrambly bit. These sisters are steep, straight up and down, and it quickly got very hot. We found that it helped to take our shirts off and soak them and our buffs in the peaty lochans that are scattered on the summit ridge, takes your breath away a bit putting on a wet shirt but after about five seconds it felt like heaven!
sgurr na ciste dubh summit

ditto, with face nearly as red as trousers!

wet buff. I am far too polite to take pictures of putting wet shirts back on!

sgurr na Carnach. you can see beinn Sgritheall, the Skye Cuillin and Dun Caan in the background

and again, one more to go it's that big one behind you!

sgurr Fhuaran. Not sure what the joke was.

and again. last summit pic till next week folks!

After three days in the same clothes a bit of bog water just adds to the savoury mix. After we reached Sgurr Fhuaran it started to cloud over a bit but the heat was just as intense.
After the last munro we continued along the ridge to Sgurr nan Saighead and nipped up to beinn Bhuidhe as well, leaving our packs at the bottom of this one. This was definitely worth it as it felt like a bonus with the sheer cliffs on the north side and I saw some rare flowers I have never seen before.
some more pointless-looking walls

we followed a path down the northwest ridge from Bheinn Bhuidhe which was eroded and steep in places but went through lovely meadows and quickly reached running water - hurrah. once reaching the burn of Allt a'chruin it is a well constructed path that leads you down to the village - but with a sting in its tail, the last few hundred yards is very steep and stony!
the sting in the tail!

At last we were back at the car, tired, smelly and triumphant! we rewarded ourselves with an ice cream before driving back up the road to the Cluanie for a lovely bath and clean clothes followed by delicious grub in the bar.
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Re: two tons on the North Glenshiel Hills

Postby rockhopper » Wed Jul 17, 2013 10:13 pm

Absoltely soooooperb ! :clap: and congratulations on making your respective centuries :clap:
Brocken spectres, inversions, sunsets, camping and all in a spectacular area - what more can one ask ! :thumbup: Excellent trip and very enjoyable - cheers :D
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Re: two tons on the North Glenshiel Hills

Postby wilkiemurray » Wed Jul 17, 2013 11:12 pm

amazing!! awesome photos and great report - good blooing effort to bag all of those too :clap: :clap:
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Re: two tons on the North Glenshiel Hills

Postby weaselmaster » Wed Jul 17, 2013 11:37 pm

Well done to you both on your 100s
Mullach Fraoch Coire is a great one to ton up on too :clap:
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Re: two tons on the North Glenshiel Hills

Postby pigeon » Thu Jul 18, 2013 7:12 am

Well done both on another great trip and getting to your 100th Munro's :clap: My mate got himself embarrased on the bus from Kingshouse to Bridge of Orchy once,can't remember exactly how much it was but his kind offer to pay for 3 of us with a tenner fell somewhat short :lol: :lol:Keep the reports coming mrssanta,always enjoy your adventures :wink:
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Re: two tons on the North Glenshiel Hills

Postby basscadet » Thu Jul 18, 2013 10:55 am

Well done to you both for reaching the century.. Bus fares, and lack of gas aside, looked amazing! :clap:
I can't go more than 6 hours without tea, so I would of packed it in the moment I realised gas was short :lol:
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Re: two tons on the North Glenshiel Hills

Postby Mountainlove » Thu Jul 18, 2013 8:29 pm

How lovely to be able to follow you on the same walk I did :D Quite funny that without speaking me managed to walk the same route to close to each other :clap:
I can't believe the price of the bus fair :shock: I am glad I managed to pick up a lift! Tea...something I never think about to take along. You had a lovely day as well and the clouds below you look amazing!!
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Re: two tons on the North Glenshiel Hills

Postby Tomsie » Thu Jul 18, 2013 8:54 pm

Well done on the centuries looked like a great few days.
Cant believe you forgot the gas :wink:
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Re: two tons on the North Glenshiel Hills

Postby gammy leg walker » Thu Jul 18, 2013 9:17 pm

Most excellent,well done both on reaching 100 still got the Brothers & Sisters to do cannie wait now.
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Re: two tons on the North Glenshiel Hills

Postby Stretch » Thu Jul 18, 2013 11:40 pm

Lot a big walks being done right now, I'm jealous! That inversion must have been a real treat. Congrats on the century marks!
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Re: two tons on the North Glenshiel Hills

Postby morag1 » Fri Jul 19, 2013 8:26 am

Great report and photos, well done to both of you on reaching the 100 mark :clap:

You both look so happy out there, that's what days in the hills are all about, again very well done :D

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