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Sleepless on Skye

Sleepless on Skye


Postby weaselmaster » Mon Sep 19, 2022 8:59 pm

Corbetts included on this walk: Glamaig

Fionas included on this walk: Beinn Dearg Mhór (Sligachan), Creag Dhubh (Glen Spean), Hartaval, Marsco, The Storr

Date walked: 19/09/2022

Distance: 44 km

Ascent: 3540m

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I wasn't sure we'd be going away this weekend - after last weekend's excursions in Argyll, Allison had to retire to bed for three days with the lurgy that had been starting to work on her whilst we were doing Sgulaird, Cruachan etc. I reckoned she might be fit for something by Saturday or thereabouts, so didn't do any planning or preparation. Ad to tell the truth I'd been feeling pretty drained myself. She messaged me on Wednesday night (after a bit of a relapse that morning) saying she thought she'd be ok to go away...on Thursday. That left me in a it of a pickle - I hadn't planned any routes. The weather seemed as if it would be alright, but all I had to hand were some routes for the Grahams on Skye. At least they could be broken up into single days if needed. Thursday morning came, and the news that A would also be off on Monday, given the public holiday. I checked the weather to see if the far north would be a possibility (four days away always makes me pine for the far north,) but no, not really good enough. So Skye it would be. I suggested she walk round at lunchtime on Thursday and we could see how things went.

We headed off mid afternoon after a spot of lunch in the garden. Stopped off near Shiel Bridge for the night, not really having much of an idea where we could wild camp on Skye. Despite being tired and the night being fairly quiet I didn't get any sleep...this has been something of a problem in recent weeks, I'll come back to it later. Anyway, we headed up to Skye, where we've not been for a couple of years now, and parked up at the foot of the An Coileachan route up Glamaig about 10.30. My original plan had been to do Glamaig, Beinn Dearg Mhor and Marsco in a single walk, from Sligachan, but that would have meant taking big packs on steep hills and I really didn't know how much Allison would be able to manage. So go up Glamaig the easy way as a testing the waters sort of thing.

We parked in the large lay-by and got ready, meanwhile a selfish git in a maggot van had blocked the exit to the lay-by and the Mini belonging to a nice Japanese couple parked in front of us. I called to him to move, which he did after finishing taking his photos, without a word of apology. We got a thank you from the Japanese. There's a short walk to a gate then up the hillside, following the standard WH route. The views were great, as expected from up here - the clouds were puffy and sitting above the surrounding summits. From the top of Glamaig I briefly thought of heading across to Beinn Dearg Mhor, bit this would have meant a steep re-ascent of Glamaig - not very clever, really :roll: So we just headed down the way we came up.

Image5DCA7A1D-BC16-4FD7-BF37-185939081316_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image586B1A17-B078-4673-9093-26E0A0AF4751_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageAE16D9A0-2F52-410F-A863-00A49D578A96_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageBBB74D3A-C45F-441C-8A0C-36E1D7307EAD_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Miniature foxglove at 600m
ImageF0DDB3DD-98B6-4965-AC5D-C5857117FF50_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

It was about 3.15 by this time - my plan was to walk in to Marsco and camp somewhere around there. We parked by the MRT house and sorted out our kit, talking to a couple of lads who were walking in to Loch Scavaig. They asked if we'd climbed Sgurr na Stri, to which we answered that it was one of a very few Skye hills that we hadn't done yet, the weather never quite good enough :lol: On the way down to Marsco we met a group of older walkers whom we identified as Graham baggers - I think they were returning from Marsco. The ground didn't look unduly promising for a pitch spot, but I was cheered by the name of the bealach being Mam a'Phobuill, which I translated as "pass of the tents" although I may be wrong. And we did find a spot there, a bit lumpy, but dry enough to do and with a great view to the Clach Glas traverse between Garbh Bheinn and Bla Bheinn. I had thought we might get up Marsco that evening, but there wasn't really time and we were both pretty exhausted - the energy I found I had last weekend seemed to have been drained out of me.


