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Laying an old Ghost to rest on the Crag of the Stags

Laying an old Ghost to rest on the Crag of the Stags


Postby PeteR » Sat Aug 30, 2014 5:22 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: 24/08/2014

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I had first come into contact with the South Glen Shiel Ridge on 1 October 2011. My plan that day was to complete a long, tough circuit of the ridge from Loch Quoichside. 23 miles and over 6,000 feet of climbing the route guide had suggested. That day didn’t entirely go to plan :shock: I only ended up bagging 6 of the 7 on the ridge that day. In truth, the day could have ended quite badly for me. Thankfully it didn’t. As I recall the forecast for the day had been reasonable. The reality though was clag pretty much all the way :( A couple of foot path faux pas on Maol Chinn-dearg and Sgurr an Doire Leathain had seen me plunged into darkness of the ascent of Creag nan Damh. The descent into Wester Glen Quoich in the darkness with Stags barking around me and the knowledge of knowing MrsR wasn’t going to get an update any time soon probably made it my most uncomfortable experience to date. I think it probably still holds that accolade, even with a couple of crackers coming down of the Ullapool Deargs :lol:

Still………………….I won walk report of the month for my efforts :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

I had often contemplated a return to complete this South Glen Shiel route. Yes, I could have simply driven into Glen Shiel and bag the rogue Creag nan Damh and head down before breakfast. Call me stubborn, but this was personal!!!!!! It was about the route as much, if not more, than it was the red balloon needing to be turned blue.

Oh, and a guaranteed clag free day was also a must :lol: :D

And so, almost three years after having had “Quoich a day out on the South Glen Shiel Ridge” (oh yes, I know a good walk report title when a see one :lol:) I found myself getting up and out of the house at white-cloaked-men-should-be-dragging-me-away O’clock and starting the drive north. There was a bit of a faff parking up just across the single tracked bridge on the Kinlochhourn road (an inconsiderate local parking an animal trailer slap bang in the middle of the space, making parking “interesting”) and then I was off.

It was 6.00 a.m.
ImageP1100124 by Riedel2012, on Flickr
The start of the day

ImageP1100125 by Riedel2012, on Flickr
Gairich across Loch Quoich

It’s a good track to the Altbeithe cottage. Well it was. I was shocked by the mess being made to the area close to the cottage. Some “works” are being undertaken which look rather ugly. Slightly spoiled my photo of the reason I was there.
ImageP1100127 by Riedel2012, on Flickr
The illusive 7th Munro on the South Glen Shiel Ridge

ImageP1100130 by Riedel2012, on Flickr
Back to Loch Quoich

At the cottage I took the route east. Again the track is generally good, but boggy in places. By now the initial chill was being replaced by warmth, as the sun rose over the hills. Provided a superb view of Spidean Mialach and Gleouraich 8) 8)
ImageP1100134 by Riedel2012, on Flickr
The view back to Sgurr a'Mhaoraich

ImageP1100137 by Riedel2012, on Flickr
Spidean Mialach and Gleouraich

The only downside to this section of the walk was the fact that the local herd of Highland Cattle clearly believed the track was a toilet. At times I thought I was walking the Cow Pat Trail :lol: :lol: I certainly had no intention of drinking water off any of the burns in the vicinity :shock:

But when I finally caught up with them those hairy horned beasts do offer up a superb photo opportunity 8)
ImageP1100144 by Riedel2012, on Flickr

The track heads up through Easter Glen Quoich to a saddle, where it drops down into Glen Loyne. I wasn’t going at breakneck speed, just taking a decent but steady pace. At the junction of the paths I took the left hand route, which heads up an over to Cluanie.

