STRIctly come climbing
by BlackPanther » Tue Jul 15, 2014 2:51 pm
Route description: Sgurr na Stri
Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Sgurr na Stri
Date walked: 28/06/2014
Time taken: 8.5 hours
Distance: 24.1 km
Ascent: 718m14 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
.................................STUFF PRESENTED IN THIS REPORT CAN CAUSE HEART FAILURE IF TAKEN IN LARGE DOSES
.....................................................AUTHOR (Black Panther) CANNOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE
This walk has been planned for ages... To visit a certain sub'2000 which is sometimes described as "one step away from heaven". And this description is not much of an exaggeration. Simply the naughtiest mountain pornography in my life so far!
Of course I'm talking about Sgurr na Stri
It was the final day of our hillwalking holidays and I wouldn't be myself if I didn't want to visit Skye, if only for one day. We had hoped for IOS camping, but because weather seemed better on the eastern side, we spent a few days in Eastern Cairngorms, which I do not regret in the slightest. The Munros won't go anywhere and I hope we have enough climbing years to live through to tackle what we have left in Cuillin Ridge (mostly the difficult ones ha-ha-ha).
Instead of climbing the Cuillin, we opted for looking at it from the best possible viewpoint and there is no better vista place than Sgurr na Stri, that's for sure. I bet it would win any "Vote the best Sub'2 Marylin" competition.
Our route to SnS was the classic long walk from Sligachan. It is possible to climb this hill from Elgol side, but I think the Sligachan approach offers better views, and I'm saving the Elgol-Camasunary walk for the day I will tackle the Bad Step.
Kevin has been to SnS once and it was in early spring, when Cuillin Ridge was still covered in snow - his photos from that day always gave my goosebumps! In April 2010 we walked the walk to the Druim Hain viewpoint and I was gob-smacked (it was a lovely walk and it deserves a separate story, I have to sit down and sort my archives). This time, of course, no snow on the higher hills, but a summer day with good sunny spells is just as good
There is a new, neat car park in Sligachan, basically at the start of the walk-through path to Elgol. Saturday morning, lovely weather, but apart from us there was only one car parked there... Maybe the rest of hillwalkers run for the Cuillin?
A short lesson in geology for those unfamiliar with Isle of Skye:
View from the car park is the classic Sgurr nan Gillean & Am Basteir profile:
The path starts from the old bridge and I noticed an odd place full of little piles of stones, whatever they are?...
One day I will return here to tackle you two!
Our target can't be seen from the path. The pointy top to the left is a lower summit called Sgurr Hain:
The initial stage is easy - good path. As one get deeper and deeper into the wild, all signs of civilisation disappear and the path itself is the only marker, that we are not on a deserted island. The virgin wilderness
The well-worn path to Druim Hain viewpoint is visible behind me:
6km into the wild and we could now see a large part of the Black Cuillin, including the In Pin. To the left - Lochan Dubha:
A few close-ups to the infamous hard scrambles Surr Dubh Mor:
Sgurr Alasdair and Sgurr Mhic Choinnich:
The Pinnacle itself
Yellow-brick-road in the middle of nowhere Blaven ridge on the horizon:
Kevin hungry for adventure...and hazelnuts
A dark cloud passed above us but no rain fell from the sky, then the sun came out again and we witnessed a fine spectacle of light-and-shadows over Sgurr nan Gillean. The moody version:
The sunny face a few minutes later:
Zoom to Sgurr Beag:
The pinnacle ridge of SnG:
Blaven (right) and Ruadh Stac (in the middle). The latter must be a good viewpoint, too and we're keeping it in mind for another Skye visit
Clach Glas ridge
The path splits just past Lochan Dubha (division marked with a small cairn), but honestly it is an obvious yellow-brick-road walk all the way to the viewpoint. We crossed the glen (it can be wet here as I remember from my previous visit, but luckily now it was dry and boggy bits shrunk). As we started gaining height, the first good panorama opened behind us - Glen Sligachan, Marsco to the right, Sgurr nan Gillean to the left:
An unusual view of the northern end of the Cuillin:
Ruadh Stac looks very steep from this side but I guess the best way to tackle it would be along the northern shoulder? Looks climbable from this angle:
The climb to the viewpoint didn't take much time and now we saw our target hill for the first time (the top to the right):
The top of Druim Hain viewpoint is marked with a large cairn and it is a fantastic place in itself - recommended, even if you are not confident/fit enough to tackle Sgurr na Stri, walking only as far as this point is well worth the effort, as the panorama of the Black Cuillin from here is already breathtaking!
Zoom to the middle part of the ridge, with In Pin to the left:
SnG attracted some cloud, but apart from that, the ridge was clear:
The cairn and the Cuillin behind - can it get better? It can as I was about to experience myself!