marsco.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



ImageBDCAF14C-F119-4214-A174-82344D9B42E1_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image58D1A285-2544-4BF0-A828-28B4D1D56982_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image66819DA7-D137-4CCC-A439-D719D49BE789_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Another sleepless night despite no noise. The morning was clear, though rain and clag were forecast for later. We packed up the tent, but left the rucksacks at the bealach and followed the fence line up - there's a clear path now, which wasn't there when we first did the hill (by a steeper ascent route and returned this way) in 2016. Progress! There's a nice camp spot on the back of Marsco, just when you reach the top of the fence line. Anyway, we went back down the same way, I stopped for a drink from the stream alongside. Not having any implements to fill up with water I used my Tilley hat - which works well, but was cold to put back on again - definitely a method for a summer rather than a colder day. We picked up our packs and looked at the steep scree slope up Ciche na Beinne Deirge - the scree is reasonably well bound together with vegetation so not as loose as it might appear. Still steep :lol: By the time we reached the summit, the clouds were down, wind was up and rain wasn't far away. Continuing over to Beinn Dearg Mheadhonach we could see the road to the east of Beinn Dearg - an accident between two maggot vans or a maggot van and a bus, couldn't entirely make out which, had closed the road. Two fire engines and the police sorted it out in under half an hour, which was pretty good going - there's no other option if that road's closed and you want to go either north or south.

ImageBAEA05D9-DCB1-42B5-9CB7-30BA08E64398_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image01AD13DA-D00A-4942-99C9-B90DC5A5B0D3_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image0559F639-9CFB-4BAD-9981-804C1E3C6EFB_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image9525C58D-D19D-4CC3-9B79-FAB9FD7B4FED_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageE35CC367-B079-4899-9ECA-5CF1BA9689C4_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Summit Marsco
ImageAA17C477-0D1F-4BF6-8868-742D0A939744_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image0DD3F6DC-A3BE-411C-AD42-AFBB83956558_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image8971BBAA-9F56-4E39-8ADC-38CB8D1EE1BC_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image501F86A0-CB23-4ADE-81B0-8D2F0A18B4FD_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

The conditions were not great as we walked along to Beinn Dearg Mhor, having endured the entirely unnecessary ascent and loss of height (almost another Graham's worth) between Mheadhonach and Mhor. It was cold, craggy and the rain was heavy, which just got worse as we descended on the loose scree vaguely towards Bealach Sgairde. There were so many possible "paths" and I was aware there were crags if we went too far East. Not a nice experience. Having made the bealach I was dismayed to find no recognisable path out of the coire - tussocks, scree and bogs prevailed. Eventually we picked up the better path coming down from Beinn Dearg, but even this got lost in bog and tussocks as it meandered alongside the Allt Daraich. By the time we reached the Slig I was minded to just camp at the Slig campsite and have something to eat at the Hotel. However, as we sat in the car getting boots off we heard the couple in the car ahead announce that the pub was closed for a private function - bang went that idea!

ImageC41FC040-7F4D-4CA0-9CB9-D8CF0FE8C9F4_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image5B531926-0D0D-4377-AB6D-0908C41BE9FC_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Saturday night's campsite
Image4A290260-2783-45A4-873F-E693C11B7E73_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Sunday's forecast was supposed to be cloudy with some sunny spells - seemed suitable for Hartaval and The Storr. Where to go tonight though? Could we get camped somewhere nearby there? September it may be, but Skye is still busy with tourists and countless camper vans. We decided to have a look, and eventually found an OK spot a few miles past The Storr. I'm sure the sheep didn't mind too much... Yet another night of no sleep...I'm getting sick of it.

