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Return to Blaven, my first Skye Munro,and now Margarets too

Return to Blaven, my first Skye Munro,and now Margarets too

Postby GillC » Sun Apr 02, 2017 4:31 pm

Route description: Bla Bheinn (Blaven)

Munros included on this walk: Bla Bheinn

Date walked: 01/04/2017

Time taken: 5.5 hours

Distance: 8 km

Ascent: 990m

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My first Munro of 2017, a repeat of my first Skye Munro, Margarets first Skye Munro (and she lives there,,get with the plan Mags!!! :lol: ) and its the 1st of April.

Lots of firsts there, but, sadly not the first day of cloud and showers. (promises of a brighter afternoon were, as usual, not fulfilled)

I had travelled up to Skye on Friday with Margaret to visit her great wee hoose and have a catchup. A walk, hike of some description had been pencilled in so I did some groundwork, printed off some WH routes etc and settled down on Friday night to discuss. Some years ago on a trip to Skye, we had considered Bla Bheinn but from memory, the drive down from our camp North of Portree kind of put us off.....I think that's why we didn't do it anyway, or it could have been our near death experience on the Red Cuillin lol :shock: :shock: :shock:

Anyway, decision made on Friday, with the afternoon looking brighter on the forecast, we decided not to head off too early, so were up and away from Isleornsay around 9:15am. The light rain started on the way through Torrin and Bla Bheinn was shrouded in cloud almost to ground level. No point hanging around, waterproofed to the hilt as we headed off at 10am.

Ready for the off

We chose to walk down the road and over the bridge rather than the path out of the car park and were soon on the track, hill bound for our first wander together since Beinn Fhada last November. Very similar track on the way up as we gained height gradually, showers off, on, off,,,you get the picture. We did stop to remove a layer before putting the w/proof back on, getting a tad warm on the up.

On and up into the mist

Suns out for a bit

A cracking waterfall and pool of crystal clear water

Some lovely pools and waterfalls in the gorges below,,,and still no view of the summit/peaks ahead.

Our first river crossing came along, not too bad considering the rain fall we had seen. Couple of rocks and shallow bits and poles out,,crossed no bother. a little further on we crossed the smaller tributary, again, with no problems. Our reward, a stunning wee rainbow with a doubler around the outside. Our views back down were great and we could see the sun shining on Loch Slapin and Torrin beyond.

A rainbow really does shine oot o ma heid

Just chillin'


Keeping the poles out now as we were starting to veer left and head up the steeper part of the glen, towards Fionna-Choire. The path is rocky now but easy to follow with no problems. Reached the top and again, views out to the south over the wee lochan and to the sunlit sea beyond. Upwards,,the views were very different :shock:

Low cloud just not shifting

Tip toeing across the burn

Down to a sunny Torrin

Sun glinting on the sea to the south

There are several paths heading up to the right, running parallel with each other and meeting up at various places. We opted for one, then quickly headed further right to join another just under the short cliffs. My memory of this section was a bit sketchy so kept the map and the WH route to hand. I had the feeling that John, Wullie and I were further right again, nearer the rocky cliffs but for now, up was good.

The WH report takes you up to the narrow scree gully. This is promised as the loosest, steepest part of the day, and delivered on both those accolades. Coupled with the smirry showers of rain, it was VERY loose and steep. We managed to pick our way up the right hand side, clinging on to the larger rocks then carefully pulled ourselves over to the left hand side and off to freedom. I noted here that there was a path of sorts on the higher ground just above, note to self,,,use that to get down :wink:

Now on much easier ground we continued up and reached a steppy scrambly bit. Not high, just fiddly. I made a couple of attempts but my legs just wouldn't do it, Margaret had no chance lol. Quick survey off to the right and I spotted a much easier ascent, again, no great height but plenty foot and hand holds to reach the ledge then round to the top of the step. I had pushed my poles up on my first point of ascent, and decided just to pick them up on the way down. We made our way round the ledge to a point easier to drop down on to our only snow patch today,,about 4ft square lol

Rounding a corner, we then got to the massive cracks in the rocks, off down to the right. Swirling cloud and mist prevented any views down there, but it was big, and down, all we needed to know. We started to feel some strong winds rushing up from the gaps, the only real wind we felt all day. Rain showers had been on and off but nothing heavy.

Chasm of doooooooom

The only way is DOWN!!!!

