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Sgurr a'Mhaoraich + 3 Skye lumps
by Fife Flyer » Wed Sep 23, 2020 10:07 am
Munros included on this walk: Am Basteir, Bla Bheinn, Sgurr a'Mhaoraich, Sgurr nan Gillean
Date walked: 17/09/2020
Time taken: 26.4 hours
Distance: 45.5 km
Ascent: 4410m3 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Ali had arranged our accommodation which was a couple of rooms in the bunkhouse at the Old Inn in Carbost, the big drawback was Covid restrictions dictated that the kitchen was basically out of bounds, but we were provided with a microwave & a kettle (which didn't work on the first morning).
The lineup was made up of 5 Quantity Surveyors, Ali, John, Matt, Graham & Kev, 4 pensioners, me, George Parminder & Badge, the 2 others were Alistair and Tommy, not forgetting Max (with the waggy tail).
The "real" walkers were going to tackle a hill on Thursday, whereas the lazy lot had a McDonalds in Fort Bill.
The walkers, apart from Tommy met at the Inverkeithing P&R and headed north in a convoy. We had arranged to meet Tommy at the start at about 11am, but roadworks had other ideas and we were over an hour late. We are not used to starting walking so late, but it wouldn't be a problem as we had no time restraints. Once we were ready we were soon on our way.
One point I have to make is last time I visited Sgurr a'Mhaoraich 5 years ago it was also prior to a few days on Skye, that time the Skye weather was a tad different.
Thursday 17th September 2020
Participants - Me, George, Parminder, Tommy, Ali, Kev & Graham
Distance - 12km
Ascent - 1085m
Time - 5hrs
All just about ready, Kev itching to get going
Very low level look along Loch Quoich
Track continues towards the wonderful Knoydart, but stops well short
Heads down boys and follow Kev
Not a bad track/path certainly no bogfest just the odd wet bit
Looking down at my colleagues loving the going up
Good bit of social distancing
Interesting pose George, needing the toilet?
Gaining height slowly
Gairich across the water
Still plodding uphill
Parminder trying to keep up with Tommy - whilst Max has a good root around
Must be easy, smiles all round
Parminder waiting patiently
Gairich with a little hat on, we are now well spaced out
I am ready and waiting for the cloud to get into position - Brocken Spectre soon
Here it comes
Maybe if I had got closer to the edge we would have a better photo, not for me though
Getting better as the cloud thickens
More like Darth Vader
George imparting advice?
Graham's first ever munro, his only hill experience - Tinto. Ali telling him this is easy, just you wait until we get on Skye
Another Brocken Spectre
Camera trying to focus
This eyesore caught my trained eye, WHY and what are they doing in the Highlands??
Looking down the glen, South Glensheil; Ridge on the other side. Alltbeithe and the airstrip visible
The way ahead
The way ahead again, if we wanted to do the extended route it would involve descending down to the bealach and then along the ridge
Couldn't quite understand why the wall was there? Certainly not a 5 minute job creating it
Still got a bit ascending ahead
Looking back, George not very difficult to spot
Still going up
Looking back, the other 2 munro's on this side of Loch Quoich in the distance
Loch Quoich & Gairich
Looking back down our ascent and what would be our descent route
Another Spectre, not the best
Parminder has sneakily got his camera out - caught red handed
King Parminder sitting on his throne contemplating, George jogging round the summit area
Video taken on the descent
A HUGE well done to Graham for completing his first munro, it is a slight step up from Tinto, just hope you enjoyed it and continue walking - your new boots are too big for me!
Mhaoraich is a fine hill and we opted for the straight up & down version, it's location on the edge of Knoydart really does offer some fabulous views. Once off the hill we were Skye bound in 3 vehicles, John gave us a ring and had arranged for dinner to be ready at 8pm at the Old Inn - thanks John.
Now we are on Skye.
Friday 18th September 2020
Participants - everyone
Distance - 11.5km
Ascent - 1080m
Time - 7.6hrs
As the forecast was walker friendly we arranged over a beer/cider or two in the Old Inn to meet at the Slig car park at 8am. We had opted to tackle Basteir & Gillean as we thought the safety in numbers would help us summit the next two difficult hills after the Pinn.
The car parking area was already fairly busy and guides were gathering their flock ready for the off.
Once we were all ready we didn't hang around and were on our way.