Morning
Image607C3EDB-3BE0-4D45-82A2-BEFD4A328057_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

We could see The Storr/ Old Man from the tent when we got up in the morning, and motored along to the new and vastly improved parking/visitor facilities at the site - we came here for a short visit in 2014 and it was just mayhem with verge parking then. But it was busy, despite the somewhat dismal weather. Lots of different nationalities. We had a smirk at a couple wearing trainers with a white rim, trying to keep them clean after walking through the first puddle just a few minutes into the walk-in - as they were about to enter the land of melted chocolate good luck to them...There are a lot of path improvements currently in progress, but nowhere near complete and it's a bit of a mucky wander, TBH. Anyhow, we passed by the Old Man and Needle Rock, continuing up onto the path that loops around the crags above Coire Scamadal and heads for the bealach between Hartaval and The Storr. Last time we did these two fine hills as part of the Trotternish Ridge traverse, which is really the best way to do them, but today's walk was a wee taste of an alternate heaven. Such a striking and dramatic landscape - the towering cliffs and the whole "landslip" thing wow!

Image88352691-3885-40C1-8E1D-128ADEC604AC_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image62F34E2C-3806-47BB-9123-E573B4E2CC8B_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageF3002230-74B9-4ED9-AE89-F4254D173846_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageCD4E989B-C690-44A7-81AD-DB7462095A6F_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr


We paused for lunch before climbing up to Hartaval - we could see a number of walkers with big packs, presumably doing the ridge traverse. Good views from the summit - on the way down we met the group of walkers we'd met coming out from Marsco on Friday. Then up the grassy back of The Storr to another busy summit. We considered our options for descent and chose the less steep of the two suggested by WH which returned us through the crowds of tourists. The clag had mostly lifted, so our view of the various clefts and pinnacles was clearer.

Hartaval
Image2E6C39C3-1E10-4FE3-AABE-8AA3CEA7D06B_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image916E0EA8-8F2D-485D-80BA-89E49918093B_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageE548B055-1E43-4B65-B5F8-04653BFAC838_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageFFD43D9E-27A2-4059-A04E-115FD6950FEE_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image34AB2044-00FC-4E92-8E8B-E503FD1949E1_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image97AFDA7D-2352-43C6-BA9B-89FCF18025B9_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image53EB189E-DAA1-4CCD-8AFE-5852281AF52E_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image21670D4A-ACD8-4A16-B657-68ECAEF90A76_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageDD0A9D52-FD54-47D2-AAD0-2AC5840ED799 by Al, on Flickr

It was about 3.30 by this time. What next? Allison had suggested doing the circuit of two Grahams down by Old Corry tomorrow - but that would be another quite tough day and a long drive home - once again we were both feeling tired. Maybe we should do something halfway down the road, which would get us home earlier? While we considered I decided to drive up to Staffin Bay, where the dinosaur footprints are found. I was curious to see if it would be possible to camp there, if we did decide to spend another night on Skye. We parked some way from the jetty and walked over to the eastern point - it would be possible to pop a tent near Rubha Garbhaig, although you may have to contend with cattle and a wet surprise if the tide was higher than usual... Still it was lovely to stand and watch the waves crash onto the rocks. But we'd decided to head south - we'd return to the spot we used in Glen Shiel tonight and head down to Creag Dhubh beside Roy Bridge tomorrow - a nice quick Graham.

Image3CF31560-787C-4F05-8C7F-68BAE874334F_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Staffin Bay
ImageE96BD3F7-25EC-47CE-B50C-0E805F4367B6_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageBEE83ABA-1A5C-4364-BB6A-A02BC2ABCA66_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

We ambled down the road, stopping off at the Co-Op in Portree for something to augment the Huel...found our spot vacant and had a late tea. And another sleepless night. Now normally I don't sleep brilliantly in the tent, but I get some and generally feel rested enough when we're away. This is different. On the way down the road Allison googled insomnia and Lyme disease and found it's a common symptom. So maybe that's it. I'm halfway through my course of Doxy, so maybe things will start to get better soon.

