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MOUNTAINS, MARATHONS & MERINGUES!!

MOUNTAINS, MARATHONS & MERINGUES!!


Postby dooterbang » Thu Jun 13, 2013 6:10 pm

Route description: Bla Bheinn (Blaven)

Munros included on this walk: Bla Bheinn

Date walked: 07/06/2013

Time taken: 44 hours

Distance: 54 km

Ascent: 2000m

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Back in February I met Ann & Deborah, friends of Kerri, at a birthday party. Ann has family in Skye and has been a frequent visitor to the Island since a young girl. I first set foot on Skye over 4 years ago and instantly fell for the place and have subsequently spent over 4 weeks exploring the Island. Turns out Ann likes to partake in the odd running event, as do I, so a plan was hatched to run the Isle of Skye Half Marathon which is one of the hardest hilliest courses in the UK...great!!

The event would take place 8th June 2013 which was a Saturday so booked the Friday & Monday off to make it a long weekend. Kerri had yet to visit the Island so this would provide the opportunity for her to experience what Ann and I had been salivating over at the party.

Weeks before the race a few emails disclosed that Ann, like me, had never walked any of the Skye Munro’s so weather permitting we agreed to tackle Blaven the day after the race. If all went to plan the 3 of us would all be popping our cherries on the beautiful Isle of Skye. Deborah was recovering from a broken ankle and had to make do with offering much needed moral support, as did Ann’s mother Margaret.


DAY 1
With the weather predictions forecasting a scorching few days in Skye we left Glasgow at 6.30am on the Friday morning very excited about the next few days ahead. Accommodation, which turned out to be excellent, was in Staffin and provided fantastic views to the sea, Islands, mainland and Trotternish Ridge. http://www.staffinbayholidayhomes.com/CottageDetails_5098.shtml

The drive up was fantastic with Glencoe and Glen Sheil looking splendid in the early morning summer sun. We took many stops on route before finally reaching Skye at 11.30am. Filled the car with petrol in Broadford, all petrol prices were very reasonable, and made route up the North East Coast road to Staffin with the Quiraing being our objective... a quick stop at Kilt Waterfall first.
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Plenty of tourists around so we didn’t hang around and promptly left to drive for the Quiraing.

The Quiraing is a landslip on the eastern face of Meall na Suiramach, the northernmost summit of the Trotternish Ridge. The Needle is a jagged 120-foot (37 m) high landmark pinnacle, a remnant of landslipping. Northwest of it is The Table, a flat grassy area slipped down from the summit plateau, with vistas of the Torridon Hills and the mountains of Wester Ross. A path contours around these and presents great views but I recommend venturing up and around the needle and tables as it’s a labyrinth of paths and simply put great fun. We ended up descending a steep gully to retain the path below. Incredible area and a fabulous start to our mini tour of Skye.
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The evening was spent booking into the digs, unpacking and enjoying a meal in the Flodigarry Hotel - great chips - with Deborah, Ann and her mum. Ann’s mum was a bit of a character and kept us amused with her stories, one liners and deadpan delivery. After the meal we agreed to meet the next morning at 9am which would give us plenty time to reach Portree for the 10.30am start of the Isle of Skye Half Marathon. With the sun setting Kerri and I drove to Duntulm to soak it in and take a few photos.
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DAY 2
Saturday morning came and we all travelled down to Portree in good spirits for the challenge ahead. Got chatting to someone who did the race last year and he informed me that the first 5 mile was mostly uphill with another 2 monster hills at the 10mile marker…great I thought, I love hills!!

Well this turned out to be the toughest half marathon I’ve ever ran. I really wasn’t prepared for what was ahead and it was only the surrounding scenery and support from Team Staffin that kept me going. If you want to really challenge yourself then do this race. I crossed the finish line in 1hr 40 mins which actually surprised me as was only 10mins off my PB. Ann crossed the line in a magnificent 1hr 31mins and was 2nd female home, great going for a veteran. I later found out that Ann used to get invited to events when in her “heyday” as a runner.

Fantastic effort from all the 377 participants and a big well done to the organizers as this was a great event which involved the whole community.
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Lots of food, a bath and a bottle of Lucozade and I was good to explore more of the Island. We firstly drove to Neist Point to visit the lighthouse. The drive took over an hour but we got to see more of the Island and how the locals lived.

Neist Point Lighthouse - Neist Point is the most westerly point on the Duirinish peninsula - designed by David Alan Stevenson, was first lit on 1 November 1909. An aerial cableway is used to take supplies to the lighthouse and cottages.

