walkhighlands

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.

Skye - Trotternish Ridge

Skye - Trotternish Ridge


Postby weaselmaster » Mon Jun 20, 2016 9:43 pm

Grahams included on this walk: Hartaval, The Storr

Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Ben Dearg (Trotternish), Bioda Buidhe, Meall na Suiramach

Date walked: 23/05/2016

7 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).

Days 3 and 4 of our fortnight were to be spent on the Trotternish Ridge. A part of Skye I don't know well - one visit to The Storr in thick mist a couple years back and a drive-by earlier this year were the only insights I had. A couple of reports on WH helped. I just hoped for good weather so that we could see what we were traversing.

Overnight rain and heavy, leaden skies at the campsite didn't promise the most auspicious start. We were up early to drive into Portree and get the bus up to Flodigarry. Packing up the wet tent, keen to get there and parked in good time. We walked along to the bus stop in the centre square and awaited a 57A. Due at 09.10. It's a bit of a chaos place, that bus station - lots of tourists milling around, buses come and go without apparent rhyme or reason. Our bus came in at another stance, with another number on it - 56...a friendly driver advised us to go over there. Quite a few people going up to Flodigarry, and we picked up more on the way after we set off. Lots of rucksacks walking poles and other assorted obstructions.

Morning campsite
ImageDSC00435 by Al, on Flickr


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



The rain started whilst we drove past the Storr. This wasn't what we'd ordered! I briefly thought about staying on the bus and arriving back at Portree sometime later choosing another day for this walk, but we chanced it. We were dropped off right at the start of the walk, by the gate into Loch Langaig. A small band of folk, some Irish, some German milled around, sorting gear out. I swore I wasn't putting on waterproof trousers - it is going to clear up! We set off along the track, lots of greens and browns, the delicate reflections from the loch where a fisherman cast and retrieved. Walking by Leac nan Fionn, the mist swirling around the tops making everything mysterious and otherworldly. We wind on through strange shapes and take a right to Fir Bhreugach, where there's a short steep climb up to the ridge line. Keeping right we go out to Sron Vourlinn, which Allison tells me is the start of the ridge. It is certainly an incredible landscape - tiers of rock, plunging glens, fantastical stony shapes.

The start of the walk
ImageDSC00437 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00440 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00443 by Al, on Flickr

View from Sron Vourlinn
ImageDSC00446 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00448 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00450 by Al, on Flickr

From here we turn south and start up the ridge, grassy and wet underfoot. The rain overhead diminished from a drizzle to an occasional drop and it looks as if it may clear. Meall na Suiramach is our first target, where we meet a couple of tall German lads at the trig point and gaze out to North Uist and Harris, blue under a layer of puffy white cloud. Rejoining the path we encounter the busiest section of the walk - lots of folk coming up from the car park after Moladh Mor, resulting in a badly eroded hillside - really needs repaired given the traffic it endures. A Dutch woman in casual clothes advises us that it is steep and slippy the way we are going. I stifle a smirk - we are rather better prepared for the terrain than you are, dear. We smile and thank her, descend down to the car park and the milling throng.

Summit Meall na Suiramach
ImageDSC00453 by Al, on Flickr

Uist
ImageDSC00454 by Al, on Flickr

Bioda Buidhe and the road
ImageDSC00457 by Al, on Flickr

Descending Maoladh Mor
ImageDSC00459 by Al, on Flickr

Cuith-Raing
ImageDSC00462 by Al, on Flickr


This is the Cuith-Raing, the navel of the world apparently - at least according to the information board. As we ascend the grassy slopes of Bioda Buidhe it is certainly an impressive sight as we look back. The weather has cleared beautifully, leaving us with blue skies and blue sea. It's going to be alright :D We stop for lunch at the summit, enjoying the vista and only slightly irritated by a German woman with a camera that repeatedly walks past with an attitude of "why are you pair here when I want to take pictures". Sorry love, enjoy it. We continue on towards Beinn Edra: a succession of turns and twists along the headland, the castellated shapes below, jaggy and pointed, worthy of exploration at some later date in their own right. Descending to Bealach Uige we notice deep scars in the grass - mountain bike tyres, the wide ones. This is to be a depressing feature of the walk, as I'll no doubt moan about later. We pass a few other walkers including a group of 3 guys at the summit of Beinn Edra.

