Sunday 1 May 2011

Glen Shiel at Easter

This is really just an excuse to put up a couple more photos of Scotland in the sunshine. What with the Ben Nevis trip, this one, and Glen Affric last Friday we've had a hat trick of fabulous weather hillwalks.

I'll take bets on whether that'll ever happen again.  :0)

To be honest though, I'd managed to press some daft button on the office camera and it was misbehaving somewhat - it eventually transpired it was refusing to refocus from a macro setting - so the pictures aren't as sharp as the might have been, were I not so dim. It was a bit hazy too, mind. ;0)

This was a particularly good day out though. You hear a lot about the hills in Glen Shiel, but these three, eminently doable in a not-too-long day, had been under my radar, I must admit.

You start from a sizeable parking area at a place called Lundie. Actually, apart from the parking, there doesn't seem to be anything at all at Lundie. You cross over the A87 and start out along the old military road.

Looking back down from Wade's road
 The path forks after a wee while and you then start heading pretty much north, on an excellent stalker's path. That path is actually the story of the first hill, Carn Ghluasaid, because it's a marvellously engineered thing altogether and it seriously cuts down on the effort required to get up onto the flat, stony plateau.


From the summit cairn - which sits right on the edge of a fairly substantial drop, hence the reason the WBD is pictured some distance from it - you get a view of the two remaining hills. 

Sgurr nan Conbhairean on the left, wee Sail Chaorainn away on the right

The onward route to Sgurr nan Conbhairean pretty much follows the rims of two huge corries.

Looking back to Carn Ghluasaid

The view of the hills from the road (such as it is) is very different to these other, hidden aspects. I had Jorja on the lead for part of the way, not because I thought she'd necessarily go daft and jump over the edge, but there were still lingering patches of snow, clinging to the tops of the corries, and she does have a habit of exploring that type of stuff, which would have been less than advisable.

To get to the top of the second hill you actually walk over Creag a Chaorainn, which is about 40 metres higher than Carn Ghluasaid, and then across a rather fetching bealach.

The ascent to SnC starts on the right. The ridge coming in from the left is the eventual descent route.

Sgurr nan Conbhairean is definitely the shapeliest of the three hills, and it's got a rather graceful upwards sweep about it. Nice elongated summit cairn as well, although again it's perched close to some big drops.

The next objective, Sail Chaorainn, again requires you to skirt the cliff edges on your right hand side - that's very much the theme of the walk!

Jorja scopes the cornice. That's the summit of Sail Chaorainn top right.

The view back to Sgurr nan Conbhairean

You can feel on the way down to the next bealach that you're going to suffer a wee bit from the reascent on your return journey, but the good news is you've hardly any height to gain to reach the top of your third hill of the day. There was also a welcome watering hole for the dugs en route.

The third yin's a lot smaller than the second yin!

This must be one of the easiest Munros to bag - admittedly given that you're already at the top of another one when you start out for it, if you see what I mean.  ;0)

The return climb up to Sgurr nan Conbhairean is a bit of a legburner, but you don't have to go all the way to the summit, and a bypass path leads you towards a ridge, narrowish at one point, then onto the south ridge of Drochaid an Tuill Easaich (another hill that's more than 1000 metres high but not a Munro) and eventually to a wee bump called Meall Breac, from where the path gets a lot boggier and less obvious, but all you're doing is heading back down towards the main road. The books suggest you should pick up the military road - but we couldn't find it, for some obscure reason. Either way there's a burn crossing lower down and I suspect it might be a tricky one if it's in spate. Harmless enough the day we were there mind you.

It was a definite trudge back up the road to Lundie, with the dugs on their leads, but it didn't take too much of the edge off what was officially a Good Day's Walking.

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