It’s an easy path insofar as the gradient is concerned, but I still managed to give myself a small foot path malfunction (well, hey it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t lose a path at least once on a walk :lol:). I was soon back on track and then it was plain sailing to the next junction, which would see me heading up on to the first Munro of the day – Creag a Mhaim :D
ImageP1100156 by Riedel2012, on Flickr
Water feature

The contrast with my first visit could not have been more stark :D From clag three years ago to blue sky and superb views this time round :D :D :D :D

Superb views back to Loch Loyne and across Glen Shiel, as well as back toward Spidean Mialach and Gleouraich :D :D I was taken aback by the views, in no small part due to the fact I saw little first time round.
ImageP1100165 by Riedel2012, on Flickr
Loch Loyne

ImageP1100171 by Riedel2012, on Flickr
First Munro of the day

ImageP1100182 by Riedel2012, on Flickr

ImageP1100184 by Riedel2012, on Flickr

ImageP1100188 by Riedel2012, on Flickr

ImageP1100190 by Riedel2012, on Flickr

ImageP1100191 by Riedel2012, on Flickr

ImageP1100195 by Riedel2012, on Flickr

And the is time I could see the route ahead (always helpful I find :lol:) and my second target of the day – Druim Shionnach :D Another easy walk down off one Munro and on to the second. There was even a nice little scramble available on the crest of the ridge near the summit :D Hadn’t seen that first time round that I can recall :lol:

ImageP1100197 by Riedel2012, on Flickr
Zooming ahead

ImageP1100212 by Riedel2012, on Flickr

ImageP1100227 by Riedel2012, on Flickr

ImageP1100229 by Riedel2012, on Flickr
Number 2 summit cairn

And again, just great views. I really can’t think of much else to say about them. It was just a perfect return to the ridge and I could not believe how blessed I was on this day :D

A bit of a distance between Druim Shionnach and Munro number 3 – Aonach air Chrith, but as for the whole of the ridge really it was just good, easy walking off one and on to the other :D
ImageP1100231 by Riedel2012, on Flickr
View to #3

ImageP1100238 by Riedel2012, on Flickr
North of Glen Shiel

ImageP1100239 by Riedel2012, on Flickr
Kintail

ImageP1100240 by Riedel2012, on Flickr

ImageP1100242 by Riedel2012, on Flickr

ImageP1100243 by Riedel2012, on Flickr

ImageP1100244 by Riedel2012, on Flickr

ImageP1100245 by Riedel2012, on Flickr
Ahead to Aonach air Chrith

ImageP1100258 by Riedel2012, on Flickr

ImageP1100261 by Riedel2012, on Flickr
Glen Dessary hills

Still enjoying the views too on the apparent high point of the day 8)
ImageP1100266 by Riedel2012, on Flickr
Sgurr a'Mhaoraich

ImageP1100273 by Riedel2012, on Flickr

ImageP1100277 by Riedel2012, on Flickr

ImageP1100284 by Riedel2012, on Flickr

ImageP1100285 by Riedel2012, on Flickr

ImageP1100286 by Riedel2012, on Flickr

ImageP1100287 by Riedel2012, on Flickr

Aonach air Chrith has a good little scrambly descent, but again nothing difficult :D
ImageP1100291 by Riedel2012, on Flickr
The view back to the descent of Aonach air Chrith

Maol Chinn-dearg……..oh, Maol Chin-dearg :lol:
ImageP1100299 by Riedel2012, on Flickr

Three years ago this was where it all started to go horribly wrong……….when in the clag I headed down the Druim Coire nan Eirecheanach, rather than following the ridge :oops:

No such navigational cock up this time round :thumbup: Navigationally I was on easy street on my way to Munro number 5 – Sgurr an Doire Leathain :D Physically the legs were just starting to “feel it” :shock: Place slowed a bit, but I was still "on it" :D

Still, I had the views to keep me going, getting great views now down to Loch Quoich (my car was parked down there somewhere and I had that realisation there was still a ways to go to get back to it :lol: :shock:).
ImageP1100309 by Riedel2012, on Flickr

