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Joining the 100 club on the South Glen Shiel Ridge

Joining the 100 club on the South Glen Shiel Ridge


Postby J888ohn » Thu Jul 31, 2014 10:44 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: 26/07/2014

Time taken: 11.5 hours

Distance: 26.64 km

Ascent: 1491m

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Last summer I was defeated in my attempt to do The Saddle, Sgurr na Sgine and the South Glen Shiel Ridge in one day. That gave me renewed focus and I decided to return this year to complete the ridge and make the last Munro my 100th.

Thankfully the weather this summer has been glorious so I rattled through the summits to reach 93 before last weekend when the wife and I along with my mates Lee and David (also known as Base Camp as he done in his knee but decided to go along anyway to "guard" the camp - code for drink the beer.... :roll: ) We set up camp at the Shiel Bridge Campsite on the Friday night and without delay the midges set about devouring us. Quick retreat into the tent and a few beers consumed in preparation for the next morning.

Got up at 6am to get breakfast and try to start the walk at 8am. Again mercilessly attacked by the midges. Wee buggers seemed particularly attracted to my black car so anytime I went into it for something they got trapped and just waited for me to start driving. They were oddly attracted to my camping stove and I seemed to take out several hundred who willingly flew into the flames. Might have a way to make my millions there, or we just all need to carry around a lit camping stove with us.

Dropped a car at the layby at Malagan then continued up to the Cluanie Inn to do the ridge in the traditional direction. Walked out the car park on the north side of the Inn and walked to the left for about 20m or so to get to the access road that is clearly marked on the map.

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Manda at the start with the ridge behind her


As you can see the weather was good. Overcast and about 17c but very humid. The walk in is long and quite boring but the view down Loch Cluanie with the sun rising was impressive once we gained some height.

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Loch Cluanie with the sun rising


A lot of rock was exposed around the edge of the loch showing how much of a long, dry summer we have had. When you get to the junction for the Cluanie Lodge take the track on the right and keep on trudging along. When we crossed the Allt Giubhais there was a large style over the deer fence which is the short cut up to the summit of the 1st Munro, Creag a'Mhaim. This looked pretty steep and considering what was ahead we'd already decided to stick to the track round to the south eastern side of the hill and follow the old stalkers path up to the summit. This was easy to follow and I'd let Manda set the pace as she moans I charge off (6ft 2ins verses 5ft 5ins tends to mean I've got a much longer stride) and it was a nice steady walk up to the summit. The view towards Loch Loyne was impressive and the flatness of the landscape reminded me of Rannoch Moor.

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Loch Loyne


Took about 2 1/2 hours to reach the summit of Creag a'Mhaim. Good views along the ridge from here and down onto Loch Cluanie and Loch Loyne.

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Looking west along the ridge


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Panorama looking east from summit of Creag a'Mhaim


Was good to see where we were going and there was an obvious path in front of us. Number 2, Druim Shionnach was achieved with relative ease. There is a scrambly ridge bit for those looking for some fun. It doesn't last much more than 30m and there is a path to the left to avoid it.

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Indiana John and Indiana Lee on the scrambly bit. We didn't plan our wardrobe too well. Didn't realise how similar we looked until we saw this photo!


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Manda and Lee


It's not exactly technical scrambling so give it a go. There was a large herd of red deer in the glen to our right. I'm never sure how a summit is classed as a Munro on routes like this but this has to be one of the easiest summits I've done.

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Druim Shionnach and Coire nan Leac


Off we went for the 3rd, Aonach air Chrith, the highest on the ridge. This took a bit longer due to the distance. Again easy path to follow and majority was flat or slightly downhill. The climb up to the summit was steeper and took a bit of time and effort. Legs were feeling it a bit and as it was half 12 when we reached the summit we had lunch. 3 summits in 4 and a half hours, good going so far.

The weather had predicted rain coming in from the west in the afternoon. Had a great view of the summits all around us from here and as the western ones started to slowly disappear we decided it was time to move on as the route down from Aonach was quite steep and gnarly and we didn't fancy doing it in heavy rain. Put the jackets on as the first few spots were falling on us. Half way down it was waterproof trouser time as the rain was tipping down and the wind was howling from south to north across the ridge.

Not too many photos from now on as I've learned twice that my phone isn't too keen on getting wet......

