Dan Bailey UKH
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North of the Great Glen only a handful of hills breach 1100m. Being one of the few, Sgurr nan Conbhairean has a big feel; it's a grand peak too, with a summit cairn perched airily on the lip of its huge eastern corrie. Most easily accessed from the south, it makes a nice logical ridge walking circuit along with neighbouring Munro Carn Ghluasaid. A third Munro, Sail Chaorainn, can be added with a slightly messy out-and-back detour, but I'd contend that's better done as part of a huge horseshoe from the Affric side including the other biggies in the range, Mullach Fraoch Choire and A'Chralaig. Today's route is a bit more modest in ambition.
Height Profile metres / Distance miles
1NH1448310331 Cross the A87 and pick up a track heading west, the course of an old military road. Follow this uphill, go through a gate, and when just past a phone mast turn right.
2NH1372710246 Heading broadly north, a clear stalker's path now zigzags uphill, looping around the knoll of An Cruachan and crossing a couple of small burns in a more level area before zigzagging steeply up through rocky outcrops onto the southwest spur of Carn Ghluasaid. This soon leads to the summit plateau; a cairn marks the high point on the abrupt edge of the huge corrie complex shared with Sgurr nan Conbhairean.
3NH1457812529 Heading west, follow the edge of the corrie down to a saddle on the ridge, then bear northwest to ascend towards Creag a' Chaorainn. An obvious path makes a rising traverse across the southern flank to regain the ridge some way west of this minor top. Descend into the high col of the Glas Bhealach, then climb the summit slope of Sgurr nan Conbhairean. The huge cairn-windbreak is dramatically positioned at the apex of the mountain's East Ridge, a classic winter mountaineering route/scramble.
4NH1298713889 Descending west-southwest, the broad summit slope soon narrows into a defined ridge. Beyond a little col, a short ascent of the ridge leads to Drochaid an Tuill Easaich - a minor top worth climbing for the view out over Glen Shiel.
5NH1206913430 Bear roughly south, making a steady descent to pick up the hill's broad southern ridge. The craggy east flank of the ridge doesn't offer an attractive way off, so stay with the high ground all the way down to a level section on Meall Breac. From about the 650m contour cut off left, descending steeply. When outcrops bar the direct line, trend a little left. A vague trail through grass, heather and boggy bits then leads down to the Allt Coire Lair.
6NH1282911408 Cross the burn just above a little gorge, to pick up a better-defined path descending south out of the corrie. Not far from the A87 the trail bisects the course of the old military road. This provides a much nicer (if boggier) way back to the start than the verge of the very fast A87.
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Distance: 8.64 miles (13.90 km)
Total ascent: 1,082m
Time: 5 – 6 hours (Walking)
Voting: from 1 votes
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SummitsCarn Ghluasaid 957 m
Sgurr nan Conbhairean 1109 m
Sgurr nan Conbhairean - Drochaid an Tuill Easaich 1001 m
Large car park at a bend of the A87 above Loch Cluanie, NH144103
Fairly easygoing terrain by west highland standards. A straightforward stalker's path leads all the way up to the summit plateau of Carn Ghluasaid, and from there it's pleasant ridge walking ground. Final descent is quite steep.
Being high and relatively far inland, Sgurr nan Conbhairean can hold a lot of snow, and the edge of the corrie cliffs between the two peaks may be heavily corniced. The ridge connecting to Drochaid an Tuill Easaich is entertaining (not hard) in snow, while the final steep descent off Meall Breac may need some care.
Weather and Hill Conditions: mwis: Northwest Highlands – Met Office: West Highlands
Citylink buses to Portree pass the base of the hill
For the much longer 'Cluanie Horseshoe' from the Affric side see Great Mountain Days in Scotland (Cicerone)
OS Explorer 414 (1:25,000), OS Landranger 34 (1:50,000) Directory Listings:
Find more Listings near this route Tourist info:
Cluanie (01320 340 238); Fort Augustus (0845 22 55 121)
by Dan Bailey UKH
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