Gleouraich and Spidean Mialach
Area: Glen Shiel to Loch Hourn and Loch Quoich
Munro’s: Gleouraich, Spidean Mialach
Date walked: 26/09/2008
Time taken: 4 hours
Distance: 12 km
Gleouraich and Spidean Mialach sit together in the area to the North East of Loch Quoich with a short walk between the two, with South Shiel ridge to the North and Brothers and sisters ridge’s beyond, Sgurr mor and Gairich to the South with Sgurr a Mhaoraich on its own to the east,
In September 2008 I took my canoe, tent and walking kit up to loch Quioch for 4 days of walking, canoeing and some away from it all solitude to recharge my mental batteries. After walking Sgurr a’ Mhaoraich yesterday today my planned Munro’s were Gleouriach and Spidean Mialach.
I left the area where I had pitched my tent the night before, by car, and drove around the road and across the bridge then on for a further 2km to a siding where I could park up ready for the walk. I had plenty time and on reflection I could have walked from the tent and back which would have only added maybe 5km to the walk I collected my gear and just as I was about to set off a car pulled up. A guy named Paul accompanied by his wife Chris, were here to bag the same two Munros. I bid them good day and set off on my way.
Just across from the siding, park place, was a small track following the Allt Coire Peltireach which is the pathway to Gleouraich. It’s a steady but steep climb for approximately 650m to the spot height at 840m. So with mind in neutral, legs pumping away and with a heartbeat probably at a steady 150 beats per minute, I am climbing rapidly skywards. It’s a steep windy track and the weather was overcast but dry so the underfoot conditions were good. After about 1km I stopped to adjust my clothing and remove one layer (it’s got hot all of a sudden).
After about another half a km I realise I can no longer hear my compass bashing against my back-pack as it had been during the ascent and I realise I must have dropped it where I had stopped previously. Fun and games eh? I remove my pack and run back down the track to retrieve my compass and I was soon back on the trail again. I glance back down the hill and I can see Paul coming up after me. It turns out that his wife was driving him around and not actually doing the Munro’s herself. If I had known that then maybe I would have asked him to join me. On the other hand, it’s not always a good idea because walkers tend go at different paces. So mind back in neutral and away I go (must keep up the pace, can’t let an older guy catch me lol).
The track meanders up through Sron a’ Chuilinn and along the cliff edge with stunning views with an 800metre drop on the left hand side. Not a place to lose your footing or wander off into the mist. The path levels to a summit at 840 metres. There is a memorial stone here placed by some relative of the deceased I imagine. I was to come across many of these memorials placed in the hills during my journey. I decided to stop here for a quick coffee and biscuit. From the dates on the memorial it looked like the lady had achieved a good age.
I look up into the mist surrounding Gleouraich and it looks dark and foreboding. It looks like I am not going to see much of a view when I get to the summit. At that moment Paul appears, he must have been making good time.
We say a brief hello and Paul sets of up the steep 200m climb to the summit. I pack my things away and head on after him. I catch him up and because I am working hard I slowly draw ahead, (This isn’t a race but you have to go at the pace you are comfortable with), and reach the summit. I again get my coffee out. I offer Paul some coffee when he appears but he politely declines and heads on his way. Thankfully the darkness and the mist have thinned out. It seems incredibly high and the views all around are stunning although I am peering through the mist.
I set off in the direction of Spidean Mialach. After 1500 paces or so I catch up with Paul. We have a brief chat and he then ushers me forward. I continue on my way. The path descends steeply for about 300 metres then climbs steeply for 300 metres. The biggest white rabbit, actually it was a mountain hare, I have ever seen bounds out from behind a rock and heads off in a south east direction away from me. Two ptarmigans scurry out of what might be there nests and run away. I continue on my merry way following the well-trodden path and stop at a small top before the Munro summit for another break. As I am having refreshments Paul turns up and continues on to the summit. I pack things away and continue after him to the summit of Spidean Miallach.
I have a good chat with Paul. He has bagged quite a number of Munros in the past ten days and is well on his way to completing them all. He climbs/walks all year and tells me I am doing a good pace. From car to Spidean Miallach took exactly 3 hours. He is a damn good walker himself. Paul is doing Gairich tomorrow before he heads of back down south. I bid him farewell and head off down the mountain. I am thinking as I descend that one day I will be able to do those multiple summits like the South Shiel ridge Paul done yesterday but I will have to get more experience under my belt beforehand.
Now a sign I had read at the start of the walk asked walkers to “keep out of the corries because you will scatter the deer”. Therefore I decided to head down to Loch Fearna and then follow the burn down to the roadside. Then a simple 2.5 km walk back to the car. That’s what I thought. The underfoot conditions down by the burn was boggy with long grass and it was a nightmare. It was very hard going all the way to the road. Once on the road I headed back to the car. Up ahead near the car, you guessed it, Paul. He followed me down but then he headed south East to the pathway down the corrie. He beat me to the car by about 5 mins. That was another great day out in the hills. Its been a tough walk at a good pace and I am tired.