To be honest I can't really remember the walk to Maol Chinn-dearg. Can't say there was anything challenging about it and it is quite a height drop from Aonach. The rain was just continuous now but we had no option but to trudge on. Every now and again the rain would stop for 5 minutes and the cloud would split, teasing us that it would clear up and giving the occasional view of Loch Quoich to the south.

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Loch Quoich


We trudged on getting 5 and 6 without too much hassle. On Sgurr an Doire Leathain (no 5) remember to turn back on yourself from the summit and take the fork to the right downhill. Don't do what the group of guys we met later did and continue on the path over the summit and descend 500ft before realising they were coming off the ridge. Doh! The cloud cleared on Sgurr an Lochain and gave us a view towards the minor summit of Sgurr Beag with Creag nan Damh behind it. Number 100 was in sight. Looking at Sgurr Beag I'm guessing not many people bother with it as there was an obvious bypass round it on the southern side. It was much more worn than the path up to the summit and since we'd been going for around 8 hours now and we were all only interested in the Munros we took the bypass too. The walk up to Creag nan Damh seemed long and draining, hardly surprising on a long route like this. The rain was easing slightly but it was too late for my boots whose waterproofing had given up. Manda and Lee's waterproof trousers were beginning to reach their limit too. As if someone was looking down on us, at the summit of Creag nan Damh it stopped raining and cleared long enough for some views and a celebratory summit picture.

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Summit of Creag nan Damh, me bagging 100, Lee bagging 40 and Manda bagging 15.


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Now came a bit we weren't expecting. We descended from Creag nan Damh just as the rain and wind started again with the intention to head for Bealach Duibh Leac where we would descend back towards the car at Malagan. The route on Walk Highlands describes a short scramble. I beg to differ. The path takes you to a very tricky climb up a rock face. We tried and a mix of the difficulty of the climb, the soaking wet rock and our tiredness meant we decided it was too risky so dropped down the scree to the Am Fas-allt and followed this to where it joins the Allt Mhalagain and the original exit path. We weren't the only ones to have opted for this route as there was the occasional footprint and pole hole from previous walkers. We'd been on our own on the ridge for the whole day, very unusual I thought for a Saturday on one of the popular Munro walks. We were maybe half way down the Am Fas-allt when 6 guys appeared on the ridge where we'd dropped off and quickly caught us up. We asked if they'd decided the scramble was too dodgy too. They replied that they saw us and thought we knew where we were going! The reply of "We're just aiming for the road and hoping for the best" was maybe not what they were hoping to hear!

The weather had a final go at us, hitting us with continual torrential downpours and strong winds. By this point we were beyond caring and thought at least the wind would keep the midges away. That would've been great it the wind had remained in the glen. It didn't and to finish us off the rain stopped as we were walking the final stretch to the car bringing forth the midge apocalypse. I hate those wee b*****ds! What is their point in the world? Anyway got the car, back to the camp site for a quick shower then off to the Kintail Lodge Hotel for dinner, except they weren't serving dinner as their 3 rooms were full (huh?) (yet the restaurant was empty.............) I didn't have the energy to argue so headed further down the road towards Dornie and got a lovely dinner in the Jac-o-bite restaurant. Back to the tent where we managed a beer each before we were falling asleep in the camping chairs (again sheltering in the tent from the midges).

Proud to have reached the 100 club. Think I'll ease off now as I feel like I've lost a bit of my mojo for the hills with the amount I've done this year. Maybe get a few more before the winter and come back strong next year.
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Last edited by J888ohn on Thu Jul 31, 2014 11:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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J888ohn
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Re: Joining the 100 club on the South Glen Shiel Ridge

Postby rockhopper » Thu Jul 31, 2014 11:10 pm

congrats on your century :clap: nice set of hills on which to do it even with the poorer weather later on - hope you get your "mojo" back before long :wink: - cheers :)
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Re: Joining the 100 club on the South Glen Shiel Ridge

Postby mrssanta » Thu Jul 31, 2014 11:14 pm

Well done!
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Re: Joining the 100 club on the South Glen Shiel Ridge

Postby AnnieMacD » Fri Aug 01, 2014 1:55 pm

Congratulations - that's quite a push to get to the three digits. Enjoyed reading it.
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Re: Joining the 100 club on the South Glen Shiel Ridge

