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Inversion on the South Glen Shiel Ridge

Inversion on the South Glen Shiel Ridge


Postby thorburn7 » Wed Aug 01, 2018 11:12 am

Route description: South Glen Shiel Ridge: 7 Munros

Munros included on this walk: Aonach Air Chrith, Creag a'Mhaim, Creag nan Damh, Druim Shionnach, Maol chinn-dearg, Sgurr an Doire Leathain, Sgurr an Lochain

Date walked: 30/06/2018

Time taken: 12 hours

Distance: 20.7 km

Ascent: 1546m

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I'd had my eye on this route for a long time and always wondered if I would ever manage to bag all 7 munros in a single day. The summer of 2018 had been fantastic so far with a lot of dry sunny weather giving a real enjoyable time on the hills. I was now starting to do some real damage in the northwest highlands and really enjoying exploring this area of Scotland which had previously been unknown to me.

The South Glen Shiel ridge had always been a summer target as the longer daylight hours would be welcome for such a demanding hike. I always thought it would be best to attempt this hike with an additional car left at the end to aid our return but I was never able to find anyone else willing to drive such a distance to climb hills for fun!

My research on walkhighlands reports revealed many were able to catch the bus which could drop them back at the Cluanie Inn while others suggested that hitching a ride from passing cars was possible. With this in mind we decided to chance it and go with one car and hope for the best.

With me on this adventure was Colin and Sam. Two from my group of friends who are probably the most eager to climb the hills with me. Colin up to this point was sitting on 82 munros with Sam on 63. Having started ticking them off solo for a few years before they joined me I was on 148 before this trip.

Excited for this mammoth day out on the ridge we drove up from Greenock on Friday evening leaving at 5pm and arriving at the Cluanie Inn about 9pm. We pitched our tent just off the track behind the Cluanie Inn where a few others had also set up camp. Great little spot to stay with river beside us so we could cook our tea with the trangia.
ImageUntitled by Matthew Thorburn, on Flickr

The next morning we woke to a very misty Glen Shiel and were a bit demoralised. We thought this thick fog was going to cover the summits and our journey along the ridge would be utterly void of scenery but we set off at 6am regardless and were in for a stunning reveal high above the mist.

About an hour in and on our ascent of the first munro we were treated to clear blue skies and a truly breath-taking inversion.
ImageUntitled by Matthew Thorburn, on Flickr

Climbing out of the mist.
ImageUntitled by Matthew Thorburn, on Flickr

Only my second time witnessing this phenomenon.
ImageUntitled by Matthew Thorburn, on Flickr

ImageUntitled by Matthew Thorburn, on Flickr

Summit 1/7 on the ridge. Creag a'Mhaim at 8:30am.
ImageUntitled by Matthew Thorburn, on Flickr

Summit selfie on Creag a'Mhaim. My 149th Munro.
ImageUntitled by Matthew Thorburn, on Flickr

Great view over to Ciste Dhubh on the other side of the Glen with thick inversion in the valley.
ImageUntitled by Matthew Thorburn, on Flickr

Heading west all day the ridge stretched in front of us.
ImageUntitled by Matthew Thorburn, on Flickr

Only an hour later and the inversion was burning off at a rate of knots.
ImageUntitled by Matthew Thorburn, on Flickr

Looking back on Creag a'Mhaim as we head for munro #2.
ImageUntitled by Matthew Thorburn, on Flickr

Druim Shionnach in the distance.
ImageUntitled by Matthew Thorburn, on Flickr

Summit of munro 2/7, Druim Shionnach at 10am.
ImageUntitled by Matthew Thorburn, on Flickr

Some nice character on the ridge looking back.
ImageUntitled by Matthew Thorburn, on Flickr

Summit 3/7. Aonach air Chrith at 11:15am.
ImageUntitled by Matthew Thorburn, on Flickr

The next two summits in sight as we continue westward with the sun on our backs.
ImageUntitled by Matthew Thorburn, on Flickr

Great view of Loch Quoich from the ridge.
ImageUntitled by Matthew Thorburn, on Flickr

Summit 4/7. Maol Chinn-dearg at 1pm.
ImageUntitled by Matthew Thorburn, on Flickr

Sgurr an Doire Leathain the next munro to aim for as the heat intensified.
ImageUntitled by Matthew Thorburn, on Flickr

Nearing the summit of Sgurr an Doire Leathain.
ImageUntitled by Matthew Thorburn, on Flickr

A party of runners tackling the ridge and closing on us fast.
ImageUntitled by Matthew Thorburn, on Flickr

Looking towards Gleouraich to the south. Bagged him back in April 2018.
ImageUntitled by Matthew Thorburn, on Flickr

