Thursday, April 30, 2009

91-94. Saileag (205), Sgurr a'Bhealaich Dheirg (96), Aonach Meadhoin (135), Ciste Dhubh (173) 23/04/09

With the luxury of a car, we were once again able to escape up to Glen Shiel since it's such a nice place. The Five Sisters of Kintail are world famous, but nestled alongside is a ridge of comparable splendour, which benefits from its lesser popularity - that is 'The Three Brothers of Kintail'. It is less memorable to look at, but when climbing one tends to look at the surrounding hills for iconicity rather than those you are climbing. We were able to have commanding views of not only the Five Sisters, but also the South Glen Shiel Ridge (some 7 munros climbable in a day) and the Saddle, not to mention all the hills we had climbed in Glen Affric. It was an inspired choice.

The only potential letdown about ridgewalks is the fact that you have to start and finish in different places. However, a painless walk down the road from Cluanie at the start of little more than an hour ensured that this wasn't going to be too much of a problem. From a small car park at the near end of the Five Sisters (and far end of our ridge), it looked like gaining the ridge was going to be no easy feat. The steep sides of Glen shiel which makes it so eye-catching were not going to be working in favour. This wasn't helped by the fact that the small path we began to follow petered out and we were resigned to just going for it. In the end it wasn't too bad and we had the benefit of getting most of the ascent out of the way quickly. Once on the ridge, we could enjoy the panorama and after the first peak of Saileag it began to get narrower and more rocky - there were even some short scrambling sections to keep us on our toes. The peak of Sgurr a'Bhealaich Dheirg was particularly interesting - some 100m to the north of the main ridge on a narrow rocky promentary.

Carrying on to Aonach Meadhoin saw the most enjoyable part of the ridge - lots of twists and turns and ups and downs. This is really what hilllwalking is about; getting up high and then following the summits without having to lose too much height. There was a bit of a drop to Ciste Dhubh, but we still managed the re-ascent in one go. From here we could see Alltbeithe, Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan and the A'Chralaig ridge (much of which had been a mystery to us when we had actually climbed it). We also had the classic view of the Five Sisters and various other ridges. One great aspect of this area of Scotland is that within perhaps a 10 mile radius were no fewer than 30 hills of Munro height.

The descent back to Cluanie was also pleasant and we were able to refuel on HN+T, the walk taking us 8 hours including the walk along the road.

The majestic Five Sisters of Kintail

Looking back from CD to AM, with the south shiel ridge behind

Me at the rocky summit of SaBD.

Looking along the ridge from Saileag


Post a Comment

<< Home