Back to the Start - Kintail part II: The Five Sisters

Route: Five Sisters of Kintail

Munros: Sgùrr Fhuaran, Sgùrr na Càrnach, Sgùrr na Ciste Duibhe

Date walked: 08/08/2020

Time taken: 9 hours

Distance: 16km

Ascent: 2731m

Only two days after the Brothers Ridge (see if you like: https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=102874) I was back for another amazing day out in Kintail.
I parked my car at the parking for walkers in Ault a' Chruinn and cycled up the Glen to the start of the walk.
parking for walkers at Ault a'Chruinn

With the rising sun it became quite warm in some parts but it was still chilly in the shadow of the mountains, and with all the traffic around it was not as enjoyable as two days before when I have cycled along the quite road from Cluanie Inn back to the parking in the evening. The 13 km took me 45 minutes.
I locked my bike and pretty confidently that I won't miss the path up to the Bealach na Lapain again, I started the steep ascent.
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bike locked at the sign

But guess what happened? I missed the turn, didn't see any signs or hints :roll:
I can't say why I kept going althoug it was clear that the path was leading me too far southeast. I think I was hoping for an exit which would not be so steep. I really wasn't eager to go up the steep slopes cross country again as I have done already two days before. :?
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missed the right turn and followed the wrong path

I was quite desperate about this and my spirits became very low while the sun became relentlessly hot.
Meanwhile I already had crossed several small burns when I came acrosse another burn which was quite steep and very muddy on each side --
I slipped badly and the pain was breathtaking. :shock:
A look at my left shinbone nearly made me faint. On my right upper leg the muscle was badly torn and the skin looked as if it had been maltreated with a wire brush.
Keep going, Keep going was the only thought I could cling to. Taking deep breaths and doing one slow step after another I tried to fight the pain and the panic. For a moment I considered going back to the parking but then I decided to go straight up, I simply didn't want to miss this walk on a day like this.
It was a struggle and some slopes had been so steep that I only could move forward on all fours. But this way I got distracted from the pain and kept my legs moving. I think I would not have been able to do one further step if I had sat down after I have slipped.
It is quite nerveracking when you can't see when it's over, because of the steepness. Finally after 3.2 kilometers which had been the longest in my life so far, I think, and 1 hour and 40 minutes which still feels like an eternity, I finally reached the cairn at the Bealach an Làpain where I cared for my wounds.
It was the first time I had to get out my first aid kid and I was happy that I had it with me.
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clean, neat and well protected now

The pain was not too bad but I was worried about the wound at my shinbone which was quite deep and looked pretty disconcerting. But I tried to put all worries aside, telling myself everything will be fine and as long as I can keep going it can't be too bad, right?
I was lucky. I didn't get an infection but it took several weeks until the wound was closed and some more until it was finally healed. Meanwhile only a faint mark is left as a reminder of how quick these things can happen.
Still with mixed spirits I continued my walk along this great ridge up and down the rough undulating path but with no further complication, my legs kept going and after a little while I started enjoying the walk and the fantastic views around, I hope you'll enjoy the pictures:
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looking back to the Brothers Ridge, my walk two days ago

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very impressive outlook towards what was lying ahead this day.

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and a close up with Sgurr na Ciste Duibhe to the left, Sgùrr na Carnach in the middle and Sgùrr Fhuaran to the right

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The route was very rocky.

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passing steep cliffs with great views down

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view between two crags towards Sgùrr na Carnach and Sgùrr Fhuaran

The walk to Sgùrr nan Spainteach was long, pretty rough, and it was a bit disappoiting that this top is not a munro after all the effort.
Cairn at Sgùrr na Spainteach, looking southeast

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... and to the northwest

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looking back to Sgùrr na Spainteach

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some steep scramble down

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and across to the left to tackle the next steep and rocky ascent for the first munro

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These little pinnacles look a bit delicate and like a decoration to me.

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the massiv cairn of today's first munro: Sgùrr na Ciste Duibhe

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The Cuillins of Skye

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Ben Nevis

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Looking back southeast

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... and to the west, I wish I could name the mountains

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another shot of Loch Duich and the Cuillins

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Passing a campsite with young people enjoying their freedom after the lockdown, hopefully.

