Access: This is a non-circular route, meaning that transport is needed between the end points,
which are 6 or so miles apart on the A87.
One possibility is using public transport. Hotels often advertise a car hire service for walkers.
Alternatively, with two means of private transport, leave a bike or car at one end of the walk,
then drive or cycle to the other end. If cycling, you may prefer to
choose the direction of the walk so that the cycling is downhill rather than uphill (or vice versa)
and whether the cycling is at the start or end of the day.
The last time I did this walk, I had no other transport but instead left a tent at the Loch Cluanie end,
drove to the start, completed the walk, ate at the Cluanie Inn, spent the night in the tent,
and walked back to the car via the North Glen Shiel Ridge.
You could also do this more simply by staying at the Cluanie Inn instead of camping.
Then there are no transport issues at all!
Route: The usual, sensible and easiest start for this walk is the parking at Malagan. From there, follow the stalkers' path S to Bealach Duibh Leac before turning E to Creag nan Damh. However, in order to spend less time walking or cycling on the A87, I started at the Eas-nan-Arm bridge over the R. Shiel 1.5 miles further east. It also saves 90m of ascent but the paths are less good.
When leaving the A87 just west of the bridge, it is difficult to get to start of the path shown on map. It is marked as starting beside a river, but deer fences cross it. Ignore this extremely wet, boggy unpleasant way. Instead, go further west to a track through the forestry which starts about 200m W along the A87 from Eas-nan-Arm bridge, almost opposite the parking by the battlefield sign. Once through the forestry, the stalkers' path has a good rock foundation and is at an easy incline.
On the ridge there are no route finding issues, but in poor visibility make sure not to descend one of the NE ridges instead of sticking to the main ridge. This is easily done on Sgurr an Doire Leathain where the summit is already out on such a ridge.
Ideally, the whole of this great ridge from The Saddle eastwards should be enjoyed in one go because there is so little drop in height along its length. Nevertheless, the total ascent accumulates rapidly. Starting at Creag nan Damh as here divides the ridge into two roughly equal days for those doing all the Munro tops. The route over The Saddle and Sgurr na Sgine is on the next page.
Weather 1/5/05: Heavy rain 1330-1700, dry otherwise; cloud base 900m
Weather 22/9/08: Sunny, but cool.
|Leave bike 1.4 miles from Cluanie Inn
along metalled track at padlocked gate
where track splits for Cluanie Lodge
|0855||0745||0835||Park at E end of Eas-nan-Arm Bridge on A87,
battlefield car park, or at another nearby layby.
|120||0||0.0 miles||NG99481334||No Orange|
|W on A87 to track end 200m beyond bridge
(at first gap in forest fence)
|0800||Grassy path S and up to forest edge||200||75||0.7 miles||NG99241282|
|0930||0815||0905||Take stalkers' path, zig-zagging up from
forest edge to footbridge at end of
stalkers' path (but do not cross).
|0820||0910||Cross at river confluence,
taking path between rivers
|0845||Footpath S up glen to 420m contour,
then SW up ridge or continue on path
|Ascend (any) ridge to M Creag nan Damh.||918||785||2.7 miles||NG98361121||Orange|
|1120||1010||1105||SE to Bealach Fraoch Choire||729||3.15 miles||NG99051087|
|1145||1030||1130||E to Sgurr Beag
(There is a path by-passing this top – ridiculous)
|1155||1040||1140||SE to Bealach Choire Reidhe||799||3.9 miles||NH00081062|
|1200||ESE to M Sgurr an Lochain||1004||1165||4.25 miles||NH00581044||Orange|
|1230||1120||1215||SE to Bealach Sgurr an Lochain||885||4.6 miles||NH00971003|
|SE/NE to M Sgurr an Doire Leathain
Note the top is off the main ridge.
|1310||1200||1255||Return 200yds SW to main ridge then
S/SE to Bealach Caol na Droma Moire.
|1320||1210||1305||E to Sgurr Coire na Feinne||902||1380||6.05 miles||NH02810932|
|1215||1310||S to Bealach Caol na Droma Bige||872||6.25 miles||NH02880908|
|1325||S/SE to M Maol Chinn-dearg||981||1500||6.5 miles||NH03230879||Orange|
|1245||1335||SE to col||890||6.75 miles||NH03450852|
|ESE to top||913||1520||6.9 miles||NH03710846|
|1415||1255||1345||ESE to bealach||840||7.15 miles||NH04050831|
|1350||E to top||867||1545||7.25 miles||NH04230828|
|1305||SE to col||855||7.32 miles||NH04330825|
|E to bump||960||1650||7.55 miles||NH04700821|
|E to col||945|
|E/ENE to M Aonach air Chrith||1021||1710||7.85 miles||NH05100835|
|1500||1355||1435||SE/E to bealach||886||8.2 miles||NH05610811|
|NE to tops||923||1750||8.3 miles||NH05750821|
|E to col||913||8.55 miles||NH06080819|
|1520||1410||1450||E to T Druim Shionnach, W Top||938||1775||8.65 miles||NH06280820|
|1420||1455||E to bealach||895||8.75 miles||NH06470819|
|ENE to bump||916||1795||8.9 miles||NH06640827|
|E to col||901||9.0 miles||NH06800830|
|ENE to M Druim Shionnach||987||1885||9.4 miles||NH07440849|
|1555||1455||1535||ESE to col||868||10.05 miles||NH08370813|
|SE to M Creag a'Mhaim||947||1960||10.35 miles||NH08780777|
Descend initially good path giving clear and safe
descent down NNE ridge. (It starts 50 yds NW
along main ridge path from summit cairn.)
|1720||1610||1710||Bridge on track at Drochaid an Uillt Ghiubhais.
(The path starts at the stile over deer fence here.)
|1740||1630||1730||Track N to bike at gate at track split.||265||12.4 miles||NH08971064||Orange|
|1755||1750||A87 by Cluanie Inn||220||1967||13.65 miles||NH07891176|
|1740||Cycle 6 miles down A87 to car at Eas-nan-Arm.||120||2040||19.7 miles||NG99481334||No Orange|