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or go to skye on my holidays

or go to skye on my holidays

Postby magicdin » Mon Apr 19, 2010 3:06 pm

Munros included on this walk: Am Basteir, Sgùrr Dubh Mòr, Sgùrr nan Eag

Date walked: 09/04/2010

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my usual weeks holiday booked for april
where to go - backpacking trip to fisherfield or try to get skye tidied up again
undecided - I booked friday night at ratagan and would make up my mind on saturday morning.
as it was I made up my mind on the way up the road - high pressure coming in - ideal for skye
clear conditions and dry rock

day 1 saturday 10/04/10 - sgurr nan eag and sgurr dubh mor
drove over to glen brittle and set off from camp site about 9.45 am
warm right from the start the fleece was soon packed in the rucksac
a great difference now to the approach paths to the corries,some terrific work has been done.
on my first visit to skye in 1987 the path round to below coire a' ghrunnda was a bit of a trial through mud and glaur.
now the well constructed and drained paths speed you up, the previous two times I had tackled sgurr nan eag I had crossed the burn lower down and plodded up the long unrelenting slopes of the hill.
this time the excellent track drew me upwards towards the corrie where I looked forward to a bit of a break.
first photo of the day (and the week) rum always draws your eyes
approaching the upper coire
at the lochan - time for a rest
looking to sgurr dubh na da bheinn
and caisteil a'garbh choire
and the first target sgurr nan eag
after a good wee break I felt ready to tackle the boulder and
scree slopes to the ridge and was pleasantly surprised in getting there relatively quickly.
on the ridge below sgurr nan eag I dumped the rucksac and set on up.
a cooling breeze had my fleece top on again and my mountain cap.
picked the wrong line right away and had to retrace my steps but soon found the easy way up to the level summit ridge.
and this first view of gars-bheinn
the cairn is at the far (south) end of the ridge and took a wee while to walk out and back
looking back along the ridge
view from cairn - alasdair and thearlaich prominent
on the way back I met a young couple heading for the cairn.
took a couple of wrong turns coming down the ridge and the couple caught up with me just as I arrived back at my and their rucksacs - they told me they were setting out to do the full traverse with an overnight bivvy.
view across coire a' ghrunnda

next was the traverse below caisteal a'garbh coire which is over very rough ground.
walking on skye sure is different,you are seldom stepping it out especially on the ridge.
on my last few visits to the cuillin I found that my old knees suffered badly - all the twisting and turning,up and downs.
I could tell even at this early stage that this was going to be my lot this week but would just have to thole it.
you do find however that you just adjust your pace accordingly and walk to suit the ground conditions.
climbed up to sgurr dubh na da bheinn (mild scrambling but mostly just walking) and sight of sgurr dubh mor
set off out to the munro - the most awkward bit is getting round the small grey pinnacle half way along.
as I had done the last time I did this hill I dropped too far to the right an had to come back up a pretty loose chimney.
once past the pinnacle it is easy enough scrambling up ledges to get to the top
back to sgurr nan eag
sgurr dubh na dha bheinn
looking across coire an lochain
to the north end of the ridge

set off back to SDNDB and this time picked the right (higher) line
after a wee break started back down to the coire
man this was heartbreaking stuff down through boulderfields. :( especially in the heat
ma poor knees were screaming out by the time I got back down to the lochain for another stop.
down out of the coire I was glad when I reached the good track back the camp site and was able to step out a wee bit which helped ease the pain in the knees
looking down on the campsite

It was after seven when I got back to the car
I planned to set up my tent in the campsite.
First I had to make a call home and as I could'nt get a signal I drove up to the high point of the road.
Duty call made I was that close to Carbost that I carried on for a pint and food at The Old Inn.
Driving back over to glenn brittle - photo of heather burning

day 2 - sunday 11/04/10 - Coire Lagan
did'nt have the best of sleeps but was still awake early at 6.30 and decided to lay on for another half hour or so.
next time I woke up and looked at the watch it was 9.40 :shock:
late start out for coire lagan undecided whether to head for sgurr alasdair or the inn pinn.
therefore I had the rope and gear in the bag so it was a bit heavier.
really warm now and with not the same cooling breeze as the day before I was finding it tough going.
the right knee was also giving me real gip so I was beginning to doubt what I would get done today.
got up to the lochan and sat down for a rest
views from lochan
sat/lay at the lochan for a good bit looking at the scree slopes ahead.
either the stone chute or up to bealach and an stac screes - which one would it be
the answer was too too easy - not today
decided to sit for a while at the lochan and then get down and get some digs for the night
a bit of a disappointing day to say the least
looking back up to the coire
ended up in Portree where I got B&B for the night.

