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Bla Bheinn circular via the South Ridge & Coire Uaigeneich

Bla Bheinn circular via the South Ridge & Coire Uaigeneich

Postby dobitoc » Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:59 pm

Route description: Bla Bheinn (Blaven)

Munros included on this walk: Bla Bheinn

Date walked: 22/08/2013

Time taken: 9 hours

Distance: 16 km

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Our day began with a harsh lesson in island life. Skye bus drivers do not respect their own timetables. Our plan had been to reach Kirkibost by flagging down the mid-morning Broadford-Elgol bus at the Allt na Dunaiche car park where our descent from Bla Bheinn would have ended later that day. The bus was supposed to have left Torridon at 10.02 but had already reached the above car park by 09.55. Frustratingly we were behind it all the way from Broadford it as it hared across the moors. So instead of parking at the Allt na Dunaiche (car park on right just past the bridge with the 'road narrows' sign) we continued 4+ miles to the Kirkibost car park (on the left as the road swings left up the side of a long hill towards Elgol).

The walk to Camasunary was uneventful. Eventually we turned off half right on a not-very-obvious path towards the Abhainn nan Leac stream (if you miss it, the sharp left-hand hairpin bend in the main path is a good indicator of your mistake). The path now becomes boggy, as often on Skye. At the stream, the long south ridge is an obvious target. We tried zig-zagging up half-right up the heather towards a slight flat (that is we tried to avoid tackling the steep 'toe-end' by tracking diagonally up towards the base of the 'toe-nail'). The ascent was murderous however. It might be best to contour round to the left from the stream before ascending the toe-end by turning 90% right onto the very start of the ridge. However we noticed people on all fours ascending that way. Be prepared to accept this part of the day will prove the hardest. Morale will be 'rock-bottom' :wink: for a while. Ascending through pathless heather is a nightmare. Always.

The route up the rest of the ridge comes and goes. We kept moving off too far right, but there were no alarms or excursions. Eventually you see a white pole that tells you the end is nigh. A lot of nonsense is talked about the descent from the south peak of Bla Bheinn to the saddle between north & south peaks. If you keep right on the descent, eventually you see a steep gulley. Avoid the gulley. Just edge along further right to circumvent it before edging back to enter it at the bottom where you have to keep low to edge around a slight overhang. People seem to scare-monger about this unnecessarily. Perhaps they are 'bigging-up' their achievements. It is not difficult, even for an unfit 57-year-old.

We saw two ravens on the north peak. Are up there so they can keep a beady eye down when hovering over their prey? Or are they waiting for the inevitable meal scraps left behind by summiting mortals? Given the recent colonisation of road verges by crows looking for roadkill, I think it might be the latter. I remember seeing two ravens at the summit of Robinson in the Lakes.

The descent was quite tortuous especially as Coire Uaigeneich comes within reach. The long gulley looked grim and best avoided. After the Coire there were no more problems. Inevitably our circular clockwise route from Kirkibost ended with a long hike by road to get back to the car. The good news is that hitching in Skye is a socially acceptable means of getting about. The bad news is that the traffic along Loch Slapin in the late afternoon is almost all heading away from Elgol taking the boat-trippers to Loch Coruisk back home. We picked up a couple of short lifts but it still took us another 75 minutes. Still it's better than going back the same way. The choice is simple. If you want a lift back to the car, do the walk in reverse. If you want to enjoy the walk more, start from Kirkibost.
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Joined: Jul 25, 2009

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