Early morning shot from the bunkhouse in Carbost looking east along Loch Harport
Sun about to rise
Looking towards Sgurr Mhairi from the Slig
That is where we are heading, the wee one in the middle
The full crew
Water feature carefully positioned
Not too bad at social distancing
Looking back, low level wanted the wee lochan in the shot
Follow the leader
Still low level, note the rare sight - blue sky
Following the burn uphill
Am Basteir only just visible
Fancy new expensive head gear, it was very warm especially for mid September
Looking back, Graham marching forward excited at what would lie ahead?
Looking back again
All the pointy bits looking very imposing
A couple of walkers on the ridge in the distance
Heading for the dip
Graham has that look on his face - "you mean I have to use my hands"
No overtaking here
Bite to eat to make the rucksacks a wee bit lighter
The path swings round to the left, then almost directly under the summit before heading left again
Slig in the distance
Concentrate on every step
Looking back, Portree in the distance
Portree zoomed on the camera
Some fantastic shadows being cast
Am Basteir summit somewhere up there
Looking back down to the bealach - where the rucksacks are left
George demonstrating "4 points of contact"
Looking back at Gillean, we would be ascending from right to left tomorrow
A hazy look out to sea
Almost ready to 'conquer' the "Bad step", Ali first
Badge coming down
A queue was forming, just as well we weren't lowering off the Pinn
The waiting area once the 4m bad step was out of the way
Just like Spiderman
Not far now
The gloves make it easy
4 points again
Tommy chatting to one of the guides up near the summit
Not a bad view
Parminder scratching Tommy's back
Video from just below the summit of Am Basteir
Video showing what lies to the north
We all took it in turns to sit on that, how did those rocks get in that position?
John showing how the step should be tackled
Kev being super elegant and showing off his good side
Descending from the bealach
Well trodden path but still plenty of loose stuff
Badge opting to cool his feet down
The water does look lovely
John deciding to join in the fun
Water still looks fairly clean even after a couple of pairs of sweaty feet were submerged
Am Basteir was an ideal warm up for what was on the menu for tomorrow, plenty of hands on stuff. As has been said many times before the only obstacle is the "Bad step" which is 3-4m drop, there are foot and hand holds. I was tempted to see what the bypass path was like but decided against it. We opted to go to the Slig for a refreshment, however the service could have been better, much better, so it was just had one and then back to the bunkhouse.
Saturday 19th September 2020
Sgurr nan Gillean
Distance - 13km
Ascent - 1075m
Time - 8.7hrs
Once again the weather forecast was a huge surprise, but we were happy to suffer in the sun. We arranged another early start 8am at the Slig, as it was a Saturday the layby was already full, so we parked in the pub car park.
Sunrise in Carbost again, gets even better
As we descended down into Sligachan we were greeted with a large bank of low cloud / mist.
The plan was to tackle Sgurr nan Gillean by the south east ridge open brackets TOURIST PATH close brackets. I am guessing it has acquired that name from the numerous guides. Once on the ridge there is some serious scrambling accompanied by exposure which definitely gets the adrenaline flowing. It was probably just as well we didn't research the route as it may well have deterred us.
That is the view, you can make out where we are heading though - the pointy one on the left
The sun trying very hard to burn through - it wouldn't take long
Almost like a black & white photo
Water feature, we will be walking the plank soon
Here it is, don't tell Health & Safety
There is always one
The low cloud clinging to the Slig
A bit nearer, Gillean on the left, Basteir on the right
The start of the real going uphill stuff
Looking back down
Paraglider or similar
Plenty of 'rays'
The going is going to get easier, I personally prefer the boulders rather than the stones
Heading up to the SE ridge
Looking back down
Not far to the ridge now, just a wee scramble
Low cloud now been gobbled up by the sun
Tommy 'chilling', Max standing guard
Video from just below the ridge
Stragglers reaching the ridge
Once we reached the ridge we were caught up by a fellow walker (who I said I would give a mention), Ian from Hamilton. Ian's first question was "does anyone know how Motherwell got on", I immediately told him they lost 3-0 joking of course. Ian accompanied us all the way to just below the summit and right back to the cars, it kind of shows the camaraderie that walkers have. It was great to meet you.
