3 of 5 Sisters from Glen Lichd. September 2012.

Date: Wednesday 12th September 2012
Distance: 17.2km
Ascent: 1520m

Although we’ve revisited more than half the munros there are areas we’ve never been back to – the N Shiel Ridge in particular has seen no revisits at all. In some ways this reflects our preference for the coastal strip and Loch/sea views which most of these hills lack, but the hills above Loch Duich have been in our sights for a while.

The possibility of an improving day had us planning for a loop at the west end of the ridge via Glen Lichd.

Parked up at the Morvich car park – NG 961 211 – and set off west on the road for 500m to turn S on the Right of Way through Glen Lichd to Alltbeithe.

A good quality track runs out the glen with views back to Sgurr an Airgid. Sunshine and showers were the order of the day.

The 3 westerly munros of the N Shiel ridge can be done from Glen Lichd – we were after a more limited loop of Sgurr Fhuaran and the western end of the ridge.

Nice view up to Sgurr nan Saighead

We had decided to try the stalkers path from NG 988 186 running up to the N ridge of Sgurr Fhuaran. We could see faint evidence of the zig-zags as we approached along the glen.

The path was faint and occasionally hard to follow but did switchback up 500m of ascent. Watched a Golden Eagle soaring around the cliffs of Sgurr na Moraich.

More brisk showers and spells of sun as we went.

The stalkers path seemed to peter out at about 500m but the terrain was easy enough to ascend over a little crest at NG 983 175 and onwards to the headwall. It had briefly looked like the day would clear – then the clag came in.

The coire headwall was fairly steep for the last 50m – but grassy. Looking back to the wee crest.

A couple of walkers passed above us on the ridge as we ascended. Once on the ridge line the munro track can be followed to the summit of Sgurr Fhuaran.

A brief hole in the cloud showed us Loch Duich.

Had some lunch at the summit – first taste of winter as it snowed on us. Numb fingers is something I don’t miss from winter – even less welcome is fingers waking up from being numb.

Headed back down the track and headed on towards Sgurr nan Saighead. We could see our ascent route in the clag.

As we dropped off Sgurr nan Saighead we broke out of the clag and views developed over Beinn Bhuidhe.

NW towards the Glen Elchaig corbetts.

Still rather moody clouds around in Glen Shiel – Biod an Fhithich and the Saddle:

A very minor scramble ascends Beinn Bhuidhe – which is a nice wee viewpoint.

Back to Sgurr nan Saighead and Sgurr Fhuaran:

Overflown by a Hawk Trainer – was doing some rather interesting glen-hugging:

Down to Loch Duich and Sgurr an t-Searraich:

We’d been hearing faint sounds of geese all day – at this point some of the skeins were visible as they babbled over us:

Sgurr na Moraich and rainbow:

Dreich Glen Shiel:

Across the Kyleakin Grahams to the Cuillin:

Beinn nan Caorach, Eaglaise and a bit of Eigg:

We’d wondered about heading down to Searraich but decided to head over to Sgurr na Moraich instead. A faint track runs down from Beinn Bhuidhe to the bealach with Moraich and then a fainter track runs up this hill.

View back to Sgurr nan Saighead and Beinn Bhuidhe:

From the summit of Sgurr na Moraich there is a reasonable view – a bit off the best angle for Loch Duich but a flat and mossy campsite.

Glen Elg and the Cuillin:

A G, a C and 2 M’s:

We’d spotted a track running from the bealach between Beinn Bhuidhe and Sgurr na Moraich so we backtracked to pick this up. This was a mistake as the “track” is a munro red route line – 1.5km of slippy mud, soupy mud and slippy rocks. In retrospect we should have dropped straight off the NW nose of Sgurr na Moraich and headed for the NTS constructed path at about NG 953 198.

The coire lit up a bit with some late sun:

Dropped down the NTS path to the road.

From there 1.5km back to the car at the MR post. A couple of walkers had been just behind us on descent – spotted them just before Shiel Bridge hitching back to the start in the gloaming. Glen Shiel taxi duties were performed.

Quite a nice route, even if the weather was a bit mixed. I suspect a winter loop of Sgurr na Moraich, Beinn Bhuidhe, Sgurr nan Saighead and Sgurr an t-Searraich is on the cards sometime.

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