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A Strangely Isolated Place

A Strangely Isolated Place

Postby CurlyWurly » Mon May 17, 2010 10:56 am

Route description: Blà Bheinn (Blaven)

Munros included on this walk: Blà Bheinn

Date walked: 07/05/2010

Time taken: 5 hours

Distance: 9 km

Ascent: 990m

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The plan was to meet up with some mates from my hometown of Manchester and climb up on to the Cullin ridge. They wanted to check out the Inaccessible Pinnacle and I wanted to look at the feasibility of a full traverse. We where planning on meeting on the Friday night at Sligachan Hotel and hitting the ridge on the Saturday.

I had never been to Skye before and wanting to maximise my visit, I decided to set off early Friday morning and climb Bla Bheinn before meeting up with the other guys later on in the evening. Unfortunately, my plans for an early start where scuppered when for some reason I ended up watching the General Election until the early hours of the morning. I managed to drag myself out of bed by 9am and by 10 am I was heading up the M90 from Dunfermline.

The weather was fantastic and I even had to crank the air-con on (first time this year) and by 2:30pm, I was parked up in the car park near the forest plantation on the side of Loch Slapin. The route seemed pretty straight forward and for a moment, I contemplated running rather than hiking up. With the great weather, there was potential for some good summit shots and there was no way I was carrying my DSLR if I was running so I decided to take the more sedate option and walk to the top. I followed the path that runs alongside the Allt na Dunaiche and as I passed the waterfalls I realised that I had left my smaller pocket camera on top of the car the roof. The thought of retracing my steps to retrieve it did not exactly thrill me but having already left my other camera on the summit of Dreish last summer, I did not think it would go down very well at home if I had to report I lost another one whilst out in the hills. Dumping my rucksack, I ran back to the car and fortunately, the camera was still on the roof where I had left it 30 minutes previous.

1. Looking up from the Allt na Dunaiche.jpg

I headed back up and fortunately there was no more mishaps as I advanced towards the top. I passed a couple of groups and headed up the steep part towards the summit. Maybe it was a good job I did not try and run the hill because this final part would of been brutal and I would of ended up walking anyway.

The summit was deserted and I will not deny the fact that I was totally blown away with the amazing views. The Cullin looked every bit as rugged as the books and photographs suggested and the views across the sea where amazing.

2. Summit of Bla Bheinn.jpg

3. Summit of Bla Bheinn 2.jpg

4. Panorama from the summit of Bla Bheinn.jpg

I probably spent a good hour on the summit, just chilling out and absorbing the scenery before snapping a few shots on my camera and then retreating back down to the car.

In the car park there was only one other car there and a chap was getting ready to set off up the path. In turned out he lived not too far from me and was planning a wild camp near the summit. I suggested the LochFionna- choire near An Stac and will not deny the fact I was a little envious as he set off up. Although I had planned to camp on the campsite at Sligachan Hotel with the other guys and I had brought my bigger tent, I had also packed my one man light weight tent (just in case!).

It was whilst I was driving to the hotel that I hatched my plan. Rather than camp on the campsite, why not take a drive to the north of the island and wild camp at 'The Quiraing'? It did not seem a huge walk-in and I could be back the hotel first thing for our trip up the Cullin. I met up with the other guys, had a swift beer and a meal in the hotel and then set off north towards The Quiraing.

At 7.30pm I was parking my car up near the cemetery and hiking up towards my first port of call, 'The Prison'. I had a scramble across the top then descended back down and then headed up steeply towards the Needle and then into the heart of the Quiraing. I had read somewhere that cattle had been hidden here to protect them from raiders. Cannot say I would like to try and get cattle up here but it would be a great hiding place.

5. The prison.jpg

I was planning to camp on 'The Table' but the wind had really picked up so I descended slightly and pitched my tent a little lower down.I do not think there is anything better than sat in your tent with a nice hot brew admiring the views, especially somewhere as amazing as this place and although the weather was brilliant, mist swirled in and out making for a really spooky experience.

6. Wild Camping on The Quirang.jpg

7. Wild Camping on the Quirang 2.jpg

It was still light outside when I dropped off asleep and unfortunately I did not wake up in time for the sunrise but at 6am I was packed up and heading back down the path to the car. Amazing day!
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Re: A Strangely Isolated Place

Postby Milesy » Mon May 17, 2010 11:05 am

Absolutely cracking photos and situation there. 8) 8)
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Re: A Strangely Isolated Place

Postby kevsbald » Mon May 17, 2010 12:45 pm

Brilliant stuff - I must have jinxed you in Glen Etive - Kinley would be proud.

"Considered running up Blaven..."

Help me boab! :shock:
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Re: A Strangely Isolated Place

Postby Alastair S » Mon May 17, 2010 12:48 pm

What a mad (in a good way :D) campsite + the Cullin panorama is brillant. Full marks curly.
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Re: A Strangely Isolated Place

Postby gaffr » Mon May 17, 2010 12:54 pm

These are very bonny images.....image no.6 would be a somnambulists nightmare :o
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Re: A Strangely Isolated Place

Postby Paul Webster » Mon May 17, 2010 1:08 pm

You can see me at my desk from there! (if you had a telescope!) - hope you waved.

Glad you got a good day for Bla Bheinn, the views from there are something special.
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