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Three Days in Kintail

Three Days in Kintail


Postby roscoT » Fri Sep 23, 2016 10:29 pm

Munros included on this walk: A' Ghlas-bheinn, Sgurr Fhuaran, Sgurr na Carnach, Sgurr na Ciste Duibhe, Sgurr na Sgine, The Saddle

Date walked: 17/09/2016

Time taken: 20.5 hours

Distance: 50.7 km

Ascent: 4444m

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Day One - Sat 17th Sept - The Saddle and Sgurr na Sgine
Distance - 13.7km
Ascent - 1459m
Time - 6hrs



the saddle and co.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


High hopes for this trip remained lofty with a forecast of 2 dry days out of 3 - potentially the third trip to the NW Highlands in a row that wasn't going to be a washout. That's not supposed to happen, right? The aim was to do The Saddle and Sgurr na Sgine, the South Glen Shiel Ridge and the Five Sisters in 3 days. Again, I guess 2 out of 3 ain't bad!

An earlyish drive up from Glasgow meant we were at the west end of Glen Shiel for 11am, ready to tackle the Forcan Ridge in what we hoped would remain dry conditions. Early signs were promising.

ImageP1030286 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030287 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030290 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

The path which cuts northwest to Bealach na Craoibhe is in excellent condition, and we were there, albeit drenched in sweat in no time, where the mighty ridge finally reveals itself.

ImageP1030291 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030295 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030297 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030300 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Strolling around Meallan Odhar, we were suddenly at the bottom, with blue skies appearing. Will let the pictures do the rest of the talking...

ImageP1030302 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030303 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030305 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030307 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030309 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030311 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030314 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030315 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030317 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030318 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030321 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030323 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030324 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030325 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030326 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030331 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030332 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030335 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030336 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030337 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030338 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030339 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030343 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030344 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030346 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030347 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

The dreaded downward pitch! :shock:

ImageP1030348 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030350 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030351 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030352 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030354 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030356 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030360 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

All of it was just a joy from start to finish. Up there with my top experiences in the hills so far, if not at the very top :D We had managed to catch a break in the clouds too, and the sun which shone for us on the ridge had disappeared not 15 minutes after we left the summit. Views from the summit were sublime, only Skye to the west was covered in clag.

ImageP1030361 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030362 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030366 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Would have happily attempted descending the way we had came, but after some lunch and a wee meditation we were bound for Sgurr na Sgine. The climb to Sgurr na Sgine should not be underestimated (I underestimate all the hills after the first one usually!) - there is still a good 300m of ascent to go.

ImageP1030369 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030370 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030373 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030375 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Legs burning, we gained the ridge between Faochag and Sgurr na Sgine as the clag came in. Met a really nice bunch of walkers here of differing ages and patter quality :lol: The cairn is reached easily over a small knobbly plateau, then it's back the way you came towards Faochag to start the descent (that's the one that looks unclimbable from the road :shock: )

ImageP1030380 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030382 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030385 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

The descent is a punishing one on the knees, but is over remarkably quickly. Euan always complains that I practically run down hills. I find it fun (unlike him I have not come a cropper yet, but I'm sure that time will come!), but my knees would not thank me the next day! We took a wee shortcut at the river back to car so as not to risk our lives on the A87.

ImageP1030391 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030392 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030394 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030396 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030397 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Just a great day. With the added bonus it was only a 5 minute drive to our digs for the next 2 nights, which other members will I'm sure be familiar with :D

The Wee Bunk House Kintail Lodge Hotel.JPG



Day 2 - Sun 18th Sept - Falls of Glomach & A'Ghlas-bheinn
Distance - 22.2km
Ascent - 1411m
Time - 6.75hrs



A%27Ghlas-bheinn and the Falls of Glomach.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


Day 2's forecast was less encouraging, but with a good sleep under our belts and a slight hangover we made the sensible choice not to do the South Glen Shiel ridge (definitely the best option given what later transpired) and had a lesiurely morning milling about Eilean Donan castle, before settling on the Falls of Glomach for a walk (with added A'Ghlas-bheinn if conditions so favoured).

The rain was spitting as we started the walk from Morvich, but didn't really get going. It was warm and humid. The route to the falls is a fairly lengthly but pleasant one, flat at first before crossing the Abhainn Chonaig and passing a bothy which has long since been uninhibated. From here, the route follows a track through Dorusduain Wood, before beginning to climb east for a few kilometres to reach the Bealach na Sroine at about 500m, which has a real feeling of wilderness.

ImageP1030397 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030399 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030404 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030410 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030413 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030416 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030417 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030421 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030422 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030423 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030426 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

From the bealach, there is a good path which descends about 150m to the falls on the left, which you can hear long before you see. As others have said, it is well worth the walk, absolutely breathtaking :clap:

ImageP1030430 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030434 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030436 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030437 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

After spending a while here marvelling, we painfully re-ascended to the bealach to have lunch and make a decision. The rain was now coming down quite a bit, and clag covered the pathless north ridge of A'Ghlas-bheinn (probably).