ImageDSC00463 by Al, on Flickr

Towards Beinn Edra
ImageDSC00468 by Al, on Flickr

Towards Flasvein
ImageDSC00472 by Al, on Flickr

Beinn Edra
ImageDSC00474 by Al, on Flickr

The Storr in the distance
ImageDSC00477 by Al, on Flickr

Ahead of us are two Frenchmen, with large rucksacks, both with gaudy coloured rucksack covers on - they look like bipedal beetles. We can see the pointy outline of The Storr in the far distance. I'm not sure how far we are going today - depends a bit on the weather - maybe Hartaval. I stop to fill up on water from a lochan which surprises the French guys (Sawyer water filter - great) and we overtake them. More ups and downs, there's something wonderfully engaging and therapeutic about this route. The cliffs round and beyond Flasvein are rent with deep clefts and gashes - very dramatic. Up ahead are a young German couple. we overtake them on the descent from Creag a'Lain and head out to the outstretched finger of Sgurr a'Mhadaidh Ruaidh. There's a narrow section before the final summit, eroded and slippy, the cliffs plunging vertically away below us. On the mountainside are strange fences - cannot think what they are for as they are extremely steep - keeping haggises in (apparently they have one leg longer than the other two to cope with steep hillsides...)

Sgurr a'Mhadahdh Ruaidh
ImageDSC00481 by Al, on Flickr

Damage due to bastard bicyclists
ImageDSC00484 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00486 by Al, on Flickr

Hartaval then the Storr. Note the haggis enclosures
ImageDSC00491 by Al, on Flickr

We continue on over Sgurr a Mhalaidh, it's gone 5pm by this time and we are starting to think about food, if not stopping for the night. I have an idea of Bealach a'Chuirn, between Hartaval and The Storr. We come down into Bealach Hartaval, a steep and stony descent. Before we can go any further a sudden cool in the air as a bank of cloud comes speeding round the cliffs from the sea. Within moments visibility is reduced to a few yards and out spot for the night is decided. The wind has got up, blowing directly into the bealach. we find the remains of an old wall to pitch the tent behind, secure it with roaks and set about trying out my new cooking system - a Caldera Cone and Ethanol burner. I'm delighted to report that it did a very fine job of boiling our water in adverse conditions and a repast of noodles with bits of veg and cashew nuts was gratefully consumed. We then settled down for the night - no chance of a sunset view this evening. Soon after the 3 guys we'd met on Beinn Edra come past - they've struggled to come down to the bealach in poor viz, but intend to head over to The Storr and descend tonight. They enquire if we've done it and can help with a route - no. I don't fancy trying to go along in the thick clag, given the drops involved, but they seem well equiped.

Sgurr a'Mhadaidh Ruaidh
ImageDSC00495 by Al, on Flickr

Storr
ImageDSC00498 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00503 by Al, on Flickr

Cloud rolls into Bealach Hartaval
ImageDSC00504 by Al, on Flickr

The day's stats
ImageDSC00505 by Al, on Flickr

Brrrr...
ImageDSC00506 by Al, on Flickr


About 2 hours later, now about 8.30pm we hear a faint tentaive voice in the mist..."hello...we are completely lost" It's the German couple we passed earlier in the day. They also want to descend by The Storr but have no map. We show them the route, but advise that it's still a substantial way to go and will be tricky in these conditions...with no map. They have a tent with them and take our suggestion to set up camp here. I have located a small stream down to the west of where we're camped, which seems to please them too. We pass a noisy night, the cuben fibre of Beaky crinkling and rustling loudly in the wind. It never gets dark, just a misty white gloaming.

