The South Glen Shiel Ridge - 40C and a mad decent
by Mountainlove » Mon Jul 22, 2013 2:30 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: 20/07/2013
Time taken: 12 hours
Distance: 21.8 km
Ascent: 1840m8 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).
With the north Glen Shiel ridge completed the previous week and another amazing weekend on the forecast doing the south Glen Shiel ridge was an opportunity I could not miss.
My friend Colin was up north on a holiday already and we arranged to do the ridge together. I was looking forward to have some company, as the solitude the previous week has been nice,
but company is always nicer!
We set off at 8:30am and the low morning mist had reduced the visibility to 50 meters. Where was the glorious sun forecasted??? The midges which blissfully had been absence last week, were back in full force
and stopping was no option. We walked up the wide path and by the time we got to the bit were you can see a stilt leading over the fence we stopped. Was that the path? I checked my GPS and the path seemed to lead up the hill, but the path was rather faint! Checking the map I was soon aware of a dark cloud of midges above my head. Breathing in midges is never pleasant, so we made the very quick decision to use the path over the stilt. 3 other we had met at the same place had the same idea, so it seemed the right way up (even though a missing cairn and proper path suggested otherwise)
The faint path led a gentle way up the hill and soon we were out of the mist. Glorious sunshine was above us (Yeah) and it was very hot. We walked up the path and close to the top we sat down to check the map again. The GPS still showed we were on the right track, but with less Midges we had the chance for a proper look and realized that we came up a different path and by the looks of it a lot easier than the steep climb the other path would have been. By the time I reached the bealach between Creag a' Mhaim and Druim Shionnach I dropped my bag and made my way up the first Munro. I met a few people who I had said hello to at the bottom (hello again if you read this) and taking in the views I was joined by Colin.
Walking back to the bags we had a rest and enjoyed more views...there was no point of rushing when you have glorious views all around you. We continued to the second Munro and met up with Lynne and Angus who we had seen previous as well and who both were walking on their own. From there we continued walking together, sometimes in groups , sometimes alone but always meeting at the tops. By the time we reached the 4th Munro, Colin decided to head back to the car and offered to pick all of us up by the time we completed the ridge. We obviously were more than happy with the option of a car waiting for us and having said good bye Lynne and myself chatted away and made our way to Sgurr an Doire Leathain . The sun was beating down really strong and checking the temperature we were shocked that it registered at 40C (110F) No wonder we were sweating so badly and had to drink water constantly. We reached Sgurr an Doire Leathain and looked out for Angus who had taken a longer break and was seen in the distance. By that time we took it easy, as even though we had taken enough water (it will never be enough on a hot day) we were both running out on water. I only had half a liter left from the 4 I had drunk so far and Lynne was in the same position.. Walking along we felt sluggish and our energy was running low. Neither of us wanted to drink anymore until we had reached the final Munro and walking alongside
Sgurr Beag we spotted a faint dribble coming down the hill...water at last! Filling up the bottles and drinking plenty at the same time, our energy levels came back (amazing what lack of water can do to you) and fully restored we managed to climb the last Munro of the day.
Sitting at the top we had the binoculars out looking for Angus, but apart from another 2 walkers with their dog we could not see him. We waited for another 20 min and with still no sign of him we thought he might dropped down the hills before completing all 7 (which he actually ended up doing) With the ridge completed we thought the walk down would be easy. How wrong we were! I had not wanted to walk the long way down the mountain and had seen a path which seemed ok. By the time we wanted to head down my GPS was dead and we were left with the map. Lynne was less convinced with the route and asked me if we could follow the path. I agreed and we followed the path until we came to a bit were a scramble was required. Neither of us fancied climbing again and looking down the hill, Lynne pointed out a faint path. I knew it wasn't the proper path, but as Lynne was happy to give it a try I did not complain. At least it would get us down the hill.
