South Glenshiel Ridge

Just taking a break from drying gear after a rather soggy, but nontheless fun, trip up to Glen Shiel for the weekend. A group of us booked the bothy at Camas-luinie for the weekend and, after a Friday night spend sampling a selection of single malts, headed out on Saturday to work our way along the South Glenshiel ridge: a 17 mile outing featuring 7 munros and around 18oom of climbing.

After a week of scorching weather in the run up to the trip, it was a bit gutting to find ourselves driving up to the start point through intermittent drizzle, with low cloud shrouding the summits. By the time we’d walked up and round to Creag Mhaim, the first munro of the day, the rain had intensified into a fairly steady downpour, which persisted  as we made our way along the ridge past Druim Shionnach, Aonach Air Chrith and onto Maol Chinn-dearg, where we broke out the hipflask to celebrate Adam’s 150th Munro. I’d brought along the remains of a bottle of 18 year old Balvenie, which had been seriously damaged in the course of celebrating passing my Summer ML, and toasting Adam’s achievement seemed a fitting way to finish it off.

We gave ourselves a bonus 200m of ascent by failing to check that the path we followed led along the ridge, which required a dispiriting climb back to the previous summit. As ever though, “pain is a great teacher”, and considerably more attention was given to navigation for the remainder of the trip as we worked our way over Sgurr an Doire Leathain, Sgurr and Lochain and, finally, Creag nan Damh. We were rewarded for our efforts as we climbed to the final summit by the rain finally relenting and the cloud base lifting sufficiently to give some broody atmospheric views of the surrounding peaks. It was also a relief to finally strip off waterproofs and begin the descent back down to Malagan Bridge in slowly drying base layers. We collected the remaining cars from the Cluanie Inn, before heading back to the bothy to dry off and overcome the day’s calorie deficit with Sarah’s excellent chilli.

The original plan for a walk/scramble on Sunday was binned as no one had much enthusiasm for getting back into wet gear for another 8 hours.  Thankfully, it was much a drier day, so we opted to drive up to Applecross and give folks the option of some roadside cragging or a chilled out walk along the beach.

Adam, Sarah, Alex and myself spent a few hours playing on an excellent Gneiss crag at Ardheslaig, climbing a few routes and giving Alex the opportunity to practice placing gear and trying his first lead climb, which he led with aplomb. Meanwhile, Catriona, Ingrid and Sarah enjoyed themselves walking along to the local fish smokery and shop, where Cat had the opportunity to demonstrate her IT support skills for the owner, who rewarded them with free tea and coffee. We finally dragged ourselves away at 6.00pm, breaking up the long journey back home with some food in the Snow Goose at Inverness, before going our seperate ways back to Aberdeen and Inverness.

Next on the agenda: a trip to Glen Shiel where I see the sun!