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Ciste Dubh and the sweet sibling suite
by scotdavid63 » Tue Aug 25, 2015 12:53 pm
Route description: Brothers Ridge - Sgurr a Bhealaich Dheirg
Munros included on this walk: Aonach Meadhoin, Ciste Dhubh, Saileag, Sgurr a'Bhealaich Dheirg, Sgurr Fhuaran, Sgurr na Carnach, Sgurr na Ciste Duibhe
Date walked: 22/08/2015
Time taken: 9.5 hours
Distance: 22 km
Ascent: 2569mRegister or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Had done Saddle/Sgurr na Signe, South Glenshiel Ridge earlier in summer, hot day, 13hrs and over 3300m of ascent so, having watched weather forecast carefully again, we were ready for this one (or so we thought). Same group of me, son (12) and friend (17) as well as larger of our two dogs. We generally move pretty quickly compared to Naismith's rule.
Arrived up Friday night, got murdered by midges putting tents up, dinner in Cluanie Inn (buy do they make a killing without having to try hard) and some sleep. Up at 6am, tents away, weetabix in car (midges awake early again and the tent must have had tens of thousands dead on it), parked at Cluanie Inn and onto hill at 6.55am.
My son and I had spoken with a chap on the SGR trip who had confirmed best to do this from East to West (quoting the walk up to the bealach between the brothers and sisters as one of the toughest ascents around). My suunto confirmed afterwards that we did 220m more descent than ascent so that is an important factor for anyone else looking at this.
So, set off from behind Cluanie car park, heading slightly east to find the path near the burn that goes most of the way to Ciste Dubh. Had evening plans in Edinburgh so did not try the Corbett that is recommended with Ciste Dubh. Path is boggy, very boggy but it gets you there and the plateau/ bealach between Ciste Dubh and the Brothers Ridge is also boggy. Be warned, gaiters helpful.
I must say that Ciste Dubh had looked fantastic from the Cluanie and it did not let us down, what a cracking hill even if it is a slog to get there. Low cloud but clear day so views into Glen Affric awesome as well as over to the siblings ..... A smidge over 2hrs to here
Trek up to first Brother - Aonach Meadhoin - was not at all bad after the slog up the glen to Ciste Dubh. No path to speak of until near the top of it though, just make your way up the grassy slopes onto the start of the ridge. 3hrs 42mins to here to second munro.
From here the trek across to Sgurr a Bhealaich Dheirg and Saileag is very straighforward, good path and, on a dry day, nothing really to worry about. Sgurr aBD is very pretty with the cairn off a narrow spur. Rocky so not great for dog but only a few mins detour to get it. This was only 40mins from the first Brother so now we were reaping the rewards of the initial slog. Weather held up with clouds and showers on other side of the road !
Got to Saileag in about 50mins, had been having occasional stop and had drunk/refilled water bottles on bealach near Ciste Dubh, there are various puddles for a dog though.
Now, the hard part - getting the first sister nailed. Indeed women can be an effort in life (with commensurate reward of course) but this took the biscuit. Down to the bealach and then start the ascent. However, there is frequent up and down so after the first four with the third and fourth easy pickings, this was a serious effort. Sgurr na Ciste Duibhe she is called, I have many other names for her - 90mins pretty much bang on to get here from Saileag. The bealach between the siblings is at 735m or thereabouts but there is another c100m of up and down on top of the re-ascent in amongst it all. Nonetheless a very rewarding munro.
45mins to Sgurr na Carnach and another 40mins to Sgurr Fhuaran. Enjoyable walking and views the whole way until the mist/rain finally hit us at the top of Sgurr Fhuaran. Talking to various kindly folks and also some hill runners we had confirmed that the descent off Sgurr Fhuaran to the main road was doable and indeed that there was a path so that was our next plan. We had been moving along nicely barring the transition from male to female siblings.
There is a path off the main shoulder of Fhuaran but it peters out after a few hundred metres of descent, then you are on your own (unless someone else can mark the path or clarify). Steep and relentless downhill pretty much the whole way for 1000m down to the floor of the glen. Then cross the river and, in my case, get the thumb out to try to get back to Cluanie for the car. The kids were about 20mins behind as we figured best for me to crack on and fetch the car. A van with three swiss guys stopped after about ten mins and saved me from the welcoming party of another gazillion midges, nice chaps and my thanks to them.
Fetched car, changed trousers (wade across river above knee height) grabbed kids and back in Edinburgh at 8pm despite convoys of slow drivers on A9.
Very tired Sunday but another brilliant day in Glenshiel, if only someone could get rid of the midges !
by mikebeattie1 » Tue Aug 25, 2015 2:41 pm
thanks for bringing back my memories from here
by J888ohn » Tue Aug 25, 2015 11:05 pm
Good effort. Very impressive.
by scottishkennyg » Wed Aug 26, 2015 1:30 pm
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