Following the path we soon realized it was more a landslide than a path. Once in a while I came across a footprint but that was it. We stopped and made the decision to walk down the burn Am Fas-allt. No stranger to mad ways up mountains, I took the lead following any kind of track I could find . It was steep and horrible and we both had to grit our teeth together. I have walked some bad routes up a mountain , but this was by far the worst any of us had encountered. I was glad that Lynne was as rufty tufty as I am , as neither of us complained and we just made the best out of it. Walking over wet rocks, sliding, falling, getting cuts and bruises (poor Lynne fell 3x) we thought things could not get any worse until we reached a waterfall. The only way down was a bum slide on a very steep grassy bit next to it, which we did, beyond caring of any damage we might do to our behinds
By the time we had reached an area which was flattish we looked up and saw 2 guys following us. They had stayed on the hillside next to the burn and needed assistance to get down to the burn. It turned out that they were the 2 guys with the dog we had seen in the distance. They neither had fancied the scramble (because of their dog) and seeing us down the hill made the decision we must be on a path and decided to follow us. I guessed they ended up 'loving' that decision!! Finally after 1.5h we met up with the proper path and let out some shouts of joy. Even more glad we were when we could see Colin in his car who was waiting for us- bless him!!!
To celebrate a great day out we all headed to the Cluanie Inn were we also found Angus again. Sharing stories and celebrating Lynnes 10 Munro in a weekend challenge and my 25 Munros in 2 weeks(non planned challenge) ,we enjoying a cold drink we all looked back to a day were most of us had set out as strangers and returned as friends.
by The Rodmiester » Mon Jul 22, 2013 2:50 pm
by angusb » Thu Jul 25, 2013 9:59 pm
by ChrisW » Fri Jul 26, 2013 6:01 am
by Mountainlove » Fri Jul 26, 2013 12:32 pm
The Rodmiester wrote:Three fabulous days on two classic ridge walks, does not get any better than that! and no road walking at the end, can't be bad Lots of smiling faces on the great photographs, wonderful
Many thanks...the days were amazing and well worth the wait
angusb wrote:Wow, what a fabulous report and such great photos, and thank you so much for the name-checks and the photos! Good proof, if needed, for my kids who I'm sure don't believe I manage to do this sort of thing!!! Hope you've recovered from the long day, and the earlier ones too (have now realised that I had read your report on the North Cluanie hills last week). It was great to be out on Saturday, even if my old bones were creaking a bit, and to meet up with such a good bunch of folk - and a special thanks to the good Samaritan who gave me a lift back to Cluanie on Saturday night (she will know who she is!!). I'll aim to pick off no. 7 on the way back from one of my trips to Skye. All the best for wherever you are heading to next!
Many thanks Angus. It was a pleasure meeting you and it was a great achievement on your site for completing 6 in such hot conditions!! You will enjoy the last one when you do it and I am sure it will be so much easier Enjoy your upcoming trips as well Skye will be amazing!!
ChrisW wrote:That's quite the adventure ML, 40 degrees is a bit much though I remember doing Pocaterra Ridge over here when it was well into the 30's ........made me feel sick Your descent sounded like....errr...fun, or something, but great to have a waiting car to whisk you off to the pub. Great read with lovely photos throughout
Many thanks Chris...to do a walk in 40C is really hard going. I think for the remainder of summer I will stick to some less hard routes...saying that who knows what pops into my head next
by PeteR » Fri Jul 26, 2013 9:16 pm
by rockhopper » Sun Jul 28, 2013 1:09 pm
by gilroy1973 » Mon Jul 29, 2013 9:46 pm
just to say thanks for the help on that hellish descent
Have to agree,it was unbearably warm up there,we ran out of fluid by the 5th munro Sgurr an Doire Leathain.
Thank the gods we found the crappiest little brook between the 6th and 7th munro for a refill,twas a lifesaver
ps great report and pictures
by Scotjamie » Mon Jul 29, 2013 10:05 pm
by Collaciotach » Mon Jul 29, 2013 10:45 pm
And no bad going for a lassie
by Bod » Tue Jul 30, 2013 9:49 am
by dazza4994 » Tue Jul 30, 2013 10:31 pm
Bumped into you as you were sprinting to the top Creag a'Mhaim . Certainly turned out to be a glorious day! Wasn't so bothered about the midgies but the clegs - out in full force! They were a complete nightmare until Creag a'Mhaim lol - looks like you picked the right route as you don't seem to have been bothered by them.
Met Angus on the way up and he was wearing a fleece and a t-shirt almost to the top??? Must've been the clegs lol
Was a good day but a tough day - mainly as we ran out of water as well. So refreshing to find the burn!
Doesn't sound as though your decent back down was the easiest after doing all that lol - but you made it!