Clag, cliffs and Cluanie

Route: Sgurr nan Conbhairean, Carn Ghluasaid and Sail Chaorainn

Munros: Carn Ghluasaid, Sail Chaorainn, Sgurr nan Conbhairean

Date walked: 03/06/2018

Time taken: 6.5 hours

Distance: 17.5km

Ascent: 1265m

This was one of those days that promised to have some beautiful views once the morning mist lifted, but it clung to the hills right up in the afternoon, only finally releasing it’s cloudy claws for the last munro and the descent. But still, it was a really enjoyable, fairly straightforward hike.

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The 3 munros on the North East side of Loch Cluanie are pretty well hidden from the large parking area on the side of the A87. After defying the midges in the car park, I crossed the road and briefly onto an old single track road, then up a rubbly path which soon started to gain height before finally losing views of the main road when the path briefly flattened into the hollow of Coire Ghuibhais.

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Pointing the way

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Sun rising

From here, the path started to gain some height on a cracking path that zig zagged up the shoulder of Carn Ghluasaid with Coire nan Clach lost in the mist below. At this point, I was sure the mist was finally lifting and you could just see some mountain tops on the South Side of Loch Cluanie, but it clung on for a bit longer!

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Great path up Carn Ghluasaid

Eventually the ground flattened out to a large, broad, bouldery summit plateaux, with the summit cairn of Carn Ghluasaid finally appearing through the mist. What I wasn’t able to see other than from the contours on the OS map, that the cairn was perched precariously on the each of some pretty steep cliffs! Such a pity not to be able to see the views this would have afforded!

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Misty and misty eye atop Carn Ghluasaid

The route then skirted the edge of these cliffs westward along a broad ridge, passing by a top, Creag a’ Chaoraiin. There were fleeting and tantalising glimpses through the mist towards Sgurr nan Conbhairean as the route curved Northwards towards this second munro of the day. I would have loved to have seen better views on the way up to Conbhairean, but it wasn’t to be.

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Tantalising glimpses of the 2nd munro of the day

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Summit selfie on Sgurr nan Conbhairean

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Impressive cairn and shelter on Sgurr nan Conbhairean

Coming off Conbhairean and heading north to the final outlying munro of the day, the mists finally started lifting, and it was a straightforward walk out to Sail Chaorainn. As I rested for lunch on this summit, there were some great views north west and to Gleann na Ciche on the East side of this rather insignificant feeling munro.

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Views were starting to open up down Gleann na Ciche

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Sail Chaorainn in the distance

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3rd and final munro of the day, Sail Chaorainn

The homeward route retraced the path back towards Sgurr nan Conbhairean who’s northern cliffs looked pretty spectacular since the mists had lifted. Although not heading all the way back to the top of the 2nd munro of the day, it wasn’t far off - always a bummer for tired legs thinking they’d done their 3 munros of the day!

From there, there was a nice easy path dropping to around 600m before it was a steep drop down a pathless grassy slope into Coire Lair with the A87 in plain sight.

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Great views on the route back towards Loch Cluanie over Gorm Lochan

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Taking a breather!

Catching the path near the bottom of the route took me down towards the road, and while the walkhighands route pointed me back up the old military road, I headed down to the A87 for a flatter, less bouldery last few kilometres!

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Final trot back along the A87

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This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
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