walkhighlands

Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

The Trotternish Traverse

The Trotternish Traverse


Postby foggieclimber » Thu Mar 29, 2012 1:08 am

Route description: Trotternish Ridge

Grahams included on this walk: Hartaval, The Storr

Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Ben Dearg (Trotternish), Bioda Buidhe, Meall na Suiramach

Date walked: 27/03/2012

Time taken: 15 hours

Distance: 36.1 km

Ascent: 2400m

18 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).

Classified Hills:
Meall na Suiramach (Marilyn, HuMP), Bioda Buidhe (Marilyn, HuMP), Beinn Edra (HuMP), Creag a'Lain (HuMP), Baca Ruadh (HuMP), Hartaval (Graham, Marilyn, HuMP), The Storr (Graham, Marilyn HuMP), Ben Dearg (Marilyn, HuMP)
Date: Tuesday 27th March 2012 and Wednesday 28th March 2012
Company: Just myself
Distance: 36.1km (Day One 24.7km, Day Two 11.4km)
Ascent: 2400m (Day One 1850m, Day Two 550m)
Time: 15Hrs (Day One 10Hrs, Day Two 5Hrs)


Click here to see a map of the route undertaken on Day One
Click here to see a map of the route undertaken on Day Two

A traverse of the Trotternish Ridge has been on my wish-list for a number of years. However, when the weather has been good I have always headed for the Cuillin. An old sage of the hills once said to me, “North Skye is not Sgurr nan Gillean.” It was time to put things right and do justice to North Skye.

In planning for the traverse, I knew several factors had to be right: a) good weather, b) pre-midge and c) being fit. It was certainly debatable whether or not I was fit enough, however, what I lack in fitness is made up for with stubbornness and determination. Planning for the traverse also involved the debate – one long day going light or two easier days with a heavy pack. I opted for the two-day approach, as I quite fancied camping out on the ridge.

Very early on Tuesday morning, I drove to the Quiraing car park - at the high-point on the road from Brogaig to Uig. I then ascended a short distance up Bioda Buidhe where I stashed all my camping gear and three litres of water. I then drove to the start of the Trotternish Traverse, at Flodigarry. This allowed me to undertake the initial section with a light-pack, carrying little more than 1.5 litres of water.

I parked just off the main road beside the Flodigarry Hotel.

I set off walking along the A855 just before dawn. On reaching the start of the Quiraing track, beside Loch Langaig, I witnessed a lovely sunrise. Perfect blue-skies except for some smoke from nearby heather burning.

Sunrise at Flodigarry:
Image

Skyecomuseum sign near start of Quiraing track:
Image

I then made my way along the track towards the Quiraing. The Quiraing section was my favourite part of the whole traverse so I took, and have included, a good number of photos.

First light on the Quiraing:
Image

The track/path up to the ridge is pretty-good – probably the best section of path on the whole Trotternish ridge.

Following the Quiraing track:
Image

The Quiraing are worth a visit, even if you’re not contemplating a traverse.

Quiraing:
Image

Pinnacles:
Image

On reaching the section of path immediately below the cliff, I could see Srón Vourlinn in the distance. I was keen to start the traverse of the ridge from Srón Vourlinn.

Following the track below the cliff (Srón Vourlinn in distance):
Image

Ascending towards the ridge and Srón Vourlinn:
Image

The views on gaining the ridge were really special. To my friends who only “bag” Munros, check this out for breath-taking scenery.

Quiraing from the Trotternish Ridge:
Image

On reaching Srón Vourlinn, I stood at its high-point – which is quite airy! I then set off along the long traverse of the Trotternish ridge.

View from the top of Srón Vourlinn:
Image

Looking back to Srón Vourlinn:
Image

The geology of North Skye is incredible.

Courtesy of Scottish Geology, “The rocks at Trotternish consist of Jurassic sedimentary sequences overlain by thick Palaeogene lava flows. Dolerite sills and dykes intrude the Jurassic rocks. All the rocks dip gently to the west, creating slopes rising gently across Trotternish peninsula from west to east, with steep scarp slopes on its eastern margin. N-S trending faults are also developed along the peninsula. The slides formed due to the overlying weight of the lava flows (a total of 24 flows, approximately 300m thick), weighing down on the weaker Jurassic sedimentary rocks. Under the pressure, the Jurassic rocks sheared along the N-S faults and huge blocks slid seawards along a rotational glide plane.”

Srón Vourlinn and Leac nan Fionn:
Image

Srón Vourlinn and Leac nan Fionn:
Image

As I made my way along the edge of the cliff towards Meall na Suiramach, I was so busy admiring the views that I overshot the summit by several hundred metres. This was soon put right. Meall na Suiramach, along with its Quiraing, is a fantastic Marilyn.

