on the south glen shiel ridge

Mon, Apr 19, 2010

Me ol’ pal Graeme was up with another old climbing friend, Gordon, heading for the South Glen Shiel ridge, so I popped along to let us have two cars, allowing us to start at Creag nan Damh and pootle along the ridge to Sgurr an Doire Leathainn. 3 Munros for Graeme and myself, while Gordon added the Corbett Sgurr a’Bhac Chaolais. So it was an early start from the house but I just had to stop at Eilean Donan castle for some pics. The old Jacobite stronghold was looking superb in the morning sunshine. Largely rebuilt after the “southrouns” (you know who you are!) blew it up after a party of Spaniards had the gall to come over and take on the government in 1719. It still looks the part of a highland fortress. Just up the glen, there’s the site of the Battle of Glenshiel where the Spaniards were defeated and everyone sort of just melted away. The Highlanders to their various hideouts while the Spaniards indulged in a spot of Munro Bagging, spending the night out on Sgurr nan Spainteach (Peak of the Spaniards), before being captured on the morrow.

Eilean Donan Castle

There’s a good stalker’s path up from the main road at Malagan and in a couple of hours it takes you up onto the western end of the South Glen Shiel ridge, a marathon 7 Munros long with a couple of Corbetts at the west. Superb backpacking country as you’re on the edge of Knoydart with big glens and lots of paths. Our first hill was Creag nan Damh (rock of the deer):

Creag nan Damh from the top of the stalkers path

It’s a surprisingly uppy-doony ridge with a sting in the tail consisting of a near vertical descent of a rock band. Easy but engrossing. There was also some late winter slushy snow to cross:

Graeme on Creag nan Damh

Then we headed for Sgurr an Lochain (peak of the wee loch) by taking the Sgurr Beag bypass path:

Sgurr Beag Sgurr an Lochain and Sgurr an Doire Leathainn from Creag nan Damh

I remember camping at the bealach between Creag nan Damh and Sgurr an Lochain many years ago with Dawn, on the summer solstice and during the night a violent lightning storm blew up. It was like camping inside a neon tube as the thick mist lit up and glowed eerily with each crashing flash of light. What a night that was. I woke up in the Buffalo Bag in a pool of water as the hollow had flooded, thinking to myself, it really is true, a Buffalo Bag is warm when wet!

Next up was Sgurr an Doire Leathainn (peak of the broad wood), a pleasant amble along the ridge with one interesting rock descent:

Maol Chinn Dearg from Sgurr an Doire Leathainn

then off down the steep ridge, keeping to the right to avoid the crags. A nice day out indeed.

You can see all the pics here.

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