This is a fantastic short walk which on a good day has views to the Islands of the Outer Hebrides, sharks, whales and other sea/wildlife can be seen. We got very lucky and seen a Minke Whale and a Sea Eagle.
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It was now 6.30pm so just enough time to visit the Coral Beaches and catch a glimpse of Dunvegan Castle. Despite its name the beach is not made of coral at all. It is actually composed of pieces of dessicated and sun-bleached algae. The walk to the beach is just over 1km on a good track and easily accessible for most people. On reaching the beach we found around 7 seals having some playful fun in the water. We stayed here for over an hour taking in the sunshine and stunning views.

This rounded up a truly fantastic day but tomorrow promised more adventure as Kerri, Ann and I would all be tackling our first Black Cuillin Munro, something I had waited for a long time.
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DAY 3
Picked Ann up 9am and drove the 1hr 15mins to the start of the walk, on route we compiled nicknames for Ann and Kerri. Ann would be known as Ann from the Isles with Kerri sticking to KFC (kerri from Circuits).The road that leads to Elgol is beautiful and if not doing a big hill then this drive is worthwhile.

Parked the car East of Loch Slappin and on route walking by 10.30am. The heat was intense and I was bemused to see folk walking in trousers and jackets!

Blà Bheinn, is a mountain on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. It is usually regarded as an outlier to the Black Cuillin. It is mainly composed of gabbro, a rock with excellent grip for mountaineers and scramblers. The path is very good until you set eyes on the coire. We headed SW and took a path to the Bealach, the scree was difficult at the bottom but fine once higher. The views from the Bealach to Eigg and Rum were just sensational. We had a short break then made our way the final few hundred metres to the South Summit. When on top the views all around literally took the breath away. Next we took the path over to the main summit which involved some scrambling but nothing too technical. We stayed up here for some time and milked the views before taking an easy path SE back to the main inward path. A bit of dipping in the Allt na Dunaichle was required to cool down.
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Blaven did not disappoint and only fuelled the desire for a return visit and to tackle the main Cuillin ridge.

That night we had dinner at Ann’s mum’s house in Staffin. We had pasta, salad, garlic bread, ice cream, fruit and meringues and it was all very tasty indeed.

Later Kerri and I caught the sunset from Staffin Bay.
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DAY 4
This was our last day on Skye so we would fit in as much as possible, well as much as my now tiring legs would take! The road from Staffin to Portree is littered with fine walks and today we would walk Brothers Point and The Old Man of Storr.

The walk to Rubha nam Braithrean is only about 1.5km each way from the road south of Staffin. It is a scenic walk, with lots to explore on the way, and an interesting destination. Nobody seems certain of the origin of the name, but it is most often said to have been a place where monks lived and worshiped in safety more than a thousand years ago. A short scramble is required over Dun Hasan, a natural rock formation, to reach the point. We had this walk to ourselves and spent some time sitting at the point with the sun belting of our faces, absolute bliss.
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Our final walk in Skye found us visiting the old man of Storr. The summit of the Storr is the highest point on the Trotternish Ridge at 719m. This is one of the most popular walks on Skye and is always busy. A well defined path takes you up into the sanctuary to find masses of rock perched on little ledges. This is a stunning area with tremendous views to Rassay and the Cuillins. We chose to venture left when at the Storr and explore the other pinnacles, luckily it was very quiet and we felt as if we had the place to ourselves.
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Got back to the car around 2.30pm and headed for Portree. Ann previously had shown us a great view from the Cuillin Hotel so we decided to have another visit and this time had a well deserved shandy to quench our thirsts.
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Our last stop in Skye was lunch at the Arriba Cafe Portree. Nice place with a great menu. http://www.cafearriba.co.uk/

Stomachs full we got in the car and made our way back to Glasgow, arriving home after 9pm. The journey back was fine as the weather was still pleasant enough.

This was a belter of a short trip which had absolutely everything and one that will live in the memory. Big thanks again for my adventurous sidekick Kerri joining me in actualizing my dreams, she also loved her first experience in Skye. And a special thanks to Ann, Deborah and Margaret for their hospitality and support...I heard on the grapevine that we shall tackle the Stornoway Half Marathon next year, time to plan some walks I think!!!
Last edited by dooterbang on Thu Jun 13, 2013 7:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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dooterbang
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Re: MOUNTAINS, MARATHONS & MERINGUES!!

Postby morag1 » Thu Jun 13, 2013 6:49 pm

I've always enjoyed reading your reports and looking at your lovely photos, but this one is fantastic!! What a great weekend, you certainly know how to enjoy life, well done :clap:
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Re: MOUNTAINS, MARATHONS & MERINGUES!!

Postby jupe1407 » Thu Jun 13, 2013 6:52 pm

So THAT'S what Skye looks like in good weather :lol:

Superb repors and even better photos.

Tremendous.
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Re: MOUNTAINS, MARATHONS & MERINGUES!!