A long way to go along the Trotternish Ridge from summit of Meall na Suiramach:
Image

From Meall na Suiramach, I made my way towards the Brogaig to Uig road, where I intended descending to its high-point. As I made my way down towards the road, I was seriously impressed with Cleat. Cleat is a really steep HuMP – I’m definitely coming back to climb it!

Cleat above Loch Cleat and Bioda Buidhe from Meall na Suiramach:
Image

Steep descent from Meall na Suiramach down to the Brogaig to Uig road:
Image

On reaching the road, I stopped for a wee rest before ascending Bioda Bhuidhe to where I had stashed my camping gear and water, a few hours previous.

The combined weight of my rucksack, camping gear, 4 litres of water, food, etc. was now circa 13kg. The first few hundred metres was a bit of a struggle, but I soon got used to the weight.

Looking back to the Quiraing from slopes of Bioda Buidhe:
Image

View from Bioda Bhuidhe:
Image

Cleat and Dun Dubh / Druim an Ruma:
Image

On reaching the grassy featureless summit of Bioda Buidhe, I traversed to below the 452m top before descending to Bealach nan Coisichean. There is a large cliff directly to the South of Bioda Buidhe.

On reaching the bealach, I was a bit surprised to find the first of several burns on the ridge. On reading up about the Trotternish Traverse, I read that there is no water on the ridge – this advice is wrong, unless these burns sometimes run dry?

Looking along the Trotternish Ridge towards Beinn Edra:
Image

From the bealach, Beinn Edra looked a long way off.

Wee pinnacles:
Image

Looking back towards Bioda Buidhe with Quiraing now in the distance:
Image

As I made my way along the ridge, I could see the Calmac ferry at Uig. This brought back some good memories of previous trips to Harris and North Uist.

Uig (full zoom):
Image

The ascent of Beinn Edra was quite arduous given the heavy pack and the heat. Was great to reach the summit trig point – my third HuMP, and first Graham-top, of the traverse.

Trig point at the summit of Beinn Edra:
Image

The long section of ridge from Beinn Edra (Graham-top) to Hartaval (Graham), involves lots of ups and downs, including a further two HuMPs – Creag a’Lain and Baca Ruadh.

The following couple of photos show how pleasant the underfoot conditions are along this section of the ridge.

Looking back towards Beinn Edra:
Image

Looking back towards Groba nan Each:
Image

Looking towards Sgurr a’Mhadaidh Ruadh, Baca Ruadh and Creag a’Lain:
Image

Was interesting to find a diagonal wall running across Creag a’Lain – it looked quite old.

Creag a’Lain:
Image

Between Creag a’Lain and Baca Ruadh, there is an impressive spur called Sgurr a’Mhadaidh Ruadh.

Sgurr a’Mhadaidh Ruadh:
Image

Much of the ridge consists of gentle grass slopes to the West and sheer cliffs to the East.

Steep drop:
Image

By the time I reached Baca Ruadh and its top Sgurr a’Mhalaidh, my eyes were streaming as the air was filled with smoke from heather burning. It was nice to see that the ascent of Hartaval was next.

I was in two minds about either camping before or after Hartaval. Given Bealach Hartaval was dense with smoke, coming up the glen with the River Romesdal, I opted to continue on and also ascend Hartaval.

Hartaval from Sgurr a’Mhalaidh:
Image

Looking back to smoky Sgurr a’Mhalaidh and Baca Ruadh:
Image

By the time I reached the summit of Hartaval, I was feeling tired and had aching shoulders. I had already ascended 1850m, so I decided to descend to the Bealach a’Chuirn, and set-up camp for the night.

Cairn at the summit of Hartaval:
Image

I reached the bealach at around 17:00, ten hours after setting off.

Pitch at Bealach a’Chuirn:
Image

I then had some dinner and got into my sleeping bag to keep warm, as it got quite chilly. I fell asleep around 21:00 and woke up at 01:00. On wakening, I decided to go out for a look at the stars. There were thousands if not tens of thousands of stars visible. There was also a very faint glow – aurora!

I switched the camera to manual, set it on the ground and took some long-exposure shots. I managed to get a couple showing the tent and the aurora.

Faint aurora from Bealach a’Chuirn at 01:20:
Image

Faint aurora from Bealach a’Chuirn at 01:20:
Image

I then went back to bed and slept through to 06:30. By 07:20, I had packed up camp and set-off up The Storr. The ascent of The Storr was straight-forward.

Ascent of The Storr:
Image

Looking back to Hartaval from The Storr:
Image

During the ascent, I was really pleased to get my first glimpse of the Cuillin. Even better, there was inversion!

