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The Penultimate - Gillean

The Penultimate - Gillean


Postby basscadet » Sun May 31, 2015 10:24 am

Route description: Sgùrr nan Gillean

Munros included on this walk: Sgùrr nan Gillean

Date walked: 30/05/2015

Time taken: 7 hours

Distance: 14 km

Ascent: 1074m

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This weekend Dougie is busy with work and golf, so I looked at other things I could do by myself.. Weather looked fine on Saturday, and with compleation day looming, I thought I'd better get ready for it, so it was off to Skye on Friday night. :thumbup:
Got to the Slig at about 9.30. The campsite was busy, and is a bit squelchy just now - must of had a lot of rain in the past week, but i managed to find a dry spot and set up camp. Turned into a late night, as it was so light I just didn't realise :lol: Despite this I was up at a nae bad time and left at the back of 8, taking the well worn path to the hotel, then heading onto the paths beyond.


Gillean 30-MAY-15.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



The path undulated pleasantly across the moorland, past the pool with the blue rocks and up to the plank bridge where I stopped. Not because I was particularly tired, but just because it is such a bonny spot.. Clouds loomed over my target, but forcast was for an improvement :)

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The path steepened beyond the bridge, but it was cold enough that I was able to nip on, past a couple who were also doing Gillean today. They had ropes and allsorts :shock: made me feel unprepared, even though Dougie had reassured me that it was easy..

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Once past the big cairn that marks the bottom of pinnacle ridge, there was the easy descent into the corrie, where stepping stones took me across the boggy bits and onto the climb beyond.. The path there isn't brilliant, and for a lot of it I didn't know if I was on a path or in a stream bed. It was sheltered from the breeze so it got a bit hot.. What a slog!

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The path continued at an easier angle up to a second corrie where I stopped for a while. The top was in sight!

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The way out of the corrie looked like another slog up scree, so when at the mouth of the gully I saw a path heading left I was up for seeing where it went..

It took me below a slabby crag, up a boulderfield then onto a ledge high above the gully. I was encouraged on by cairns that seemed to whisper 'this is the way' as I passed them. A couple of times I was able to scramble up cracks to my left and traverse round back to the path.. This was becoming great fun :D just when I was getting into the swing of it, I arrived at a cairn which symbolised that I was back on the tourist route :? I saw a big cairn on the horizon to my left.. Just a few metres and I was up out of the corrie 8)

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A jumble of boulders made the way indestinct, but the ridge and the summit were in full view, so I just headed for a low point on the ridge, and found a path that took me there, via a couple of chimneys, and slabby bits which gave a welcome distraction from the sloggy bits in between.

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I finally made it to the ridge, drizzle starting to fall just in time for the scramble :? I stopped and waited it out, not really minding with the views looking so good.. It was still early so plenty time. I could see there were a group all roped up almost at the summit.

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The drizzle stopped and I waited another 10 minutes to let the rock dry out. I tried to stick to the crest, even if it wasn't the easiest way. Made the prelude to the main attraction very enjoyable. After a few hundred yards I found the basalt gully, which proved to be very easy.

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Beyond that was quite a high step, which looked a bit overhanging on the nose, but round to the left only a few feet, there was a large crack I managed to get up. It wasn't the easiest way, but it was fun and I was still trying for the crest as closely as possible.
The next step up was really easy, with plenty of broken rocks on the nose providing ample options. Once up, some perched boulders led to an airy swing round onto a slab.. Surely not the slab near the summit I thought, it hadn't been much scrambling at all yet, but at the top of the slab this view came to greet me - The summit!

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Just a couple of easy moves saw me there - fantastic! I had been a bit aprehensive about heading into the Cuillin on my todd, but Gillean had been really easy :D The main ridge was mostly clagged in, but good views toward the mainland.

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I sat there for probably about an hour. No-one else came, but a few shouts from climbers coming over the pinnacles and the odd croak of a raven disturbed the peace. It wasn't warm either wee patches of snow round abouts confirming that it wasn't my imagination!

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Eventually I felt like it was time to start heading back. I knew there were a couple of bits I came up that I wouldn't be able to down climb, so had to find another way. I returned easily to the slab

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where it looked like folk had gone down to the right.. I went down to investigate, but what I found looked horrific, so I went back up. I went further down the slabs, and swung back round the perched boulders. What lay the other side, didn't look how I remembered it, but I managed a kind of traversing descent on some slopey ledges that made my legs all wobbly. The couple I had passed earlier watched with interest from below which was re-assuring. I made it down and onto the easy traversing path, which although had a few scrambly bits, was easy going back round to the ridge at the top of the first basalt gully, which was easily negotiated. Yaay I had made it down 8)
I had previously decided to take the tourist screes path, but I saw a huge group coming up there, so I went back the path I had taken up. On the way up I had definitely been up a couple of scrambles which I didn't find on the way down, so I guess I was on a different path.. That's Skye for you, a labyrinth :lol:

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I made it back down to the cairn at the top of the corrie, lots of folk heading up so glad I was out early. I dropped down, again my intention was to take the scree gully down, but I got to a bit that looked absolutely horrific, so I ducked out right, and took the ledge path instead one again. This time minus the scrambly bits.

