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Magical Skye - Inversions & scrambling - Day 3 Scotland 2013

Magical Skye - Inversions & scrambling - Day 3 Scotland 2013


Postby clivegrif » Fri Jun 14, 2013 8:52 pm

Route description: Garbh Bheinn and Belig

Corbetts included on this walk: Garbh-bheinn (Skye)

Grahams included on this walk: Belig

Date walked: 06/06/2013

Time taken: 5 hours

Distance: 8 km

Ascent: 1105m

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Just so that there can be no doubt – today was an absolutely brilliant day!

I had asked the good folk of Walk Highlands which of the Corbetts were a ‘Must-do’ and Malky_C had responded with a terrific list. Having researched all that featured, an absolutely must-do emerged;- Garbh Bheinn on Skye. It seemed to have the lot; scrambling, brilliant views and could be joined up with other interesting hills. It was also right next door to Blaven, the only one of the Black Cuillin I did not get to see the view from when I was there 8 years ago. However, the recommended route in the Corbett book looked rather a dud, there looked to be a better way up from the Loch Slapin side and this was confirmed by the excellent report by Ianaird.


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So in the dawn’s early light I was up and running, Blaven and Sgurr nan Each glowing like red-hot coals up ahead.

Image
P6062613 by cliveg004, on Flickr

I wanted to reach a point where I could see the Cuillin as early as possible, so decided to reverse Ianaird’s route and do Sgurr nan Each first and Belig last. There are advantages and disadvantages in both which should become clearer later.

From the road up to the lower slopes of the south east ridge of Sgurr nan Each is a bit of a slog across boggy heathery up-and- down ground, followed by steep rough grass. However, the pain is fairly short lived and soon you are on the ridge proper marked by an interesting cairn with an antler poking out of it.

Image
P6062621 by cliveg004, on Flickr

Rising steadily, I looked back across the loch to see that the sun’s rays were starting to work their magic, and the beginnings of an inversion was creeping across the valley.

Image
P6062626 by cliveg004, on Flickr

The going on Sgurr nan Each is not bad at all, not as steep as I thought it was going to be, and very soon I was on the main summit ridge. Close to the summit itself there is a clear change in rock type, from Granite to lovely Gabbro. The mountain itself changes character at this point, from smooth to scrambly and bumpy. The clamber up to the summit cairn is straight-forward. Sadly this marvellous mountain doesn’t qualify as a Corbett; Graham; or anything else that I know of; but the view from the top is out of this world!
Starting to the south, there is Blaven.

Image
P6062645 by cliveg004, on Flickr

To the North East is Belig, and the cloud is starting to creep over the Bealach.

Image
P6062638 by cliveg004, on Flickr

In between is Garbh Bheinn,

Image
Garbh Bheinn by cliveg004, on Flickr

…and the whole, glorious Cuillin Ridge.

Image
The main Cuillin ridge by cliveg004, on Flickr

If that’s too big to see in one go, how about two halves?

Image
South Cuillin by cliveg004, on Flickr

Image
North Cuillin by cliveg004, on Flickr

The next section is the most difficult of the day. It is straight forward to begin with, across rough sound rock. Oh it’s good to be back on Gabbro again, feel the Gription! Just when it all seems to be going swimmingly, you turn a corner and look down a nasty steep and very long slope. It is the obvious big diagonal downslope right of centre on the picture below that was taken later in the day.

Image
P6062690 by cliveg004, on Flickr

On many other rock types this would be a difficult slab, but Gabbro is different. It has grip and there are handholds aplenty, but it still requires care and is best taken face in. Ianaird has a good view of the slab on his report. I have since found that it is apparently easiest on the left, and is a Grade 2 scramble, however I just went straight down the middle and that was okay. The rest of this scramble is a straight-forward grade 1.
The ridge tilts downwards and the scrambling runs out at the three way col between Sgurr nan Each, Garbh Bheinn, and most impressively the Clach Glas. This is the starting point for the famous Clach Glas traverse climb onto Blaven. Its apparently not that hard, but certainly needs rope dangling and helmets neither of which I had today. Still, at least I could console myself with the amazing view of Blaven from an unusual angle.

Image
Blaven panorama by cliveg004, on Flickr

Image
Blaven 2 by cliveg004, on Flickr

And also there is Belig:-

Image
P6062657 by cliveg004, on Flickr

I was probably a bit too early to see Dooterbang belting up Blaven in his shorts – oh to be young and fit again….(fair play to you Dooters, a fine effort sir!). In fact I didn’t see anyone all day, can’t believe I had the mountain all to myself on a day like this.

