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.

IMG_3207

IMG_3213

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.

IMG_3215

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.

IMG_3218

IMG_3221

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.

IMG_3223

The view behind

IMG_3227

Looking down into the Glen.

IMG_3228

IMG_3231

IMG_3232

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.

IMG_3234

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.

IMG_3236

Bill making it look easy.

IMG_3238

IMG_3239

IMG_3240

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

IMG_3242

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

IMG_3245

Looking at the ridge ahead

IMG_3248

Another view

IMG_3249

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

IMG_3253

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

IMG_3255

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

And felt like this…

IMG_3258

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

IMG_3260

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

IMG_3262

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.

IMG_3265IMG_3266

Had to get the pose picture in

IMG_3267

And the scary self-portrait

IMG_3270

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!
IMG_3274

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).
IMG_3278

And hurrah, the end is in sight!

IMG_3280

My trusty companions.

IMG_3285

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

IMG_3289

Isn’t it lovely?

IMG_3291IMG_3292IMG_3294

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

Advertisements