ImageA5530959-0A74-4D20-92A1-EBEAB5CCD388_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

We decided to do Creag Dhubh from the church - a route Allison had used last time - I'd taken a different and slightly longer route. The way was initially blocked by a small herd of belted Galloway bullocks, who I tried to impress with some singing, but they just glared at me before wandering off. The route is basically just up the hill - there's a gate through the fence near the start, but not much of a path anywhere. We were slow up. Sat at the summit having lunch when I noticed another walker arriving - this turned out to be the delightful Collaciotach, who we've spoken to, as it were, on the WH site, but not met in person. Anyway it was great to have a talk with him while we had lunch - and thanks for the invite for a dram when we're next up Ariundle way :D We returned to the ar by the same route and were home for tea.


craigdhub.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



Image6094319D-EA86-4D7F-B257-7829207B7363_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

Image59BCD056-3B50-4C07-86F7-8594F5E10E13_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

ImageB16EB1F7-3CCC-4196-B679-1B56E31F5F86_1_201_a by Al, on Flickr

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weaselmaster
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Re: Sleepless on Skye

Postby Bricat » Tue Sep 20, 2022 9:06 am

Skye is far too busy for me now. I once lived there and still have friends there who are thinking seriously of moving . I live in Morvern and can see the Cuillin and Red hills from our local hills which is as close as I want to come. I don't blame hillwalkers but tourism has done a lot of damage and the bridge hasn't helped. If someone had told me years ago they were having weddings at the Fairy pools I would have laughed in their face. Come to the peninsulars and find peace with no crowds. Enjoy your walks. Brian Mullins.
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Re: Sleepless on Skye

Postby weaselmaster » Tue Sep 20, 2022 11:54 am

Bricat wrote:Skye is far too busy for me now. I once lived there and still have friends there who are thinking seriously of moving . I live in Morvern and can see the Cuillin and Red hills from our local hills which is as close as I want to come. I don't blame hillwalkers but tourism has done a lot of damage and the bridge hasn't helped. If someone had told me years ago they were having weddings at the Fairy pools I would have laughed in their face. Come to the peninsulars and find peace with no crowds. Enjoy your walks. Brian Mullins.


Oh I agree. The roads are bad with traffic and all the popular spots are crammed, not my idea of fun at all. A coiple approached me when we were returning from Marsco asking “if there was anything to see up here, like waterfalls or something” (this is about 3 mins from the bridge at the Slig. They’re in the middle of some of the most dramatic mountains…

It’s another victim of “tick box tourism” - have to see yhe Fairy Pools, the Coral Sands, the Quiraing etc. Mind you, i need to remember that im a tourist too, ticking off my hills. I have gone to the quieter parts of the island, doing small hills and you do lose the crowds quickly. The bridge must have made a big difference to accessibility, just like the one at Kylescu.
weaselmaster
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Re: Sleepless on Skye

Postby prog99 » Tue Sep 20, 2022 1:28 pm

We were on the island same time as you. 2 days on the ridge and saw no-one. You very quickly escape the crowds.
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Re: Sleepless on Skye

Postby weaselmaster » Tue Sep 20, 2022 5:02 pm

prog99 wrote:We were on the island same time as you. 2 days on the ridge and saw no-one. You very quickly escape the crowds.


Did think about going over to Sgurr Dhubh Mhor but never quite got round to that. Maybe one for when im feeling fitter again. Hope you had fun!
weaselmaster
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Posts: 2434
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Re: Sleepless on Skye

Postby prog99 » Tue Sep 20, 2022 6:34 pm

weaselmaster wrote:
prog99 wrote:We were on the island same time as you. 2 days on the ridge and saw no-one. You very quickly escape the crowds.


Did think about going over to Sgurr Dhubh Mhor but never quite got round to that. Maybe one for when im feeling fitter again. Hope you had fun!

It was in slightly exciting condition so probably a wise move.
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Re: Sleepless on Skye

Postby Collaciotach » Wed Sep 21, 2022 10:31 pm

An outing to escape the death cult circus for me and nicely supplemented by meeting the Weaselmaster and Sick Kid :lol:

Còrd ruim an cràic ... i enjoyed the cràic with you as well. Speedy recovery to you both and aye always a dram to be had at Àirigh Fhionndail 8)
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