ImageP1100318 by Riedel2012, on Flickr
Maol Chinn-dearg summit

ImageP1100319 by Riedel2012, on Flickr
Ahead to number 5

ImageP1100322 by Riedel2012, on Flickr
Beinn Sgritheal

ImageP1100330 by Riedel2012, on Flickr
Sgurr an Doire Leathain

ImageP1100341 by Riedel2012, on Flickr
All that had been achieved so far

ImageP1100346 by Riedel2012, on Flickr

ImageP1100355 by Riedel2012, on Flickr
#5

I’d cocked up the descent off Sgurr an Doire Leathain first time too :oops: forgetting you have to retrace your steps for a short period before heading on the correct route to number 6 – Sgurr an Lochain :oops:

Of all the Munros on this ridge I’d have to say Sgurr an Lochain is probably the best “looking” in the bunch. Certainly when approaching from east to west 8)
ImageP1100357 by Riedel2012, on Flickr
Sgurr an Locahain

ImageP1100361 by Riedel2012, on Flickr
Torridon

ImageP1100366 by Riedel2012, on Flickr

I finally met my first fellow walkers close to the top, with a couple heading down in the opposite direction. I also had a couple of women catching me up quickly from Sgurr an Doire Leathain. Now, call me childish, but I was adamant I was not going to be “caught” before getting to Sgurr an Lochain’s summit. Despite the protestations of my knees I got me to the summit first :lol:
ImageP1100379 by Riedel2012, on Flickr
The view from #6

ImageP1100381 by Riedel2012, on Flickr

ImageP1100390 by Riedel2012, on Flickr
The Ben

Had a quick chat to the women following behind me, as they eventually arrived at the summit. We exchanged the usual chit chat I imagine takes place on this ridge – asking where I’d parked – sussing out if there were lifts to be had :lol:

I think may have been a bit disappointed when I explained my route and told them my car was parked up beside Loch Quoich :lol:

“How are you going to get back to your car?” one of them asked.

“Walk” was my simple reply :lol:

I think they may have thought I was bonkers :lol:

So, it was 6 down and 1 to go :D The countdown was almost complete :thumbup:

My knees didn’t like it, but I was soon down and bypassing Sgurr Beag on my way to Creag nan Damh. I was soon passed by the two women as I bypassed the minor summit. I didn’t mind being overtaken at that point, and soon they were well out of sight – my legs were feeling sluggish by now.
ImageP1100392 by Riedel2012, on Flickr
The Crag of the Staggs

On the climb up Creag nan Damh I noticed a couple of blokes catching me up quickly from Sgurr an Lochain. Now, call me childish, but I was adamant I was not going to be “caught” before getting to Creag nan Damh’s summit. Despite the protestations of my knees I got me to the summit first :lol: :lol:
ImageP1100397 by Riedel2012, on Flickr

Not telling anyone just how close I probably was on my first visit before the sun fell out of the sky, the lights went out and I was plunged into darkness. Close? To say I was close would be an understatement, but I don’t regret for one minute taking the decision to make sure I got myself off the hill that evening rather than stubbornly seek the summit. And……..I got the chance to come back nearly three years later and enjoy such a great day :wink: :D

I wasn’t sure quite how I’d feel finally reaching the summit of the seventh Munro on the ridge………after the stresses of that first failed attempt. Would it be an emotional “moment”? Or would it be a grin like a Cheshire cat?

Actually, I was shattered, so it was a “plonk-me-down-by-the-summit” and thank the Lord I’d made it :shock: :lol:
ImageP1100400 by Riedel2012, on Flickr
Finally.......after nearly three years, I was on the summit of the 7th South Glen Shiel Ridge Munro - Creag nan Damh

It was time for a good stop though, out with the Jetboil (other cookers are available :lol:) and cook me up a re-hydrated feast. Ok, I boiled the water, poured it into a bag, zipped it up and waited 10 minutes :lol: Then I scoffed it down :D

By this stage I was on the equivalent of a hill walking motorway. People kept appearing from the east. All looked at me as if I was nuts when I told them the route I was taking :lol:
ImageP1100402 by Riedel2012, on Flickr

ImageP1100408 by Riedel2012, on Flickr
Forcan Ridge

After about a 30 minutes break it was then about turn and head back to the saddle between the Munro and Sgurr Beag. The map says there’s a stalkers path to take me down to Wester Glen Quoich. I didn’t find it in the darkness first time…………..and I didn’t find it in the daylight this time either :lol: :lol: :lol:
ImageP1100410 by Riedel2012, on Flickr

