1002 m. |
Translation: Stony peak
The Five Sisters had been on our mind for more than ten years. Conditions had never allowed us to do the tramp of these hills but finally the day had arrived. We had two cars available so transport was no problem.
We left one car in a lay-by at the A87 close to Loch Shiel where a footbridge facilitates the crossing of the River Shiel on returning from the walk. From there we drove back up the glen to the roadside parking where the path to the Bealach an Lapain commences. We parked the second car and headed up the steep path leading to the bealach 600m above. On the lower slopes the path has several branches which merge further up the hill.
Making good progress we reached the col after about an hour and ten minutes. The wind at the bealach was cold and we all donned our wind-proof gear. From Bealach an Lapain we headed west in thick clouds traversing the many knolls on the ridge to Sgurr nan Spainteach. It took us quite a while to get to this first top, but finally we reached the summit cairn. Just when we set off to continue to Sgurr na Ciste Duibhe the clouds broke and we could take in the whole North Glen Shiel Ridge including our three munros of today. After having taken off our raingear we continued onward to Sgurr na Ciste Duibhe.
The ridge has a rocky section which makes for some light scrambling. The final rise to Sgurr na Ciste Duibhe was interesting since we crossed rests of winter snow fields and negotiated some rocks. At the summit we paused for a snack and drank some water. Then the descent to the col below and the climb to the second munro, Sgurr na Carnach, followed. All this was done without problems but we stopped from time to time to marvel at the views of Beinn Fhada to the north and The Saddle to the south. At the summit of Sgurr na Carnach we stopped for a short while and enjoyed the scenery in silence. Finally we descended to the next bealeach whence we started the final climb of the day – the climb to Sgurr Fhuaran.
During the climb to this final munro of the day we saw another hiker climbing the steep north-west ridge of Sgurr Fhuaran – a possible route of descent for us. We met him a few minutes before we reached the summit. At the cairn we took a longish break and decided on which path we should take down to the glen a thousand metres below. It was the continuation of the ridge to the fourth sister Sgurr nan Saighead which we chose as our way back. So we headed north from the summit and walked down the scree-covered path. Once below the summit slopes the path veers right and follows the crest of the ridge leading to the fourth sister. We bypassed Sgurr nan Saighead on its western slopes, rejoined the ridge before Beinn Bhuidhe and followed the partly steepish western ridge to the boggy bealeach before Sgurr an t-Searraich. From this col we headed down to Glen Shiel. The grassy slope was quite steep and one or two rocky outdrops had to be negotiated on the way. A final tricky grass slope then lead down to the flat area of the floor of the glen.
A quite swampy stretch of path to the footbridge over the River Shiel ensued. We made it to the bridge dryshod and crossed the river. From there it was just another five minutes to the car. From the parking we drove to the shop of the Glen Shiel camping ground to buy cold and refreshing soft drinks which we had craved for for quite some time.
We had spent a very entertaining day in the hills. The Five Sisters had indeed proved to be an exceptional ridge walk. A beautiful day in Kintail! Paul’s munros 5, 6 and 7.
Description These are the three highest peaks of the range on the north side of Glen Shiel called the Five Sisters of Kintail. They are splendid hills of great shape and character which rise from the River Shiel in steep ridges and rocky slopes cleft by deep gullies. On their hidden side, above Gleann Lichd, there are several fine corries lined with steep crags. The outline of the Five Sisters as seen from Loch Duich to their west is very striking , as the peaks show a remarkable simplicity and symmetry of outline.The traverse of the three peaks is best started from Glen Shiel about 1½ kilometres up the glen from the site of the Battle of Glenshiel. At that point there is a wide gap between forest plantings, and a path leads fairly directly uphill to the Bealach an Lapain. From there start the traverse westwards up the long ridge to Sgurr nan Spainteach, and continue over Sgurr na Ciste Duibhe and Sgurr na Carnach to Sgurr Fhuaran. The return to Glen Shiel may be made directly down the long west ridge of Sgurr Fhuaran, or more pleasantly over Sgurr nan Saighead and Beinn Bhuidhe and down its west ridge to finally descend the steep hillside above Loch Shiel.