Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019
On the Archduke's Path in Mallorca

Tuesday 27 June 2023

28 April to 3 May 2005 - Skye

Here's another entry arising from the indexing of digital images from 2005, and the associated diary entries. I've already provided 'tasters' here and here!

28 April to 3 May 2005 - A Visit to Skye

Thursday 28 April

I picked Sue up from work at 4:35. A quick journey in the Peugeot 206 took us to Tesco's in Carlisle for an hour by 6:30. Then we headed for Strathfillan Wigwams, just past Crianlarich, by 10 pm, 288 miles later. It was a good journey - it only got dark at Callendar. Rain later, but we were soon nice and cosy in our wigwam. It had a fridge, heater, light and three bunks.

Friday 29 April

After a good night's sleep we wandered across to the ablution / kitchen block and breakfasted at leisure (leaving my toilet bag in the kitchen, to be recovered four days hence), before loading up and driving out past the hopping Pied Wagtails, and on up to Skye.

8:20 - wigwams
9:20 - Fort William, for a coffee at Nevisport
12 noon - Skye Bridge - the recently obsolete pay booths standing lonely as if waiting resurrection. [The Skye Bridge toll was recently abolished - the government will pay.]
1:00 pm - Glenbrittle campsite.

We had a leisurely couple of hours in dry but gloomy (cloud level under 1000 feet) weather so we couldn't see the hills. There were just a handful of people on the site. By 3:30 we had got the tent up, lunched, rested, and were ready for a stroll towards the point to the south - Rubh an Dunain. This is Ralph Storer's route number 34 and we've done it before - just a gentle stroll to the point. We didn't go all the way this time - just past the wall for another 15 minutes - past Carn Mor to a good viewpoint, then back to camp for 6 pm and a good meal  - and a good read of 'The Villain', Jim Perrin's biography of Don Whillans for me, and the Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown for Sue. Then an early night and a good sleep. Showery. 

Our route - 11km with 250 metres ascent

Saturday 30 April

It dawned fine, and the cloud rose to reveal the Cuillin peaks above the campsite. We decided to base ourselves at Glenbrittle and head for Sgurr nan Eag. We recalled navigational problems on our last visit led by Ian Inch, some nine years ago.

This time we had no difficulty with the route. We had Ralph Storer's '50 Best Routes on Skye' book, open at routes 11 and 12, to help us. This time we managed to round Sron na Ciche and head up into Coire Ghrunnda with only a minor error - we should have gone sharp left at a conspicuous boulder, to gain a higher path. We joined it later at the foot of the coire. 

After a tea break at the loch at the head of the coire - gained via a short sharp scramble over wet rock (with lots of people about) we took a direct route to the col, arriving to the south of Casteal a Gharb-Choire, and soon found ourselves on the south Cuillin ridge, with splendid views to Sgurr Alasdair and others.

The scramble to the summit - the furthest of three knolls, was easy, by keeping to the right, with one little section a bit harder to find. We enjoyed a leisurely lunch on the summit and decided not to continue to the end of the ridge, but to return by the same route to make for a pleasant stress free day.

Start 9:30 (after sausages watched over by campsite thrush)
290 metre rock - 10:20
Loch Coire a Ghrunnda - 11:40 to 12:00
Sgurr nan Eag (924 metres) - 1:00 to 1:30
Bealach 2 pm
Lochan - 2:30
Campsite 4:30, where Garry Scholes (a former work colleague of Martin's) was there to greet us. Pleasant evening with him. Outdoor cooking was even possible.

Our route - 13km with 1000 metres ascent

Sligachan campsite
Sunday 1 May

On a cloudy day, Sue and I headed off to Sligachan whilst Garry went on the stroll we had done on Friday, down the coast. Cuckoos at camp. The forecast was excellent, but not matched by conditions on the ground. However, we decided to head up Marsco, not high enough to be a Corbett, but a nice looking hill.

A pleasant stroll from the Sligachan Hotel in the company of many foreigners took us to a path to the left up Allt na Measarroch. A short way up here we headed directly up the north face of Marsco. It started to drizzle. The serious rain held off until we were on the descent. Just as well as it got very steep towards the summit ridge, at which I for one was very pleased to arrive. I don't think a slip would have caused a serious fall, but it was at times a case of hanging onto tussocks. So we lunched just below the summit, in a sheltered spot with good views towards the Black Cuillin ridge. It was just about clear, but very dull, 'black' being a correct description.

We followed Storer's route 21 and after heading to a small promontory, with good views of Blaven, and saying hello to a few other walkers (they weren't using our route) we headed down easily by some fence posts to reach the Mam a Phobuill bealach. We took a good path across the mountainside before descending to the boggier stream side path, before joining the main track for an amble back to the Slig and a welcome pint. 

Then it was back to Glenbrittle, then off to the Old Inn at Carbost for a meal with Garry on a cool but fine evening.

Slig - 10:55
Turn to Measarroch - 11:40
Turn up north face - 12:00
Summit (735 metres) - 2:00 to 2:30
Back at Slig - 5 pm.

Our route - 13km with 800 metres ascent

Monday 2 May

After a leisurely start we drove with Garry to Penifiler, just south of Portree, from where Ben Tianavaig was our target for the day. Garry didn't realize this and thought we were going on a coastal walk. He is out of condition so timings were Naimith x 2! Whilst cloudy on the Cuillins, it was nice here despite a cold wind.

Storer's route 26 sent us past a man with dogs and guns who Garry had seen by the coast yesterday. 

We left at 10:30 and fumbled our way past a radio / telephone mast and down a small valley over pathless ground to reach Camus Ban bay.

The first bit of the bay was sandy but had a dead sheep in its centre, so we stayed high and headed down to the rockier second bay via a precipitous path through thick vegetation. Lots of gorse and silver birch as well as the ubiquitous primroses. And so we headed on past the bay. Continuing higher on the coast, there was a huge crashing sound ahead as some large boulders crashed down from above about 50 metres ahead of us. A narrow escape - they could have been very damaging!

Lots of seabirds here - cormorants and even a lone mallard. We soon left the coast to head south towards the summit. 

Sue went by a slightly longer route with sea views and got there nearly half an hour before Garry and me, the former having needed lots of rests. (He later expressed regret at his lack of condition, but was pleased to have gone up the hill.) 

There were splendid views from this small peak - notably towards The Storr and the Trotternish ridge to the north, Raasay to the south, and to the red and black Cuillin with veils of cloud.

A wizened man joined us and related unlikely stories about a planned laser show on The Storr and a planned closure of Glenbrittle campsite as of this year (though we know it's open). Another couple lower down we're watching a pair of sea eagles, but we didn't spot the birds despite passing on the way down a solar powered camera used for viewing them in the visitor centre outside Portree.

We didn't take Storer's direct route west, but headed along the ridge to the north - looking down on Trotternish like pinnacles, before turning left to join our route of ascent and ambling back to the car by 4 pm on a fine afternoon.

Our route - 9km with 500 metres ascent

The shops in Portree had little to offer except venison sausages, but we had enough food for a good pasta and tuna meal on return to camp, then a final stroll on the lovely beach before another early night.

Tuesday 3 May

An uneventful journey home after nice venison sausages. 9am to 7pm including six stops. Very leisurely. Picked up the forgotten toilet bag from the Wigwams.

An excellent trip.

No comments: