Sgùrr Fhuaran

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Sgùrr Fhuaran
Ross-shire
Sgurr Fhuran from Sgurr na Ciste Duibhe.jpg
Sgùrr Fhuaran from Sgùrr na Ciste Duibhe
Range: Glen Shiel Hills
Summit: 3,501 feet NG978166
57°11’44"N, 5°20’54"W

Sgùrr Fhuaran is a mountain in Ross-shire, which reaches a height of 3,501 feet at its summit, and so it qualifies as a Munro. It is amongst the Glen Shiel Hills, on the northern side of Glen Shiel, 14 miles east of Kyle of Lochalsh.

Overview

The mountain reaches a height of 3,501 feet and thus qualifies more than comfortably as a Munro, and also as a "Marilyn". It is the highest point for a significant distance, and has a sizeable topographic prominence of 2,175 feet and extensive views are enjoyed from its summit.

The meaning of the mountain's name is obscure. Sgùrr Fhuaran may mean "Peak of the Wells" (or springs) as many streams issue from the mountains slopes. Another possible meaning proposed is that the proper name is Sgùrr Urain; the Peak of Odhran, named after a disciple of Columba.[1] The mountain is referred to in the slogan "Sgùrr Uaran" of Clan Macrae (which occupied lands in the Kintail area).[2]

Geography

Along the north ridge from the summit to Sgùrr na Saighead

Sgùrr Fhuaran is one of three Munros that make up the Five Sisters of Kintail, along with Sgùrr na Ciste Duibhe and Sgùrr na Càrnach. The view of the Five Sisters from Màm Ratagan above Loch Duich is one of the best known views in the Western Highlands.

The mountain has a subsidiary top listed as a Munro top:

Sgùrr na Saighead ("Peak of the Arrows"), NG974177, 3,047 feet.

Sgùrr Fhuaran is a distinctive peak with steep slopes which drop away to Glen Shiel on its western flank at an angle of over 30 degrees giving the mountain a feeling of great height. It has four main ridges, the best known of these is the west ridge which is conspicuous in views from Glen Shiel, it drops away precipitously from the summit to descend 3,300 feet in just over a mile and a half to the River Shiel in the valley. The southern ridge connects to the adjoining Munro, Sgùrr na Càrnach, which is less than a mile away.

The eastern ridge which is a narrow knife edge in places gives a dramatic ascent route from Glenlicht House at the head of the remote Gleann Lichd. Between the southern and eastern ridges lies the impressive Coire Domhain to which the mountain drops almost vertically.

Sgùrr na Saighead, the subsidiary top, is on the northern ridge half a mile from the main summit. It is one of the Five Sisters and regarded by many as the finest, being narrow and exposed.[3] This northern ridge continues for a further 2½ miles to reach sea level at the shores of Loch Duich.

The legend of the Five Sisters

The legend of the Five Sisters of Kintail tells the story of seven sisters, daughters of a local farmer, two of whom married visiting brothers who said they would send their five other brothers for the remaining five sisters to wed. However, no one returned and the five remaining sisters agreed for a local wizard to transform them into peaks in order to preserve their beauty while they waited.[4]

Ascents

The direct ascent of Sgùrr Fhuaran starts at sea level at the (foot of Glen Shiel) where there is a footbridge over the River Shiel, it is an unrelenting steep climb up the WNW ridge. A more interesting variation takes in Sgùrr na Saighead on the way and then follows the north ridge to the main summit.

A full traverse of the Five Sisters ridge is rated by mountain writers as among the best walks in Scotland;[5] the only problem lies with transport between the starting and finishing points of the walk which are five miles apart. The best solution to this is starting at Morvich in Strath Croe (NG960211) and walking up Gleann Lichd to its head before ascending to the ridge and walking it south to north to finish at the shores of Loch Duich near the day's starting point.[6]

References


  1. "The Magic of the Munros" Page 134 Give translation as Peak of Odhran.
  2. SGURR UARAN
  3. "The Munros, Scotland's Highest Mountains" Page 162 "Sgùrr na Saighead ... In many ways the finest of the group".
  4. "100 Best Routes on Scottish Mountains" Page 104 Gives details of legend.
  5. walkhighlands.co.uk. Details quality of Five Sisters Ridge Walk.
  6. "100 Best Routes on Scottish Mountains" Page 104 Gives details of circuit from Strath Croe.