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A dramatic Bla Bheinn round

A dramatic Bla Bheinn round


Postby Alteknacker » Tue May 31, 2016 11:02 am

Munros included on this walk: Bla Bheinn

Date walked: 27/05/2016

Time taken: 4.5 hours

Distance: 10.9 km

Ascent: 1500m

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We've come up to Skye to get on to the Cuillin Ridge, but a last minute change of plan means that we set off earlier than expected, stop overnight in Tyndrum, and so arrive on Skye some hours before originally planned. So we make an immediate decision to do Bla Bheinn as a warm up for the morrow - it's one that neither of us has done.

The weather is just too brilliant to waste.

We make a quick stop at the cafe at Torrin to change and grab a cup of tea.

Image20160527. The forecasting stone wasn't calibrated correctly: we couldn't see any shadow on the ground, but it was definitely sunny. Maybe it wasn't plugged in...???

Image20160527_140903. East face of Bla Bheinn. From right to left: Bla Bheinn, Clach Glas, Garbh-bheinn and Belig. Tasty or what..?????

Although the front face looks very attractive, we really just want a warm-up for tomorrow in the Cuillins, so we decide the do a round, from Belig to Bla Bheinn, basically traversing the ridge as we can see it in this pic, if this is possible. Unfortunately we haven't checked out the possibilities in Skye Scrambles :( , so we don't know how straightforward it is, or otherwise.


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



Image20160527_143625. Our route up to Belig follows the shoulder on the right hand side. It is baking hot, and it takes us an hour to get to the summit. The views on the way up are increasingly spectacular.

Image20160527_151220. Looking East.

Image20160527_151223. Looking North East.

Image20160527_151331. And looking North up towards Garbh-bheinn.

Image20160527_151502. Belig summit not too far now....

Image20160527_152419. First view of part of the Cuillin ridge, seen across the bealach between Garbh-bheinn and Belig: the wonderful Sgurr nan Gillean.

Image20160527_152431.

Image20160527_152746. Dr Frank on the summit of Belig.

Frank suddenly shouts and points upwards; and there, high, high above, is the first eagle I've seen... The day is getting better and better...

Image20160527_153640. View back down (East) towards Torrin from the summit of Belig.

Image20160527_154206. Looking North towards Glas-bheinn Mhor from the summit of Belig.

Image20160527_155251. What a view of the Cuillin Ridge!! Wow! That's where we plan to be tomorrow!

Image20160527_155458. And looking towards Bla Bheinn and Garbh-bheinn. It's sunny, and quite warm, but with a cooling breeze that makes conditions particularly pleasant.

Image20160527_155654. Easy walk down from Belig to Garbh-bheinn.

Image20160527_161433. Looking back towards Belig from the bealach.

Image20160527_163010. The same view, from the top of Garbh-bheinn.

Image20160527_164018. Looking East towards the West flank of Sgurr nan Each...

Image20160527_164014. ...and our first view of the amazing Clach Glas!!! Again - wow!

Image20160527_164602. The wonderful Cuillin Ridge again, from Garbh-bheinn (sorry, can't stop snapping this...)

Image20160527_164742. Looking towards Clach Glas and Bla Bheinn.

Image20160527_170627. A pretty straightforward descent from Garbh-bheinn.

Image20160527_171043. Clach Glas again, with some scrambling in the foreground to access it.

At this point time is running a bit short, given that we want to start very early tomorrow. We decide to take the decision on whether to go for Clach Glas when we get a bit nearer to it.

Image20160527_171342. Great scrambling and great views from notches on the way. This looking East again.

Image20160527_171357. And this looking West, towards some ridge that I don't quite recognize..... :)

Image20160527_172226. Dr Frank mid-way along the scrambling on the way to Clach Glas.

Image20160527_172429. This pic gives a good idea of the general terrain: lots of pretty easy scrambling, with the adrenaline-inducing sight of Clach Glas coming ever nearer....

Image20160527_171748. No caption necessary! Just wow! We now debate whether to go for it. Dr Frank would feel more comfortable with a rope, and we're running very short of time (rope = big increase in time), so we decide to give it a miss. It gives one a good reason (if one were necessary!) to return to Skye.

Image20160527_172924. Dr Frank scrambling. Fairly representative of conditions - ie beautiful!

Image20160527_173358

Image20160527_173238. Now we have to find a way to traverse around this.

Image20160527_173752. Not too difficult.

Image20160527_181045. But it takes a fair while to climb down the face and then up into the bealach between Clach Glas and Bla Bheinn. This is fairly typical of the down-climb.

And once at the bealach, the ascent to Bla Bheinn requires a bit of route-finding, and some Grade 2-3 scrambling.

Image20160527_183425. This is the start.

Image20160527_184103. Looking back along the ridge to Clach Glas.

Image20160527_185106. And the same from a bit further up the ascent to Bla Bheinn.

Image20160527_185111. Slightly tricky bit of ascent (crevasse to the LHS, and steeper than it looks on the pic).

Image20160527_191218. Immense views as we approach the summit of Bla Bheinn. This looking North back along the ridge we have traversed.

Image20160527_191328. On the summit at last!!!

Image20160527_191417. ....where the view West is just breathtaking.

Image20160527_192629. After drinking in the vistas, we set off back down the normal path, making as much speed as we can, given how far we are behind schedule.

Image20160527_195710. Fantastic views continue on the descent, this of the East face - definitely one for a dedicated day's scrambling.

[Image20160527_200646. And finally back where we started, 45 minutes after starting our descent.