What I did discover though, was the descent down to the track without a path was steep, steep steep :shock: :shock: How on earth I got down it in the dark the first time is beyond me :? No wonder it took so long that time.
ImageP1100423 by Riedel2012, on Flickr
The photo doesn't really capture the steepness, but I'm amazed I once came down that in the dark


Finally I was down. Now it was just a case of head down and walk, walk, walk. Seemed so much quicker this time and soon I was back at Altbeithe. The final trek back to the car hurt, I can’t deny. It was a relief to finally arrive bake at the motor and start on the road home.
ImageP1100425 by Riedel2012, on Flickr

ImageP1100428 by Riedel2012, on Flickr

South Glen Shiel Ridge from Loch Quoich take 2. All I had ever hoped it would have been……….and more :D :D :D :D :D :D :D
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PeteR
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Re: Laying an old Ghost to rest on the Crag of the Stags

Postby rockhopper » Sat Aug 30, 2014 6:43 pm

Very nice, Pete - definitely the right decision rather than just the one ! :thumbup:

You purists do suffer a bit though..........a bike's what you need for the return :wink: - cheers :)
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Re: Laying an old Ghost to rest on the Crag of the Stags

Postby PeteR » Sat Aug 30, 2014 6:51 pm

rockhopper wrote:Very nice, Pete - definitely the right decision rather than just the one ! :thumbup:

You purists do suffer a bit though..........a bike's what you need for the return :wink: - cheers :)


Thanks RH.

A bike? :lol: :lol: I try to tell myself my sore feet and aching knees are all part of the "experience" :lol: For three days after this one though they didn't agree........
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Re: Laying an old Ghost to rest on the Crag of the Stags

Postby simon-b » Sat Aug 30, 2014 7:40 pm

An excellent report, Pete, and a great ridge.
PeteR wrote:“How are you going to get back to your car?” one of them asked.

“Walk” was my simple reply :lol:

I think they may have thought I was bonkers :lol:

No matter how tired you were, your return walk must have been better than walking back along the road would have been, if you'd started at the Cluanie. I guess that's a reason you chose your route in the first place.
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Re: Laying an old Ghost to rest on the Crag of the Stags

Postby PeteR » Sat Aug 30, 2014 8:10 pm

simon-b wrote:An excellent report, Pete, and a great ridge.
PeteR wrote:“How are you going to get back to your car?” one of them asked.

“Walk” was my simple reply :lol:

I think they may have thought I was bonkers :lol:

No matter how tired you were, your return walk must have been better than walking back along the road would have been, if you'd started at the Cluanie. I guess that's a reason you chose your route in the first place.


Thanks simon.

I'd seen the route in a guide book some years ago. Sadly I've managed to lose the guide book in a hotel in London :(

It looked like a good way to do the full round while avoiding the road - did the road on a return to Cluanie from the Brothers ridge. I remember that to be a tough walk back.
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Re: Laying an old Ghost to rest on the Crag of the Stags

Postby gammy leg walker » Sat Aug 30, 2014 8:35 pm

:lol: :lol: :lol: :clap: :clap: :clap:

Done at last.
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Re: Laying an old Ghost to rest on the Crag of the Stags

Postby PeteR » Sat Aug 30, 2014 8:42 pm

gammy leg walker wrote::lol: :lol: :lol: :clap: :clap: :clap:

Done at last.