Awake at 5, I get up shortly after. It is still foggy outside the tent and rather cold. I head down to collect some water, passing the Germans' tent a few hundred metres from ours. There's no movement, I guess after their late evening they are still asleep. On impulse I go higher up towards the eastern lip of the ridge...and rise above the cloud layer. A perfect day, sun rising, a glowing orb above rolling layers of cotton wool cloud - fab! We breakfast to get some heat inside and pack up, setting off up the rocky northern shoulder of Hartaval. I can see McLeod's Tables over to the west. Rising higher, I look back along the ridge section we walked yesterday and am rewarded with cliffs looming out of mist, ethereal vistas, magickal place to be. We summit Hartaval - up ahead the Cuillin are glowing on the horizon: the Reds wearing blankets, the Blacks stripped and ready for the day.

Morning
ImageDSC00507 by Al, on Flickr

McLeod's Tables
ImageDSC00510 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00512 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00513 by Al, on Flickr

Hartaval
ImageDSC00515 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00519 by Al, on Flickr

Cuillin
ImageDSC00520 by Al, on Flickr

The Storr
ImageDSC00525 by Al, on Flickr

We descend steeply to Bealach a'Chuirn. Yes it would have been fine for camping, with more obvious water supplies than ours. We set off up the steep boulder strewn slopes of The Storr and reach the flattish top. We can see the summit cairn over to our right, but first there's the matter of climbing the Eastern Top, which juts out from the Storr in line with Needle Rock. This involves descending into Coire Scamadal (presumably the descent route to the road if you are a lightweight and exiting the traverse at the Storr) and following a faint scree path up to the craggy exposed Top. Being a Simm it is of course worthy of visitation - but even if it weren't, it is well worth climbing for the dramatic views to the rock formations below, including the Old Man. We retrace our steps and head to the half-eaten trig point that marks the summit of The Storr.

ImageDSC00527 by Al, on Flickr

The pointy eastern Top of The Storr
ImageDSC00529 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00531 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00532 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00535 by Al, on Flickr

Storr summit
ImageDSC00536 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00538 by Al, on Flickr

The onward route - Ben Dearg ahead
ImageDSC00539 by Al, on Flickr

From here it is a gentle wander to Bealach Beag then Bealach Mor, whilst the imposing Ben Dearg dominates the view. I check the map - I had assumed we'd walk up into the moated castle that is torn by a gully but the route has us going a much less forbidding way along the northern cliffs to Beinn a'Chearcaill and gaining the summit easily from there. A raven protests at our intrusion on his domain and scuttles off behind a rock. We continue on to A' Chorra Bheinn, where we have lunch and I discover my compass has been reverse polarised...alarming. Not that there's much doubt about the way ahead - we make for Pein a'Chleib through a forest of bracken. From here it is a little uncertain where we go - I follow a path which is wrong and will bring us out on the road too high up - we want to cross Creag an Fhithich but dither about getting on the wrong side of fences into bogs and generally a poor ending to what has been a fantastic walk. Eventually we make it to the road, just by the Holiday Wigwams and prepare for a few kilometres back to Portree. Allison's brother & sister-in-law happen by and we chat for a bit. I'm keen to get into town and see if we can get the ferry to Harris that afternoon, so we scurry off in the dust and heat.

ImageDSC00542 by Al, on Flickr

Ben Dearg
ImageDSC00544 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00547 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00548 by Al, on Flickr

ImageDSC00549 by Al, on Flickr


This has been a truly memorable wander - one of those journeys that live on being rolled around in the memory like a good whisky in the mouth, to be digested and absorbed for a long while to come. I'm so glad we got the weather we did - it is such a unique landscape that to miss it in clag or rain would be a criminal waste.
User avatar
weaselmaster
Wanderer
 
Posts: 1785
Munros:206   Corbetts:18
Grahams:69   Donalds:85
Sub 2000:178   Hewitts:31
Wainwrights:15   Islands:28
Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

Re: Skye - Trotternish Ridge

Postby rockhopper » Tue Jun 21, 2016 10:34 pm

that looked most enjoyable - something I'd like to do some time having only ever footered about a bit in the Quiraing in the past - cheers :)
User avatar
rockhopper
 
Posts: 6401
Munros:282   Corbetts:207
Grahams:60   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:8   Hewitts:2
Wainwrights:3   Islands:19
Joined: May 31, 2009
Location: Glasgow

