A departure from being touristy this afternoon - a walk to Preshal More, Dun Sleadale broch and finally Talisker Bay... good paths not supplied today!
The parking area for Talisker Bay was quite busy, and we squeezed into one of the last tight spots thanks to having a small car. Company at the parking area:
Using the road for the first km or so took some of the sting out of the ascent of Preshal More, with plenty of time to enjoy the views up the north side of the glen:
Our first target was directly to the south, looking much more foreboding:
Our planned ascent route was up the valley on the left side of Preshal More, so we stayed on the road until we were directly north of it, then heading due south to the valley, minimising pathless terrain. However, that meant crossing the River Talisker, slightly swollen after overnight rain. A large stepping stone had to be constructed to enable crossing with dry feet, following by desperately clinging to long grass to haul ourselves up the opposite bank. Probably better to leave the road slightly further down, before it crosses to the north side of the river. Beyond, the ground was tussocky but not too wet, all the way to the bealach close to the summit of Preshal More. Hard on the thighs, but a cooling breeze and great views:
That cooling breeze was more like storm force on the top, but we struggled across to the large cairn, which is perched right on the edge of the summit plateau with a fantastic outlook over Talisker Bay:
The whole hill is constructed from basalt columns, best seen from the south side. A couple of steep gullies cut into the slopes on this side, and we used one to scramble / slide down, directly into the buffeting wind. The light was terrible, but the columns fascinating. An intimidating place.
Apparently Preshal Beg (further to the south) is even more spectacular, but it looked to be a long tramp across boggy ground. Instead we made a beeline for Dun Sleadale. Just the little matter of a drainage basin with Sleadale Burn and its various tributaries in the way. Again, the ground wasn't too wet, but very tussocky, making for tiring progress. We got lucky with the burn, reaching it by chance at a section that was, just, hoppable. Looking back to Preshal Beg from the middle of the moor:
A short, painful ascent to the broch followed, but it was worth a visit - still impressively thick on one side, and a large tree growing in the middle, in an otherwise treeless landscape.
Surprisingly another group of walkers seem to be heading for the broch, having ascended more directly up Sleadale Burn. We headed off before they reached us, although we later spotted them having lunch by the cliffs. We reached the close to the 174 metre spot height on the 1:25000 OS maps - very windy again here, but a sturdy iron post let us peer down towards the stormy sea.
As we headed north a safe distance from the clifftops, we realised that the spots of rain in the area were actually spray from various streams running off the cliffs here, being blown back up again. Annoyingly this also made the ground surrounding each one very boggy. Not much water was making it down to Talisker Bay from the northern cliffs today:
The grass ended abruptly at a cliff - whoops. Time to head east, until we found a suitable point to descend, on steep grass close to a burn. The map above may not be accurate for this part - can't really remember which burn it was. Good views of Talisker Bay all the way:
Back on the track to the car, Preshal More stood proudly ahead, looking much bigger than its 320 metre actual height.
Four miles, but felt like ten well worth it though!
Previous day: Cave of Gold: http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=56372
Late afternoon: Ardtreck Point: http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=56428
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