Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

Weasels on Hols - Part 2 - Skye & Harris - and rain

Weasels on Hols - Part 2 - Skye & Harris - and rain

Postby weaselmaster » Wed Jun 10, 2015 11:24 pm

Corbetts included on this walk: Ben Tee, Clisham, Creag Rainich, Garbh-bheinn (Skye), Glamaig, Sgùrr Mhic Bharraich

Date walked: 01/06/2015

Time taken: 31.25 hours

Distance: 82.45 km

Ascent: 5796m

2 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).

After a fairly miserable weather experience during our first week of holidays I had increasinly forlorn hopes that matters might improve over the second week. My plan had been to travel to Skye for Glamaig and Garbh Bheinn then across to Harris for the Clisham Horseshoe, leaving 4 days at the end of the week to spend wherever had the best weather - ideally Torridon. We spent a very windy night in the campsite at Ardmair, with the tent being buffetted and blasted by strong winds off the sea and Skye in these conditions didn't seem particularly sensible. Casting around for options I decided we'd take in Creag Rainich, down near the Fannaichs, on the way down the road, delaying our departure for Skye by 24 hours. This turned out to be a reasonable option.

Day 10 - Creag Rainich

Drove down to Braemore junction and along the A832, parking at the layby we'd used for the Fannaichs last year. Cloud level was quite low, but it was dry and the winds seemed to have subsided somewhat. Walked down the track to the boat house then turned west along the shores of Loch a'Bhraoin, where there's a path. Views were of the western Fannaichs initially, with the Fisherfield hills coming into sight as we progressed along the lochside. At a stick marker we turned up the flanks of Creag Rainich and made gentle progress over wet heathery slopes. We made the back of the hill when I was aware of a presence over to my left, looked up to find An Teallach sitting there - wow! From this perspective the mountain looked almost friendly, not the imposing saturnine cliffs seen from the Fisherfields. There's a dip by some lochans then the final easy pull up to the trig point. Views -particularly of An Teallach but also of the eastern Fisherfield hills were good. We found shelter from the cold wind behind some rocks round to the right of the trig and enjoyed a spectacle of views with our lunch. Whilst we were feasting, another walker appeared and we chatted for a time at the summit. He was down to 37 Corbetts to go. We bade farewell and set off down the SE slopes towards the cottage at Lochivraon, rejoining the track along the lochside. Back at the car in just over 5 hours, a very pleasant and rewarding day out.

By the starting point
ImageP1080018 by Al, on Flickr

Western Fannaichs/ Loch Bhrotain
ImageP1080019 by Al, on Flickr

Route marker
ImageP1080022 by Al, on Flickr

View back along the Loch
ImageP1080023 by Al, on Flickr

First view of An Teallach
ImageP1080024 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080027 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080029 by Al, on Flickr

Final section to summit Creag Rainich
ImageP1080031 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080032 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080035 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080036 by Al, on Flickr

Ben Mor Coigach
ImageP1080039 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080042 by Al, on Flickr

I think this is the east ridge of Mhic fhearchair
ImageP1080044 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080045 by Al, on Flickr

Cottage at Lochvraon
ImageP1080046 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080048 by Al, on Flickr

We then had an enjoyable drive down through Achnasheen and Kintail to Skye. As we crossed the Skye bridge the rain started - what else did we expect. We called in at the Co-Op in Broadford for some supplies and were hailed by Polly33 who was driving by - she was having 4 days in the Cuillins. Unlike us she was staying in some fancy hostel with beds and dry things - our style of walking was dismissed as being "mentally deranged" or maybe that was her description of us - probably right :lol: By the time we approached Sligachan campsite the rain was positively bouncing off the ground. The lower section of the site looked flooded - we'd experienced that first hand thanks, so we pitched on a wee knoll at the entrance to the site in full waterproof gear. Had hoped to head to the Slig for a meal/beers but the weather was so appaling that staying put in the tent seemed the better bet. Rained all night.

