“Climb the mountain not to plant your flag, but to embrace the challenge, enjoy the air and behold the view. Climb it so you can see the world, not so the world can see you.” ― David McCullough Jr.
Glen Shiel is a glen in the Northwest Highlands of Scotland.
The landscape and the views in Glen Shiel are spectacular. Simply just stopping here to soak it all in could be enough for some, it’s a very beautiful, remote and sereal place.
It has a 9 mile long valley which features a road and hiking trails with views of picturesque peaks and waterways the whole way through.
For those that enjoy munro bagging, the Glenshiel area has 21 Munros.
The north side of the glen is formed by the famous Five Sisters and Three Brothers which we had undertook in October 2020, these had been true classics amongst ridgewalks.
Opposite these is the South Glen Shiel Ridge which would bag us 7 Munros in a day. This would be the most Munro’s we had ever summitted in one day and this was what we were just about to do!
We set of around 9am. The weather forecast predicted that it would start of cloudy but things would improve as the day progressed, let’s hope they’re right again this time as views up here should be amazing.
We hiked up gradually on an estate track before coming to a rocky path which turned off to the right taking us up the mountain. The path started off well but things soon got boggy and wet until eventually it dried up and we were on another not to bad path again.
We plodded up and up and up until we eventually were in the low hanging clouds which clung to the top of this Munro. When we hit the summit large patches of snow were dotted all over.
Views could not be seen but Munro No. 1 was ticked off.
Just as we were heading off to Munro No. 2 we were teased slightly with views as the clouds opened up just enough to let us know something spectacular lay behind…then all was gone again.
We plodded on…down, over and up and we even got to undertake a small scramble which was surprising before summiting Munro No. 2.
Once again views were rubbish although we did manage to look back to where we had just came from and we saw our first summit.
There was no point hanging around so we continued on to Munro No. 3. After walking a short distance and as if someone just flicked a switch the clouds lifted and we were surrounded by some beautiful scenery, we had mountains for miles and miles and lochs, lots of them.
We decided at this point to have a coffee break, why not, so we found a sheltered and warm spot behind some rocks and admired the view.
Before we knew it we were off again to summit Munro No. 3. This involved a long hike around a cliff face before climbing up and around the side of the mountain.
On looking back at where we had just walked we got a better indication of where we had been as it allowed us to see the cliffs and the route we had just taken, it was pretty spectacular.
Views were continuing to just get better and better. After summitting Munro No. 3 I started to think that’s not too bad, were heading towards number 4 which now meant we were half way there at least and progressing well, things felt good.
We continued on. Up until this point we had not saw or met anyone else. Then one lone figure came into view and before we knew it we had met up.
We stopped and chatted finding out the guy was up from Yorkshire and was undertaking 5 out of these 7 summits as he had previously done our first two on another occasion. We chatted for some time before saying our goodbyes.
Munro No. 4’s cairn could be seen in the distance and one which looked like a steep ascent to get to. From where we stood we looked to the top and saw another two figures.
We continued onwards and upwards until we eventually summitted.
Views from here were amazing…it was just so beautiful, could it get any better. The mountains just continued for miles and miles all around…it looked so rugged.
This is what I love about some of these harder to reach mountains in Scotland, they are so natural, there is nothing pretentious or manicured about them, no man made paths, no signs, just rough and ready terrain…simply perfect.
We were so busy admiring the view that we hadnt seen a couple sitting slightly off to the left of the Cairn. We said our hellos and saw that they were an elderly couple or should I say older than us.
The man asked us where we had came from and what we were doing so we said we were doing the whole ridge walk taking in the 7 summits.
He then went on to tell us that this was his wife he was with and they had just been sitting reminising about how they had undertook the same walk we were doing today 50 years ago!! Wow…I was doing the math in my head thinking right now they must be at least 75 years of age and here they were up on top of this Munro right now. We asked what they were up to today and he answered unfortunately these days we can only manage one, we’ve came straight up and going straight back down the same way, his wife simply smiled, a big smile, she looked so happy, so did he. I was truly amazed. I walked away with a lump in my throat…happy and sad all at the same time and as I walked I kept glancing back at them watching them make their way down the hill, him leading the way, her following behind. I thought about them for a long time as I walked on…funny how things can impact you, this moment certainly did.
We steeply climbed off from Munro No. 4 before contouring round the side of another mountain and we found a spot to stop for lunch.
We couldn’t sit too long as we still had a long way to go. We ate a sandwich, had some coffee and off we went again continuing to contour the mountain before we started our climb upwards to the summit. This one felt like a long hike up but I guess that was only natural as we were on to Munro No 5.
We climbed and climbed pretty steeply until it slightly leveled off. Snow was laying on the ground at points. The summit could be seen and eventually we reached it. The views continued to amaze us.
After taking some photos we headed of in the direction of Munro No. 6 which could be seen clearly from where we stood. This Munro stuck out on its own…it looked rugged and ready for us to climb.
We once again headed down, walked through some snow before heading back upwards. Again it went up and up and up!
This climb became quite rocky with some small scrambly bits as we got near the top until finally we were at the cairn. Once again it was a wow moment.
Everywhere you looked was stupendous. We stayed on this one for a while not wanting to leave it was pretty special. However we knew we did need to leave as we still had one more Munro to summit, and it was still a very long walk out back to the car, we knew we had to get going.
We walked on taking everything in, conditions here were perfect. The walk to Munro No. 7 was long…it felt like quite a quick descent but we had to cover alot of ground to just get to the base of this very last Munro for the day.
Finally we began our ascent which seemed like a long way up. It felt amazing to reach the top of this one. We did the usual, took in the views, took photos before finally heading on our way.
From here we had to continue along the mountain for quite some time before finally descending. This descent was much more enjoyable than the one we had undertook from The Forcan Ridge, the path was better and less steep.
As we progressed downwards we eventually saw across to where we had descended a few evenings before and let’s just say no wonder we had sore legs and feet on waking up that following morning….the descent looked horrendous (and believe you me it felt horrendous too)!
Before we knew it we were back at the car. What an epic day that had been. What a superb range of peaks which helped us bag another 7 Munro’s.
The Magnificent Seven was a long day on the hills but worth every single second!
Check out the video below 🙏