Next up was the main course for the day, Garbh Bheinn. The climb is straight-forward but entertaining, a rocky staircase that leads directly to the pointy summit. Like many in these parts, the summit is a small table at the top of a pointy mountain. There is just about room for the small cairn, but not much more. Three ridges meet here, and it is an amazing place just to take in the views.

To the left is Blaven, and now it is possible to look over its shoulder to see the island of Rhum out in the deep blue sea beyond.

Image
P6062669 by cliveg004, on Flickr

Of course there is the entire Cuillin ridge in front of you, but today something magical was happening over the Red Cuillin. An inversion was shrouding the lower slopes in mist whilst leaving the summits clear and bold. First towards Marsco:-

Image
P6062673 by cliveg004, on Flickr

Then towards Glamaig, with the Storr in the far distance:-

ImageRed Cuillin Mist by Clive Griffiths, on Flickr

And then looking towards Belig:-

ImageBelig by Clive Griffiths, on Flickr

This was just an incredible place to simply sit and look. What a fantastic day! This is what makes hill-walking so worthwhile.

Eventually it is time to go, down steep rock at first, then onto slightly less steep scree. Personally I prefer descending scree rather than climbing it, but if that does not bother you, then perhaps it would be preferable to reverse the route so you climb up the nasty slab on Sgurr nan Each instead of down it.
Towards the bottom of the scree, where the slope slackens further and it becomes grassy underfoot, I hit the inversion layer. Within a matter of feet, the temperature drops very noticeably.

Image
P6062688a by cliveg004, on Flickr
Image
P6062686 by cliveg004, on Flickr

The mist is really quite thin, and yet it produces this beautiful effect.
I pass through the mist layer and onto the quite deep col of the wonderfully named Bealach na Beiste. I’m laughing my head off to myself shouting the name with enthusiastic emphasis at the top of my voice – BEEEEE-al-ARGGGHHCCHH Naaaaaaaa BEEEEEASTIEEE!!!
No idea who or what the Beastie was, but it wasn’t about today. Perhaps the mist was in fact the breath of the Dragon, like in the King Arthur film……

Surprisingly Belig is more of a beast than I was expecting, it looks more rounded from afar, but is in fact a steep rocky clamber from this side of at least 250 metres. The gradient eases considerably near the top, where you meet a low but substantial wall made of big blocks. Why is it there? Who knows! Possibly a boundary, but you have to wonder at why people would spend that much effort putting up a stone wall way up here. Here’s a pick looking along that wall towards Blaven and Garbh Bhein. Sgurr nan Each is directly below Blaven in the picture.

Image
P6062696 by cliveg004, on Flickr

Follow the wall over short smooth grass to the summit cairn a little further on, and again the views are quite sublime.
Looking East towards the Red Cuillin:-

Image
P6062698 by cliveg004, on Flickr

And along the North ridge towards Loch Ainort:-

Image
P6062700 by cliveg004, on Flickr

The descent of the South East ridge of Belig proved much steeper than I was expecting, and the ridge was also much narrower with a number of quite interesting rocky steps and gullies to be negotiated.

Image
P6062702 by cliveg004, on Flickr

All good things must come to an end, and eventually I reach the flat ground of the valley floor just along from Loch na Sguabaidh. In usual conditions I would imagine this would be pretty soggy, but today it was just pleasantly springy and dry. Those with a sharp eye will have noticed that on the map the stream coming down from Garbh Bheinn – the Allt Aigeinn – seems to vanish just before it reaches the Loch. This is in fact the case, it goes underground beneath a mass of large smooth stones that completely fill the river bed. Walking across is no problem at all, and you can hear the water running somewhere beneath.

The sun is now belting down, and the traces of that magical mist are burning away as I reach my car. It has just been a wonderful, wonderful day. :D

Next stop, Torridon!
Last edited by clivegrif on Sun May 31, 2020 7:42 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Magical Skye inversions & scrambling - Day 3 Scotland 20

Postby kev_russ » Fri Jun 14, 2013 9:08 pm

Superb stuff :-)
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Re: Magical Skye inversions & scrambling - Day 3 Scotland 20

Postby skuk007 » Fri Jun 14, 2013 9:36 pm

Wow, stunning pics. Love the inversion ones. Looks like a special place.
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Re: Magical Skye inversions & scrambling - Day 3 Scotland 20

Postby spiderwebb » Fri Jun 14, 2013 10:02 pm

Wow, suprised you ever came down, I could have sat and watched that all day, simply stunning !
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Re: Magical Skye inversions & scrambling - Day 3 Scotland 20

