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south shiel ridge | by Scotland's Mountains
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south shiel ridge

Video of icy wild camp :


“-8 in some sheltered Glens and widely -4 to -5 elsewhere”… that forecast had me packing my winter warming gear for this wild camp in the North West Highlands!

I had fancied a camp on the mountains to the north of Loch Quoich for some time and this good (if chilly ) forecast saw me heading off and up for a wild camp


My initial plan was to camp on Spidean Mialach, but I then changed my mind and thought the spot height summit at 840m on Gleouraich would provide better views 


As always , I was rushing as soon as I left the car. With only a few hours until sun down, I wanted to get pitched up before darkness (unlike my bivvy on Chonzie a few months prior!!). A stalkers path winds its way up the hill side, gaining height quickly. This also meant I was gathering heat quickly and before long the sweat was pouring off my brow! However the sun was out and things were looking good. Taking a break after a steeping climb I noticed a relatively flat shoulder with rather nice views down Loch Quoich! I was about 650m altitude but the view and the flat sheltered spot was too good to resist. I downed my pack and got the tent up. At this point I wasn’t too sure if I would summit Gleouraich for sunset or sunrise, but with about 45 minutes to sunset things were looking good so I set off (rather optimistically ) to get to the top for sunset.


The path up is sensational. The views behind me back towards the tent and the loch were good enough, but as I gained height the South Sheil ridge came into view as the lowering sun lit it up red. The higher I got and the mountains to the north with their white coats on came into view one by one! With very little time to spare I reached the summit ridge of Gleouraich and decided to get the camera out here. I got some nice photos then set up a time lapse as I travelled on to the ridge (only a short distance away).


It was a spectacular sunset and well worth the sweat and sore legs to get there in time! By the time I got back to the camera , the sun was down and darkness was mustering to the east! I decided to head back and got to the tent just before the head torch was required! The temperature was dropping quickly and the tent was already sparkling by the time I finished tea. I was hoping to try out some astro shots and time lapse but unfortunately the cloud had rolled in and I was a little disappointed (not too much after that sunset mind you!).

I headed to the tent and read some before looking out again about an hour later . To my delight the sky was sparling! I got up and spent a happy few hours snapping away at the stars with my hip flask contents providing the warmth against the bitter cold frost.

After snapping happily away I eventually retired for the evening, looking forward to a long sleep (sunrise was about 8.40 the next morning – no need for an early alarm clock thankfully)….


A good nights sleep and I got up, had coffee and had a leisurely breakfast watching the sunrise over the Grey Corries. Everything was sparkling after a cold night and the clear skies and views were fantastic. I eventually packed up and headed back down the road. A rather satisfying wild camp in the mountains 




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Uploaded on December 24, 2019