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Marsco in the Mist

Marsco in the Mist

Postby NerdyJoePublic » Sun Jan 04, 2015 4:34 am

Route description: Marsco from Sligachan

Grahams included on this walk: Marsco

Date walked: 30/07/2014

Time taken: 6 hours

Distance: 14 km

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For those of you who prefer movies, please watch my video of this ascent at the link here:

I set off for Marsco in a bit of a desperate state. This was my first hill-walking trip to the Highlands and Islands in some time, and, having already failed to ascend all my other desired hills during this break, I was determined to have something to show for my time here.


I set of from the Sligachan Inn, as so many before me have, and headed down the well worn path beyond the bridge. One thing I noted was that many people seemed to be coming back from the hills rather than heading out towards them but I was confident that I could ascend and descend within a good- enough time. Was this confidence misplaced? Thankfully- owing in part to a Maglite Torch and my Garmin Foretrex GPS Watch, no...

Following the waypoints on my GPS, I arrived at a crossroads in the shadow of the looming Graham. It was here that, for whatever reason, my GPS waypoints "ran out" owing to some kind of glitch (or user incompetence). Blast... I never was too great with a map and compass...

I took the path left, which lead me on to some extremely boggy and hazardous terrain. In spite of being no veteran exactly of these lands, I do know one or two things about bogs. The most important is that being submerged in one up to your neck is not very much fun.


Taking care to avoid these potential pockets of despair, I realised that I was also in the middle of what appeared to be a breeding ground for Midges (correct me if I'm wrong David Attenborough). There were thousands of them! Luckily I had the foresight a few days previously to invest in a Nato Approved Midge Hat from Kyle of Lochalsh Pharmacy. This helped a great deal and I recommend these to anybody who has stumbled across this report in the strongest possible terms. The daftness felt in wearing one is surpassed greatly by the benefits.


Aided by the Nato Approved Midge Hat, I was able to deftly manoeuvre my way across the boulders alongside the stream until I had reached a relatively Midge-free environment. Having avoided an "Aliens" style showdown with the gigantic Midge-Queen I suspected was lurking around these parts, I decided to take a break and eat a black-pudding and onion sandwich whilst looking towards the glen.


I took some time to take in the scenery around me before pushing onwards. Over the crest of the left flank of the Graham, the scenery began to imbibe me with a taste of what was to come.



The next thing that came apparent was the handy series of red fence posts that led the way across the mountain's side, outlining the route almost perfectly. Although somewhat of an eye-sore (although bleakly attractive in some ways...) the practicality of these fixtures proved a helping hand.


On the way up the steep ridge, fantastic views of Loch Ainort revealed themselves to me as I kept glancing backwards to chart my progress.


For some reason, the higher I got, the more the shape of Loch Ainort reminded me of one of those old animal skin rugs with the head still attached...

The ascent was very steep and I found myself becoming more and more physically exhausted. However, my spirit was strong as I knew that every step towards the summit meant an extra step towards another hill.

On reaching the ridge summit I was presented with the feeling that I was now among the clouds. I remember the uneasy feeling this first gave me during one of my earlier trips to the Red Hills on the ridge between Glamaig and Drumh na Ruige. This time however, it was welcomed with a sense of relief- after a 5 year break from the hills, I was back!

There were some incredible views from the ridge. The fact that many of the surrounding hills were shrouded in cloud just made it all the more atmospheric.

Moving on from the ridge I found the summit- marked by a carin/fence post. Moving along the sharp ridge I came across a stone circle which looked like it was previously used for ritual purposes. I have read elsewhere that this is a "low shelter" which took the shine off it a little.

After taking in the views I headed back down - retracing my steps. The Garmin Foretrex helped me in spite of messing up the waypoints by providing me with the amount of time I had spent moving altogether throughout the journey- excluding breaks. This meant that I could calculate actual descent times much more accurately.

Returning home, as the light began to fail I took a final glance back at Marsco. My favourite Red Hill is still Glamaig, but Marsco is certainly worth a visit.
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Re: Marsco in the Mist

Postby larry groo » Wed Jan 07, 2015 10:33 am

Good stuff....

Love the sound of the Black Pudding and Onion Sandwich!!

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Re: Marsco in the Mist

Postby NerdyJoePublic » Wed Feb 11, 2015 1:18 pm

Haha! Thanks :) Yeah it was pretty nice... My girlfriend at the time bought it for me from one of the amazing food shops in Portree... there's some brilliant grub in that little town - the Salt 'n Pepper Chips from the Chinese takeaway there was really nice too...
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