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Loch Cluanie three

Loch Cluanie three

Postby LeithySuburbs » Mon Oct 11, 2010 11:59 pm

Route description: Sgurr nan Conbhairean, Carn Ghluasaid and Sail Chaorainn

Munros included on this walk: Carn Ghluasaid, Sail Chaorainn, Sgurr nan Conbhairean

Date walked: 10/10/2010

Time taken: 7 hours

Distance: 17 km

Ascent: 1330m

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There won't be too many trips NW of the Great Glen left this year so the promise of high pressure over the north west for the weekend was too much to resist. I settled on these 3 Munros as an introduction to the area although the MWIS forecast predicted that they would be at the western fringe of the cloud cover rolling in from the east for the morning.

I set off from Lundie just after 10am with a chilly easterly wind and a light cloud cover and quickly reached the transmitter aerial and headed up to Carn Ghluasaid on the excellent stalkers path. Despite the heat of ascending, I was well wrapped up against the biting wind. I could see the ridge leading to the summit flitting in and out of the cloud which was fairly racing across the sky. I was keeping the faith that things would clear or, even better, that I would climb through and above it.

Carn Ghluasaid ridge.jpg

I reached the summit after an enjoyable 1h45mins but at only 957m above sea level I was still in the cloud. However, I could make out the white disc of the sun trying to break through so spirits were still high.

Carn Ghluasaid summit.jpg

I was quickly down to the col above Coire nan Clach where the wind was really howling and I added a 2nd fleece. I followed the path bypassing the summit of Creag a' Chaorainn and could now see blue sky above me to the NW. Spurred on by this, I was at the Glas Bhealach before I knew it. I wanted to press on further but my stomach had started to rumble so I stopped for a break overlooking Gorm Lochan. Things were starting to clear nicely 8) . I also caught my first glimpse of Sgurr nan Conbhairean which looked just a short pull away.

Gorm Lochan.jpg

Sgurr nan Conbharean.jpg

After the short climb over easy ground I was at the summit where I met 2 other walkers - the only people I saw all day. Cloud was swirling around the summit but the trend was obvious - things were getting clearer. 11km to the N, I could make out Mam Sodhail sticking the top of it's head above the cloud - wow! Here, near the cloud top, I also saw my first Brocken Spectre and over the next 15 minutes, the cloud cleared completely to reveal stunning views :D .

Brocken Spectre.jpg

Sgurr nan Conbhairean summit view 1.jpg

South Shiel ridge 2.jpg

I could see my route to the 3rd munro of the day Sail Chaorainn which looked just a hop and skip away.

Sail Chaorainn.jpg

I reluctantly left the summit of SaC but was soon bounding my way to SC. I was really buzzing on a massive endorphine/adrenalin rush and, as the views continued to improve, I let out few yelps and howls of joy :shock: :) . Soon I was at the rather insignificant top of SC which was still a wonderfully remote spot with great views into Glen Affric and of nearby A' Chralaig and Mullach Fraoch-choire.

Sgurr nan Conbhairean from Sail Chaorainn.jpg

Mam Sodhail, Carn Eige in Glen Affric.jpg

A' Chralaig.jpg

Now it was time for the walk back but even the return over (most of) SaC was no chore and the views to the South Shiel ridge were more than enough to drive me on. The descent route continued enjoyably over Drochaid an Tuill Easaich, above Gorm Lochan and down to Meall Breac.

Sgurr nan Conbhairean and Gorm Lochan.jpg

Carn Ghluasaid.jpg

I shut my eyes for 15 minutes sheltered from the breeze in the warm afternoon sun wrapped up in one of those "I would rather be here than anywhere else in the world" moments 8) .

South Shiel ridge 3.jpg

The descent from Meall Breac to the Allt Coire nan Clach was steep, muddy, grassy and a little slippy but I made it down with just the one bum-slide :lol: . This section would probably be unpleasant in wet weather but it was dry enough to be ok. I crossed the burn about 100m above the Old Military Road as I could see no easy crossing place further down.

Sgurr nan Conbhairean last glimpse.jpg

From here it was just the walk back along the Old Military Road past the transmitter to the car.

These 3 munros may be less celebrated than some of their neighbours but I thought this was a fabulous day out :D . Good paths, easy ridge walking, dry underfoot, great views, plenty of interest... in case you can't tell, I'm still buzzing :lol: .
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Re: Loch Cluanie three

Postby mountain coward » Tue Oct 12, 2010 1:15 am

They look like they're gonna be my favourite hills in the whole of Kintail - they look nice, simple and enjoyable - and not too steep, unlike the way I find most of the rest of them! Great pictures there :D
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Re: Loch Cluanie three

Postby brpro26 » Tue Oct 12, 2010 4:33 am

Done these a few months ago, no a bad wee outing. Reckon that's the brightest clearest Brocken Spectre photo I've seen, no wonder you were yelping and howling...hope nobody heard you!!!!
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Re: Loch Cluanie three

Postby Stretch » Tue Oct 12, 2010 9:22 am

Good stuff Leithy, nice brocken spectre pic! I have so much to do in that area, and I think these three could be first up when I get back there.
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Re: Loch Cluanie three

Postby Paul Webster » Tue Oct 12, 2010 4:17 pm

Yes, I'm sure you will like those hills MC. Great path up the first one too.

Stunning brocken spectre pic 8)
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Re: Loch Cluanie three

Postby kinley » Tue Oct 12, 2010 5:47 pm

Nice one :thumbup:

We would have been zipping past beneath you at about 1545hrs.

We were looking up there....must have missed you.

Nice Brocken 8)

Re: Loch Cluanie three

Postby monty » Tue Oct 12, 2010 7:17 pm

Nice report leithy.
Nice group of hills these, rounded like the cairngorms unlike there neighbours, but not so nice in the strong cold wind unfortunately. Superb Brocken Spectre. Supremely jealous. :D

Re: Loch Cluanie three

Postby Alan S » Tue Oct 12, 2010 10:58 pm

Nice one Leithy 8) as the others have mentioned cracking brocken spectre
You are gettin close to the 100 now.do you have anything special planned or will it just be another day on the hills :D
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Re: Loch Cluanie three

Postby malky_c » Wed Oct 13, 2010 2:33 pm

This weather is just being too good to us! Great hills - can be just as much fun to do them from the Glen Affric side (although rather a long approach). Have had similar inversions up here, but no Brocken spectres yet. 8)
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Re: Loch Cluanie three

Postby LeithySuburbs » Wed Oct 13, 2010 3:11 pm

alan s wrote:You are gettin close to the 100 now.do you have anything special planned or will it just be another day on the hills :D

It's quite possible I'll reach the ton at the WH meet in a couple of weeks :) . However, if the weather stays good this or next weekend, I probably won't be able to wait that long :lol: .
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Re: Loch Cluanie three

Postby Scotjamie » Wed Oct 13, 2010 3:21 pm

Well done Leithy - Superb pics of spectres and summits - on superb days when some of us can't manage on to the hills!!! :( I also enjoyed a great day here a few years back. It was such good walking in great hills that I returned over Carn Ghluasaid rather than the ridge because it extended the walk - you've inspired me to start a WR though it won't quite complete with this.
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