Glen Shiel – Scotland, April 18-25, 2014

Organizer: Maggie.
Adventurers: Bruce, Sarah, Hannah, Maggie, Alan, Claire, Belinda, Dan S, Simon P, Mark C, Tricia, Mark F, Marion, Sarah R, Andy D, Keyna, Annie.

An unforgettable trip to the West Coast of Scotland in Glen Shiel (“glen shee”), staying at Shiel Lodge.

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Day 0: the journey here: Good Friday
Various different itineraries got us to Glen Shiel Lodge:

  • Maggie, Claire, Alan, Keyna & Annie drove to Fort William, and climbed two Munros overlooking Loch Quoich.
  • Sarah R, Dan S & Andy stayed in Crainlarich, and conquered Ben Nevis in blistering sunshine, and have the facial colour to prove it. Trudging halfway up in procession with the masses, they hit the snow line and donned crampons for a full assault on the highest peak in Britain.
  • Sarah, Bruce & Hannah met up with Bruce’s Dad in Tyndrum.
  • Mark & Tricia stayed in a 4-star Hotel with Michelin star dining, and managed to climb nothing – not even the hotel staircase (used the lift).
  • Mark, Marion, Belinda plus Chip (the dog) had a leisurely drive up from Glasgow.

Finally we all arrived at the luxurious, massive Hunting Lodge at Glen Shiel – it took most of us a few days to find our way around. Dinner was Maggie’s traditional Thai Green Curry.

Day 1: Easter Sunday.
The Easter Bunny left everybody an Easter Egg outside their room. Many were enjoyed on the mountain later in the day.

  • Claire led a walk over the Five Sisters of Kintail. Alan agreed thinking she was talking about a girl band. Alas not, it was 5 big peaks on a ridge, including 3 munros. Maggie, Dan S, Keyna, Simon P, Belinda all accompanied them in brilliant sunshine and with views of Ben Nevis & The Cuillins on Skye. Maggie and Keyna descended after 4, after debating whether to cross the snow or not. Starting at 8am, the rest of the party made it back in waves but were all home by 7pm. Mark C did a little further, taking in 3 brothers aswell.
  • Tricia cycled over a much steeper hill than she expected to the old Ferry at Glenelg. Mark joined her and they enjoyed a bottle of Champagne gazing out over the beautiful bay to Skye.
  • Mark and Marion did a local walk from the house, towards Glenelg and into the forest with Chip who found an antler (proving there were deer on the estate).
  • Andy and Sarah travelled an hour to climb a Munro, Sgurr a’ Mhaoraich (1026m) by Loch Doich, but it was well worth it.

Dinner was a feast from Marion: Lodge Roast Lamb, and Crusted Ham, followed by Key Lime Pie and a fine crumble. All cooked from scratch on the Aga.

Day 2: Monday

  • Claire, Alan, Keyna, Maggie, Dan, Simon, Mark, Marion, Belinda and Annie ascended Bla Bhenin on Skye (928m). It is described as one of the finest mountains in the Highlands, however it was soon renamed “hell mountain” as we scrambled up scree, and descended down an incredibly steep gully, which Alan decided to do on his backside! Quite a few people (as well as Chip) were definitely taken well out of their comfort zone!
  • Andy and Sarah did a 20km circular route taking in the 300m spectacular waterfall, the Falls of Glomach with great views from the northern approach up the valley.
  • Mark and Tricia cycled a trail-breaking route to Glenelg along the coast. Tricia’s first time off-road on a bike, and a couple of miles lugging the bike through muddy woodland. Not recommended. With help from the locals we fixed a puncture. Unbelievably there is a company in Glenelg that builds meteorological stations for testing windfarm sites, and they guy that runs it collects bikes.

Simon’s excellent sausage casserole was well appreciated and deserved!

Day 3: Tuesday

  •  Claire, Alan, Mark, Keyna and Simon headed out into the wilderness with full back packs of varying weights and sizes ranging from 6kg (Mark C) to 12.7kg for a night in a Bothy. Slight difference of routes out – MarkC taking the high road – lots of snow and spectacular knife edge ridge. Both groups must have passed the Youth Hostel at roughly the same time, but one of them stopped for tea. The bothy was 5- star – clean, dry, fireplace with fuel, and we had it all to ourselves. What happens in the Bothy stays in the Bothy, but we had wine, women and song; and more importantly Coal and Claire’s log.
  • Other people took a rest day: Andy and Sarah R visited local Lochcarron, Plockton and Kyle of Lochalsh.  Mark Marion, Belinda and Chip did a coastal walk near Plockton and then explored the village itself.  Tricia, Maggie and Dan visited the impressive Dunvegan Castle on Skye. Tricia rescued an old lady from a chimney fire.

Day 4: Wednesday

  • Return from the Bothy. All ascended Ciste Dhubh (981m) – MarkC taking in Ben Attow (the long mountain = same length as the sisters of Kintail, but still only counts as 1 munro) on the way back.
  • Andy, Dan & Sarah conquered their toughest Munro of the week, The Saddle (1011m), via the Forcan ridge, thankfully the conditions were again good and no more than 5 points of contact were required during some of the grade 3 scrambles.
  • Maggie, Mark, Marion, Annie and Belinda walked to the Falls of Glomach.

In the evening we had yet another of Marion’s gourmet meals – Salmon, and sticky toffee pudding.

Day 5: Thursday

  • Claire, Alan, Maggie, Simon, Dan and Annie walked to the grave of Edal the otter (Ring of Bright Water) on a beautiful stretch of coastline, pity about the so called forest which was supposed to have deer roaming, all we saw were tree stumps and broken branches! We then went on to do a spectacular walk along the banks of Loch Hourn from Corran.
  • Mark, Marion, Belinda and Keyna spent the day in Glenelg.
  • Bruce walked up to the 5th Sister on the ridge.
  • Mark and Tricia cycled to Skye and returned by ferry.

A great week in the Highlands culminated in our last meal in the Lodge with a Scottish Supper, where much merriment was had, with Haggis, Burns poems and a wee dram prepared by Andy and Sarah.

Day 6: Friday

  • Mark, Tricia, Sarah, Bruce & Hannah all have to leave today.
  • The final ascent by Alan, Claire, Keyna, Belinda, Dan, Simon, Andy and Sarah was up onto the South Shiel Ridge from the Cluanie Inn. Claire, Keyna and Simon climbed the first two Munro’s, Alan and Sarah R achieved 4, Andy and Dan bagging a 5th Munro before descending to the comforts of the Lodge.
  • Mark, Marion and Chip walked up to the 5th Sister.
  • Maggie walked to Loch Coire (was the poorly leg an excuse not to do a Munro?)

Throughout the week Bruce and Sarah introduced Hannah to the delights of Scotland. What a great week! Excellent walks, weather, food, good company and loads of Munro’s conquered!!

Total Munro’s:
Alan, Dan – 11
Mark C, Claire – 9
Andy, Simon – 8
Sarah – 7
Belinda – 6
Maggie – 5
Annie – 4

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