Postby wilkiemurray » Fri Jun 14, 2013 10:48 pm

Amazing pictures :clap:
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Re: Magical Skye inversions & scrambling - Day 3 Scotland 20

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Fri Jun 14, 2013 11:34 pm

:clap: :clap: :clap: Bravo Clive, simply fantastic!
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Re: Magical Skye inversions & scrambling - Day 3 Scotland 20

Postby DonnyW » Sat Jun 15, 2013 7:03 am

Nice report of a fantastic day on Skye Clive. I didnt miss it either.. as you were taking photos of me standing on the summit of Blaven ..I was taking photos of you on your summit. Of course the landscape is that huge we didnt see each other ..but we saw near enough the same views. I was on Sgur na Stri the next day and it was even hotter...look forward to seeing where you were :D

bla-bhein.jpg
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Re: Magical Skye inversions & scrambling - Day 3 Scotland 20

Postby Musicfinder » Sat Jun 15, 2013 3:30 pm

You had a perfect day on Skye! Fabulous photos too :clap: :clap:
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Re: Magical Skye - Inversions & scrambling - Day 3 Scotland

Postby Lenore » Sat Jun 15, 2013 8:56 pm

Spectacular!!! Reading this while planning my own Skye trip.. Can't wait :D An excellent report at love your photos. What unusual conditions!
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Re: Magical Skye - Inversions & scrambling - Day 3 Scotland

Postby clivegrif » Mon Jun 17, 2013 6:10 pm

Hello All,
Thanks for the generous comments, and for reading the report!

DonnyW wrote:Nice report of a fantastic day on Skye Clive. I didnt miss it either.. as you were taking photos of me standing on the summit of Blaven ..I was taking photos of you on your summit. Of course the landscape is that huge we didnt see each other ..but we saw near enough the same views. I was on Sgur na Stri the next day and it was even hotter...look forward to seeing where you were :D

bla-bhein.jpg


Look forward to seeing your report and pix Donny - glad to see there was someone out there to share that terrific day. Did you have Blaven to yourself, you lucky man?
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Re: Magical Skye - Inversions & scrambling - Day 3 Scotland

Postby DonnyW » Mon Jun 17, 2013 7:54 pm

Hi again Clive.. yup I had Blaven all to myself that day. I started the walk at 6 am as Im an early bird and camped the night before on the edge of Loch Slapin.

This crow was the only other life on Blaven that morning. I did pass two other single walkers heading to the top when I was half way down but that was in mid morning and I was glad I wasnt going up in that heat, besides..the clouds had cleared then too so the photos wouldnt have been so interesting

I have forgotten how to do walk reports now..but I might do one on Sgur na Stri as its not so popular as Blaven, however its just as nice a walk and better views of the Cullin ridge

CrowBlaven.jpg
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Re: Magical Skye - Inversions & scrambling - Day 3 Scotland

Postby clivegrif » Mon Jun 17, 2013 8:45 pm

DonnyW wrote:Hi again Clive.. yup I had Blaven all to myself that day. I started the walk at 6 am as Im an early bird and camped the night before on the edge of Loch Slapin.

This crow was the only other life on Blaven that morning. I did pass two other single walkers heading to the top when I was half way down but that was in mid morning and I was glad I wasnt going up in that heat, besides..the clouds had cleared then too so the photos wouldnt have been so interesting

I have forgotten how to do walk reports now..but I might do one on Sgur na Stri as its not so popular as Blaven, however its just as nice a walk and better views of the Cullin ridge

CrowBlaven.jpg


A man after my own heart! You weren't in a green tent were you!?
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Re: Magical Skye - Inversions & scrambling - Day 3 Scotland

Postby Collaciotach » Mon Jun 17, 2013 9:43 pm

Cracking photos :clap:
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Re: Magical Skye - Inversions & scrambling - Day 3 Scotland

Postby ianaird » Tue Jun 18, 2013 7:29 am

Stunning pictures there Clive, these hills are amazing, they have it all.

The Clach Glas traverse is one of the best days you can get on skye in my opinion, well worth a visit, thx for the mention and keep up the fine reports.

Ian.
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Re: Magical Skye - Inversions & scrambling - Day 3 Scotland

Postby DonnyW » Tue Jun 18, 2013 7:30 pm

clivegrif wrote:
A man after my own heart! You weren't in a green tent were you!?



Not far from the green tent Clive.. I like my home comforts so doss down in the back of my Jeep.
I have converted the rear into a kind of mini camper van. I parked up at the start of the Beinn na cro walk. It must be the easiest of Skyes hills.

Got another long weekend so thinking of heading back there tomorrow night..unfortunately the weather is not looking quite so good
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