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Panther unleashed on Trotternish Ridge

Panther unleashed on Trotternish Ridge

Postby BlackPanther » Wed Jun 28, 2017 5:51 pm

Route description: Bioda Buidhe

Sub 2000' hills included on this walk: Bioda Buidhe

Date walked: 13/06/2017

Time taken: 6.5 hours

Distance: 17.2 km

Ascent: 1154m

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We used to come to Skye for a few camping days every summer, but for the last few years we've been so busy chasing Munros and lower hills all over the country, that we neglected our favourite island. There's still the Inn Pin to climb and many other magical places to visit, but this trip was all about the weird world of Trotternish Ridge.
Weather was forecast to be rubbish anywhere but on the western coast and indeed, when we left the house early the morning, it didn't look promising. Soon we drove into a fast moving front, bringing low cloud and rain. Having gotten soaked the day before, we really hoped for some drier weather and Skye was our only chance for decent conditions on higher level.
Of course in such wet conditions, wandering onto the Cuillin Ridge would be a bit risky, so we decided to stick to more "touristy" route and visit Bioda Biudhe, a little known sub'2 Marylin on Trotternish Ridge. We could then explore the ridge a bit more and walk to Beinn Edra, which would be a Graham if it had enough drop. Well, it doesn't, so it is only a tump/hump/just a lump (whatever), but on a good day it would be a fantastic viewpoint to the northern part of Skye. We didn't see the full extent of the views as the day was cloudy, but what we saw was entertaining enough!
The walk starts from the car park for Quiraing. Well, in theory. We drove up the bealach and saw the mayhem in the upper car park: cars, vans, motors, all kind of vehicles parked everywhere, sometimes at strange angles, and (sorry to be brutal) hoards of shouting tourists running around with selfie-sticks, looking a bit like loonies :shock: More vehicles of different shapes and sizes kept arriving and the place just felt mad! We gave up. Kevin didn't like the idea of leaving Black Arrow here, she might end up with bumps and scratches all over!
We returned to the bottom of the ridge and parked next to the cemetery. For us, the extra 100m of ascent didn't make any difference.
We followed the WH route for Bioda Buidhe, then continued along the ridge to Beinn Edra. There is no obvious way to make this walk into a circular (unless one descends to Uig and walks a long distance back to the starting point along the road). We much preferred returning the way we came, especially that weather improved in the afternoon and there is plenty to see along the way!

Track_BEN EDRA 13-06-17.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

In the morning, it was still cloudy over the island and the rocks of Quiraing emerged from the mist like sleeping monsters... Now I understand the full meaning of the name Misty Isle!
2017-06-13 ben edra 003.JPG

Sadly, there was no way to escape from the crowds at the top of the pass, but we were glad to leave the loony landscape behind, as soon as we turned south for Bioda Buidhe. Almost everyone headed north for Quiraing, leaving us the pleasure of exploring the ridge to the south. At least it was quiet, pleasant walking for us :D We saw four other people on Bioda Buidhe and one bloke further on the traverse to Beinn Edra. I'm not surprised, that Quiraing is so popular, but shame that very few walkers venture to the south of the pass. The landscape of Bioda Buidhe and Beinn Edra is just as weird, just as beautiful. Even in misty conditions!
The madness of the high pass...
2017-06-13 ben edra 009.JPG

The cloud was sitting just over the summit of Bioda Buidhe, we walked slowly, waiting for the clag to clear, taking time to explore all the weirdos on the way!
2017-06-13 ben edra 025.JPG

The "sanctuary" below the cliffs of Bioda contains two lochans and a steep, conical shape called Cleat:
Image2017-06-13 ben edra 028 by Ewa Dalziel, on Flickr
Further on, there are more rocky shapes, called Dun Dubh and Druim an Ruma:
2017-06-13 ben edra 033.JPG

Not a perfect summer weather, but I was desperate to enjoy the hols! And this was entertaining enough even with cloud lingering:
2017-06-13 ben edra 057.JPG

