I've done 15 hills this year so far (a lot for me) and Am Basteir was the best. Having grown up on Skye, Am Basteir was always there, looking forbidding. I didn't do much walking if any growing up, and didn't do any of the Cuillins until late in my teens, which I regret, looking back.
Now I try and do at least one walk up the Cuillins each time I'm back for a visit. I'm grateful for the luxury of being able to take them one at a time, and often getting to choose my days. I feel sorry for the munro baggers that come up to do them all in one weekend tied on to each other, with a guide to help them through the cloud, and then back off to their jobs, having ticked them off, but without getting a view...
It was a bit of a grey morning right enough. Set off at 7am. Followed the walk highlands guide, which I thought was fantastic, taking in Bealach nan Lice and Sgurr A'Bhasteir as well as the main summit. The best approach to any of the Cuillins I think, with the gorge and the views of SnG from the corry. Relatively short scree slope compared to some of the other too, An Dorus, An Stac, GSChute etc...
I got on to the ridge in the clear, but it was clouded from there on. Just took it a step at a time, as I wasn't sure whether I'd be able to negotiate the bad step. The alternative looked slippy so I went for the step. Lay down looking over the edge for a minute picking my holds, went for it and probably got 2 thirds down. Lost my nerve a bit and had to climb back up, recompose myself, deep breaths, then assessed again. In particular I picked out the bit where I'd have to step down blind, and mentally rehearsed it. Got down fine second attempt. A good buzz for sure. From there on it was good fun scrambling. Bad step was no sweat going back down/up... Back into views at the wee bealach. The rest of the walk was great. 11am and came to the first other people, by which time I was well down Fionn Choire. It amazes me how on the Cuillins in the middle of July you can still be totally alone for much of it, particularly if you're up reasonably early.
I'll be back up here, and will come via Coira a'Bhasteir and Bealach na Lice to get to Bruach na Frithe from now on - far quieter and much more enjoyable views.
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