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Skye Adventure - Day 1, with an early warning scare!!

Skye Adventure - Day 1, with an early warning scare!!


Postby Fife Flyer » Sat May 16, 2015 10:53 pm

Munros included on this walk: Sgurr a'Ghreadaidh, Sgurr a'Mhadaidh

Date walked: 15/05/2015

Time taken: 6 hours

Distance: 10 km

Ascent: 1067m

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Yes the visit to Skye had finally arrived and after yesterdays superb wall to wall sunshine, guess what - the weather gods were conspiring to make the adventure miserable :( The forecast for the whole 5 days we are here has room for improvement :wink:
The 5 participants in this adventure are myself (obviously), Simon (simon-b), Karen (kmai1961), Jimmy (jamesjones) and Andy (AJNicholls), we are staying in various different accomodation/s
I suggested a cunning plan in respect of WR's, as we are here for 5 days rather than me do lots of boring reports why don't we have a day each 8)
The plan was to meet our guide (Paddy) for the first of the fun five days at Glen Brittle Hostel at 9am, was a great plan apart from a slight navigational malfunction. Andy and I went in completely the wrong direction, I had earlier seen a sign posted Glen Brittle (near Sligachan), which was the footpath. So after checking the OS map we hurriedly set off in the right direction at warp factor 5 and were only about 15 minutes late - sorry guys :(
The weather was dry, a tad windy and Paddy advised us that if the conditions were as bad as forecast we would probably be turning back. We were all given helmets and a carabiner, a sign of what lay in store :lol:
By 9.30am we were on our way following Paddy along the nice path which was rising gradually. As we headed up Coire a'Ghreadaidh the rather steeper terrain could be seen in the distance, at no time did we ever see any of the peaks or summits we were heading towards - a bit ominous.

ImageDSCF1651 by Martin Beswick, Water feature, take one

ImageDSCF1652 by Martin Beswick, Follow the leader and stay in step :lol:

ImageDSCF1655 by Martin Beswick, Good path initially, note the cloud in the background

ImageDSCF1658 by Martin Beswick, First brief stop

ImageDSCF1661 by Martin Beswick, the shape of things to come, except bigger and scarier

ImageDSCF1662 by Martin Beswick, Impressive or what

ImageDSCF1667 by Martin Beswick, I think we were going round to the right!

Once we hit the scree slopes things started to get a bit trickier, we had spotted a large group ahead of us in the distance, which we later discovered were teenagers with a number of adults. Whether it was a good idea safety wise to take such a large group, bearing in mind the forecast and conditions that is open to debate.

ImageDSCF1669 by Martin Beswick, large party starting the ascent

ImageDSCF1670 by Martin Beswick, similar shot, zoomed

ImageDSCF1672 by Martin Beswick, Smile we are having fun

ImageDSCF1673 by Martin Beswick, Substitute me for Andy

We started the climb up a gully and Paddy decided it was time to don helmets etc, so it was off with the rucksacks and Paddy's next plan was to leave the rucksacks there to be reunited with us after completing the first summit.
No sooner had we put our helmets on and we heard a warning shout from above, we all looked up and saw a rock bigger than a football heading towards us. We all took avoiding action and by pure chance no one was struck. Paddy was obviously not impressed and shouted up to what looked like 3 persons on a ridge above us, not to move until we were safely out of harms way.
If there is one thing that gets the adrenaline pumping I can guarantee it is seeing a rock hurtling towards you, we were all shocked and it was a very early warning call as to how dangerous the hills on Skye can be :roll:

ImageDSCF1675 by Martin Beswick, Karen having fun

ImageDSCF1676 by Martin Beswick, Andy clinging on with Jimmy supervising

ImageDSCF1677 by Martin Beswick,

Apologies for the lack of action shots, but after the first summit the conditions got worse, unless you like strong gusty wind which contains a mixture of hail and rain, and as a result the camera was packed in my rucksack as it isn't very fond of rain. I took my camera to the summit but I must have either been in shock or the sheer excitement of reaching the summit, forgot to take any photo's :lol: I only took just over 30 photo's which is only a fraction of what I would normally take :(

ImageDSCF1678 by Martin Beswick, Andy pretending to smile

ImageDSCF1679 by Martin Beswick, Discussion time

ImageDSCF1681 by Martin Beswick,

ImageDSCF1683 by Martin Beswick, Concentration

ImageDSCF1684 by Martin Beswick, Simon contemplating

It didn't seem to take very long to reach the first summit and we didn't linger very long as the views were non existent and the conditions weren't exactly friendly and welcoming :lol: Now our thoughts turned to the even scarier part, the descent. As a group we were probably more aware and concerned about dislodging any loose stones and especially rocks, so great care was taken. One huge advantage was travelling light the lack of a rucksack on your back certainly gives more mobility and freedom.
Once we were back at the rucksacks it was decision time, Paddy asked us if we were happy to tackle Sgurr na Banachdich, not his exact words, he basically said the 2nd Munro and to a man/woman we were of the mindset that we couldn't get much wetter and if Paddy was happy then let's go for it :lol:

