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One Blue pin in a sea of Red. My first Munro-Blà Bheinn

One Blue pin in a sea of Red. My first Munro-Blà Bheinn


Postby AnnieMacD » Thu Aug 29, 2013 2:08 pm

Route description: Bla Bheinn (Blaven)

Munros included on this walk: Bla Bheinn

Date walked: 24/08/2013

Time taken: 8 hours

Distance: 8 km

Ascent: 990m

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After an aborted attempt at Blà Bheinn on 4th July (because of high wind and mist down to below 400m), I was watching the weather forecast all week hoping for a clear day on Saturday or Sunday. On Friday evening the prediction for Saturday changed to 80% likelihood of clear summits in the North-west, and little wind. Yeah!

When I woke up early on Saturday I looked out the window and couldn't see the islands at all (I can usually see Raasay and Skye) so whether to trust my eyes or the forecast? Being the eternal optimist I put my faith in the forecast and set off over the Bealach na Ba heading for Skye. Plan B was to take a low-level walk somewhere on Skye.

It was pouring rain when I drove through Broadford and it looked like there had been a lot of rain during the night so suspected the burns might be quite high to add to the worries! The previous time I had tired, the burn was too high to cross at the normal crossing point and I had to take a detour away up to where the Allt na Dunaiche splits and cross the branches separately.

When I got to the car park the mist was down and things did not look promising - but at least it wasn't raining. Had my breakfast and set off at 10:15.

I still had not seen the summit close up.
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Moving on up the path, the cloud was also rising. Things were starting to look up!
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The burn was not very high so crossed easily. Another walker catching up. Turns out it was WH member Stravaiger and he said he was going up the south summit.
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I was determined to ascend the north summit as the thought of the scramble between summits scared me and I really wanted to hit the true summit. So onward and upward.
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The path is easy to follow up to the point where you turn off to the right and I actually passed it by a few metres. However, on looking back I could see the path winding up the hillside so got back on track. This is really where the steep part starts and you gain altitude quite quickly.
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Once you attain the eastern ridge there are lots of opportunities to look down the gullies and across to Clach Glas. I took lots of little detours to take photos. Also the cloud was moving up at about the same rate I was. Image

Looking south-west you can see the steep scree slope of the bealach of Fionn-choire and the view to the islands opens up.
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Next comes the chute which is quite steep but is not difficult. Remember this is my first Munro so don't have much to compare it with and so all my descriptions are very subjective. I have to say I like the bits where you gain lots of altitude in a few steps :lol:
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Clach Glas looking stately. I believe the green bealach is called the Putting Green.
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Looking down the eastern ridge. This is the first sight of the Applecross peninsula on the mainland (top left) and yes, I could see my house!
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The views are really opening up now. Surprisingly the black-face sheep survive on the mountain.
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Now if you don't want to have any hint of the panorama to come, please do not take the detour at the very last gully before the summit, 'cause this is what you see if you do :o I had wanted to be surprised at the top but it was a bit of a spoiler has I had had a taste of what was to come.
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I did have a bit of a scramble just before the top. I now believe there is a way to bypass it but I was so excited at this point I wasn't about to go searching for an alternative route! And then the final few steps, the excitement is mounting and there it is - the most amazing view. No cloud, a little breeze and the fabulous sight of the Cuillin Ridge and Glen Sligichan what seems like miles below. Priceless.
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Black Cuillin from Blà Bheinn by AnnieMacD, on Flickr

Looking towards the north over the Red Cuillin. Raasay is in the centre and Applecross is on the right in the distance.
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The Outer Hebrides are visible on the horizon.
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A few people came over from the south summit but left again after they had lunch. I stayed up there for two hours and really didn't want to leave. Three guys returned to the south summit and started to descend.
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Blà Bheinn - starting the descent by AnnieMacD, on Flickr

Just as I was contemplating my options - well I had pretty much decided the crossing to the south summit was too risky for me - Stravaiger popped up unexpectedly. He asked me what I was doing next and when I told him, he volunteered to accompany me across to the south summit. Wow, what luck :D
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We went across the small bealach and down to the bottom of the chimney and Stravaiger guided me all the way up telling me where to put my feet at the tricky bits. I have to say that the instruction was only the half of it - it's the confidence one gets from knowing that someone experienced is guiding you that makes it feel easy. We were at the south summit in no time!

Cuillin ridge from the south summit.
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The sea views are uninterrupted from here - Camasunary and Loch na Creitheach. Soay is to the right and Rum in the centre.
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The scree slope down from the south summit is pretty steep but Stravaiger led me down and I got some fantastic lessons on descending on scree. Turns out S is a qualified ML - boy, did I luck out :D
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When we reached the top of Coire Uaigneach (at the big rock) Stravaiger stravaiged (thanks S. for your patience and kindness) off and I took my time taking lots of photos on the return path to the start.
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This was the first view I had of the whole mountain, close up.
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The midges were bad as I got back to Allt na Dunaiche so hurried along.
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I was back at the car at 18:15 - eight hours after I left - but what an eight hours!