Absolutely :lol:

Well worth the a*se up first time round, so that I could return on such a good day :D Some might think I messed it up on purpose the first time........
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Re: Laying an old Ghost to rest on the Crag of the Stags

Postby jonny616 » Sun Aug 31, 2014 4:29 pm

What a glorious day. Great pictures. My fav area. Cheers 8) 8) 8)
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Re: Laying an old Ghost to rest on the Crag of the Stags

Postby Silverhill » Tue Sep 02, 2014 9:48 pm

Yes I remember your first attempt (the report of it). :crazy: This is much better. Well done for conquering the ridge! 8)
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Re: Laying an old Ghost to rest on the Crag of the Stags

Postby AnnieMacD » Wed Sep 03, 2014 8:40 pm

What a fantastic day you had. I can't believe you re-climbed all these hills just for the one remaining! That's dedication :clap: Wish I had the energy to do this. I'm already planning the ridge in three or four separate walks :lol: Amazing pictures.
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Re: Laying an old Ghost to rest on the Crag of the Stags

Postby Fife Flyer » Wed Sep 03, 2014 9:20 pm

Great stuff Pete, enjoyed reading (as usual) :clap: :clap:
Was nice to see the views I missed :lol: like you I will definitely return one day as that walk deserves decent weather :wink:

Amazed you walked all the way back to your car - mental or what :shock: Notice that you "forgot" to put what time you eventually managed to reach your car :lol: :lol: I would have joined you if you had advertised your intentions, assuming you don't mind having company of course :wink:
Thanks for posting & hope to meet up again in the future 8)
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Re: Laying an old Ghost to rest on the Crag of the Stags

Postby PeteR » Thu Sep 04, 2014 6:55 pm

jonny616 wrote:What a glorious day. Great pictures. My fav area. Cheers 8) 8) 8)


Thanks jonny. It was certainly better than my first visit that's for sure. A second visit in the clag would not have been appreciated.

Got to agree about the area. It's superb :D But then, I say that about pretty much every area I walk. Such great variety in such a small area :D
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Re: Laying an old Ghost to rest on the Crag of the Stags

Postby PeteR » Thu Sep 04, 2014 6:57 pm

Silverhill wrote:Yes I remember your first attempt (the report of it). :crazy: This is much better. Well done for conquering the ridge! 8)


I remember that first effort all too well myself :lol: It was good to go back and get it done though :D
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Re: Laying an old Ghost to rest on the Crag of the Stags

Postby PeteR » Thu Sep 04, 2014 7:03 pm

AnnieMacD wrote:What a fantastic day you had. I can't believe you re-climbed all these hills just for the one remaining! That's dedication :clap: Wish I had the energy to do this. I'm already planning the ridge in three or four separate walks :lol: Amazing pictures.


Annie, I had to do the whole ridge again. My failure first time round was so spectacular that I had to go back and prove to myself I was capable of walking from one end to the other without getting lost :lol:

And coming from the man that did get lost (or temporarily misplaced as I like to refer to it :lol: ) twice it is actually a surprisingly easy ridge to do - just long perhaps. Whether you do it in chunks or in a oner I'm sure you'll enjoy :thumbup:
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Re: Laying an old Ghost to rest on the Crag of the Stags

Postby PeteR » Thu Sep 04, 2014 7:20 pm

Fife Flyer wrote:Great stuff Pete, enjoyed reading (as usual) :clap: :clap:
Was nice to see the views I missed :lol: like you I will definitely return one day as that walk deserves decent weather :wink:

Amazed you walked all the way back to your car - mental or what :shock: Notice that you "forgot" to put what time you eventually managed to reach your car :lol: :lol: I would have joined you if you had advertised your intentions, assuming you don't mind having company of course :wink:
Thanks for posting & hope to meet up again in the future 8)


Thanks Martin

In total I would have to say it has taken me in excess of 30 hours to complete this route :shock: This time round was 13 hours 45 minutes(ish). I don't tend to put my times down though..........as I'm so damn slow :lol:

I did this route from Loch Quoich on the south side of the ridge, so I had no choice but to walk back to my car. No main roads to hitch a lift. Having said that, had I done the standard route I'd probably still have walked it :lol:

It would certainly be good to meet up again sometime and do some hills :D I should advertise my walking plans more really. The trouble is I do have a habit of changing my mind at 3.30 on a Sunday morning if the weather changes (or I oversleep (if you can over sleep at 3.30 a.m.)) :lol: I should also visit that walks/meeting up forum thingy too, to see what's in peoples plans.
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