Postby Collaciotach » Thu Jun 13, 2013 6:59 pm

Good stuff it is a grand place Skye :D
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Re: MOUNTAINS, MARATHONS & MERINGUES!!

Postby mountainstar » Thu Jun 13, 2013 7:04 pm

Now you're having a laugh with your fantastic weather, great pictures, amazing sunsets and bleeding fitness!..........
Keep 'em coming mate :wink: :D
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Re: MOUNTAINS, MARATHONS & MERINGUES!!

Postby SAVAGEALICE » Thu Jun 13, 2013 7:42 pm

Fantastic ...what a weekend :clap: :clap: :D your photos are stunning :D
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Re: MOUNTAINS, MARATHONS & MERINGUES!!

Postby pigeon » Thu Jun 13, 2013 8:35 pm

You are one jammy git with the weather Dooter :lol: ,also broke our Skye duck recently on Blaven,no views from the top for us though so looking forward to returning soon.Great pics and report again :thumbup:
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Re: MOUNTAINS, MARATHONS & MERINGUES!!

Postby SusieThePensioner » Thu Jun 13, 2013 9:12 pm

Wow, yet again!! DB the Blessed :lol: What have you done to deserve all this wonderful weather every time you set foot walking??? :wink:
Paul, what an amazing time you had, visiting all my favourite places on Skye :D
Well done on the run, the walking, the everything and such beautiful photos :thumbup:
We stayed at a cottage in Staffin next to the bottom of the road up to the Quiraing and then down at Elgol (and all on the WH accommodation site)
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Re: MOUNTAINS, MARATHONS & MERINGUES!!

Postby foggieclimber » Thu Jun 13, 2013 11:03 pm

Another superb report Dooterbang.
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Re: MOUNTAINS, MARATHONS & MERINGUES!!

Postby dooterbang » Fri Jun 14, 2013 2:08 pm

morag1 wrote:I've always enjoyed reading your reports and looking at your lovely photos, but this one is fantastic!! What a great weekend, you certainly know how to enjoy life, well done :clap:

Got lucky with the weather.

pigeon wrote:You are one jammy git with the weather Dooter :lol: ,also broke our Skye duck recently on Blaven,no views from the top for us though so looking forward to returning soon.Great pics and report again :thumbup:
Maybe next time you'll get the views.

SusieThePensioner wrote:Wow, yet again!! DB the Blessed :lol: What have you done to deserve all this wonderful weather every time you set foot walking??? :wink:
Paul, what an amazing time you had, visiting all my favourite places on Skye :D
Well done on the run, the walking, the everything and such beautiful photos :thumbup:
We stayed at a cottage in Staffin next to the bottom of the road up to the Quiraing and then down at Elgol (and all on the WH accommodation site)
Staffin is lovely. Hope you enjoyed your holidat as much as I did. Cheers.

Thanks for all the positive comments...now get yourselves to Skye!!
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Re: MOUNTAINS, MARATHONS & MERINGUES!!

Postby clivegrif » Fri Jun 14, 2013 8:59 pm

Hey Dooters - looks like we choose the right few days to be in Skye!

Loved your report, and thanks for filling in some of the gaps in my photographic record.

Have to say you are looking disgustingly fit in your running gear! Oh to be young again....

Cheers! :D
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Re: MOUNTAINS, MARATHONS & MERINGUES!!

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Sat Jun 15, 2013 9:13 am

Wow what a few days! Amazing report and pics, made me yearn for Skye a great deal :clap: :clap:
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Re: MOUNTAINS, MARATHONS & MERINGUES!!

Postby MarilynMunro » Sat Jun 15, 2013 2:41 pm

Great adventure, great phots, hearty well done. :clap: :clap:
That whole area is amazing.
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Re: MOUNTAINS, MARATHONS & MERINGUES!!

Postby weaselmaster » Sat Jun 15, 2013 9:49 pm

Great pics, DooterB, love the sunsets
ONly ever been to Skye once and didn't see much for clouds, so nice to see it ain't always that way, whets the appetite for next month :D
Good method of keeping a cool head too :wink:
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Re: MOUNTAINS, MARATHONS & MERINGUES!!

Postby dooterbang » Mon Jun 17, 2013 10:44 pm

clivegrif wrote:Hey Dooters - looks like we choose the right few days to be in Skye!

Loved your report, and thanks for filling in some of the gaps in my photographic record.

Have to say you are looking disgustingly fit in your running gear! Oh to be young again....

Cheers! :D
Your doing ok with all that scrambling old boy!!

weaselmaster wrote:Great pics, DooterB, love the sunsets
ONly ever been to Skye once and didn't see much for clouds, so nice to see it ain't always that way, whets the appetite for next month :D
Good method of keeping a cool head too :wink:
Looking forward to your trip report - hope the weather is kind.
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Location: Glasgow

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