Plants of some sort, seem to be surviving
Badge volunteering to show the angle of ascent
Plenty of lumps and bumps on Skye
Looking back down to Sligachan and beyond
Matt making an appearance, just making sure his glasses are on straight for the photo
George making full use of his gloves
Looking out to sea, plenty of pointy bits in the way
George looking worried and knackered, the worst is yet to come
One of the easy bits
Now that is a face of concentration
Trust Matt to ruin a great backdrop
Yesterday's target, Am Basteir with someone in the way again
Now it get's interesting, phone was firmly in my pocket and my hands were being used as survival implements
Looking across to Am Basteir, the ridge looks a bit wiggly
Is that a smile Graham? Putting on a brave face
The cosy summit
Am Basteir and beyond
Summit cairn on Gillean with part of the Cuillin ridge behind
It doesn't happen very often, but I thought the initial descent off Gillean was far easier than the ascent, possibly because we knew the way down.
You can't beat a bum shuffle
Quite a queue
What a poser, folk waiting patiently whilst Parminder finds a smile
We are now off the ridge and descending on the scree
Spread out all over the hillside
Seeing as I don't appear very often, here I am
Waterfront at the Old Inn
Spot the odd one out, they are all messaging each other rather than talking
The "Red Cuillin"
Gillean is certainly one of the toughest hills I have climbed (without a guide), well done to Tommy for getting Max up and down safely, don't know how you managed that? Also a mention has to be given to Graham, I appreciate how nervous and apprehensive you were, well out of your comfort zone, hopefully you have recovered and look back with fond memories?
Sunday 20th September 2020
Distance - 9km
Ascent - 985m
Time - 5.1hrs
Now we are onto Sunday and time to head home, the pensioners didn't want to head straight home so we opted to pick off Blabheinn as it was on the road home (sort of). The rest of the gang were all heading back to the Central Belt.
As it was our final morning we all had breakfast in the Inn, which we knew would fuel us all day, so I didn't make a piece.
As George was driving I paid for the breakfasts, or at least I thought I had - not sure why the waitress didn't tell me that my card had failed!! Apologies Ali and thanks for bailing us out.
Our final sunrise
Early morning view, our wee balcony is up on the right
As we pulled into the fairly large car park for Blabheinn it was fairly obvious it was going to be a busy hill and it was.
George leading the way through the vegetation
Something appearing through the cloud
Looking back, Parminder in his usual position
Big lumps appearing out of the breaking cloud
Bonus water feature
A big lump
The way ahead
Looking back, gaining height
We bumped into Scoob, Fi, Allison, JP, Graham & his wife, Scoob is playing with his toy
Looking back down, the young couple in the photo kind of followed us uphill, they were from London and rather impressed. We were also chatting to them on the summit, pointing out landmarks etc.
JP & Graham trying an alternative route
Follow the path, trouble is there are plenty to choose from
Video looking north towards the Cuillin ridge
Summit view, ridge looking tiny and easy from this distance
This photo will be worth a fortune in years to come, that camera rarely makes an appearance
I opted for a slightly different initial descent, gives George & Parminder a chance to don their gloves again
It was about this point that an Irish chap who now lives in Ayr appeared, you remember these sort of folk for all the wrong reasons. He had no rucksack, a walking pole and no idea where he was going. As Parminder was at the back he asked P if this was the way to the top of the "Corbett", I then advised him to follow the path and the crowds. Unfortunately he kind of latched onto us a bit, we did manage to get rid of him on the summit. What planet do these folk come from? Very scary.
Smiling because he knows this is a doddle after yesterday
George loving it
George must have spotted something?
Here he comes
George determined to wear the rear end out of his trousers
The gloves make it easy
Summit view across to the ridge
Gillean on the right with Basteir next to it, zoomed
Last camera photo and probably the best
Well sadly that is it, a fabulous and very memorable weekend. A huge thanks to George for driving, much appreciated as always. We had a bit of problem trying to come up with somewhere to eat on the way home and eventually opted for the Glen Spean Hotel and it was excellent, kind of made a change from fish & chips, venison burger and curry!!!
Thanks to everyone for their great company and hope to catch up again soon. Strawberry Cottage next year?
by dibs » Wed Sep 23, 2020 10:31 am
by dauntless » Wed Sep 23, 2020 3:52 pm
regarding skye,its a case of, Quit Dreaming And Get on The Beam.
Finally joined walkhighlands,
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by kevin mcintosh » Wed Sep 23, 2020 10:37 pm
by parminder » Thu Sep 24, 2020 1:23 pm
by dibs » Sat Oct 03, 2020 2:01 pm
dauntless wrote:Great report and pictures.thanks to all the guys for such a memorable weekend,
regarding skye,its a case of, Quit Dreaming And Get on The Beam.
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Well done badge dragged out of stealth mode.
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