Re: Skye - Trotternish Ridge

Postby weaselmaster » Tue Jun 21, 2016 10:46 pm

rockhopper wrote:that looked most enjoyable - something I'd like to do some time having only ever footered about a bit in the Quiraing in the past - cheers :)


Yes, it was enjoyable and memorable. I had paid little attention to the top half of the island in the past so was more than pleasantly surprised about just how engaging it was as a walk.
User avatar
weaselmaster
Wanderer
 
Posts: 1785
Munros:206   Corbetts:18
Grahams:69   Donalds:85
Sub 2000:178   Hewitts:31
Wainwrights:15   Islands:28
Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

Re: Skye - Trotternish Ridge

Postby nigheandonn » Tue Jun 21, 2016 10:57 pm

The last time I tried to get a bus in that square it never appeared at all and I ended up hitching to Broadford - apparently the new timetable had started that day and the buses hadn't read it yet.

Amazing landscape, though, and lovely photos. I'm a bit worried about what could eat a trig point!
User avatar
nigheandonn
Wanderer
 
Posts: 1163
Munros:19   Corbetts:9
Grahams:7   Donalds:26
Sub 2000:45   Hewitts:134
Wainwrights:213   Islands:31
Joined: Jul 7, 2011
Location: Edinburgh

Re: Skye - Trotternish Ridge

Postby weaselmaster » Tue Jun 21, 2016 11:03 pm

nigheandonn wrote:The last time I tried to get a bus in that square it never appeared at all and I ended up hitching to Broadford - apparently the new timetable had started that day and the buses hadn't read it yet.

Amazing landscape, though, and lovely photos. I'm a bit worried about what could eat a trig point!


It does seem a bit hard on the tourists - no timetable up in the bus waiting shelter place, no clear stances - oh lordy must be a few folk end up where they never intended to go :lol:
User avatar
weaselmaster
Wanderer
 
Posts: 1785
Munros:206   Corbetts:18
Grahams:69   Donalds:85
Sub 2000:178   Hewitts:31
Wainwrights:15   Islands:28
Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

Re: Skye - Trotternish Ridge

Postby scoob999 » Wed Jun 22, 2016 7:41 am

Great report, and another one on the to do list now :D
User avatar
scoob999
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 1664
Munros:38   Corbetts:222
Grahams:93   Donalds:27
Sub 2000:140   Hewitts:25
Wainwrights:7   Islands:9
Joined: Aug 8, 2011
Location: Birnam/Dunkeld. i think?

Re: Skye - Trotternish Ridge

Postby PeteR » Wed Jun 22, 2016 8:03 am

Excellent stuff.

This may sound odd, but that part of Skye has never really appealed to me - been sucked in by the Cuillin ridge :lol: You've convinced me I have been wrong. I must try and get MrsR up that way soon. Might not do much walking, but I think she'd be gobsmacked.
User avatar
PeteR
Munro compleatist
 
Posts: 1972
Munros:282   Corbetts:153
Grahams:87   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:167   Hewitts:3
Islands:8
Joined: Jan 27, 2010
Location: North Ayrshire

Re: Skye - Trotternish Ridge

Postby malky_c » Wed Jun 22, 2016 1:47 pm

Great stuff - still not done this yet. Sounds pretty busy up there. I assume that's because it's part of the Skye Trail now. Definitely going to backpack over here at some point though. Some great photos 8)
User avatar
malky_c
 
Posts: 5848
Munros:282   Corbetts:222
Grahams:219   Donalds:74
Sub 2000:252   Hewitts:256
Wainwrights:102   Islands:33
Joined: Nov 22, 2009
Location: Inverness

Re: Skye - Trotternish Ridge

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Wed Jun 22, 2016 4:46 pm

Some amazing pics of an amazing place, really enjoyed that :D
User avatar
johnkaysleftleg
Walker
 
Posts: 3054
Munros:25   Corbetts:10
Grahams:10   Donalds:3
Sub 2000:7   Hewitts:166
Wainwrights:214   Islands:8
Joined: Jan 28, 2009
Location: County Durham

