The mountains of the Highlands can be demanding – often days out involve covering big distances and a range of terrains. These factors demand skills in decision making, judging weather, navigation, preparation and fitness. Parking nearby is a rare luxury and many days out are spent mostly away from worn paths. These reasons lead hillwalkers to look to a professional guide when they wish to challenge themselves beyond their normal experience.
Often my clients have some mountain experience and fitness. I take time to ascertain when, where and what they’ve done in the hills, as well as their existing skills and knowledge. This helps me organise an adventure with the perfect amount of challenge, and also skill development to equip them for their future excursions.
One such day out is an ascent of Sgurr na Stri. A modest hill, you might think, standing at 494m. But it commands some of the finest views in Scotland and demands a day of around 23.5km (14.5 miles) to access its delights. The distance alone requires fitness and commitment that will challenge those unused to the sheer scale of the Highlands. It is a grand vantage point to take in the wonders of the Cuillin, without committing to those technically challenging peaks. I defy anyone to come away from a day up Sgurr na Stri without a big smile on their face!
The route starts through Glen Sligachan, a beautiful walk in itself that passes picturesque lochs and mountains as it follows the river towards Harta Corrie. The ascent onto the mountain itself demands route-finding skills as the path disappears into rocky terrain. The summit views are sensational and have been argued to be the best in Scotland. After taking in the beauty from the summit, you can either increase the day by descending toward Camasunary, or return via the same route – which is often quite enough for most!
It’s a 7-8 hour day in good conditions – certainly enough to earn you a drink at the Sligachan bar on your return. There is so much to take in throughout the day, with fascinating history and geology all around it is sure not to disappoint!