Monday, 25 May 2009

Skye Part 1



On the drive up I was relaxed, I had been looking forward to this trip for some time now. Deliberately taking my time and letting the rest of the world whizz by I found it hard to get annoyed with all the stupids on the road. I rolled into the Real Food Cafe around middayish (I'm on holiday time, remember).

Over brunch I had a conversation with a pleasant couple who were on a whirlwind adventure from Canada. They seemed convinced that I was a shepherd or worked with the sheep when they discovered I was a hillwalker!?

The rest of the drive was a pleasure with many stops for photies and a wee stretch of the legs.





I arrived first at Fiskavaig at the cottage we had hired for the week and installed some beer in the fridge and myself in a bedroom. We had all agreed to provide a meal each and tonights offering was a superb chilli made by Iain our guide from Kendal Mountaineering Services. After dinner, plans were made and then it was off to bed to dream of the next day's adventures.

After a Mountaineer's breakfast of porridge, a short drive saw myself, Iain and Kirsten parked at the Glen Brittle MR hut and making our way up the track to Loch an Fhir-Bhallaich before heading around Sron na Ciche and up into Coir a Ghrunnda. On the walk in about 700m up the track there is a beautiful wee green gorge complete with waterfall which contrasts with the hard and imposing Cuillin's which almost seem to loom menacingly in the background.





The pull up into Coir a Ghrunnda is steep and hard going, so much so that we ended up calling it Coir a Grunter! The views out to sea, the ridge in front and the occasional object of interest found on the way make the effort well worth it though.







We had lunch on the shores of the Loch you see in the pic above. A short but easy scramble up from here saw us on the ridge right next to Sgurr nan Eag which was breathtaking but if I'm to be honest left me a little nervous. I dont think I was quite prepared to be feeling suddenly so exposed on both sides when we topped out.





We went up to the summit of Sgurr nan Eag then made our way down to Bealach a' Garbh-choire and then onto Sgurr Dubh Mor involving a few 'interesting' scrambling moments, some of which I had to be spotted up. I didn't quite have 'Elvis legs' but I was definitely feeling slightly out of my depth. I think here you are not simply hillwalking anymore but entering the realms of mountaineering.



We had another break for something to eat on probably the smallest and most exposed summit top I've ever sat on. On a clear day the views up here are stunning and you can really see see what a rugged and fantastic place this is.





My slow pace meant we had to miss out Sgurr Alasdair so we went over Sgurr Dubh an Da Bheinn and down the Stone chute which was extremely rough and hard going. We were all feeling the descent with sore screaming legs and burning soles on the walk out. It was a relief to get out of my boots, a feeling I haven't felt for a while seeing as trail runners are the norm for me.



When we got back to the cottage I made a much needed dinner of lemon sole,various veg and baby potatoes, which was washed down with a few well earned beers amid talk of the day's adventures and plans for the next day's.

While the sun went down I found myself contemplating my position here. I was in a new, more challenging environment than I'm used to and feeling in awe of these hills. I was however in the expert company of Iain and with this I was prepared to push and prod the comfort zone we all have a little further.

2 comments:

  1. Good lad, you got some cracking weather there.
    Skye is just so different isn't it.

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  2. To be honest we kind of made the best of a mixed bag weatherwise over the week. We did a few lowlevel routes when the ridge was clagged in.

    Aye it's certainly unique, I'm hooked! I cannae wait to go back and explore some more.

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