The ground gets a lot easier, still rocky, but less steep, with paths criss-crossing. Just headed up. At this point,,my calves started to complain a bit, no poles maybe?

Margaret making her way across the rocks

Pretty soon, out of the mist and cloud, Margaret spotted the wee cylindrical trig and summit cairn. No views whatsoever, but also very still and not raining at this point. I had thought I was videoing our approach,,running commentary and everything,,,turns out I took a pic,,,then another, instead of starting and stopping the video function,,,grrr, (not the first time)

At last, the trig appeared out of the mist

Still,,here we were. First Munro of 2017.

Misty summit

Conditions very similar to those of my previous visit. Couple of guys joined us shortly afterwards, they had spotted us from the corrie and followed our route,,not advisable lol, a third guy then appeared in a t shirt, not that warm matey. Quick chat about the conditions, turns out they spotted the path avoiding the scree from below,,,so at least we now knew that would see us being able to avoid that stored horror. The big step up, they managed to climb that, spotting my abandoned poles too. (Thankfully they left them there :wink:

We had a chat before heading off just before them. We crossed paths a few times on the way down. The tricky 'up step' wasn't such a tricky down step, grabbed my poles and lowered myself down by the arms, as Margaret went to check out a possible bypass path. A bit of shouting names in to the returning silence later, and one of the boys and M then appeared on the step. Jump down for one, lower down for the other :wink: Decided to put my poles away shortly after this, realised when one would go down, I must have bent it slightly,,I know, I though, I'll give it a whack.....good thinking Gill, broke the point off and it still didn't go down. Made for an interesting shaped rain cover with a half shut pole under it lol :lol: :lol: :lol:

Carried on picking our way down over the various paths and by now, the corrie, lochan and sea beyond were back in sight through the low cloud. Gloves on, gloves off. Hoods up, hoods down, mixed conditions but nothing bad to deal with. Met a young chap, French I think on his way up, assured him he would probably get a view as the afternoon was to get better.

Making good progress down the rocky stuff,,,not a shortage of that up there lol

Time for a wave

Heading down from the corrie and back into sunshine

No stopping at the corrie, just turned left and headed off down the initially very rocky section before it returned to the more solid repaired path before the first river crossing. Think there may have been a slight rise in water levels, but again, no problems crossing either. Looking back up ,,we were now beginning to see a bit of the summit coming in to view, cloud lifting, just a little. Still don't reckon the young guy on his way up would have seen anything :(

We had the pleasure of another rainbow on our way down, framing Beinn na Cro ahead.

Rolling river in the gorge

Views at the top improved then,,,,,NOT!

Sun was out for a fair stretch of the last descent and as we reached the road, a couple of probable fell runners left the car park then headed up the track to Bla Bheinn past us.

Back to the car, time for flapjacks and de waterproof.

....and down for a tasty treat

This had been a cracking day. Good fun, good catch up and just like old times, a good soaking lol

Still, fab to see Margaret in her native habitat, now for the Cuillin Ridge Margaret??? :D :wink: :D :wink
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Re: Return to Blaven, my first Skye Munro,and now Margarets

Postby Tomsie » Wed Apr 05, 2017 11:02 pm

I remember that day well me, you and Wullie.

Well done girls, looking forward to a few Skye hills soon.
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Re: Return to Blaven, my first Skye Munro,and now Margarets

Postby Munchie » Thu Apr 06, 2017 10:38 am

Ehhh naw to the Cuillin ridge doll :roll: . I will stick to low level ta until you come back to Skye again! However, you are welcome to join us on the Dirty Thirty!! In fact, you could take my place lol. Why-o-why did I sign up :shock: :shock:
@Tomsie, I may just join yees if it's not too difficult a walk when you guys next come up
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Re: Return to Blaven, my first Skye Munro,and now Margarets

Postby dogplodder » Thu Apr 06, 2017 11:44 am

Summit views much like ours when we went even without them it's an amazing mountain. We also avoided that step up, going up an easier way on the left. Oh the things one could do with longer legs! :D
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Re: Return to Blaven, my first Skye Munro,and now Margarets

Postby Jaxter » Thu Apr 06, 2017 2:29 pm

That's an amazing hill, I was luckier with the weather but remember needing to do several interesting manoeuvres which turned out to be avoidable :lol: makes it more exciting though :lol: I mind the chasm of doom too....was thinking of sending a photo to my mum saying it was my descent route. I am a bad person :lol: :lol:

Looks like you both had an ace time anyway :clap: :clap:
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