Cleat from above:
2017-06-13 ben edra 037.JPG

A panoramic view of the Bioda Buidhe sanctuary:
Image2017-06-13 ben edra 071 by Ewa Dalziel, on Flickr
Heading up for the summit:
2017-06-13 ben edra 070.JPG

We climbed up to the top of the Marylin. There's no cairn so the exact highest spot is a guess. The clag was thick, so no views, no photos at the moment, but we knew we would be returning the same way and hoped for a better chance later on.
The path continues past the summit, down the grassy slopes. There is a short, steep section, but nothing tricky (just lots of sheep droppings and sheep themselves) :lol:
2017-06-13 ben edra 073.JPG

We descended to Bealach nan Coisichean. From here views were interesting and the cliffs in front of us looked good, too! Not sure the sheep understood what the whole fuss was about! :lol:
2017-06-13 ben edra 095.JPG

From the col, we enjoyed a few km of walking along the cliffs with a slight raising gradient. The cliffs were magnificent and as cloud lifted, we could see more and more of the weird trotternish shapes!
Image2017-06-13 ben edra 119 by Ewa Dalziel, on Flickr
Panoramic view of the cliffs, with Beinn Edra in the background (summit still clouded):
Image2017-06-13 ben edra 112 by Ewa Dalziel, on Flickr
A closer look to some of the strange shapes:
2017-06-13 ben edra 135.JPG

I know that the Trotternish Risge is a result of a giant landslide, but these lumpy hillocks at the bottom are surely post-glacial?
2017-06-13 ben edra 151.JPG

The full length of the ridge is 24km (15miles) and the walk from Duntulm to Portree is 37km (22miles), not that many people walk it in a day. We could do it if we had transport pre-arranged (not sure but there could be suitable buses) and we may one day, but at the moment we are happy enough to explore the ridge in parts. We spend far too much time taking photos to be able to finish the ridge in a day :lol:
2017-06-13 ben edra 159.JPG

Panther unleashed:
2017-06-13 ben edra 169.JPG

The cliffs are amazing. Every corner, ever little outcrop, offers different perspective to the surrounding landscape:
Image2017-06-13 ben edra 179 by Ewa Dalziel, on Flickr
ImageDSCF8624 by Ewa Dalziel, on Flickr
The parade of strange shapes just goes on:
2017-06-13 ben edra 204.JPG

This eroded ridge reminds me a bit of the Prison:
2017-06-13 ben edra 208.JPG

Just the sheer size of the cliffs made me think about the force that created them! The nature makes the most beautiful miracles...
2017-06-13 ben edra 210.JPG

The second sanctuary from the south, Bioda Buidhe in the background:
Image2017-06-13 ben edra 229 by Ewa Dalziel, on Flickr
A small "needle" at the bottom of this cliff:
Image2017-06-13 ben edra 245 by Ewa Dalziel, on Flickr
We were probably the slowest walkers in the history of this place, stopping every 10 minutes!
2017-06-13 ben edra 258.JPG

One more pano:

How could one walk past this and NOT stop to admire?

I spotted another pinnacle:
2017-06-13 ben edra 303.JPG

Panoramic view, with Bioda Buidhe and Quiraing in the far distance:
2017-06-13 ben edra 310.JPG

Even more pinnacles:
Image2017-06-13 ben edra 325 by Ewa Dalziel, on Flickr
There's just no end to it!
2017-06-13 ben edra 340.JPG

Beinn Edra does not have a "sanctuary" but the 200m virtual drop to the east makes a lasting impression!
2017-06-13 ben edra 358.JPG

The final climb to the summit was on easy, grassy ground, with a path most of the way:
2017-06-13 ben edra 370.JPG

Shaun the Sheep? :lol: :lol: :lol:
2017-06-13 ben edra 376.JPG

Jaw-dropping cliffs:
Image2017-06-13 ben edra 380 by Ewa Dalziel, on Flickr
Just below the summit we entered the cloud again. It didn't clear fully, but the cloud drifted around in patches, so through the gaps we saw some views to the south:
2017-06-13 ben edra 397.JPG

Shame this is not a Graham. When did I last walk 5km from along the ridge to bag a HUMP? :lol: :lol: :lol:
2017-06-13 ben edra 403.JPG