No sooner had we left the rucksacks, we headed up the scree chute and then the fun really began :shock:
Paddy romped up the sheer rock face and hitched the rope round a huge rock and we then took it in turns to hook ourselves on and climb up using the foot and hand holds. Once at the top it was a matter of unhooking yourself, scrambling round a ledge that one can only assume was very exposed and waiting for everyone else.
The rest of the walk/scramble to the summit was OK, but as before great care had to be taken due to the wet surface and especially on exposed sections as the wind was very gusty. Every one of us was now suffering from soaking wet gloves and you couldn't take them off to wring them out because you probably wouldn't get them back on again.
Eventually we reached the 2nd summit and once again we didn't hang around, it was basically brief congratulations now let's get off here :lol: By this time we were all literally soaked from head to toe, my feet were sloshing round in my boots, both my gaiter straps underneath had snapped (again), but gaiters were useless in those conditions.
We were all kind of dreading the descent using the rope, but we knew we had to do it and as it turned out, I found it harder waiting for my turn as I was at the back of the queue, mainly because I was getting cold and chittery.
The 3 walkers we saw earlier were intending to descent by a different route but then opted to join the queue behind us, sorry I didn't catch your names and good luck on Knoydart :wink:
I found the rope descent much easier than I was expecting and then it was a matter of being re-united with the rucksacks, having a quick drink and get down as soon as we could.
The descent down the scree wasn't exactly pleasant but you get used to it and quite good progress was made. I did comment to Karen on more than one occasion, that I had never seen her descend so quickly and it was impressive :wink:
Once we reached the bottom of the scree, the next problem was the amount of water that was running off the hills, a small burn that we crossed with ease earlier was now a raging torrent. So Paddy led us slightly uphill where the burn split into about 4 bits and we just went for it, drying to keep your boots/feet dry wasn't an option :lol:
I daresay time wise that is probably one of the quickest descents on record and once the vehicles came into view there was sheer relief.
Once I dumped my rucksack in the car I had to run back up the hill to take a photo of the burn just to demonstrate the change in the amount of water that was flowing, I apologise that the photo isn't very clear but I was facing into the elements :D

ImageDSCF1685 by Martin Beswick, Water feature take 2, horrendous or what?

That concludes day one of the Skye Trip, I can now sit back and enjoy the 'ride' as Jimmy has volunteered to compose what was todays walk - so it's over to you Jimmy :wink:
Last edited by Fife Flyer on Sun May 17, 2015 7:08 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Skye Adventure - Day 1, with an early warning scare!!

Postby AJNicholls » Sat May 16, 2015 11:20 pm

I will never forget that rock spinning in mid-air about a metre from my head as long as I live. I think it was before we donned helmets too, just as we were stopping to put them on, but I may have misremembered that in the chaos.

I believe the peaks were actually Sgurr a' Mhadaidh first, followed by Sgurr a'Ghreadaich. No doubt Simon will correct me if I'm wrong there.

Thanks for the report Martin. Was a great experience.
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Re: Skye Adventure - Day 1, with an early warning scare!!

Postby rockhopper » Sat May 16, 2015 11:42 pm

Challenging conditions but well done all of you for managing what you did :thumbup:
Looked very enjoyable despite the weather.

AJNicholls wrote:I believe the peaks were actually Sgurr a' Mhadaidh first, followed by Sgurr a'Ghreadaich. No doubt Simon will correct me if I'm wrong there.
Sounds like one of Paddy's days - Sgurr a’Mhadaidh then Sgurr a’Ghreadaidh and, if conditions allow, Sgurr na Banachdich. Had a great time with Paddy as guide a couple of years ago - great to see him out and about - cheers :)
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Re: Skye Adventure - Day 1, with an early warning scare!!

Postby Fife Flyer » Sun May 17, 2015 7:16 am

AJNicholls wrote:I believe the peaks were actually Sgurr a' Mhadaidh first, followed by Sgurr a'Ghreadaich. No doubt Simon will correct me if I'm wrong there.


Good spot Andy :wink: I had opted for the wrong Sgurr from the not very big selection :lol: :lol:
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Re: Skye Adventure - Day 1, with an early warning scare!!