Day 11 - Glamaig.

glamaigx.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

I had decided we'd have a short day today and get the ferry over to Harris this evening as the forecast for the following day was vaguely promising and I did want to see Harris in fair weather. We set off from the campsite after packing away the wet tent, Glamaig having her head in the clouds and the rain a constant drizzle. I may have gone wrong with my track as the initial approach along the Allt Dariach was horribly wet and boggy - I was expecting more of a track. We did find one eventually. I was torn between following the route on my GPS up to the bealach or going straight up - in the end we contoured up the front of the hill towards the bealach but I'm not sure there was any great gain in doing so. Once at the bealach the clag descended further and there followed a grim 350m ascent on steep loose wet scree. Got to the top of Sgurr Mhairi, decided against proceeding along the ridge to An Coileach and headed back down - at least the scree run was a bit of fun. Sat at the bealach behind some rocks to have lunch - by this time any plans to climb the Beinn Deargs to our right had evaporated due to the weather being crap. Returned to the car along the path by Teanga Mhor, getting some views of Gillean. It had been a bit of a slog and I have no idea how these hill runners do this hill in three quarters of an hour or less.

ImageP1080050 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080052 by Al, on Flickr

Glamaig & Beinn Dearg
ImageP1080053 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080054 by Al, on Flickr

Up the scree from the bealach
ImageP1080056 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080057 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080059 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080060 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080063 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080064 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080066 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080068 by Al, on Flickr

We headed to Portree for some supplies and a pint - ooh a log fire to dry the bones - then drove on to Uig to wait for the ferry. I'd decided we'd go over on foot as I didn't want the hassle of booking the Yeti on board and being committed to specific times - the ferry traffic was busy as we expected at this time of year. We had a couple of hours to kill in Uig, where there isn't a great deal to do. Walked round the Isle of Skye Brewery shop, wandered up and down the pier and the ferry came in about 40 mins late. Set off just after 18.30 and had a nice smooth crossing. Got talking to Michael in the bar - heading home to his folks in Stornoway for the first time in a while, liked Ice Climbing. He'd noticed my Mountain Equipment waterproofs - which I'd just kept on whislt on the boat - they'd become a permanent fixture over this holiday so far. He was interested in our plans to climb clisham - or "THE Clisham" as it's referred to locally. As we prepared to disembark and walk for an hour or two to find a spot to pitch, Michael came up to us and suggested his dad would be delighted to give us a lift to the start of the walk if we wanted. This was unexpected - it was a lovely sunny evening and I wouldn't have minded the walk, but it was getting on for 20.15 and it would be nice to be pitched before dusk fell. So we piled out of the ferry, met Michael's dad, Murdo, who managed to squeeze us and Michael into his car and generously gave us a lift up to the bridge before the Scaladale centre, where we'd be starting our walk tomorrow. Only problem now was trying to find somewhere dry enough to pitch the wee tent - not easy when you are in the middle of flat boggy ground. We did find a hillock with a dip in it that I think the sheep probably use to shelter from the Harris winds - just big enough for the tent. We did get some stares from the sheep, one in particular who glared away at us for ages - I think we'd taken her bed for the night. Anyway, we slept soundly enough and were not killed in our bed by a rogue ewe - and for once it stayed dry overnight.

Happily waiting for the ferry
ImageP1080069 by Al, on Flickr

Here she comes
ImageP1080070 by Al, on Flickr

Coming into Tairbert
ImageP1080074 by Al, on Flickr

Bridge at Allt Scaladale
ImageP1080075 by Al, on Flickr

Our pitch for the night
ImageP1080076 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080077 by Al, on Flickr