I was so energised I wasn't ready for the drive back to Applecross so went on to Elgol. The views of the Cuillin from here are pretty spectacular.
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Black Cuillin from Elgol by AnnieMacD, on Flickr

It really was time to go home with one last image of Blà Bheinn looking across Loch Cill Chriosd.
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Blà Bheinn - last light by AnnieMacD, on Flickr

I was back in Culduie by 22:00 after an amazing day. My first Munro.
Last edited by AnnieMacD on Thu Aug 29, 2013 9:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: One Blue pin in a sea of Red. My first Munro - Blà Bhein

Postby dogplodder » Thu Aug 29, 2013 2:20 pm

Superb report on your first Munro. Well done! :clap:
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Re: One Blue pin in a sea of Red. My first Munro - Blà Bhein

Postby stravaiger » Thu Aug 29, 2013 2:40 pm

Well done Annie! What a day for your first Munro. Nice suspenseful build up to the summit view. I spent the same two hours on the south summit feeding the ravens. Big storm and snow this weekend though!
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Re: One Blue pin in a sea of Red. My first Munro - Blà Bhein

Postby Michael Thomson » Thu Aug 29, 2013 2:43 pm

Outstanding report. Well done.
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Re: One Blue pin in a sea of Red. My first Munro - Blà Bhein

Postby ceaser » Thu Aug 29, 2013 2:48 pm

congratulations on your first Munro ,and what a hill to pick :D superb photos ,looking forward to seeing more of them from your future Munros :D
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Re: One Blue pin in a sea of Red. My first Munro - Blà Bhein

Postby AnnieMacD » Thu Aug 29, 2013 8:55 pm

dogplodder wrote:Superb report on your first Munro. Well done! :clap:

Thanks - it was fun! (Both writing the report and the walk.)

stravaiger wrote:Well done Annie! What a day for your first Munro. Nice suspenseful build up to the summit view. I spent the same two hours on the south summit feeding the ravens. Big storm and snow this weekend though!

Thank you again for your support. No hills for you then this weekend :lol:

Michael Thomson wrote:Outstanding report. Well done.

Thank you - wait until I get good at them :lol:

ceaser wrote:congratulations on your first Munro ,and what a hill to pick :D superb photos ,looking forward to seeing more of them from your future Munros :D

Can't wait for the next one - looks like this weekend is not looking good though. :(
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Re: One Blue pin in a sea of Red. My first Munro - Blà Bhein

Postby Meatball » Thu Aug 29, 2013 9:24 pm

Awesome report!

Your choice of first Munro is currently my planned final Munro! Haha
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Re: One Blue pin in a sea of Red. My first Munro - Blà Bhein

Postby rockhopper » Thu Aug 29, 2013 9:36 pm

Excellent report and photos - now you've started, there'll be no holding you back :thumbup: As you say, "priceless" is a good way to describe it - you certainly picked a good day for it - was up there last month and saw nothing in the clag.....now I see what I missed ! - cheers :)
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Re: One Blue pin in a sea of Red. My first Munro-Blà Bheinn

Postby scottishkennyg » Thu Aug 29, 2013 10:37 pm

Congratulations on your first munro and you also have a talent with the camera. :clap: What type of camera did you use?
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Re: One Blue pin in a sea of Red. My first Munro-Blà Bheinn

Postby wjshaw2 » Thu Aug 29, 2013 11:22 pm

Wow! What a first Munro to pick!
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Re: One Blue pin in a sea of Red. My first Munro-Blà Bheinn

Postby lackie14 » Fri Aug 30, 2013 9:02 am

stunning pics
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Re: One Blue pin in a sea of Red. My first Munro - Blà Bhein

Postby AnnieMacD » Fri Aug 30, 2013 5:11 pm

Meatball wrote:Awesome report!

Your choice of first Munro is currently my planned final Munro! Haha


Maybe I'll do your first one as my last then! What was it? (Hope not the In Pinn :crazy: )
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Re: One Blue pin in a sea of Red. My first Munro - Blà Bhein

Postby AnnieMacD » Fri Aug 30, 2013 5:23 pm

rockhopper wrote:Excellent report and photos - now you've started, there'll be no holding you back :thumbup: As you say, "priceless" is a good way to describe it - you certainly picked a good day for it - was up there last month and saw nothing in the clag.....now I see what I missed ! - cheers :)

Thanks - no stopping me now! I'm bummed that the forecast for the weekend is terrible :(

scottishkennyg wrote:Congratulations on your first munro and you also have a talent with the camera. :clap: What type of camera did you use?

Thanks. I used a Canon 100D with 17-40mm lens. For the last two pics (after I got back to the car) I used a Canon 5DIII with the same lens. However, what I have noticed is that the quality of photographs is better if you post them to a photo-sharing site first and then just link with the BB code. My only other report was on Beinn Bhan and I used the 5DIII for those photos but the quality is not as good as I embedded them in the report.

wjshaw2 wrote:Wow! What a first Munro to pick!

Well, I see it from my house and the only other Munros I in view are the remainder of the Cuillin range. I really wanted to do a hill I had been seeing since I was a child.

lackie14 wrote:stunning pics

Thanks!
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Re: One Blue pin in a sea of Red. My first Munro-Blà Bheinn

Postby The Rodmiester » Fri Aug 30, 2013 5:35 pm

Hi AnnieMacD, Great report on your first munro and absolutely stunning photographs :D :clap: :clap:
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Re: One Blue pin in a sea of Red. My first Munro - Blà Bhein

Postby Meatball » Fri Aug 30, 2013 8:04 pm

AnnieMacD wrote:
Meatball wrote:Awesome report!

Your choice of first Munro is currently my planned final Munro! Haha


Maybe I'll do your first one as my last then! What was it? (Hope not the In Pinn :crazy: )

Narnain was my first....until recently it was my most frequently visited too!
Yours is the better first trip!
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