Postby Annabella1949 » Tue Aug 12, 2014 4:57 pm

Think it was you we met /monadaliath hills with your border collie you gave our collie Kyle a drink of water. I was just wondering if your collie managed the South Glen Shiel ridge as we are planning doing it next week
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Re: Joining the 100 club on the South Glen Shiel Ridge

Postby J888ohn » Thu Aug 14, 2014 11:22 am

Annabella1949 wrote:Think it was you we met /monadaliath hills with your border collie you gave our collie Kyle a drink of water. I was just wondering if your collie managed the South Glen Shiel ridge as we are planning doing it next week


Yes it was me you met :D We didn't take him because we didn't have enough room in the car once we'd loaded in all the gear for the weekend so he had a weekend off at the in laws. I wouldn't think a dog would have a problem on the ridge. There is no particularly tricky bits apart from the bit we failed to climb at the end and dropped off the ridge to take a different route back to the car.

There is no water up on the ridge so you'd need to take enough for yourselves and Kyle. Also if you are looking for somewhere for dinner afterwards I believe the Kintail Lodge Hotel allows dogs into the bar area.
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Re: Joining the 100 club on the South Glen Shiel Ridge

Postby SuperMillie » Thu Aug 14, 2014 11:45 am

I was just wondering if your collie managed the South Glen Shiel ridge as we are planning doing it next week


Hi Annabella, I did the ridge with my 10yr old Collie on a not so terribly good day (clag, rain and wind) and managed fine acros the ridge. We also managed the climb up the 'rock face' at the back of Creag nan Damh and managed to walk out from Bealach Duibh Leac so I doubt you'll have any problems with this walk.

The only thing I'd say is, make sure you have transport arranged from Malagan back to the Cluanie Inn (if you walking this direction). It's a good 3hrs walk back aong the road without it as I found to my cost, especially if you have a dog, it's dark and it's howling and raining - nobody's going to stop and give you a lift in my experience
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Re: Joining the 100 club on the South Glen Shiel Ridge

Postby Beaner001 » Thu Aug 14, 2014 1:46 pm

Well done on the Hunner!! :clap: I know where you are coming from with the Mojo thing, i am not the type of person to be Religiously out in the hills every spare day/weekend as i've other stuff i enjoy as well. I may end up taking quite a few years/decades but don't get me wrong i still enjoy a new tick and want to compleat as much as the next fella :lol:
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Re: Joining the 100 club on the South Glen Shiel Ridge

Postby Johnny Corbett » Thu Aug 14, 2014 4:55 pm

Well done, here's to the next 100 :D
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Re: Joining the 100 club on the South Glen Shiel Ridge

Postby Annabella1949 » Fri Aug 15, 2014 5:17 pm

J888ohn wrote:
Annabella1949 wrote:Think it was you we met /monadaliath hills with your border collie you gave our collie Kyle a drink of water. I was just wondering if your collie managed the South Glen Shiel ridge as we are planning doing it next week


Yes it was me you met :D We didn't take him because we didn't have enough room in the car once we'd loaded in all the gear for the weekend so he had a weekend off at the in laws. I wouldn't think a dog would have a problem on the ridge. There is no particularly tricky bits apart from the bit we failed to climb at the end and dropped off the ridge to take a different route back to the car.

There is no water up on the ridge so you'd need to take enough for yourselves and Kyle. Also if you are looking for somewhere for dinner afterwards I believe the Kintail Lodge Hotel allows dogs into the bar area.

Thanks will make sure we have a supply of water for Kyle. We have booked the Clunie inn for 3 nights so should be ok for dinner just hope the weather is on our side.
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Re: Joining the 100 club on the South Glen Shiel Ridge

Postby big tommo » Mon Aug 18, 2014 7:54 pm

Was a great ridge walk, glad to hit Munro number 40 :D
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Re: Joining the 100 club on the South Glen Shiel Ridge

Postby jonny616 » Tue Aug 19, 2014 8:06 pm

Well done on the hundred and all for doing that great walk :clap:
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Re: Joining the 100 club on the South Glen Shiel Ridge

Postby Rottiewalker » Thu Aug 21, 2014 7:33 pm

Well done on the 100, and a smashing walk to do it on :clap:
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