Day 12 - The Clisham Horseshoe

clishaam.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

We woke to bright sunshine, although it was still chilly and we made an early start, deciding to leave the tent in situ as neither of us fancied humphing all our gear round the hills. This did mean that we'd have to return for our stuff after coming off The Clisham and would add a few KM to the day, but seemed a fair deal. We hoped the sheep wouldn't exert revenge on the tent in our absence. We followed the Abhainn Scaladale on its left bank - there is a clear - if boggy - path and made for the lower slopes of the first hill in the circuit, Mullach an Langa. As we gained height on grassy then stony slopes we could see more of the circuit awaiting us - impressive horseshoe. Although there had been some smirry rain it was mostly dry and the clouds were high enough up not to obscure our views. From the first summit we had views down to the wonderful golden sands of Seilebost and Scarasta. One disadvantage of not taking the car was the lack of opportunity to visit the beaches - although let's face it - it hadn't really been "beachy" weather. There's not much drop before the next stony/craggy character is reached - Mulla Bho Thuath, then Mulla Bho Dheas. From here we could see 3 wind turbines in the valley below - ghastly! The descent from here to the bealach with An Clisham involved a wee scramble, although I'm sure there were easier routes than the one Allison chose - she is such a wee devil :lol:

ImageP1080080 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080082 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080084 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080086 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080087 by Al, on Flickr

The Clisham
ImageP1080089 by Al, on Flickr

Up Mullach na Langa
ImageP1080090 by Al, on Flickr

The next few tops
ImageP1080094 by Al, on Flickr

Oh the beaches!
ImageP1080096 by Al, on Flickr

Mulla bho
ImageP1080099 by Al, on Flickr

An Clisham
ImageP1080100 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080101 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080103 by Al, on Flickr

Damned turbines
ImageP1080108 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080109 by Al, on Flickr

Wee bit of scrambling
ImageP1080111 by Al, on Flickr

We stopped for lunch before walking up the bouldery but easy slopes of An Clisham. Clag had steadily descended, and by the time we reached the craggy summit we were into poor visibility and the inevitable shower of hailstones. I did begin to feel my passion for the hills was being deliberately tested this holiday - a bit like Job, if truth be told :roll: We spotted a couple of walkers sitting at the trig whislt we scrambled over to it, but by the time we got there they had already departed. We didn't stay long in the conditions and decided to head off the east side of the mountain, picking our way through the crags and heading for Tomnabhal - there was actually a clear path going through the worst of the craggy bits. Went over Tomnabhal, as it seemed churlish to leave the final summit in the horseshoe out. From there we headed ESE following the shoulder of the hill, curving eventually back towards Gleann Scaladale, joining up with the track that brought us out just above the bridge. Saw the bus for Tairbert passing by -damn - we could have got a lift and today's ferry - but it wasn't really much of an ordeal to remain another night on Harris. Collected the tent and kit, then set off back up the track we'd come down on, over to the radio mast by the main road. The path was opened by Cameron McNeish in 2007 but has not been well maintained since, becoming boggy and several benches along its length smashed up. Once on the road we continued down a minor road before joining a better track down Gleann Lacasdail. We'd planned to get the late morning ferry the following day and I wanted to be sure that we wouldn't miss it, so insisted we walk a good part of the distance back to Tairbert. We also had to look for a suitable campspot - again the problem of boggy ground was the main one. About midway down the loch there were several good spots of dry firm grass as opposed to wet boggy heather clumps and we picked a nice spot for the tent. It had been a long day, and hot food was very welcome.

Slope up An Clisham
ImageP1080112 by Al, on Flickr

View back round the horseshoe
ImageP1080114 by Al, on Flickr

Nearing the top
ImageP1080116 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080118 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080119 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080121 by Al, on Flickr

Top of Tomnabhal
ImageP1080122 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080124 by Al, on Flickr

On the track
ImageP1080125 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080128 by Al, on Flickr

oops - the rucksack cover's on- must be raining
ImageP1080129 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080130 by Al, on Flickr

Loch Lacasdail
ImageP1080131 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080132 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080133 by Al, on Flickr

Day 13 - Garbh Bheinn

We woke well rested after a lovely quiet night and had a leisurely start to the day - no rush as the ferry didn't leave til 11.50 and we had at most 5km to walk into Tairbert. The remainder of the track was well surfaced and easy walking, joining the road at Urgha and a meander down the highway into town. Pretty little place with rhodedendron flowers and a sea breeze. Waited at the ferry office, reading a display about the local connexions with WW1. ferry arrived on time and it was another smooth crossing on a flat calm Minch.