First glimpse of the Cuillin:
Image

Red Cuillin:
Image

Black Cuillin:
Image

I took quite a number of photos at the summit of The Storr. It was great to see so many hills with inversion below.

View from summit of The Storr:
Image

Inversion below Raasay and the Red and Black Cuillin:
Image

However, the downside to the inversion was soon apparent as most of the remaining walk was in cloud. Need to take care to avoid the cliff edge if walking in clag.

A glimpse of pinnacles through the mist:
Image

Somewhere between Bealach Beag and Bealach Mor, I stupidly dropped one of my walking poles. As there was no path and I was walking in cloud, I failed to find it on trying to retrace my steps. If anyone finds a Leki Makalu pole up there, I’d be grateful if they could please give me a shout.

The hardest part of the whole traverse was definitely the final 100m of ascent of Ben Dearg. It was certainly made more difficult by the fact that I could not see where I was going. I chose to follow a line of fence-posts, which thankfully got me to the top.

Final very steep ascent of Ben Dearg:
Image

Summit of Ben Dearg:
Image

The descent from Ben Dearg was unpleasant. Instead of nice short grass, it was mostly peat hags and bog. By the time I reached the bealach between Ben Dearg and A’Chorra-Bheinn, I decided to head for the road – giving A’Chorra-Bheinn and Pein a’Chleibh a miss, as many others have also done.

Hags and bog:
Image

Looking back to A’Chorra-Bheinn:
Image

I eventually met the road at the 158m high-point and then walked just over 1.5km to the Achachork junction.

I now had two choices – a) catch the next bus back to Flodigarry - which was due in 10 minutes or b) walk the final 1km into Portree, miss the bus and have to wait over three hours for the next one. I opted for a).

The End - A855 Achachork junction:
Image

The Trotternish Ridge is quite fantastic - it is unlike any other hillwalking I have done in the UK. Highly recommended – but don’t underestimate the amount of ups and downs :D.
Last edited by foggieclimber on Thu Mar 29, 2012 3:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
foggieclimber
 
Posts: 1041
Joined: Aug 9, 2009

Re: The Trotternish Traverse

Postby fionn111 » Thu Mar 29, 2012 8:53 am

A great report! You have completely inspired me to get over to skye again. My fitness levels have plummeted in the last 2 years, but i remember how great the ridge is to walk along. Thank you very much for "taking me back there"! The photos are superb too, especially in awe of your tent and northern lights photo! Well done.
fionn111
Walker
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Aug 2, 2010

Re: The Trotternish Traverse

Postby RicKamila » Thu Mar 29, 2012 9:07 am

Wonderful report. Your photos are stunning. Such a shame the clag rolled in though when around the Storr though, the views from there on a clag-free day are wonderful. Definately inspired us for our next visit to the greatest place in Scotland. And you got an aurora too. Hopefully Webtogs Gareth isn't too far away from seeing this report :thumbup: :lol:

Storr 11.jpg
User avatar
RicKamila
Walker
 
Posts: 2358
Munros:5   Corbetts:5
Grahams:3   
Sub 2000:16   
Joined: Jul 17, 2010
Location: Aberdeenshire

Re: The Trotternish Traverse

Postby neurone » Thu Mar 29, 2012 9:34 am

Brings back memories of when I did this a few years ago. I camped at bealach before Sgurr a'Mhadaidh where there was plenty of running water even during a dry(ish) summer. The last few km's are the hardest, with bog and fences to climb. It was a relief to finally hit the road.

Good report and fantastic pictures.

Neurone.
neurone
 
Posts: 7
Munros:237   Corbetts:24
Grahams:1   
Joined: Jun 16, 2009
Location: Kintyre

Re: The Trotternish Traverse

Postby dooterbang » Thu Mar 29, 2012 9:51 am

Wonderful report in perfect conditions, well weather wise....cant comment on your fitness :D

Always wanted to try this as ive did the Quairaing a few times over the years.

The North of the Island is beautiful.

Im the opposite of you....been to Skye 4 times (week each time) and not been near a corbett or Munro. Next time illl hit the Cuillins :)

Thanks for posting...ive attached a couple of pics, hope you dont mind.

2009 Summer
P1000282.jpg


2010 Winter
P1070635.JPG
User avatar
dooterbang
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1824
Munros:255   Corbetts:57
Grahams:18   Donalds:10
Sub 2000:7   Hewitts:18
Wainwrights:21   Islands:19
Joined: Oct 27, 2009
Location: Glasgow

Re: The Trotternish Traverse

Postby foggieclimber » Thu Mar 29, 2012 9:58 am

Great pics Dooterbang. Thanks :)
The Cuillin are just as awesome as Trotternish, but in a different way.
My favourite Cuillin outing to date was Pinnacle Ridge 8)
foggieclimber
 
Posts: 1041
Joined: Aug 9, 2009

Re: The Trotternish Traverse

Postby dooterbang » Thu Mar 29, 2012 10:17 am

Fab pinnacle ridge report....ive tried all that rope stuff but didnt like it, was too scared :shock: .