Summit selfie on munro 5/7 on the South Glen Shiel ridge. Sgurr an Doire Leathain at 2pm.
ImageUntitled by Matthew Thorburn, on Flickr

Next munro in sight and merely a stones throw away.
ImageUntitled by Matthew Thorburn, on Flickr

Definitely the best looking munro on the ridge. Sgurr an Lochain.
ImageUntitled by Matthew Thorburn, on Flickr

A steeper climb on this munro requiring the first and last use of the arms for a small scramble.
ImageUntitled by Matthew Thorburn, on Flickr

Summit 6/7. Sgurr an Lochain at 3pm.
ImageUntitled by Matthew Thorburn, on Flickr

Reasonably quick descent of Sgurr an Lochain but we were running very low on water. The ridiculously hot day and physical exertion meant our 3 litres were almost gone. Thankfully we found a well placed stream of ice cool water to fill up on just before heading up Creag nan Damh.
ImageUntitled by Matthew Thorburn, on Flickr

Closing in on the final summit.
ImageUntitled by Matthew Thorburn, on Flickr

Munro 7/7 of the South Glen Shiel ridge. 4:30pm on Creag nan Damh
ImageUntitled by Matthew Thorburn, on Flickr

Great view down towards Loch Duich from the last munro.
ImageUntitled by Matthew Thorburn, on Flickr

Headed north off the last summit down to the A87. We were conscious about getting back to the road in time for the bus passing so we might hitch a ride back to our starting point.

The descent took us about 2hrs from the top as the path was quite steep and craggy. Coming down this way requires a river crossing on Shiel river. Thankfully the long dry weather meant the water was quite low making the crossing rather pain free.
ImageUntitled by Matthew Thorburn, on Flickr

At 6:45pm we were back on the A87 and sitting at the layby waiting on the 7:30 bus. The 45 minute wait led us to chance our luck with passing cars for a free ride back to the Cluanie Inn. About 20 min of trying we were rewarded with a minibus stopping and luckily 3 spare seats. Massive thanks to the guys who gave us a lift back. Turned out they had already picked up 2 paragliders.

Great day out but I was in quite a bit of pain after that one. Huge effort to bag these munros and I was a complete **** forgetting to put sun cream on the back of my legs and heading west all day they got barbecued. Lesson learned the hard way.
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thorburn7
Hill Bagger
 
Posts: 19
Munros:195   Corbetts:6
Grahams:2   
Sub 2000:2   
Islands:3
Joined: Aug 26, 2015
Location: Greenock

Re: Inversion on the South Glen Shiel Ridge

Postby iangpark » Wed Aug 01, 2018 12:35 pm

Great report Matthew - a phenomenal day for it! Hopefully I will get my second inversion later on in the year like yourself. Always thought that full ridge looks like no mean feat. Sam was my neighbour back in primary so good to see him in a report!
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iangpark
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 224
Munros:3   Corbetts:13
Grahams:23   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:40   Hewitts:11
Wainwrights:15   Islands:9
Joined: Dec 29, 2015
Location: Greenock

Re: Inversion on the South Glen Shiel Ridge

Postby maxie23 » Wed Aug 01, 2018 6:32 pm

Matthew
Cracking report mate, really looked a great day out, super photos.
Well done.
:clap:
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maxie23
 
Posts: 64
Munros:42   Corbetts:7
Grahams:2   Donalds:3
Sub 2000:3   
Joined: Jul 24, 2015
Location: Falkirk

Re: Inversion on the South Glen Shiel Ridge

Postby thorburn7 » Wed Aug 08, 2018 4:59 pm

iangpark wrote:Great report Matthew - a phenomenal day for it! Hopefully I will get my second inversion later on in the year like yourself. Always thought that full ridge looks like no mean feat. Sam was my neighbour back in primary so good to see him in a report!


Haha, no way what a small world. Hes been with me on a lot of my trips to bag all the munros. Just back from Torridon with him and a few others and seen sweet F**K ALL climbing Beinn Eighe, Liathach and Beinn Alligin.
thorburn7
Hill Bagger
 
Posts: 19
Munros:195   Corbetts:6
Grahams:2   
Sub 2000:2   
Islands:3
Joined: Aug 26, 2015
Location: Greenock

Re: Inversion on the South Glen Shiel Ridge

Postby Mal Grey » Wed Aug 08, 2018 7:17 pm

Fabulous conditions for a long high-level walk, your timing was impeccable!
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Mal Grey
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 2856
Munros:110   Corbetts:20
Grahams:8   
Sub 2000:3   Hewitts:113
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Joined: Dec 1, 2011
Location: Surrey, probably in a canoe! www.wildernessisastateofmind.co.uk

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