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Not the Skye Trail

Not the Skye Trail


Postby csuzw » Thu Sep 20, 2012 3:02 pm

Grahams included on this walk: Hartaval

Date walked: 11/09/2012

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I wasn't sure if this should have gone in the Long Distance walks section or not. The intention was to do the Skye Trail, but due to a combination of poor decision making, fitness and weather changes we failed almost immediately.

We completed the 1st day successfully at least. Well almost successfully. I'd glanced at the map, it looked easy, and promptly forgot about it. Anyway at the point where the route leaves the coast line I took us in completely the wrong direction and we ended up at the phone box we started at. Thankfully it didn't actually add much distance, just a bit more road walking and we reached Dun Flodigarry Hostel with no further mishaps. This is the best hostel I've stayed at, it's a great location, the facilities are great but the what makes the difference is the warden, Brian, who is very helpful, friendly, (might not be if you're anti-Scottish independance though) and knowledgeable about the area and weather.

So to day 2 and the beginning of the end. It all started great. Brian provided a very detailed weather forecast which basically said other than light showers in the morning it would be perfect, and that's exactly what happened. We had amazing views from Quirang all along the Trotternish to Storr and over to the mainland and Outer Hebrides. We even got a brief but close up view of a golden eagle. However it's a long day with lots of ups and downs and my friend was starting to flag. We'd started at 8am but it was after 6pm when we reached the gap between Hartaval and Storr. With the sun setting on the wrong side of Storr, an exhausted friend, no idea what we'd find on the other side of Storr we decided to make camp. There was no wind or cloud and the weather can't change that much over night...

Very early the next morning I started wishing I'd asked Brian for the next days weather forecast too. The end peg on my tent (we had 2 Vaude Power Lizards with us) appears to have come out but it sounded so bad outside and it wasn't causing much problem inside so I figured I'd leave it. Around 6am it seems to be getting lighter so I throw on all the warm and waterproof clothing I've got and slide out the tent into horizontal rain, heavy winds and sub 10m visibility. The central end peg and both guys on my tent have gone. My friends tent has been flattened, almost all the pegs seem to have come out and what appears to be his sleeping bag is poking out the end. I quickly root around for pegs and rocks to get the end of his tent pegged down enough to cover his sleeping bag and fix up my tent. Realising that we can't stay in this much longer I throw everything other than my tent into my rucksack at which point my friend also comes to a similar decision. Thankfully he'd got up before the rain started, realised his tent was struggling and got into his emergency blanket so he wasn't entirely cold and wet. With some difficulty we found some shelter and got everything packed away (we eventually discovered that the only things we lost up there were 1 or 2 tent pegs). At this point I figure we have 3 options, stay put and hope it clears, stick to the original plan and go over the shoulder of Storr and down to the road, or possibly continue south as it looks to be a bit safer but without any real idea of where we can get down. Eventually we decide on Storr and thankfully the path proves much easier to find than various (I assume old) guides had suggested. While we wait for a bus to somewhere dry and car full of Americans stops to take a picture of us. The first bus is going towards Flodigarry so we end up back there and spend the day drying out and recovering. The weather board at the hostel predicts windy and wet for the next 4 days and with our tents soaked and in uncertain shape we decide to make alternative plans that don't involve camping or carrying large rucksacks around.

The rest of the week was spent based in Portree, and included visits to Talisker distillery and Dunvegan castle, boat trips to see sea eagles feeding and some quick walks to Loch Coruisk from Sligachan and the abandoned village of Boreraig from Broadford. The weather actually held up fairly well too but I imagine it was just trying to lull us back into camping so it could try to destroy us again! While it didn't go to plan it was still an enjoyable week, met some great people (Jared: great moustache but rhubarb marmalade and hobnobs do not go together!) and I have hopefully learnt a few things that will prove useful the next time I attempt this or other routes on Skye.

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Me having just managed to accidentally navigate us back to our starting point on the 1st day.
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Trotternish ridge
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Quirang
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The best shot we got of the golden eagle
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Camp at Bealach a Chuirn while the weather was still good. Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of the tents afterwards as I was too busy trying to prevent them from being completely blown away.
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The most common sight on Skye: rainbows.
csuzw
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 18
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Hewitts:30
Wainwrights:17   
Joined: Jun 27, 2012

Re: Not the Skye Trail

Postby pollyh33 » Thu Sep 20, 2012 4:22 pm

Well done!

Good to see that the sun shines on Skye some of the time!!!
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pollyh33
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Re: Not the Skye Trail

Postby mrssanta » Thu Sep 20, 2012 8:29 pm

Certainly a memorable week - you'll just have to go back. :lol:
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mrssanta
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Re: Not the Skye Trail

Postby bootsandpaddles » Fri Sep 21, 2012 8:08 am

I thought I'd check out this tent. It is described as "a fantastic piece of German engineering" Vorsprung durch technik, eh? :roll:
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Re: Not the Skye Trail

Postby csuzw » Fri Sep 21, 2012 9:39 am

I'm actually really pleased with the tent despite this. I've only used it twice but both times have been in silly wind with no shelter and it's stayed up. The biggest problem are the pegs that come with it which are tiny and get pulled out easily. I had Y stakes at the corners and they held no problem (my mate didn't which I'm pretty sure is the reason his tent failed). In future I may use the the Y stakes for all points or make use of rocks to hold down the most likely failure points. Or not pitch it in such exposed and windy places in the first place! The tents were also pitched the wrong way, with the wind hitting the foot of the tent when they should have been pitched so the wind hit them side on but I'm not sure how much difference that would have made in this instance.
csuzw
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 18
Munros:4   Corbetts:1
Grahams:1   
Hewitts:30
Wainwrights:17   
Joined: Jun 27, 2012

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