Tuesday, 5th. August:
This was the fourth day of an ambitious attempt to trek over the tops from Glenfinnan to Achnashellach with a bunch of lads from Kent on a D. of E. training trip. They hadn't been able to cope with the combination of the terrain and the weather so we'd had to pull them off the hills after the second day but they were still keen to walk the ridges with day sacks so, having spent the night at the Shiel Bridge camp site, we pointed them at the South Glen Shiel Ridge. I decided to walk it from west to east so that, with them going in the opposite direction, I'd be able to ferry our minibus back to their finish point. An early start meant that I was able to get away and head up the valley of the Allt Mhalagain by 6.45.am. and I enjoyed the steady pull up what became a faint but generally well-cairned track to the Bealach Duibh Leac - even the weather was playing ball with an odd glimpse or two of sunshine. Once I hit the ridge, the walking was easy and enjoyable with nobody else about and a succession of straightforward summits giving good views. Not sure, though, whether they all deserve Munro status compared with some other tops elsewhere... Two people briefly appeared behind me on the col between Sgurr Beag and Sgurr an Lochan (I think that they had come up from Coire Reidh to the north) and I stopped for a bite to eat on Sgurr an Doire Leathain but, apart from that, it was a beautiful but uneventful ramble. I started to meet one or two people coming the other way after the top of Maol Chinn Dearg and then met up with the main party on the summit of Aonach air Chrith (my fifth top, their third). Everyone was in good heart (although, I thought, rather underestimating the distance they still had to go) and I pushed on, really enjoying the moderately pointy bit of the ridge to the east of Druim Shionnach. I hit Creag a'Mhaim all too soon and jogged down to the track in sunshine before a bit of a slog to make the minibus (parked at the Cluanie Inn) just after 2.00.pm. After that, though, it was a long wait with the slowest of the main party not getting off the hill until around 7.00.pm. - not far short of a twelve hour day for them! No too much recovery time, though, as tomorrow we were heading north into the big, empty glens...
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