Think ill require a guide when i get round to doing the Cuillins.

I would only do the Cuillins if had decent weather....may be a long wait :lol:
User avatar
dooterbang
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 1824
Munros:255   Corbetts:57
Grahams:18   Donalds:10
Sub 2000:7   Hewitts:18
Wainwrights:21   Islands:19
Joined: Oct 27, 2009
Location: Glasgow

Re: The Trotternish Traverse

Postby Johnny Corbett » Thu Mar 29, 2012 10:57 am

Super report Foggie, wouldn't mind trying that myself sometime. Like most i have many plans to do many walks and it's just a case of working my way through them and praying for the weather :D
User avatar
Johnny Corbett
Hill Bagger
 
Posts: 2940
Munros:18   Corbetts:206
Grahams:160   Donalds:74
Sub 2000:269   Hewitts:1
Islands:14
Joined: May 14, 2010
Location: Livingston

Re: The Trotternish Traverse

Postby SusieThePensioner » Thu Mar 29, 2012 11:40 am

What a great walk! Fantastic report and wonderful photos, shame about the clag at the end :D

We stayed in a cottage at Brogaig the first week in October last year, just below the turn off to Uig. We made several trips up to the Quiraing for me to get photos at all times of the day :lol:

This is my view of the ridge
Trotternish Ridge2, morning sun.jpg
User avatar
SusieThePensioner
 
Posts: 1543
Munros:6   Corbetts:3
Grahams:4   Donalds:7
Sub 2000:3   Hewitts:108
Wainwrights:156   
Joined: Sep 7, 2011
Location: County Durham

Re: The Trotternish Traverse

Postby rockhopper » Thu Mar 29, 2012 12:40 pm

Very enjoyable foggie and a great report - some excellent photos esp on day 1 :thumbup: It's been quite a while since I was last up that way and certainly haven't tried anything like this before - gives food for thought but must take quite a bit of planning - cheers :D
User avatar
rockhopper
 
Posts: 6358
Munros:282   Corbetts:207
Grahams:60   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:8   Hewitts:2
Wainwrights:3   Islands:19
Joined: Jun 1, 2009
Location: Glasgow

Re: The Trotternish Traverse

Postby foggieclimber » Thu Mar 29, 2012 5:53 pm

Nice pic of the Old Man, RicKamila.
On the one hand it was nice to see the Cuillin above the inversion, on the other it was disappointing not to be able to look down on the Old Man.

Susie nice pic too. To give an idea of scale, your pic shows probably just over one-third of the length of the ridge.
foggieclimber
 
Posts: 1041
Joined: Aug 9, 2009

Re: The Trotternish Traverse

Postby yokehead » Thu Mar 29, 2012 6:46 pm

Fabulous stuff and a big well done with the effort involved. Your photos are brilliant, especially those looking back to the Quiraing. Marvellous scene and superb light. 8) There have been some great reports of trips made in this spell of fine weather, this is right up there.
User avatar
yokehead
 
Posts: 697
Munros:68   Corbetts:9
Grahams:1   
Hewitts:87
Wainwrights:23   
Joined: Nov 13, 2008

Re: The Trotternish Traverse

Postby CurlyWurly » Thu Mar 29, 2012 9:14 pm

Simply awesome - amazing report and photos. I have had my eye on this for a while as a long fell run and may just try and squeeze this in on my forthcoming Skye trip this May
User avatar
CurlyWurly
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 137
Munros:282   Corbetts:42
Grahams:17   Donalds:33
Sub 2000:13   Hewitts:51
Wainwrights:50   
Joined: Aug 5, 2009
Location: Dalgety Bay, Fife

Re: The Trotternish Traverse

Postby 2dalmatians » Thu Mar 29, 2012 9:20 pm

What a great report Foggie! Loved the night pics with the tent glowing orange- something a bit different to the usual boring spectacular scenery shots :lol:
User avatar
2dalmatians
Walker
 
Posts: 341
Munros:38   Corbetts:3
Grahams:2   Donalds:2
Sub 2000:7   
Joined: Aug 17, 2010
Location: Stirling

Re: The Trotternish Traverse

Postby morag1 » Thu Mar 29, 2012 9:21 pm

Epic stuff, loved the photos, well done :clap:
morag1
 

18 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).
Next



Walkhighlands community forum is now advert free

We need help to keep the site online.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by setting up a monthly donation by direct debit?



Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Larogers06 and 62 guests