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Dutch Courage on Skye

Dutch Courage on Skye


Postby 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: 950m

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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 :D

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 :D Some decent views opened up ahead pretty quickly that whetted the appetite for more.
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Garbh-Bheinn, Clach Glas, and Blaven

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Out towards Sgurr na Stri

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.
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Dutch couple heading for the ridge

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.
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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" :D
And once the weather cleared, after 15 minutes or so, it was worth the wait
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Sgurr nan Gillean

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Sgurr nan Gillean and Marsco

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One more for luck

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The Red Cuillin

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.
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Clach Glas and Blaven

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.
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BobMcBob
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Re: Dutch Courage on Skye

Postby Mal Grey » Sun May 14, 2017 6:48 pm

Great stuff, never thought to approach it from that side. Great photos.
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Mal Grey
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Re: Dutch Courage on Skye

Postby Sgurr » Sun May 14, 2017 9:06 pm

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.
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Re: Dutch Courage on Skye

Postby 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 :D

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 :)
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BobMcBob
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Re: Dutch Courage on Skye

Postby Alteknacker » Sun May 14, 2017 10:52 pm

Some really excellent pics, as ever. :clap: :clap: :clap: I particularly like the one of Sgurr nan Gillean with cloud - brilliant.

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 ... :)
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Re: Dutch Courage on Skye

Postby rockhopper » Sun May 14, 2017 11:12 pm

Nice photos - rather atmospheric. Haven't got here yet or looked at routes but looks interesting - cheers :)
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Re: Dutch Courage on Skye

Postby jacob » Tue May 16, 2017 5:35 pm

You chuckled at my title of an idiot abroad.
Well I now chuckled at yours :lol:

Anyway: great report, great route and great to see that again the mountains saved a human being from feeling uninspired and dejected :clap:
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