Dutch Courage on Skye
by BobMcBob » Sat May 13, 2017 9:46 pm
Corbetts included on this walk: Garbh-bheinn (Skye)
Date walked: 22/04/2017
Time taken: 8 hours
Distance: 22 km
Ascent: 950m4 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).
The end of April was approaching, and I'd spent a lot of the month hiding out on the campsite at Morvich feeling uninspired and dejected, by the weather and by life in general. I needed some adventure, and in my experience, if you're looking for a bit of adventure to recharge your mojo, you can do a lot worse than start at Sligachan. I always say it's because the campsite's so easy to get to, but in reality I know it's because there's a pub across the road
Once I'm there I tend to leave the van parked up and wander off to see what I can find and so I wandered off down Glen Sligachan, tottering mojo-lessly over the stones and rocks that provided stream crossings, until I found myself looking towards Garbh-Bheinn and Clach Glas and thinking, yes, that'll do nicely.
The approach from this side up the very aptly-named Fionn Choire wasn't half as bad as "pathless walk up boggy heather-covered slope" makes it sound Some decent views opened up ahead pretty quickly that whetted the appetite for more.
The worst bit was the trudge up to the small hump above the Marsco bealach, which seemed to go on forever but eventually I reached the top and sat down for a bit. It was pretty bloomin' cold up there, and the ridge of Garbh-Bheinn loomed up ahead of me, grey and forbidding under the heavy April skies.
In previous years, looking at that ridge, I'd have been over there like a shot. It looked rocky, scrambly, ever so slightly dangerous. But in the mood I'd got into in April it looked unapproachable, forbidden, and unwelcoming. I sat down and looked at it. I'd done no research, I didn't even know if you could reach the top this way. I shivered and munched chocolate. And then on the wind I heard voices. Now I'm no linguist, I struggle with foreign languages, but having spent some time in The Netherlands I can recognise Dutch when I hear it, even if I've no idea what's being said.
A couple approached me at speed, we exchanged pleasantries, and they carried on towards Garbh Bheinn. Well, if there's somebody else going that way.... I hurriedly did up my rucksack straps and followed them.
Not long after that, the weather closed in.
The wind picked up to a howl and then it started to snow quite heavily. As conditions reached semi-whiteout I paused and slunk behind a rock. You'd have thought, with my mood, I'd have given up at this point but no, this kind of proper mountain adventure seemed to be exactly what I needed and I started to cheer up no end, and spent the course of the blizzard chuckling at the often perverse nature of the human spirit. "I'm bored and dejected. What I need is to get stuck in a blizzard halfway up a mountain, that'll cheer me up"
And once the weather cleared, after 15 minutes or so, it was worth the wait
The ridge just got better as I went up. The top section was true Cuillin - a knife-edge Gabbro arete that needed hands-on. God it felt good to get my hands on some rock again. I kind of came back to life up there, and the summit view was a sight to behold.
I confess I had vague thoughts of going for a romp on Clach Glas, but thought better of it when I studied the route I'd have to use to get back to Sligachan. Best leave that for an approach from the other side, I felt. The Dutch couple caught me up and headed off towards Belig but that looked a very long way. So it was back the way I came, now leaping confidently over the stepping stones and treading lightly back to Sligachan where I had a meal in refurbished Seamus' Bar (now with 100% less atmosphere, sadly) and then slept the sleep of a rejuvenated man.
by Mal Grey » Sun May 14, 2017 6:48 pm
by Sgurr » Sun May 14, 2017 9:06 pm
by BobMcBob » Sun May 14, 2017 9:58 pm
Sgurr wrote:Look as hard as I can, I can't pick out the 2 pixels that are us on top of Sgurr na Stri that day. Interesting route choice. We had been up Ruadh Stac earlier (via the waterfall near the other side of Gairbheinn) and had been pleased we hadn't come up your way as it looked really long in comparison.
I need to invest in a longer lens
It was quite a long way, but it wasn't unpleasant. I've previously come up to the bealach between Garbh Bheinn and Marsco from the Loch Ailort side and found that tougher going. All that said, "route choice" makes it sound like I planned it but in reality I just set out for a walk and that was where I ended up
by Alteknacker » Sun May 14, 2017 10:52 pm
Regarding loss of mojo, this hasn't happened to me yet, but there have been days when I've felt somewhat less than 120% motivated to get out. But as with you on this occasion, once up there, the feeling quickly disappears!
I'd have been tempted by Clach Glas ...
by rockhopper » Sun May 14, 2017 11:12 pm
by jacob » Tue May 16, 2017 5:35 pm
Well I now chuckled at yours
Anyway: great report, great route and great to see that again the mountains saved a human being from feeling uninspired and dejected