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A quickie on the south side of Glen Shiel

A quickie on the south side of Glen Shiel


Postby malky_c » Sun Apr 02, 2017 11:25 pm

Munros included on this walk: Maol chinn-dearg, Sgurr an Doire Leathain, Sgurr an Lochain

Date walked: 02/04/2017

Time taken: 4.2 hours

Distance: 12 km

Ascent: 1175m

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Munros: Maol chinn-dearg, Sgurr an Doire Leathain, Sgurr an Lochain.
Date: 02/04/2017.
Distance: 12km.
Ascent: 1175m.
Time: 4 hours, 10 minutes.
Weather: Sunny, breezy, bit hazy.

No big plans this weekend, but Sunday afternoon seemed to be shaping up to be better than forecast - worth begging for the car and going somewhere not too far away. I had fully intended to do this route (or something similar) in the winter, when it would give easy access to firm, snowy ridges, but winter didn't really happen and on the days it did, I was doing something else.


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I parked up in a layby on the A87 at about 2pm and crossed the road to pick up the stalker's path onto the South Glen Shiel ridge. Most folk seem to want to do this in a oner (as I have in the past), but it is worth exploring the various spurs that drop down into upper Glen Shiel - they always look interesting from the road.

Sgurr na Ciste Duibhe and the top of Glen Shiel:
Image

The path certainly had some wet patches, but got me up high nice and quick. I had contemplated doing the route the other way round in order to be covering the potentially awkward ground on the NE ridge of Sgurr an Lochain in ascent, but I decided that I preferred walking from east to west. I could worry about finding my way down later.

A' Chralaig and the head of Loch Cluanie:
Image

By the time that the made path petered out, I was on short grass and an obvious spur - indeed there was still a bit of a path scratched in the ground all the way up. The crags of Aonach Air Chrith look good from here.

Ridge onto Maol Chinn-dearg:
Image

The spur made light work of the ascent onto Maol Chinn-dearg and I felt like I had only just started when I got there. A bit of a nippy breeze on the summit, but plenty of sunshine in most directions (Cuillin looked like it was taking the worst of the weather).

Back down the ridge; Aonach Mheadoin behind:
Image

Aonach Air Chrith:
Image

Loch Quoich and the edge of the Rough Bounds, then onward into Ardgour:
Image

Sgurr an Doire Leathain from Maol Chinn-dearg:
Image

It was interesting to see what was going on in hydro-scheme world down in Glen Quoich - I had seen some of this from the Loch Quoich road last week. There appeared to be far more tracks than necessary, with a new one skirting the foot of Gleouraich, seemingly just to provide alternative access to Alltbeithe. Of more interest was Gleouraich itself - I have long intended to do a round of it and Spidean Mialach from Cluanie. The N ridge of Gleouraich certainly looks good.

Next up was the minor rise of Sgurr Coire na Feinne, which is where the other stalker's path emerges - looked good for another day.

The other ridge with a good path - Druim Thollaidh:
Image

Gleouraich. Been thinking about the north ridge of this for some time:
Image

Then a sharper rise onto Sgurr an Doire Leathain, where I had a break. Views to the west were improving all the time.

Back to Sgurr Coire na Feinne and Maol Chinn-dearg:
Image

Spidean Mialach and Gleouraich:
Image

Sgurr Fhurain from Sgurr an Doire Leathainn:
Image

I could see Sgurr an Lochain from here - the most interesting looking of today's trio. To be fair, all of the summits have character, but as I'd previously traversed them in one go on a miserable day, I had no real memories of them, and have always struggled to put names to them.

Sgurr an Lochain comes into view:
Image

Sgurr an Fhurain and Coire an Lochan:
Image

The NE ridge of Sgurr an Lochain looked no easier from here than on the map, but I reckoned there was a way down it. If not, I spotted a couple of points along the ridge that I would be able to return to and drop into Coire an Lochan if required.

Back to Aonach Air Chrith and Maol Chinn-dearg:
Image

On the ridge to Sgurr an Lochain:
Image

Image

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Coire an Lochain and Glen Shiel:
Image

Finally I reached Sgurr an Lochan, where there were tantalizing glimpses of Rum and the southern end of the Sound of Sleat. Then it was time to pick a way down.

Torridon peaks in the distance:
Image

...and most likely the Isle of Muck:
Image

The NE ridge was certainly steep, and you wouldn't want to be on it with any kind of avalanche risk, but today it was mostly grassy and mossy. If I had been in the clag, I probably would have dismissed it as unpromising, but today I could see a clear way down. Hands needed for balance a couple of times, but it was way easier than my worst idea of it.

NE ridge of Sgurr an Lochain:
Image

...and crags:
Image

Good views back to the crags at the back of Coire an Lochan too (although I was looking directly into the sun). The ridge gradually eased, and before long I was crossing the outflow of the lochan, disturbing some deer as I passed.

Stream into Coire an Lochan:
Image

There was a short contouring ascent from here to reach a flat area on the N ridge of Sgurr an Doire Leathain, then a slightly wet but not too rough descent in the general direction of the car, picking up the stalker's path at the lowest point in the glen.

Loch Cluanie:
Image

Sgurr a' Bhealaich Dheirg:
Image

Druim Thollaidh:
Image

Glad to finally get back on some of these hills. They provide an easy way to get onto high, sweeping ridgelines, and I'm sure I'll be back again to do another variation of this walk, perhaps lopping off Sgurr an Lochain and adding Aonach Air Chrith.

Aonach Air Chrith:
Image
Last edited by malky_c on Thu Jul 13, 2017 10:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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malky_c
 
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Re: A quickie on the south side of Glen Shiel

Postby mamoset » Mon Apr 03, 2017 5:05 am

Nice pics there malky. :thumbup:
mamoset
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Re: A quickie on the south side of Glen Shiel

Postby BlackPanther » Mon Apr 03, 2017 10:33 am

It was a lovely day... Snow gone so early this year, looks like May or June :D But I heard something about winter coming back, snow showers and frost :? Hopefully not, I'm already set for summer walking!

We were lurking nearby on Sunday, too :D Bagged our last Corbett in Kintail area.
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Re: A quickie on the south side of Glen Shiel

Postby mrssanta » Sun Apr 09, 2017 9:20 pm

Feeling slightly sick with jealousy here !
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Re: A quickie on the south side of Glen Shiel

Postby Cairngorm creeper » Sun Apr 09, 2017 10:48 pm

Enjoyed your report and pictures. We have been having a lot of fun this winter on the shorter ridges in Kintail and had been wondering what the ridge leading up to Sgurr an Lochain was like so your report was really useful. I think we best try this one without the snow. :D
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