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Visiting the Sisters - September 2017

Visiting the Sisters - September 2017

Postby tilly76 » Tue Sep 26, 2017 2:02 pm

Route description: Five Sisters of Kintail

Munros included on this walk: Sgùrr Fhuaran, Sgùrr na Càrnach, Sgùrr na Ciste Duibhe

Date walked: 09/09/2017

Time taken: 8.5 hours

Distance: 15 km

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I recently spent three weeks hiking my way around parts of the Highlands. Coming from Brisbane, Australia, let's just say it was a long way to go for a walk! I got so much great information from this website though, that I thought it was only fair I shared some of my experiences, and will try to post a few other walk reports in due course.

I had read the walk notes for the Five Sisters, and thought it sounded sensational, but since I was walking on my own, and hadn't hiked in the Highlands before, I wasn't totally confident of navigating the route by myself. As serendipity would have it, the National Trust was guiding a hike of the Five Sisters on the precise weekend that I wanted to do it, and the weather looked like it was going to play ball - we were hoping for clear views from at least a couple of the summits.

Let me start by saying I totally underestimated this hike! Being fairly unfamiliar with the Munro rating system, I interpreted Walk Highland's walk description of "once you reach the bealach, the hardest part of the day is behind" as "once you get up there, it's an easy ridge walk after that." :lol: Fool! While the first climb up is indeed steep and seemingly never-ending, there's plenty of other shorter but very sharp uphills along the length of the walk.

While we initially had high hopes, the weather was pretty changeable throughout the morning. We climbed in sunshine for a bit, then the cloud/mist would blow through, obscuring everything, then suddenly it would break to reveal the most epic of views. We were lucky with some divine vistas from Sgurr na Ciste Duibhe and Sgurr na Carnach, but by the time we reached Sgurr Fhuaran, the cloud was well and truly set in & looked unlikely to lift. Unfortunately, we walked the last 2 or 3 hours in low cloud, with no views, but there is still something so beautiful about the bleakness in those circumstances.

We walked the full length of the trail, and I really enjoyed the fun little scramble up Beinn Bhuidhe, or Sister 4.5 as the National Trust guide referred to it! After reaching the top of the least-well-endowed sister, Sgurr na Moraich, we didn't backtrack to the bealach, instead dropping straight off the end and zigzagging our way down the very steep heathery hillside, until we eventually met the track. One of the group had slipped and fallen a couple of times earlier in the day, and so was incredibly cautious on this final descent, which slowed down the final stages of the day. But, one foot in front of the other, and you eventually get there!

This is an absolutely cracking walk, and if you haven't done it, you should definitely add it to your list! There's plenty of rock to entertain the most determined of rockhoppers (like me - although I was disappointed that some of it was very, very slippery), and I can only imagine what some of the views must be like on a clear day, given how gobsmacking they were on an only partially good day! I'm very glad I did it as a guided hike with the NTS (who were fantastic), as I'm pretty sure I'd still be sitting on a mountain crying if I'd tried to navigate it myself. My overriding goal for my whole time hiking in the Highlands was "don't need to call mountain rescue". Tick.
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Re: Visiting the Sisters - September 2017

Postby mrssanta » Thu Sep 28, 2017 7:01 pm

It's certainly a fantastic ridge and well worth the effort. Well done for doing all five sisters as well; I suspect most people don't bother with the last one as it's not a Munro.
Come back soon!
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