Month: June 2012

5 Sisters of Kintail – Beautiful but demanding

Posted on Updated on

What a day!

Robin, Bill and I went to recce the 5 Sisters of Kintail walk before our Western Highland weekend at the end of July.

It was spectacular, it was awe-inspiring, it was terrifying. And we were very, very sweaty.

Here’s the walk in pictures…

We stayed at the Ratagan Youth Hostel for just £21 per night including bedding and towels. The staff are friendly and helpful and we had everything we needed for our stay. This is the view from the hostel. Best seats in the house right on the loch.



The first hour or so of the walk is continuous climbing. And it’s steep – gaining over 550m in just under a kilometre. It’s a bit of a rude awakening. But once you reach the top, the view of the peaks is stunning.


Looking back down, it’s a great feeling to see how far you’ve climbed in such a short period. We had almost perfect conditions bright and warm but not sunny and barely any wind beyond a light refreshing breeze.IMG_3217

And so onto the ridge, and the 5 Sisters in the distance.



I don’t normally suffer from vertigo but there were places when I was terrified. For the most part, the ridge is wide enough for most to feel reasonably assured but there are some very narrow, rocky sections that would cause even the most Robin-esque to have a wobble.

Robin ahead and the ridge into the distance.


The view behind


Looking down into the Glen.




Looking back at rocky section I’ve just descended with all the style and grace of a cat on water. It was steeper than it looks. Felt like an almost-vertical drop in places.


Devil’s leap* below.  Make sure you take a good run up. I’d say it’s not really suitable for people with short legs.


Bill making it look easy.




Another difficult wee section. Almost horizontal, rocky. There were so many!


Looking back up at the section we’d just descended. How did we do it? I have no idea!


Looking at the ridge ahead


Another view


Robin on top of the 3rd sister. A very easy-going sister compared with the next one.


View from the top of the 3rd sister. This photo really doesn’t do it justice


Me ascending the very demanding and unreasonable 4th Sister. Steep, rocky and unrelenting. It looked like this…IMG_3257

And felt like this…


Bill on the 4th Sister looking as though he’s having a good time.


Looking down the from part-way up the 4th sister. Attempting to show steepness but failing I think.


From the summit of Sister 4. The climb was so worth it. Again my iphone pictures really don’t capture the majesty of the setting or the sense of elation from reaching the top.


Had to get the pose picture in


And the scary self-portrait


Coming down no 4 Sister my stomach was churning and I don’t normally suffer from vertigo. It’s so exposed. So steep. So much scree. So rocky. Really it was All Too Much.  No pictures as I was trying to stay upright and in one piece, though I failed on the upright a few times.

Back on the ridge and en route to no 5 Sister. Yeeha!

After Sister 5 – Robin did try to threaten us with a 6th peak (centre in picture below). He didn’t get very far.

We descended into the path through the glen (you can see it on the right of the picture below).

And hurrah, the end is in sight!


My trusty companions.


The sun shone.  And 3 happy walkers returned from the hills


Isn’t it lovely?


So that’s it. It took us 8 hours (930-1730).

We then went to set in the sunshine at Kintail Lodge Hotel before driving home.

If you want more information about the walk I highly recommend Walk Highlands. As well as technical details it also included reports from walkers.

During our Highlands weekend we will offer this walk with a professional guide.

You can find out more about the the Sunday Brunch Club Walking Group here.

*Devil’s Leap is a figment of my imagination and short legs are just as good as long ones when it comes to Sisters

Would you like to walk the 5 Sisters?
Have you walked 5 Sisters before,would you do it again?
We’d love to hear your views