Re: Skye - Trotternish Ridge

Postby Silverhill » Wed Jun 22, 2016 8:59 pm

Brilliant photography! The Trotternish Ridge was already on the list to do, but a visit may come round a bit quicker now. :D
User avatar
Silverhill
 
Posts: 1267
Munros:282   Corbetts:3
Joined: Jan 13, 2013

Re: Skye - Trotternish Ridge

Postby martin.h » Thu Jun 23, 2016 11:22 am

Oh yes, I enjoyed reading that, it's amazing how many mountain folk don't pay much attention to that part of Skye, I'm one of them, we've been on the Storr but that's all. I bet when you get away from the easily accessible places, it's peace and quiet all the way.

Great photo's again Al, they give a real feel of the place.

Cheers.
User avatar
martin.h
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 509
Munros:206   Corbetts:17
Grahams:10   Donalds:7
Sub 2000:2   Hewitts:146
Wainwrights:214   Islands:19
Joined: Jul 31, 2011
Location: Halifax, West Yorkshire

Re: Skye - Trotternish Ridge

Postby mountainsofscotland » Thu Jun 23, 2016 5:21 pm

Fantastic pics. Enjoyed retracing my way over these by following your pics. I did this in March 2012 - probably a report on here somewhere under Foggieclimber. This is an outstanding walk.
User avatar
mountainsofscotland
 
Posts: 132
Munros:282   Corbetts:222
Grahams:219   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:361   Hewitts:91
Wainwrights:73   Islands:46
Joined: May 9, 2015
Location: Banffshire

Re: Skye - Trotternish Ridge

Postby Borderhugh » Thu Jun 23, 2016 6:25 pm

I enjoyed reading your report Al. Brings back happy memories from August 2012 when I did the ridge.

Just as I got to The Storr it clagged over and there was an element of panic inside me as I looked for a way off. It was like a table mountain.

You got some great pictures there! :clap:
User avatar
Borderhugh
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 328
Munros:282   Corbetts:75
Grahams:41   Donalds:44
Sub 2000:13   Hewitts:91
Wainwrights:72   Islands:9
Joined: Feb 4, 2012
Location: Stirling :)

Re: Skye - Trotternish Ridge

Postby weaselmaster » Fri Jun 24, 2016 11:02 am

mountainsofscotland wrote:Fantastic pics. Enjoyed retracing my way over these by following your pics. I did this in March 2012 - probably a report on here somewhere under Foggieclimber. This is an outstanding walk.


Yep - your superb original report provided the inspiration for our walk and the importance I attached to getting a good weather window to complete it in.

Yes, it is an outstanding walk to enjoy :D
User avatar
weaselmaster
Wanderer
 
Posts: 1785
Munros:206   Corbetts:18
Grahams:69   Donalds:85
Sub 2000:178   Hewitts:31
Wainwrights:15   Islands:28
Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

Re: Skye - Trotternish Ridge

Postby weaselmaster » Fri Jun 24, 2016 11:05 am

Borderhugh wrote:I enjoyed reading your report Al. Brings back happy memories from August 2012 when I did the ridge.

Just as I got to The Storr it clagged over and there was an element of panic inside me as I looked for a way off. It was like a table mountain.

You got some great pictures there! :clap:


I can imagine that trying to find the way down off The Storr in darkness/poor visibility might be tricky indeed - I was glad the German couple who were "completely lost" with no map took our advice not to attempt it that night and waited til the next day - at that time I had no direct knowledge of what was involved, only the map contours, but there were lots of sheer drops around :shock:
User avatar
weaselmaster
Wanderer
 
Posts: 1785
Munros:206   Corbetts:18
Grahams:69   Donalds:85
Sub 2000:178   Hewitts:31
Wainwrights:15   Islands:28
Joined: Aug 22, 2012
Location: Greenock

7 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).
Next



Walkhighlands community forum is now advert free

We need help to keep the site online.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by setting up a monthly donation by direct debit?



Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: mariansharkey, Phil Aldis and 36 guests