First Kintail Munros: Carn Ghluasaid, Sgurr nan Conbhairean And Sail Chaorainn
Carn Ghluasaid, Sgurr nan Conbhairean and Sail Chaorainn are 3 of the most easterly Kintail munros. They offer great views of Loch Cluanie to the south and Glen Affric to the north.
This is a much easier-going hike in comparison to several others in the Glen Shiel and Kintail area. This makes it an attractive option if you’re looking for a more relaxed walk where the slopes aren’t as steep.
Most munro baggers decide to take on the 3 munros at once. Doing this, the route will follow a loop with some amazing scenic walking, especially on the way back.
It’s also possible to climb up to the summit of Carn Ghluasaid and straight back down the same way. This is a great option if you just want some staggering views and picturesque photos of the rolling landscape.
- Carn Ghluasaid – 957 metres (3140 ft) – pronounced CARN-GLOO-ASID
- Sgurr nan Conbhairean – 1109 metres (3638 ft) – pronounced SGURR-AN-CUNARIN
- Sail Chaorainn – 1002 metres (3287 ft) – pronounced SAL-HOORIN
If you’re not sure about what a ‘munro’ is then check out my article about the mountains in Scotland. This will give you a detailed overview of the classification of ‘mountain’ in Scotland and the different categories that exist.
Located 19 miles (30.6 km) past Invermoriston on the way to the Isle of Skye, these 3 munros are the beginning of a range of 12 situated to the north of Loch Cluanie. The famous South Glen Shiel Ridge is on the opposite side of the road, to the south of the loch.
Coming from Inverness, follow the A82 for 28 miles (45 km) to Invermoriston where you’ll take a right turn towards the Isle of Skye. Follow this road, the A887, for 19 miles (30.6 km) until you reach a large lay by with paths down to the shores of Loch Cluanie.
The lay-by is located straight after the first island on Loch Cluanie, where the road veers sharply to the left.
If you’re coming from the south then follow the A82 north until you reach Invermoriston where you’ll turn left. The same directions apply.
In the summer months, there is often a generator and burger van in the lay-by. It’s not uncommon to see it packed with camper vans and hire cars with tourists rushing down to take photos of the loch and mountainous landscape.
The hike’s starting point is just across the road. Check out the map at the end of this post for the exact location.
Definitely not as tough as some of its Glen Shiel counterparts, these 3 munros offer an enjoyable hike through some easier terrain.
The hike up to Carn Ghluasaid is the main climb and once you reach the summit that’s the toughest part over.
From here there’s a further small climb up to the significantly larger Sgurr nan Conbhairean. Descending this there is 1 more small ascent up to Sail Chaorainn, the third peak of the day.
In my opinion, the most difficult part was definitely the descent where the path semi-disappears and you really have to watch your footing in some places.
Other than this, the path is clearly marked from the roadside all the way up to the summits of the 3 munros. There are a couple of semi-deceptive cairns but it won’t take long to realise when you have reached the top.
Duration & Length
Duration: 5 – 8 hours
Length: 10.6 miles (17km)
If you’re a fast walker and don’t do much hanging around then 5.5 – 7 hours would be a more than realistic time to aim for.
If you take your time or go at a slower pace then 6 – 8 hours would be an accurate time.
Where To Stay
Invermoriston also has a variety of hotels and B&B’s.
If you plan on wild camping then keep an eye on the weather and bring the appropriate gear – remember, this is Scotland!
Cross the road at the initial car park and you’ll see the starting path to your left. Follow this path all the way up and onto the hill. Loch Cluanie will slowly get smaller and more epic the higher you go.
After about 0.5 miles (0.8km) the path will get narrower, veering off right and straight up the hill. Straight after this fork, you will see a mast/small power station down to your left. Follow the steady climb up away from the mast for about 1 mile until it gets steeper and starts to zigzag at about 650 metres (2133 ft).
There are a few rocky sections before the path straightens out again. From here, as the terrain becomes very open and grassy, it’s a steady climb up to the summit of Carn Ghluasaid.
There’s a cairn on the right-hand side by the cliff side offering stunning views of Loch Cluanie down below. Don’t be fooled though, the actual summit cairn is about a 10-minute walk further along.
This is the north side of the summit and there are some steep cliffs directly behind the cairn itself.
If you just want a great viewpoint and some photos then this is a great option, heading down the same path back to the car shouldn’t pose too many problems.
Sgurr nan Conbhairean
For those munro baggers out there, I’m assuming that you’ll be going for all 3.
Next up is by far the largest peak of the day, Sgurr nan Conbhairean, which looms quite significantly over Carn Ghluasaid.
Descend very slightly from the cairn and follow the ridge north. Unless you chose an extremely cloudy day, the route will be dead obvious.
The terrain becomes very stony so take care to not go over on your ankle. The final hike to the summit of Sgurr nan Conbhairean is steep but, being one of the largest in the area, you’re rewarded at the top with amazing views all around.
You can’t go wrong here because, quite befitting of the mountain’s size, the summit cairn really is massive.
On a clear day, you’ll even be able to see Ben Nevis to the south-west.
The third and final munro of the day is an impressive ridge walk directly north for just over a mile. Looking to your right as you walk along the ridge offers stunning views of the corrie below and further peaks in the distance.
There is one short descent followed by a brief climb up to the cairn of Sail Chaorainn.
Don’t be fooled by the cairn you can see slightly further along the ridge – this is part of the same munro, only at a very slightly smaller elevation.
From the summit of Sail Chaorainn, make your way back along the ridge towards Sgurr nan Conbhairean. You don’t actually need to go up over the top of the munro again, there’s a small cairn signalling the start of a narrow path which branches around to the right.
Follow this path all the way around to the large ridge on your right-hand side. This part of the descent gives some truly stunning views which are some of the finest in the whole of Kintail.
Follow the ridge around and down towards Loch Cluanie. On a clear day you’ll be able to see the busy road down below.
You’ll eventually begin to descend east down the pathless, mossy slopes of the ridge. Continue all the way down and over the river down below. Follow the river all the way down to the gate just above the roadside.
Instead of heading down to the road, follow the path up onto the old military road, passing the same transmitter mast as before, and back to the car park.
Definitely one of the easier hikes in the Kintail region; Carn Ghluasaid, Sgurr nan Conbhairean and Sail Chaorainn should definitely be saved for a sunny day.
They offer some unbelievable views with an excellent ridge walk on the way back.
As previously mentioned, the hike up to Carn Ghluasaid is a great option for tourists or visitors who just want the opportunity to take some incredibly scenic photos.
The 3 munros can be used as a primer if you are planning on doing some more hiking in the region. Or, if you’re a bit of a machine (i.e super fit), they can be combined with the neighbouring A’ Chralaig and Mullah Fraoch Choire, but this would be a MAMMOTH hike.
As always, thanks a lot for reading and if you have any questions or anything to add then please drop me a comment below. I reply to everything. 🙂