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Sun and Snow on the South Glen Shiel Ridge

PostPosted: Sat May 22, 2010 12:08 am
by AndyHall
With the daylight hours getting longer and longer, we decided it was finally time for a long walk, nice big epic 25km+... but where to go? Having passed through Kintail repeatedly in the last month or two, the South Glen Shiel ridge jumped to mind and so we found ourselves setting off at 6.45 from Inverness and heading down the A82. The forecast was for changeable weather, the kind where there seems to be a different season on every top, but as we drove past Loch Ness it looked promising, plenty of blue sky around. It didn't last. Arriving at the Cluanie Inn all the surrounding hills were covered in a blanket of cloud. As we put on our boots in the car park the cloud would part and the occaional peak would come into view before disappearing as quickly as it came.

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Cloud covered hills at the start of the day


We set off along the good estate road, aim for the Easternmost part of the ridge to start the ascent. After about 6km the cloud began clearing just as we turned up the slopes, aiming for Creag a'Mhaim. The sun was out by now and a quick stop was needed to dig out suncream and ditch some layers. We gained height quickly and were soon rewarded with a view of what was still to come in the day...

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Summit of Creag a'Mhaim, looking west along the ridge


The hills to the North and the South were both covered in cloud at this time and it soon blew over our way, bringing with it a sudden drop in temperature and a light dusting of snow. A few minutes later and it was back to warm sunshine... :D this set the pattern for the day, snow, sun, snow, sun...

We carried on along the ridge, a few fun narrow bits, a couple of places where hands were needed on rocks, but only short sections with no exposure. There was still plenty of snow in places, mostly along the Northern edge of the ridge, making approaching sections of the walk seem quite daunting. Once up close however, these could usually be bypassed with no trouble at all.

From the final Munro we took the spur to the North East and made our way down the grassy slope which was steep at times. There was an intermittent path which would suddenly disappear, this led us to a rockier descent at one point which we bailed out of and traversed round to the side and picked our way down the grass. Looking back we saw that we'd made the right choice, the rocky slope soon became quite vertical... :? a tricky (or easy, if uncontrolled) descent...
Still time to miss another path and we cut through a small wood just before we met the road. This gave possibly the trickiest descent of the whole walk! If you take this route down, I'd suggest skirting round the wood to the East.

All that was left now was to stick out a thumb... we walked along for a while, stopping at lay-bys, and after a couple of km were rewarded with a lift to the pub from a walker who'd spent the weekend on Skye! Thank you!

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Image of the route taken from Alan's GPS track of the route
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Re: Sun and Snow on the South Glen Shiel Ridge

PostPosted: Sat May 22, 2010 7:49 am
by maddjock
fantastic walking weather you got there... good report and pics :thumbup:

Re: Sun and Snow on the South Glen Shiel Ridge

PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 10:35 am
by goth_angel
Nicely timed as we are hoping to head up there next weekend - useful to see the snow conditions i.e. not much left. :D

Re: Sun and Snow on the South Glen Shiel Ridge

PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 10:51 am
by monty
Nice report Andy...

Hope to do these ones in August so all the snow will be gone. Looks like a couple of tricky bits on the descent. :shock:

Re: Sun and Snow on the South Glen Shiel Ridge

PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 11:02 am
by gaffr
'The good estate road'.....was the old road to the Isles before the road that we now drive on to Cluanie was made :) a wee bit before my time as a traveller on four wheels but on two it is a different story.
The old road to from the Isles Cluanie to Tomdoun.jpg
The old bridge the road to the Isles.jpg
The old bridge the road to the Isles.jpg

The old road is severed by the Loch Loyne.....useful access to reach the Corbett .789.....images scanned from the diaposatives .....I'm only a recent digital camera user.