Walking into Tairbert
ImageP1080134 by Al, on Flickr

Harris Rhubarb
ImageP1080135 by Al, on Flickr

Harris Guarddog
ImageP1080136 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080137 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080138 by Al, on Flickr

garbhbeinn.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

Back at the car by 13.40 and decided we'd just go and climb Garbh Bheinn then get sorted out at the campsite. Parked in the layby at the head of Loch Ainort and set off across the road following a faint path through boggy ground up onto the lower flanks of Druim Eadar Da Choire - grassy and easy. Took about an hour to get to the top of this part of the ridge. As we climbed the clouds stradily lowered - what a surprise! Coming down to the bealach before the start of Garbh Bheinn proper we noticed the abrupt transition from red cuillin to black. The ascent became typical of the Black Cuillin after this - sharp rock edges, crags and scree, but very straightforward until the final 50m which did involve a bit of narrow ridge walking and mild scrambling, nothing that felt particularly exposed however. Got glimpses of the ridge over to Clach Glas, which looked a superb outing, but not for today. After reaching the summit, the clag made it quite difficult to identify the way ahead as there seemed to be a multitude of tracks in the scree. We did find the way onto the downward ridge however and ran the scree down to Bealach na Beiste. The original plan had been to ascent Belig too, but once again the poor visibility made this a rather worthless grind and we decided to save it for a better day - assuming we ever get such a thing. Decided to descend down the stream bed from the bealach - fairly straightforward. Lovely clear tasty water too. Then just contoured over the side of Coire Choinnich and headed back to the road. Returned to Sligachan campsite - pitching in dry weather this time - Yay! and did manage to head over to the Slig for fish & chips and a few bottles of Loch Ness ale.

Garbh Bheinn from the layby
ImageP1080139 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080141 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080142 by Al, on Flickr

over to the Ridge
ImageP1080144 by Al, on Flickr

Loch Coruisk
ImageP1080146 by Al, on Flickr

Red turns to Black
ImageP1080147 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080148 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080149 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080151 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080152 by Al, on Flickr

Clach Glas ridge
ImageP1080155 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080156 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080158 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080159 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080161 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080162 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080163 by Al, on Flickr

Back at the Slig
ImageP1080164 by Al, on Flickr

Day 14 - Sgurr Mhic Bharraich

Well the weather gods had done a dirty on us and rain was forecast for everywhere over the remaining few days. Grim reading as we studied the forecast. No trip back up to Torridon for us, what would we do instead? Sgurr Mhic Barriach seemed an obvious choice as it was en route, then maybe Ben Tee and one of our Etive Corbetts on the Sunday? The forecast made it clear that rain would persist until early/mid afternoon, so there was no point setting off too early. Drove down to Shiel Bridge and set up the tent by late morning then just sat around having coffee and snacking until it got to about 2pm and we decided to set off. Originally I'd drawn up a killer route for Mhic Bharraich that took in the 2 remaining Tops on the Saddle I havent done and returned over the Graham Biod an Fhithich but that was clearly not on today with the weather or the time available - plus neither of us felt particularly fit. There's a nice track that leaves right from the campsite and runs down the side of the Allt Undalain, giving pretty views into the big horseshoe of the Saddle's ridges. The path rises slowly and eventually crosses over into Glen Elg, but we turned off at Loch Coire nan Crogachan, by the double cairn markers and headed towards Mhic Bharraich. We made for the top of the 724m rise then headed across to the summit cairn, with the wind suddenly giving us some icy blasts. Nice views to the Sisters and Sgritheall, with Cheesecake visable as a pointy pyramid up to the north and closer, Beinn Bhan and Sgurr a'Chaorachain impressing. We headed straight down the steep, grassy eastern slopes and met the track at the bottom. Back at the tent it was time for a mega-curry that we were able to eat in the sunshine for a change.