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After the skirt round, I managed to find a better path down into the next corrie, although it seemed a lot longer on the way back. I explored the slabs at the mouth of the corrie and hardly noticed the climb on the other side.

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I stopped again for ages next to the plank bridge. there is a rock there just the right shape for me, so really comfy with views to Dunn Cann and the manny at Storr :) The sun came out and the rest of the walk and the path over the moor was very pleasant with dragonflies buzzing about and fish jumping in the pools. Absolutely beautiful :D

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I was almost sad to get back, another munro in the bag, and now only one left to go.. Almost at the end of the journey :?
Weather looked rubbish for Sunday, and I was still feeling fresh enough for the long drive home, so I packed up and got on my way. The weather was getting darker by the moment, and just got on my way in time for the rain to arrive. Fun day out, but not as much scrambling fun as other parts of the ridge :D

So compleation is nigh - hoping to do it on the 20th June - Sgritheall with a stopover in Suardalan for the obligatoy dram - Come along if you can :wave:
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Re: The Penultimate - Gillean

Postby martin.h » Sun May 31, 2015 11:09 am

Nice report basscadet, thanks, looks like fun and fantastic views. My experience on the ridge is very limited indeed and reports like this make me more determined to have a go. We're thinking of doing what Fifeflyer and friends did and hire a guide for next summer, we just don't have the nerve and experience like you to go it alone, good on yer!
All the best for your compleation day, I hope the weather gods are kind to you.
Cheers.
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Re: The Penultimate - Gillean

Postby basscadet » Sun May 31, 2015 11:18 am

I'm glad you enjoyed the report :)
I was lucky enough to have a Dad who is a climber, so I had someone to take me out a couple of times to get some confidence up.. And you should get the SMC guide - maybe called Skye Scrambles, which gives a lot of information on the ground as to ways you can go.. mostly though, if one way looks too tricky, there is always another way in the Cuillin, and stuff you wouldn't contemplate in the glen, seems quite feasable when you are actually there with the gabbro being all sticky and all.. I hope you get good weather for your first forrays :D
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Re: The Penultimate - Gillean

Postby Mal Grey » Sun May 31, 2015 12:07 pm

An excellent day, your report reminding me that it really is one of the finest summits there is.
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Re: The Penultimate - Gillean

Postby Collaciotach » Sun May 31, 2015 12:14 pm

Ah so Sgritheall it is then :wink: ...... good luck and a fine hill to finish on :D
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Re: The Penultimate - Gillean

Postby Huff_n_Puff » Sun May 31, 2015 3:56 pm

Great report, really enjoyed it. All the best for Beinn Sgritheall :D :D
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Re: The Penultimate - Gillean

Postby Sunny Speyside » Sun May 31, 2015 4:35 pm

Enjoyed that and you have some lovely photos too, especially once the weather cheered up.
Fingers crossed for a good day for you on 20th
Cheers
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Re: The Penultimate - Gillean

Postby AnnieMacD » Sun May 31, 2015 5:22 pm

Fantastic, BC, you are almost there. I feel a bit sad for you in a way as nothing will be the same again!

I was on Beinn na Cro and Glas Bheinn Mhor (yes, I went down to sea level in between :crazy: ) and got a few pics of Gillean. It was covered in cloud early on but nice and clear later in the day. There were a few hours in the afternoon when the weather was just perfect.

Best of luck on Sgritheall - another classic.
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Re: The Penultimate - Gillean

Postby mrssanta » Sun May 31, 2015 7:08 pm

that was brilliant, and I hope the weather is perfect for you on the 20th June.
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Re: The Penultimate - Gillean

Postby stucrutchfield » Sun May 31, 2015 7:43 pm

great work!
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Re: The Penultimate - Gillean

Postby mgmt! » Sun May 31, 2015 8:25 pm

nice report basecadet, im itching to get back up to skye, this was my descent the first time i did gillean and i found it very long and tiring, fingers crossed you get good weather for completion
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Re: The Penultimate - Gillean

Postby Fife Flyer » Sun May 31, 2015 9:17 pm

Well done Shona, that sounded like an 'interesting' adventure to carry out on your own :clap: :clap:
Skye really is a unique and magical place hopefully we will be able to get up Gillean on our next visit :wink:

Hope to make it for your compleation :wink:
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Re: The Penultimate - Gillean

Postby mountain thyme » Sun May 31, 2015 9:23 pm

Well done Seana . It wouldnt be me soloing it :shock:
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Re: The Penultimate - Gillean

Postby teaandpies » Sun May 31, 2015 11:32 pm

I had a wee tear in my eye reading this, I was trying to imagine how I'd feel approaching the end and it just sort got to me I guess.

I feel inspired to do better.
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Re: The Penultimate - Gillean

Postby Scotjamie » Sun May 31, 2015 11:52 pm

Excellent stuff as always Seana. Enjoy 20th, you deserve it.
Sorry I can't make it along (Lesley's birthday).
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