day 3 – monday 12/04/10 – am basteir
at last a good nights sleep aided by a couple of pints and a couple of drams
a fine breakfast and down the road to sligachan
the forecast was for cooler weather with cloud coming in later
a bit of footering about and it was 10.30 before I left the car next to the hotel.
I made good progress up the path and onto the ridge leading towards
the pinnacle ridge

looking to glamaig
and to the pinnacle ridge,cloud just starting to catch the tops
am basteir ,sgurr a’bhasteir
close to the base of the pinnacle ridge
am basteir clear again

the way up and across to the bealach was over scree,boulders and soft snow patches
found it tough and slow going and a few profanities were uttered.
Got to the bealach about 1.00 pm and found a sheltered spot for a snack
Looking up the ridge to am basteir
I had turned back half way up this ridge in sept’08 on a day of very heavy rain when I just did’nt feel happy on the wet,greasy basalt rock.
The couple of times I had done the hill before was in dry conditions as it was today – so no excuse.
What had been niggling me on the way up was what the downclimb near the top was now like – I understood that a rockfall had made it a bit more difficult than on my previous visits
Unfortunately downclimb was’nt the word that kept slipping into my mind but DOWNFALL !!
That started me thinking of bunkers and bunker mentality and AW NAW Gordon Brown :evil: and politicians and elections and and and --------------- STOP it Davy yer on holiday
Got up to look down the downclimb and it does look a lot different – steep shiny slabs - didnae fancy it :shock:
Had the rope with me so could have tried to set up an abseil but decided to search out the bypass path to the left
Found it easy enough and down along a couple of ledges soon past the rock step
And easy walking up to the top ,unfortunately in mist
Hung about for ten minutes or so but no clearance.
could hear voices below.probably someone attempting the tooth.
Back down the ridge – a few photos


Basalt intrusions
Sgurr beag
Lota coire
Sgurr an fionn choire to left

Decided to go back down the same way and found it a lot better going down
The cloud was really in now – looking back up to bealach
And again
And looking down to sligachan from same spot
Above the basteir gorge

Felt a lot happier in myself today, not any great problems with the knees and enjoyed the walk back out to the hotel :D

The upper plank bridge
And the grand new bridge near to sligachan (note the wire lines anchored back to the rock)

Back the hotel for a pint and then round to glen brittle hostel

The wind really got up in the evening and through the night but the forecast was excellent for the next day

Last edited by magicdin on Mon Dec 13, 2010 3:21 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: or go to skye on my holidays

Postby malky_c » Mon Apr 19, 2010 3:27 pm

Nice work. Haven't been into the Black Cuillin in almost 3 years now (was an annual thing before that). I can only hope next time I'm there it is as good as this!

Looking forward to the next bit...
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Re: or go to skye on my holidays

Postby monty » Mon Apr 19, 2010 4:31 pm

Great report. Tremendous pictures. Makes me nervous just looking at them :D

Re: or go to skye on my holidays

Postby ianaird » Mon Apr 19, 2010 11:08 pm

Nice report magic, was up am basteir a couple of saturday's ago, thankfully the weather was a bit more favourable for us, the down climb we managed, i think convinced by 2 chaps we met on the way up that assured us the holds were there, when you get down it you wonder what the fuss is about, no?

Although i heard that someone had a fall last week again, spine and head injuries, not sure exactly where, but they fell around 60ft so i think the only place you would fall 60ft and not 1000 is around the down climb, unless down at the slabs.

I suppose thinking about it you would only consider am basteir on a dry day, scrambling about up there in the wet would be hell.
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Re: or go to skye on my holidays

Postby LeithySuburbs » Tue Apr 20, 2010 12:16 am

Sounds like a great trip and looks like some wonderful weather for you, particularly days 1 & 2. Photos give a good idea of what to expect for a Skye virgin like myself as well :D (not that scrambling or exposure is a big issue for me).
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Re: or go to skye on my holidays

Postby foggieclimber » Tue Apr 20, 2010 10:02 am

Great report and pictures.
Useful to see the amount of snow left on the ridge as I am heading there in a couple of weeks time.
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Re: or go to skye on my holidays

Postby kinley » Tue Apr 20, 2010 5:50 pm

Wow - I'm jealous :)

Have spent about 4 weeks on Skye in the last 5 years and only had about 4 good days

Cuillin was certainly looking good there

Very informative pair of reports 8)

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