Colin's Munros


The South Cluanie (Glen Shiel) Ridge: Aonach air Chrith, etc.
Map 414S, 1st May 2005, 22nd Sept 2008 & 1st Oct 2015

Route: 13⅔ miles walking plus 6 to 7½ road miles between end points; 1967m+70m = 6450'+230' ascent; 9 hrs.

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.

1/5/0522/9/081/10/15 Description Ht.Asc.Dist. Grid Ref.Mob.
    Leave bike 1.4 miles from Cluanie Inn
along metalled track at padlocked gate
where track splits for Cluanie Lodge
265  NH08971064 
085507450835 Park at E end of Eas-nan-Arm Bridge on A87,
battlefield car park, or at another nearby layby.
120   00.0 milesNG99481334No Orange
    W on A87 to track end 200m beyond bridge
(at first gap in forest fence)
125 0.45 milesNG99051310 
 0800  Grassy path S and up to forest edge 200 750.7 milesNG99241282 
093008150905 Take stalkers' path, zig-zagging up from
forest edge to footbridge at end of
stalkers' path (but do not cross).
2801550.9 milesNG99351253 
 08200910 Cross at river confluence,
taking path between rivers
3101851.05 milesNG99181236 
 0845  Footpath S up glen to 420m contour,
then SW up ridge or continue on path
to waterfall
5003701.6 milesNG99491164 
Ascend (any) ridge to M Creag nan Damh. 9187852.7 milesNG98361121Orange
112010101105 SE to Bealach Fraoch Choire 729 3.15 milesNG99051087 
114510301130 E to Sgurr Beag
(There is a path by-passing this top – ridiculous)
8969603.6 milesNG99751096 
115510401140 SE to Bealach Choire Reidhe 799 3.9 milesNH00081062 
1200 ESE to M Sgurr an Lochain 100411654.25 milesNH00581044Orange
123011201215 SE to Bealach Sgurr an Lochain 885 4.6 milesNH00971003 
SE/NE to M Sgurr an Doire Leathain
Note the top is off the main ridge.
101012955.0 milesNH01510990Orange
131012001255 Return 200yds SW to main ridge then
S/SE to Bealach Caol na Droma Moire.
821 5.75 milesNH02270933 
132012101305 E to Sgurr Coire na Feinne 90213806.05 milesNH02810932 
 12151310 S to Bealach Caol na Droma Bige 872 6.25 milesNH02880908 
1325 S/SE to M Maol Chinn-dearg 98115006.5 milesNH03230879Orange
 12451335 SE to col 890 6.75 milesNH03450852 
    ESE to top 91315206.9 milesNH03710846 
141512551345 ESE to bealach 840 7.15 milesNH04050831 
  1350 E to top 86715457.25 milesNH04230828 
 1305  SE to col 855 7.32 milesNH04330825 
    E to bump 96016507.55 milesNH04700821 
    E to col 945    
E/ENE to M Aonach air Chrith 102117107.85 milesNH05100835 
150013551435 SE/E to bealach 886 8.2 milesNH05610811 
    NE to tops 92317508.3 milesNH05750821 
    E to col 913 8.55 milesNH06080819 
152014101450 E to T Druim Shionnach, W Top 93817758.65 milesNH06280820 
 14201455 E to bealach 895 8.75 milesNH06470819 
    ENE to bump 91617958.9 milesNH06640827 
    E to col 901 9.0 milesNH06800830 
ENE to M Druim Shionnach 98718859.4 milesNH07440849 
155514551535 ESE to col 868 10.05 milesNH08370813 
SE to M Creag a'Mhaim 947196010.35 milesNH08780777 
    Descend initially good path giving clear and safe
descent down NNE ridge. (It starts 50 yds NW
along main ridge path from summit cairn.)
172016101710 Bridge on track at Drochaid an Uillt Ghiubhais.
(The path starts at the stile over deer fence here.)
340 11.5 milesNH09290942 
174016301730 Track N to bike at gate at track split. 265 12.4 milesNH08971064Orange
1755 1750 A87 by Cluanie Inn 220196713.65 milesNH07891176 
 1740  Cycle 6 miles down A87 to car at Eas-nan-Arm. 120204019.7 milesNG99481334No Orange

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