We decided to go for it, and what followed was an hour and a half of climbing pretty much aimlessley through blasting wind and rain. The final 100m of ascent in particular was a real slog. At one point I believe I shouted to Euan (barely audible even although he was right next to me) 'this is what it feels like to be alive!', which was met with a look of disdain at best and hatred at worst. We did not hang about at the summit, and so began the long descent to Bealach an Sgairne 400m below.

ImageP1030442 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030445 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030446 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030449 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030451 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030452 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Cloud did clear for a while, allowing decent views down to Loch a'Bhealaich, and by the time we reached the Bealach the rain and stopped and the wind had dried at least some of our clothes.

ImageP1030453 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030454 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030457 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030461 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

The route back to start down Gleann Choinneachain was long but very pleasant over a good path. Glad to be back though on a day which felt like an adventure, just in time for a cracking dinner at Kintail Lodge :D

ImageP1030462 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030468 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030473 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr


Day 3 - Mon 19th Sept - The Five Sisters of Kintail
Distance - 14.8km
Ascent - 1574m
Time - 7.75hrs



five sisters.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


Ever since started hillwalking, i'd wanted to do this classic and revered walk, and today was the day! Luckily, our fellow bunker had agreed to give us a lift along the road first thing (thanks Colin, and sorry for keeping you waiting!) so we didn't have to get the bus.

From the bottom, the 550m climb to Bealach an Lapain is every bit as tough as described, an absolutely relentless and boggy climb, lactic acid coursing through our legs - a real sense of achievement to get to the top, sadly not rewarded with any views. Safe, however, in the knowledge that, just over an hour in, the hardest part of the day was complete.

ImageP1030476 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030477 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030479 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030482 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030485 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Forecast had suggested (I was now answering to the name Michael Pish) the mist would clear before lunchtime, so we waited around for a while and chatted to some gents from London who were here for revenge after being turned back earlier in the year :clap:

Eventually we set off on the well-walked ridge towards the first peak of the day, Beinn Odhar, then the first munro top, Sgurr nan Spainteach - the peak of the Spaniards. The mist was clearing, giving hints of awe-inspiring views, and dulling any lingering leg pain.

ImageP1030487 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030493 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030496 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030498 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030501 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
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ImageP1030509 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030509 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030510 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030513 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030518 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Once, eventually, at the first massively cairned munro - Sgurr na Ciste Duibhe - we stopped for a while and had a sandwich. The mist started to clear, and the route to the north lay enticingly ahead - Sgurr na Carnach with Loch Duich far below and the massive looking Sgurr Fhuaran behind. Bring em on!!!

ImageP1030522 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030524 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030527 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030530 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030532 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030535 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
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ImageP1030553 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
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ImageP1030559 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030560 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

Excitement almost over, we were out of food and pretty fatigued. Unperturbed, we slogged over the 2 remaining sisters - the steep-sided and scrambly Sgurr nan Saighead and the little pathless bump of Beinn Bhuidhe. By this time we had had enough, dreaming of a warm bath and bed, so began the boggy descent to the west, then north into the hanging valley of the Allt a'Chruinn, where a path is picked up.

ImageP1030562 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030562 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030563 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030567 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
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ImageP1030573 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
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ImageP1030582 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030586 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030590 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030594 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr

The path follows the burn to the top of the hanging valley, then descends steeply down a good path to the hamlet of Allt a'Chruinn, where we folowed the main road back to the car at Kintail Lodge. Another bloody brilliant weekend - back to work the next day with a new sense of perspective :D

ImageP1030596 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
ImageP1030599 by Ross Thomson, on Flickr
User avatar
roscoT
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 238
Munros:134   Corbetts:25
Grahams:13   Donalds:14
Sub 2000:14   Hewitts:8
Wainwrights:5   Islands:15
Joined: Jul 26, 2014
Location: Glasgow

Re: Three Days in Kintail

Postby teaandpies » Fri Sep 23, 2016 10:38 pm

Brilliant mate :clap:
teaandpies
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 925
Munros:94   Corbetts:16
Grahams:8   
Sub 2000:7   Hewitts:6
Joined: Mar 19, 2014
Location: Glasgow

Re: Three Days in Kintail

Postby Gordie12 » Sat Sep 24, 2016 9:52 am

Great effort Ross - I'm knackered just reading that!!
User avatar
Gordie12
Walker
 
Posts: 1771
Munros:112   Corbetts:62
Grahams:17   Donalds:21
Sub 2000:35   Hewitts:24
Wainwrights:24   
Joined: Sep 6, 2012
Location: Nr Forfar

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