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Sneosdal - not to be sneezed at

Sneosdal - not to be sneezed at


Postby denfinella » Fri Sep 25, 2015 7:37 pm

Route description: Loch Sneosdal circuit, Kilmuir

Date walked: 23/08/2015

Time taken: 3 hours

Distance: 8 km

Ascent: 350m

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This little traveled circuit had caught my eye on walkhighlands a few years ago, so it was nice to actually get the chance to try it out. And nice to go somewhere in Skye devoid of other tourists!


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Instead of parking in Kilmuir, there was ample space for a couple of cars up at the where the proper circuit begins. A good track to start with, slowly ascending towards the transmitter mast. Sunshine was slowly coming through and the temperature climbing - and the wind we on its way to its forecast gale strength. Curious sheep eyeballed us as we climbed onto higher ground.

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Beyond the transmitter the track deteriorated dramatically - we'd been lulled into a false sense of security by the previously good surface. Sometimes the wettest bits could be avoided by following the verge, but at other times, long detours around wet areas were required. This part is a waymarked walk - not good. Now I could understand why both the previous walkhighlanders who submitted walk reports for this walk had to abandon the route!

Eventually we turned off onto a narrow path over the moorland with occasional marker posts. In sections this was OK, but every little dip harboured another area of bog, making for very slow progress. It would be difficult to find the way in mist here - the marker posts are few and far between, and the path disappears at the merest hint of bog, as walkers disperse to find ways around. On the plus side, the dramatic crags behind (hidden) Loch Sneosdal were looming closer ahead.

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Nearing the loch, the path veered left into a bog that could have been a walk-ender. Five minutes of trying to get around it to the path beyond, and I had the idea of making a beeline for the loch edge instead. This turned out to be the best decision I made all day - despite starting by going in the wrong direction, the going was much drier here, with slightly steeper ground aiding drainage and a faint path most of the time.

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The unusual topography was doing funny things to the wind - after strong wind on the moor, it was nearly calm by the water's edge as we approached the outlet to the loch. Meanwhile, the far side of the water by the cliffs was being whipped up into mini waterspouts by the ferocity of the wind over there. Knowing it would be windy up on the crags, we stopped and had lunch in the shelter, watching nature at work on the water.

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I'd been a bit worried about potential bog around the loch outflow, but there were no problems here and indeed, it seemed that underfoot issues were over for now. Nearly directly below the cliffs now, the vertical walls were impressive. Views improved as we climbed steeply on dry grass, but the wind increased exponentially - enough that it was ripping bits of grass from the ground and the air was thick with it.

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The plateau was easily reached, but the strength of the wind kept us well back from the cliff edge - in fact, behind a fence as well. We hardly got a chance to peer down to the loch as a result, but it was much too windy to get closer.

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The Outer Hebrides aren't far away from here, but it was desperately hazy - a couple of hilltops were just about visible to the naked eye.

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Starting the descent off Creag Sneosdal, there was another slightly wet section around where we crossed the fence. After this, steep downhill but on generally dry ground.

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The temperature rocketed further as we lost the breeze further down the hill. The long traverse back to the outward track could have been unbearable , but fortunately the wind came back after a few minutes, allowing us to enjoy the views, and ignoring obvious scars on the ground caused by recent laying of a pipe.

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Back at the car, the temperature reading was no surprise (apparently northern Skye hit 26C later today):

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After an unpromising, squelchy start, we ended up having a good time. Avoid after heavy rain however - this was after a relatively dry spell :shock:

Skye 2015
Morning: Fairy Glen, Uig: http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=56514
Afternoon: Bioda Buidhe: http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=56732
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denfinella
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Location: Edinburgh

Re: Sneosdal - not to be sneezed at

Postby Mal Grey » Thu Oct 01, 2015 5:01 pm

Interesting, didn't know this one, hadn't even noticed it on the map!
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Mal Grey
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Posts: 3379
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Sub 2000:3   Hewitts:113
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Joined: Dec 1, 2011
Location: Surrey, probably in a canoe! www.wildernessisastateofmind.co.uk

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