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Bla Bheinn - a bit like a pint of Guinness
by Graeme D » Sun Feb 07, 2010 3:27 pm
Route description: Bla Bheinn (Blaven)
Munros included on this walk: Bla Bheinn
Date walked: 16/05/2009
Distance: 8.1 km
Ascent: 940mRegister or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
This was my second time on Skye, having been up for the last time in with two colleagues in July 2008 when I had my first Cuillin experiences on Bruach na Frithe, but the monsoon conditions cut short our stay and the only other thing we managed to fit in was a soggy low-level circular walk from Elgol along Loch Scavaig to Camasunary before heading back over to the road and speed marching back to Elgol.
This time I was with my wife, picking her up on the stroke of 5 o’clock after work on the Friday and heading up to the Sligachan campsite. She was looking forward to her first visit to Skye but was less enthralled at the prospect of a couple of nights in a tent, a prospect that she became even less happy about as we struggled to get the tent up in a howling gale.
Finally, however, the tent was safely erected and thoroughly pegged, and we were enjoying dinner and a few drinks in the Slig before retiring under canvas.
In the morning, the wind had abated but the cloud level was still low and there was no sign of the iconic view of Sgurr nan Gillean and Am Basteir from the campsite. After a quick brew and bacon rolls, we headed back down the road to Broadford and onto the road over to Torrin.
We parked up in car park beyond the bend in the road around the head of Loch Slapin, where there were already a couple of cars parked. Things seem to be brightening up as we set off on the path and it’s not long before we are both shedding a layer or two. The path climbs steadily up the north side of the Allt na Dunaiche and into Coire Uaigneich and the views soon open up behind us over Loch Slapin and the hills around its head.
As we begin to climb steeply up the stone gully, the views open up down into the great clefts to our right, but they are largely shrouded in mist, and as we approach the lip of the gully, a fine drizzle begins to fall. We shelter for a while against the side of one of the huge buttresses and eventually the drizzle stops.
Once over the lip, it’s a straightforward and fairly gradual ascent up to the summit and trig point on the edge of the cliffs. My wife had been in great anticipation of the views across to the main Cuillin ridge but there was nothing much to be seen. We sat for a while and had a bite to eat while we chatted to a couple of English girls who had been at the summit when we pulled in. They said that they tried to get up to the Highlands two or three times a year – I think they said they were from somewhere in Yorkshire.
After half an hour or so, there was still little sign of things clearing up so we took a wander over to the South Top. I’d read about there being a dodgy scramble over a ledge to get there, but it wasn’t too bad, although in pouring rain I could see why it might cause some issues if you were uncomfortable with sloping ledges.
Back at the true summit, the two girls were still there but they soon decided that they’d waited long enough and headed back down the way we had come up. We had plenty of time so decided to sit still and chill out for a while to see what would transpire. After another half hour or so we were rewarded when the sun broke through and the cloud base lifted enough to reveal the full ridge across the vast gulf of Strath na Creitheach and Loch Coruisk.
As if by some sort of magic, a mini horde soon appeared behind us and the summit got quite busy. I remember one fairly rotund English bloke standing near me and commenting that there was nothing quite like this in the Lakes, where he normally walked and climbed. He then proceeded to point over towards Sgurr nan Gillean and exclaim “I don’t know what the f**k that is, but it looks f**king evil!” - the last of the mountain poets!
We probably sat there for a good couple of hours before heading back down to the car and back to HQ at the Slig. Our well deserved dinner and post-dinner drinks were somewhat spoiled when one of the bar staff came round and said that a ceilidh was about to start and if we wanted to stay, we’d have to pay (I think it was a tenner each she said!), so as Debbie had only had the one beer, we decided to head to Portree to sample the delights of a Saturday night in the Big Smoke, before returning to the tent for an early night ahead of the planned assault on Sgurr na Banachdaich the following day.
A cracking day with our patience well rewarded. How those English girls would have kicked themselves!
And the moral of the story?
Bla Bheinn - good things come to those who wait!
by kevsbald » Sun Feb 07, 2010 9:10 pm
The views are cracking by the looks of it.
by Graeme D » Sun Feb 07, 2010 11:13 pm
by Alan S » Sun Feb 07, 2010 11:20 pm
I always get jealous when i see the views from this as i got hee haw but it still goes down as my best walk.
Glad you got the views after waiting we sat for nearly an hour but it only got worse.
If you dont mind here's a few shots of my day which looked like it was going to be perfect
Then at the top
by Graeme D » Mon Feb 08, 2010 9:37 am
by AndrewP » Thu Feb 18, 2010 1:59 pm
On the day we climbed it, we were thinking of Blaven, but realised we'd see absolutely nothing (well, the inside of a clag bottle), so decided to stay below the cloud.*
Great views of Glen Sligachan.
I must get back there... some day.
* In fact, when you said "Like a pint of Guinness", I thought you meant it was going to be all frothy (claggy, cloudy, etc) on top.
by JasonWolf » Sun Mar 07, 2010 10:55 pm
Im planning on doing this route soon, so thanks for the pics and description.
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- Location: Brighton, East Sussex