Mhic Bharraich in the background
ImageP1080165 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080167 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080168 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080169 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080171 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080172 by Al, on Flickr

Route up Mhic Bharraich
ImageP1080175 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080177 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080178 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080179 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080181 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080183 by Al, on Flickr

Beinn Bhan
ImageP1080186 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080188 by Al, on Flickr

Biod an Fhithich
ImageP1080189 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080192 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080193 by Al, on Flickr

Day 15 - Ben Tee

Rain was the flavour once again for Saturday. Packed up and set off with heavy hearts, drove down to Loch Lochy and down by Laggan Locks to Kilfinnan and the wee parking area by the farm - no other cars :lol: Waterproofs on from the start and a very wet few hours. There's a clear track to follow up the hillside from the car parking area then it's over flat heathery terrain and a dodgy stile. Clag was down once again and neither of us was particularly enjoying the traipse. As we reached the bottom of Ben Tee the wind got up - there were still significant patches of snow around and it felt much colder than June should. The ascent to the cairn seemed to go on for ages, with the usual lashings of rain/sleet in the face. Joy!! Plodded back down by the same route and oozed into the car.

ImageP1080194 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080195 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080197 by Al, on Flickr

Ben Tee in the background
ImageP1080198 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080199 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080203 by Al, on Flickr

ImageP1080208 by Al, on Flickr

Stopped off at Fort Bill on the way down for a visit to Cotswolds then drove down to Glencoe and pitched up at the Squirrel, which was quite busy, though nothing like as busy as it would have been given more seasonal weather I suspect. Sunday's forecast seemed a bit more promising and we considered doing Beinn Trilleachan on the Sunday. But first there was another wet night to get through - we decided to spend it in the Clachaig, which was jumping. Too many pints and both of us felt somewhat *fragile* on Sunday morning - so ended up doing no hills, just waiting around the campsite to feel a bit more human before setting off down the road in the afternoon - in the sunshine, if you would believe it :sick:

So the end of our 2 week summer holiday - a disappointing affair it must be said due to the total lack of any summery weather. yes we managed to get all the hills done that I'd wanted to do despite the conditions, but it would have been so much nicer to have more clement days to enjoy them in. It does take me down to less than 30 Corbetts to go, and there is that sense of momentum to finish that I remember last year from compleating the Munros - although nearly all my remainders are far flung in the North West. Bring it on!
User avatar
Hill Bagger
Posts: 1958
Munros:237   Corbetts:67
Grahams:78   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:383   Hewitts:31
Wainwrights:15   Islands:28
Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

Re: Weasels on Hols - Part 2 - Skye & Harris - and rain

Postby SAVAGEALICE » Fri Jun 12, 2015 4:42 pm

With that weather think I'd have been getting a last minute booking to the med!! :wink: :lol: you hardy pair! Really hope you get better weather for your next visit up north.
User avatar
Posts: 615
Munros:282   Corbetts:192
Grahams:61   Donalds:5
Sub 2000:46   Hewitts:22
Wainwrights:33   Islands:21
Joined: Aug 26, 2008
Location: Alness, Ross-shire

Re: Weasels on Hols - Part 2 - Skye & Harris - and rain

Postby IreneM » Fri Jun 12, 2015 4:55 pm

Phew! Feeling exhausted just reading your holiday reports! :lol:

We were on hols at the same time as you - a mixture of a Compleation Party on Knoydart, Kintail, Skye and back to Strathcarron, and although we had our usual camping gear with us, no tent was erected on this holiday!!!

You and SK are so much hardier than us! :lol: :lol: :lol:

Well done on climbing so many hills under such "trying" weather conditions :clap: :clap: :clap:
Posts: 191
Munros:282   Corbetts:183
Grahams:12   Donalds:12
Sub 2000:10   Hewitts:1
Wainwrights:1   Islands:12
Joined: Oct 8, 2008
Location: Dunfermline

2 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).

Walkhighlands community forum is advert free

Your generosity keeps this site running.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by donating by direct debit?

Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: DocWatson, Footstomper, jgregor, KJRitchie and 49 guests