Summary: an absolutely brilliant day's walking and scrambling. I just wish we'd had a bit more time, and read up a bit about the scrambling routes before we set off. But, as noted before, this means I'll have to return....
Last edited by Alteknacker on Wed Jun 19, 2019 10:37 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: A dramatic Bla Bheinn round

Postby litljortindan » Tue May 31, 2016 3:46 pm

Great to see and brings back good memories from '94 (from the west via Camasunary and Garbh Bheinn) and '98 (must have been via Sgurr nan Each). First time round I hesitated at Clach Glas until a father and son arrived and showed me the way up.
Would be a struggle for me now but hopefully one day I'll be able to contemplate something like this again.
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Re: A dramatic Bla Bheinn round

Postby LeithySuburbs » Tue May 31, 2016 4:15 pm

Over the past 8 months or so, Blaven may have become my favourite hill... For now anyway :lol: . We did GB and B clockwise last year after the scramble up Sgurr nan Each - it's such a varied massif - and we also saw an eagle very close :) .
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Re: A dramatic Bla Bheinn round

Postby Jaxter » Tue May 31, 2016 5:31 pm

Oh wow, this looks absolutely wonderful, lucky lucky you :clap: :D

Can't wait to get to Skye :D :D :D
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Re: A dramatic Bla Bheinn round

Postby dooterbang » Wed Jun 01, 2016 6:33 pm

Top scrambling porn :wink:

I really enjoyed Blaven, no way would I do that route though :shock:
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Re: A dramatic Bla Bheinn round

Postby simon-b » Wed Jun 01, 2016 10:24 pm

Just brilliant :thumbup:
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Re: A dramatic Bla Bheinn round

Postby dav2930 » Wed Jun 01, 2016 11:47 pm

Superb stuff. Clach Glas looks outrageous doesn't it? You'll definitely have to go back for that one (much easier than it looks - just a few moves up an exposed slab - but understandable why folks might want a rope on it). Hope you got to do your 3rd Main Ridge traverse!?
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Re: A dramatic Bla Bheinn round

Postby gaffr » Thu Jun 02, 2016 8:44 am

Yes one of the finest sections in all of the Cuillin and of course you get the fine views of the main Ridge.
I hadn't noticed the traverse around Clach Glas?...have always been concentrating on the step ahead that allows you access to the lovely slab that gets you on to the summit. :)
The traverse that gives all....an Elsie, a wee Ronnie, a non-listed one (CG) that gives you the fine scrambling and the Munro at the end. A grand day out.
You guys move very quickly over the terrain. :)
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Re: A dramatic Bla Bheinn round

Postby Alteknacker » Thu Jun 02, 2016 9:31 pm

LeithySuburbs wrote:Over the past 8 months or so, Blaven may have become my favourite hill... For now anyway :lol: . We did GB and B clockwise last year after the scramble up Sgurr nan Each - it's such a varied massif - and we also saw an eagle very close :) .


I read your report of your 13th May trip when I returned - which was just magnificent. I just wish we'd had more time, and I'd prepared a bit more carefully. Bla Bheinn is clearly a place one could spend days exploring...

BTW I envy you your eagle sighting - ours soared until it was more or less out of sight within a few seconds :(

litljortindan wrote:....Would be a struggle for me now but hopefully one day I'll be able to contemplate something like this again.


It didn't seem like you would find the route we took too difficult, given some of the walks you've been doing :-). As you know, it's definitely worth the effort. So I hope you do get up there again - I'm sure you won't regret it.

Jaxter wrote:....Can't wait to get to Skye

At the rate you're going, you'll be up there next week, won't you...???

dav2930 wrote:Superb stuff. Clach Glas looks outrageous doesn't it? You'll definitely have to go back for that one (much easier than it looks - just a few moves up an exposed slab - but understandable why folks might want a rope on it). Hope you got to do your 3rd Main Ridge traverse!?


Yes, it looks outrageous, but also very doable. But, as I've said before, people have different exposure thresholds, and there's no point in spoiling a great day by pushing too hard.
As regards the Cuillin Ridge: no, we didn't complete. My partner was feeling seriously under par, so we took it very steadily, and just enjoyed what we could in a short day. Since getting back though, I haven't been able to stop thinking about it, so I think I might go for it again this year if a suitable weather window presents itself....
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Re: A dramatic Bla Bheinn round

Postby BobMcBob » Thu Jun 02, 2016 10:07 pm

As dooterbang says - "scrambling porn" of the highest order :) Every time I read one of your reports my to-do list gets longer :D

That view over the whole ridge is amazing though, I can fully understand why you couldn't take your eyes off it.
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Re: A dramatic Bla Bheinn round

Postby Alteknacker » Fri Jun 03, 2016 1:53 pm

BobMcBob wrote:As dooterbang says - "scrambling porn" of the highest order :) Every time I read one of your reports my to-do list gets longer :D

That view over the whole ridge is amazing though, I can fully understand why you couldn't take your eyes off it.


The pics in Leithysuburbs report published a day or two before mine are much better...
http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=63100

It's a really fantastic mountain, both in its own characterful right, and as a tremendous viewing point for the Cuillin Ridge and the NW Highlands.
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Re: A dramatic Bla Bheinn round

Postby jacob » Fri Jun 03, 2016 5:37 pm

Yes, you promised this a few weeks ago. This must have been a great great round. I already really loved Bla Bheinn the tourist way, but this route offers quite a bit more excitement. :clap:
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