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superbe views towards Loch Duich and the next destinations

I can't remember any details other than that it was very warm and after the long undulating overture at the beginning the following munros had been reached realtively quick but nevertheless the ascents and descents had been very steep each time, rough and bouldery.
However, it didn't take me too long until I reached the second munro. The views had been almost the same but still amazing and I took my time to inhale this great scenery.
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the second munro: Sgurr na Carnach and the next one in front

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a glimpse of the interesting shape of the cliffs of Sgurr nan Saighead

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and off to the next

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Cairn of Sgurr Fhuaran with view to the Cuillins of Skye

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another one including the Cuillins of Rùm
The Cuillins are always fascinating me and I hardly can take my eyes off

For a moment I was thinking about leaving the ridge at this point, but then I decided against, because I didn't really fancy to walk along the road back to the car.
So I contiuned along the norhtwest ridge, but leaving out the next peaks of Sgurr nan Saighead and Beinn Bhuidhe, feeling too exhausted after my accident in the morning and several hours of walking in the sun (not that I would complain about this!).
IMG_1222 Sgurr nan Saighead php690.jpg
the cliffs of Sgùrr nan Saighead

So what can I say about the descent? It was even longer than the one down the Brothers Ridge to Cluanie Inn but I tried to enjoy the views over Loch Duich in front of me and the sunset as good as a could.
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looking back while following the northwest ridge

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the way down seemed to be a never ending story

having fun with my companion

Since I was on the last munro I have heard voices from time to time but couldn't see anybody. Finally, after I have passed Sgùrr nan Saighead I saw walkers coming down behind me. We didn't socialize but they were going the same direction like me until they suddenly turned left which made me feel a bit uneasy. But a look at my map told me that I had to follow the path and try to find the crossing over Allt a' Chruinn to the left, definitely!
While the path was quite nice at the beginning, further down the ground became more and more boggy and the path petered out several times until finally I had to go over rough boggy ground with thick heather and peathags before I could cross the Allt a' Chruinn to get on a propper path parallel to this burn. Shortly after the crossing two runners passed me and they were out of sight in no time while it still took me almost an hour to reach the road of the little village.
Apart from another couple which was scrambling some steep rocks up while I tried to find my way down, the two walkers from Sgùrr nan Saighead and the two runners, I only met a woman with whom I had a little chat, although it was such a perfect sunny day for walking.
never ending story

After 2 hours and a half since I have left the last munro I finally arrived at the parking and the sun was casting a nice warm light on the mountain leaving a peaceful and reconciliatory impression at the end of another adventurous day.
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Goodbye mountain and thanks for this day!

I was very happy being back at my car safe and in one piece. I said good by to the mountain and then drove back to get my bike.
It was changing day and from the parking I drove further on to East Craigdhu, between Struy and Beauly, were I arrived at the new cottage around 11pm, looking foward for a decent shower and a cosy bed. zzz

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Comments: 8

Super Day in Kintail - Brothers Ridge

Attachment(s) Munros: Aonach Meadhoin, Sàileag, Sgùrr a' Bhealaich Dheirg
Date walked: 06/08/2020
Distance: 12km
Ascent: 3129m
Comments: 12
Views: 1985

What a difference a day makes !

Attachment(s) Munros: Spidean Coire nan Clach (Beinn Eighe)
Date walked: 31/07/2020
Distance: 15km
Ascent: 1353m
Comments: 4
Views: 949

Moody Blues in Torridon

Attachment(s) Munros: Ruadh-stac Mòr (Beinn Eighe)
Date walked: 30/07/2020
Distance: 23km
Ascent: 1368m
Comments: 11
Views: 1646

Solo Midnight-Walk: Randa

Attachment(s) Date walked: 31/12/2019
Distance: 15km
Ascent: 369m
Comments: 2
Views: 638

Conival & Ben More Assynt - this time I made it!

Attachment(s) Munros: Ben More Assynt, Conival
Date walked: 03/08/2019
Distance: 20km
Ascent: 1121m
Comments: 3
Views: 2309

Foggy Conival

This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
Attachment(s) Munros: Conival
Date walked: 01/08/2019
Distance: 16km
Ascent: 987m
Views: 504

Ben Hope - celebrating my 44th munro

Attachment(s) Munros: Ben Hope
Date walked: 31/07/2019
Distance: 8km
Ascent: 890m
Comments: 3
Views: 1428

Ben Klibreck: boggy, foggy & sloggy

Attachment(s) Munros: Ben Klibreck
Date walked: 30/07/2019
Distance: 15km
Ascent: 897m
Views: 919

Challenging An Teallach - sunny, stormy, tired

Attachment(s) Munros: Bidein a' Ghlas Thuill (An Teallach), Sgùrr Fiona (An Teallach)
Date walked: 25/07/2019
Distance: 17km
Ascent: 1214m
Views: 1030


User avatar
Location: Ostfriesland, Germany (Eastfrisia)
Occupation: teacher
Interests: walking, cycling, running, photographing
Activity: Walker
Pub: all three see below
Place: all over the highlands
Member: National Trust of Scotland
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Ideal day out: An epic ridge walk with some yummy fish & chips in a cosy pub (like The Clachaig Inn, The Crask Inn or The Falls of Dochart's Inn) at the end of the day.
Ambition: meet like minded people

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