Hills: Maol Chinn-dearg, Sgurr an Doire Leathain, Sgurr an Lochain and Creag nan Damh
Date: Sunday 19th August 2018
Company: Myself, Adele, Martina, Babs, and Alan (for Maol Chinn-dearg)
Distance: 14.2km, Ascent: 1355m
Time: 7Hrs 25Mins

On Saturday evening, I drove to Findhorn to watch the sunset before parking up in Burghead for the night. The following morning, before heading to Elgin to catch the Moray Mountaineering Club bus to Kintail, I witnessed a lovely sunrise.

Sunrise at Burghead:

After departing Elgin, we also picked up members in Forres and Inverness before making our way to Glen Shiel. Members were then dropped-off at various points along the road, before and after the Cluanie Inn, with numerous hill objectives in mind. I disembarked from the bus a few kilometres beyond the Cluanie Inn along with Adele, Martina, Babs and Alan. It was our intention to all ascend together to the summit of Maol Chinn-dearg before parting company as Alan made his way east along the South Glen Shiel ridge while the rest of us made our way west. I last walked the South Glen Shiel ridge way back in July 2000.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

After a quick photo at the start, we commenced our walk towards Maol Chinn-dearg via the Druim Coire nan Eirecheanach ridge.

About to commence walking:

Before long we were ascending via an excellent zig-zagging stalker's path.

Ascending Druim Coire nan Eirecheanach:

The views got better and better as we gained height not only looking back towards the Cluanie Inn but also across to the Brothers and Sisters.

Looking towards the Cluanie Inn and Loch Cluanie:

It was great to spend the day walking in good company, on Munros with good paths. A complete contrast to several years of solitude ascending mostly dull Fionas.

Ascending Druim Coire nan Eirecheanach ridge:

We took our time ascending the first Munro and stopped for a break at each summit, something I never do while walking on my own.

Looking back along the Druim Coire nan Eirecheanach ridge:

I think we spent around ten minutes at the first summit taking photos and admiring the views. We even set up a phone on self-timer to get a summit selfie. We then said goodbye to Alan, as he set out to traverse the eastern half of the South Glen Shiel ridge while the rest of the company set out to traverse the western half of the ridge.

At the summit of Maol Chinn-dearg:

View towards Glen Quoich Forest and Loch Quoich:

There was a bit more ascent and descent than I remembered from my previous ridge traverse in 2000.

Looking back along the ridge towards Maol Chinn-dearg:

Looking back along the ridge:

I wasn't paying as much attention as usual to when and where I was taking photos so apologies if any of my descriptions are incorrect. I didn't bother taking my DSLR on this walk and instead just used my iPhone.

Heading for Sgurr an Lochain with Loch Duich in the distance:

Sgurr an Lochain:

One advantage of the iPhone is the panorama feature which is much simpler than having to stitch together individual photos.

Panorama from Sgurr an Doire Leathain:

Looking down to un-named lochan:

On reaching a short scramble, instead of taking the easy by-pass around it, we all put hands to rock.

A wee scramble:

Descent from Sgurr an Lochain:

Sgurr an Lochain was the most shapely of the Munros ascended.

Looking back to Sgurr an Lochain:

Beyond Sgurr an Lochain, Adele, Martina and I also ascended Sgurr Beag. It is on the ridge so why not do it.

At the summit of Sgurr Beag:

Looking back along the ridge:

It was great to walk and chat as we ambled slowly along the ridge. However, time walk ticking and we were not really fully cognisant of how much still lay ahead. We would soon have to speed-up considerably to get back to the bus on time .

Martina and Adele:

Heading for Creag nan Damh:

View from Creag nan Damh:

At the summit of our fourth and final Munro of the day, we again spent a fair bit of time at the summit, took another summit selfie and then realised we would now have to go at a good rate to get back in time.

At the summit of Creag nan Damh:

From the final summit, we ended-up having to progress faster and faster as time was ticking.

Short scramble beyond Creag nan Damh:

The descent from the bealach back to the road was at a good pace with no stops.

Looking towards the Saddle during walk out to the bealach:

Thanks to speeding-up considerably, we did make it back to the bus on time with only a few minutes to spare. I suspect I would not have lived it down had I been late back for the bus .

Once back on the bus, we made our way to the Cluanie Inn for refreshments and to wait for two other parties which were undertaking considerably longer walks than ourselves i.e. the full South Glen Shiel ridge and also a full traverse of the Five Sisters and the Brothers!!!

A fantastic day out.