1004 m. |
Translation: Peak of the little loch
Pronuncation: skoor an lochan
Doing things differently than the rest is the privilege of the unexperienced. Or it may simply be the result of independent thinking based on the desire of maximising one’s advantages. Since we were staying in Invergarry we considered ways of climbing the South Glen Shiel hills from the Loch Quoich side. This would save us quite some time driving over to Loch Cluanie and further to Glen Shiel AND we would not have to walk along the trunk road on our way back from the hills. Thus the plan was born to climb Aonach air Chrith, Maol Chinn-dearg, Sgurr an Doire Leathain, Sgurr an Lochain and Creag nan Damh from Alltbeithe.
Well, we parked our car at the road side just behind the bridge crossing the narrow northern arm of Loch Quoich. The land rover track on the west side of this nothern part of Loch Quoich made for easy and quick access to Alltbeithe which is located very nicely near the confluence of the Wester and Easter Loch Quoich Burns. Past Alltbeithe we turned due east and walked the track/path for about two kilometres. Then, after some slight problems locating the stalkers path that climbs up the steep hillside to the north, we finally found the very well-engineered zigzag-path which steadily weaves its way up about 550 to 600 metres to the South Glen Shiel Ridge. We made good progress and soon the ridge was gained.
I chose to take nap there and let Frank bag Aonach air Chrith alone since I had already had the privilege of visiting this hill with Mike years ago. While Frank was on his jogging exercise to this fine Munro, I really dozed off until I was re-awakened by some Scotsmen who also took a break at the beallach. We chatted a bit and ate some cookies. Soon Frank came back and together we headed on to Munro No. 2, Maol Chinn-dearg. Again this one was in my bag already from years ago. Nonetheless it’s always nice to touch a summit cairn.
Then Sgurr an Doire Leathain beckoned and we were on our way again quickly. The cairn of this third Munro is on a spur ridge jutting out to the north. Here some snow fields were still left over from the winter. From the cairn we then continued on the main ridge towards Sgurr an Lochain. This stretch was interesting and the views down into the glen were more varied due to the loch which gives Munro No. 4 its name and the hill itself which has nice cliffs. From the summit we carried on along the ridge and bypassed Sgurr Beag to finally reach the wide col at 760 metres. From there it was a final and interesting pull up the rocky southeast ridge of Creag nan Damh.
At the summit of this fifth Munro of the day we had a real long break enjoying the views and eating some apples in the sunshine. However, a strongish wind was blowing and we had to walk back another 10 kilometres to the car. So we shouldered out rucksacks, walked back to the col and picked up another very nice stalkers path which winds its way back into Glen Quoich and the track at the valley floor. Then it was an easy walk back to Alltbeithe and from there back to the car by Loch Quoich. An uncommon approach to the ridge and a rather satisfying and beautiful day in the hills. Scotland at its best!
Max elevation: 1023 m
Min elevation: 185 m
Total climbing: 2026 m
Total descent: -2005 m
Total time: 09:34:44
Description The traverse of the three western peaks of the South Glen Shiel Ridge can be started from the A87 road 3 kilometres west of Cluanie Inn. Follow the stalker's path up the Druim Thollaidh ridge to Sgurr Coire na Feinne (which is not one of the seven Munros) and traverse west to Sgurr an Doire Leathain. Continue to Sgurr an Lochain, which is a very fine peak with a deep corrie holding the little loch which gives its name, and over Sgurr Beag to Creag nan Damh. This is the last of the Munros on the South Glen Shiel Ridge, but enthusiasts may continue a further 2½ kilometres across the Bealach Duibh Leac to Sgurr a' Bhac Chaolais, which is the westernmost peak on the ridge. The most direct descent from Creag nan Damh goes down Am Fraoch-choire to reach the A87 road in Glen Shiel several kilometres west of the day's starting point. Alternatively, one can descend from the Bealach Duibh Leac along the Allt Mhalagain to finish even further down Glen Shiel.