Postby Beaner001 » Sun May 17, 2015 8:40 am

Wow, wouldn't want to be heading that football :shock:
Got Paddy booked with my dad in July for a couple of days - can't wait, hope at least one of the days is fair weather :angel:
Cracking report Martin, looking forward to the rest by the rest :lol:
Cheers
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Re: Skye Adventure - Day 1, with an early warning scare!!

Postby PeteR » Sun May 17, 2015 11:55 am

Well done to all of you in achieving both summits in those conditions :clap: Let's hope the weather improves for you all during the remaining days of your collective adventure.

Not sure I would have enjoyed the falling rock incident :shock:

Oh and thanks................................I'm now full of fear and dread for my visit planned in a few weeks time :shock: I just hope the weather takes a turn for the better some time soon :wink:
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Re: Skye Adventure - Day 1, with an early warning scare!!

Postby AnnieMacD » Sun May 17, 2015 1:32 pm

Wow, near miss. So glad that you all escaped and are OK. And kudos for sticking with the climb after that plus the awful weather. Hope it's better for you today - seems to be mixed with a bit of wind though.
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Re: Skye Adventure - Day 1, with an early warning scare!!

Postby Sgurr » Sun May 17, 2015 1:48 pm

Oh dear. Work colleague of daughter has just gone to Skye this week in hopes of doing the lot....I tell her if her Mum can do it age 63, he will find it a doddle...but he seems unconvinced, and I must say, having stood under what seemed like a power shower on Sgurr Bannadich (a Plan B instead of the In Pinn) I shall follow your exploits with interest. Mostly we had brilliant weather and picked it off one or two by two.
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Re: Skye Adventure - Day 1, with an early warning scare!!

Postby Collaciotach » Sun May 17, 2015 3:18 pm

Nice one in poor conditions .

Lucky escape with thon rock !
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Re: Skye Adventure - Day 1, with an early warning scare!!

Postby AJNicholls » Sun May 17, 2015 7:26 pm

Sgurr wrote:Oh dear. Work colleague of daughter has just gone to Skye this week in hopes of doing the lot....I tell her if her Mum can do it age 63, he will find it a doddle...but he seems unconvinced, and I must say, having stood under what seemed like a power shower on Sgurr Bannadich (a Plan B instead of the In Pinn) I shall follow your exploits with interest. Mostly we had brilliant weather and picked it off one or two by two.


I think it's fair to say we won't be doing all 12 Munros in this 5-day stretch. Paddy said he's never seen May this bad in Skye in 20 years of guiding.
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Re: Skye Adventure - Day 1, with an early warning scare!!

Postby dogplodder » Sun May 17, 2015 8:57 pm

Not sure if I'm more put off by the thought of the gabbro football hurtling at your head or the soaking gloves or the water sloshing in your boots - character building stuff all of it! :o
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Re: Skye Adventure - Day 1, with an early warning scare!!

Postby NevJB » Sun May 17, 2015 9:15 pm

Great stuff - you were sat at the table beside us in the Old Inn on Thursday night - all of us struggling with the pronunciation of the peaks. Glad you got to the top as the weather was going down hill when we left Skye on Friday morning. It takes a determined effort to summit on days like that not to mention the flying rock! Well done.
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Re: Skye Adventure - Day 1, with an early warning scare!!

Postby PermaHeretic » Sun May 17, 2015 9:32 pm

I can't believe I'm actually looking at pictures of a load of old grey rock in the hail and rain and yearning to be there. Is there a word equivalent to 'homesick' for missing Scottish mountains?
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Re: Skye Adventure - Day 1, with an early warning scare!!

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Sun May 17, 2015 9:46 pm

Well done to you all, that was some achievement in that weather. :clap: :clap: The photos really brought home the conditions -very atmospheric :roll: The rock fall sounded really unnerving, but will look forward to reading the rest.
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Re: Skye Adventure - Day 1, with an early warning scare!!

Postby Alteknacker » Sun May 17, 2015 10:37 pm

Smashing report, notwithstanding the lack of dense clag photos..... :lol:

Thank goodness the rock missed you all. I've had a similar experience myself, and it's very sobering indeed. No helmet in the world will stop the inevitable if the rock is football-sized (as it was in your and my case).

But most of all, this report reminds me of why I stick to my Cuillins strategy of only doing it when there's a high over Skye. We were planning to do the ridge in May this year - but only if there was good weather (historically, the best time based on weather records). But it's been postponed until there's a high; and we'll put up with the beasties . Wimpish, I know, but you know how these folks south of the border are...
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