One happy cat! Sgurr na Stri behind me, and the path along the slopes of Sgurr Hain can just about be seen:
After a short break here (who could resist?) we carried on past Sgurr Hain on a narrow path towards our target hill. The ground became rockier as we neared Sgurr na Stri and on a misty day one could easily get confused here, as the path has many faint branches and the most obvious of them stops abruptly somewhere half-way to SnS... We managed to find another, fainter branch, which took us to a small gully (easy to cross). the path petered out here, but I spotted a couple of cairns marking the way up on the other side of the gully, so we crossed it and found the steeper slopes, quite rocky but no real scrambling involved, a bit of rock-hopping and lots of fun!
An alternative would be to follow the grassy gully uphill to its top and then climb straight, steep slope to the summit. Both ways require some scramble-ish practice, but with such views behind...
The Ridge again:
Looking back at the confusing part of the route from the upper slopes of Sgurr na Stri, just above the gully:
We stopped every five minutes now to simply snap/record/admire/gap at the views... We were moving at snail's pace but who cares...
Now time for the true pornography... Brace yourselves... Here it comes...
Loch Coruisk and the Cuillin Ridge behind - simply stunning!
The steep ascend finished, all we had left to do was the traverse along the rocky-bumpy ridge to the summit of SnS:
Despite a few clouds lingering above us, the south-western side was basking in sunshine. I loved the profile of isle of Rum:
The mainland was moody and we were happy to keep the good weather for us
Rum and Eigg - I haven't visited them just yet but come on... so many places to see and so many hills to climb, wish we had enough time off to do it quickly!
Zoom to Eigg:
A wider perspective - just unbelievable:
Back to the Cuillin, this is the main reason why we climbed Sgurr na Stri. One step away from heaven it is... Pictures haven't been tampered with, apart from cropping some of them. This is just how the colours and light played on, green - blue - brown - white. Sooo beautiful:
Loch Coruisk and Loch Scavaig greenish-blue...
A couple more... Just can't stop...
Boats in Loch Scavaig:
Zoom to the In Pin:
Kevin spent lots of time trying to catch small details of the ridge...
Am Basteir and theTooth:
After incredibly looong time we reached the summit cairn - at last!, but ticking off a Sub'2 Marylin was a secondary prize here. It was all about reaching the edge of heaven!
Posing with THE VIEW behind:
Just to compare - Kevin's old picture taken from the very same spot almost twenty years ago:
For a change... The Red Cuillin pano from the summit of SnS - Marsco, Ruadh Stac, Garbh-bhein:
The summit was quite cold, so hats and gloves came out, but we hardly noticed the drop in the temperature... isn't heaven supposed to be cold, opposite to hell (burning)?
View south to Strathaird:
Rum and Eigg again:
Blaven and Garbh-bhein - the twins
The last pose... before we go... do we have to? I want to stay here!
It was the best hour of my life and even on the way back we still admired the views. This time we took a different line and stayed higher on the ridge. We enjoyed some easy scrambling over the 373m top and eventually picked the path back to the viewpoint.
Little me and big mountains...
I'm running out of words to describe it...
View back to Sgurr na Stri from the 373m top - as this shows, no hard scramble anywhere if you pick you way carefully:
View down to Camasunary:
On the way back, the faint path just shows up to the left of me:
The Cuillin from the viewpoint:
The return route was long but pleasant, with the big mountains around us, we enjoyed a great day... Blaven was clouding up, but only just:
In the shadow of Marsco - one we have already done, but we would like to visit it again!
Classic Marsco view from Sligachan side:
WOW, what a day it was! Taking a short break on the way back:
21 km in 8.5 hours. Obviously, it can be done much faster, but what would be the point?... When tackling Sgurr na Stri, one HAS TO take under consideration the time to sink in the views. This is a special place and as such it deserves a special approach. Let the experience last, let the minutes and hours pass in silence when you sit on the summit. Till your eyes hurt. Till you can feel the mountains in your bloodstream. If you want to touch heaven, this is as close as you'll get.
Two more reports are yet to come from the last two weekends, and it's time to return to patient Munro bagging. Meow!
by Border Reiver » Tue Jul 15, 2014 4:06 pm
It's certainly a long walk though when you take the time to enjoy it properly.
by Musicfinder » Tue Jul 15, 2014 5:40 pm
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by cmarcol » Tue Jul 15, 2014 6:13 pm
by wilkiemurray » Tue Jul 15, 2014 6:39 pm
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by spiderwebb » Tue Jul 15, 2014 9:15 pm
by Beaner001 » Tue Jul 15, 2014 9:31 pm
by Sick Kid » Tue Jul 15, 2014 9:47 pm
by allanglens » Tue Jul 15, 2014 10:21 pm
I would go back in a shot - although that is how my knee felt by the time we got back to the car park!
by Gordie12 » Tue Jul 15, 2014 10:23 pm
by Collaciotach » Tue Jul 15, 2014 10:55 pm
I love your P*O*R*N
by rockhopper » Tue Jul 15, 2014 11:19 pm
by Alteknacker » Wed Jul 16, 2014 9:19 am
I did this one some 20 years ago, and the truly sensational views kindled a determination to do the ridge (an ambition I belatedly managed to fulfil in 2012).
Keep them reports a-rollin'
by Sarah86 » Wed Jul 16, 2014 1:46 pm