How to bag 7 Munros in a day: taking on the South Glen Shiel Ridge

MOST Munro fanatics are content with bagging a single summit in a day, but for the intrepid bagger a string of seven Munros are kindly linked together in Scotland's wild north-west.

Loch Quoich.

Kintail’s South Glen Shiel Ridge is an opportunity to take a large step towards becoming a completist - in fact those who successfully finish the walk will be two and a half per cent closer to the magic total of 282.

However, this walk is far more than just a list-ticking exercise. Quite stupendous views of the Five Sisters, Knoydart and - on a clear day - Skye await those who take on the magnificent seven.

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This is a long day and requires a decent level of fitness, but tackling the heptad in one day is actually quite practical.

Sgurr an Lochain.

MUNRO NUMBER 1: CREAG A’ MHAIM

Start at the Cluanie Inn car park just beyond the western tip of Loch Cluanie. From here, briefly nip east along the A87 before heading along a track that leads you to a bridge which crosses Loch Cluanie, before swerving left.

Follow this path for roughly a kilometre before following a stalkers path to the east of Crag a’Mhaim. This path is steep in places, but if the going begins to feel tough it’s worth reminding yourself that this will be the most strength sapping part of your walk.

Also be wary of wretched ticks. The heather lined path is a haven for the wee beasties - perhaps leave your shorts at home.

Sgurr an Lochain.

If you successfully navigate this path it will lead you to the peak of your first Munro of the day Creag a’ Mhaim.

MUNRO NUMBER 2: DRUIM SHIONNACH

Take in the glorious views of the snaking ridge ahead of you, along with views of Glenquoich to the south and wild Knoydart to the west.

Descend northwest along the ridge for a short while before climbing up a narrow section of ridge to your second Munro of the day, Druim Shionnach, meaning the ridge of the fox.

Views of Knoydart should continue to improve, as should views of the opposing North Glen Shiel Ridge.

MUNRO NUMBER 3: AONACH AIR CHRITH

Munro number three Aonach Air Chrith is now three kilometres ahead of you, but the stroll along the undulating ridge rarely gets tough going.

The Munro’s Gaelic name translates as ‘trembling hill’, though with any luck your legs won’t be shaking just yet. Admire the crags to the north of the ridge and be grateful for the well-built path ahead of you.

Aonach Air Chrith is the tallest peak at 1,021 metres, making it a wonderful vantage point for the two Munros you’ve already climbed, as well as the four remaining Munros ahead.

MUNRO NUMBER 4: MAOL CHINN-DEARG

Descend a rocky section of ridge which involves some very simple scrambling before making your way towards the fourth peak of the day.

From here ease your way over a couple of minor peaks before making your way up to Maol Chinn-dearg.

Protruding north from Maol Chinn Dearg is a tantalising looking ridge, but exploration of this can be left for a later date.

MUNRO NUMBER 5: SGURR AN DOIRE LEATHAIN

Descend once again and follow a path which bypasses the minor peak of Sgurr Coire na Feinne.

Once you’ve skirted the sub 3000 peak make the arduous ascent to Munro number five Sgurr an Doire Leathain. The summit is north of the path and requires a very brief detour.

The views from Sgurr an Doire Leathain are the finest of the day. Sgurr an Lochain sits ahead in the foreground of Loch Doich, the banks of which are home to Eilean Donan Castle.

MUNRO NUMBER 6: SGURR AN LOCHAIN

Retreat back to the path and descend toward the dip between Sgurr an Doire Leathain and Sgurr an Lochain.

Sgurr an Lochain is a fine pyramid of rock and undoubtedly the most distinctive of the seven Munros.

Your legs should be feeling the burn when you begin the ascent to the penultimate peak, but views of the Saddle to the west ought to keep you distracted.

Once you reach the sixth peak prepare yourself for the final climb up Creag Nan Damh.

MUNRO NUMBER 7: CREAG NAN DAMH

Ease your way down Sgurr an Lochain, turning round every so often for improving views of the penultimate peak of the day and the rest of the ridge.

Skirt round Sgurr Beag which doesn’t quite attain Munro status and descend a little farther before walking/crawling uphill for the last time. From here on a clear day you should be able to take in the Isle of Skye.

Seven Munros in a day is some achievement and you should allow yourself a pat on the back for your efforts, but your walk isn’t over yet. From Creag Nan Damh continue along the ridge and take care on a ten metre scramble.

A tiring walk over the rolling ridge continues for one to two kilometres, before you reach a small cairn at Bealach Duibh Leac. Resist the temptation to climb the Saddle and Sgurr Na Sgine and head north following an old stalkers path that takes you back to the A87.

From here you will either need to organise alternative transport back to the Cluanie Inn where you started your walk - consider hitchhiking, locals and tourists alike are more often than not happy to offer a lift.

Once back at the Cluanie Inn sample some local ales and bask in your day’s achievements.