The summit was windy and quite cold (summer? what summer, for *** sake???), so we descended back a bit before finding a suitable rock to sit on and have some hot tea. Then we embarked on the long walk back to the Quiraing. Long it might have been, but not boring! We took even more photos and admired the landscape, happy to see that the clag has lifted from Bioda Buidhe, so we could have another lengthy photo-session there.
Panther holding on to her dear life :lol: :lol: :lol:
2017-06-13 ben edra 423.JPG

One more panoramic view:
ImageDSCF8660 by Ewa Dalziel, on Flickr
More pinnacles:
Image2017-06-13 ben edra 448 by Ewa Dalziel, on Flickr
By the time we returned to Bealach nan Coisichean, the cloud disappeared from Beinn Edra, but it was too late to turn back for a few snaps :lol: I quite fancy returning to this top on a clear day, it can be combined with a visit to the Fairy Glen, another weird place. There is also a plane crash site of a B-17 Flying Fortress on the western slopes of this hill (plane crash sites - a new hobby of mine!).
2017-06-13 ben edra 465.JPG

This young boy-lamb wanted to ram into Kevin but changed his mind when my husband said boooo! He (the lamb, not Kevin :wink: ) run away and hid behind his mummy. Probably to say: Mum, this big guy is bullying me!!!
Image2017-06-13 ben edra 464 by Ewa Dalziel, on Flickr
We climbed back to Bioda Buidhe and hoooray! We had clag-free summit. This is a fantastic vantage point for the
sanctuary below as well as for the Quiraing and the sea on the horizon.
Image2017-06-13 ben edra 504 by Ewa Dalziel, on Flickr
Druim an Ruma and Dun Dubh:
2017-06-13 ben edra 507.JPG

More panos:
Image2017-06-13 ben edra 518 by Ewa Dalziel, on Flickr
Image2017-06-13 ben edra 522 by Ewa Dalziel, on Flickr
A happy man unleashed!

This cliff looks like a face with a pug nose, seen in profile:

Close-up to one of the weirdos in the sanctuary:

No better place to be:
2017-06-13 ben edra 560.JPG

Quiraing finally cloud-free:
2017-06-13 ben edra 564.JPG

Do we really have to go home now?
2017-06-13 ben edra 554.JPG

As we walked down the road to the car below, we met a couple of tourists who were looking for "the Quiraing thingie" :lol: :lol: Funny they were standing just below it, in the shadow of the daunting shape of the Prison :wink: :lol:
On the way back we stopped at Kilt Rock waterfalls, hoping for something spectacular after all the recent rain, but there was very little water in the falls :(
2017-06-13 ben edra 572.JPG

Cliffs near Kilt Rock:
2017-06-13 ben edra 574.JPG

Despite only climbing a mere sub'200, we had a fantastic day and enough photos to fill our memory cards :lol: What a mind-boggling place the Trotternish Ridge is, a unique feature so well worth exploring. We had ventured to the Storr, Quiraing and Hartaval before, now adding Bioda Buidhe and Beinn Edra, all we have left to visit is the middle section - Sgurr a'Mhadaidh Ruaidh especially looks interesting.
Just one reflection at the end of this report - the number of tourists in the most popular spots on Skye is shocking! I think the Quiraing car park needs to be enlarged - people park on the turns, in passing places, on every bit of verge just big enough for a car. It's crazy! I'm so glad we parked at the bottom, just walking past that madness was bad enough :?
In my next report I will return to the harsh reality of Munro bagging in a fairy tale straight from Harry Potter's world!
Last edited by BlackPanther on Fri Nov 29, 2019 6:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Panther unleashed on Trotternish Ridge

Postby Mal Grey » Thu Jun 29, 2017 12:58 pm

Good to see the Return of the Panther. Look forward to the rest of your trip reports.

Those look like excellent hills to explore. Funny how you only have to go a few metres from the popular spots and you might be on another planet. In fact, these hills look like you ARE on a different world. Thanks for sharing.

I keep reading about how stupidly busy some parts of Skye have now become, and it does sadden me. Fortunately I know that there are many places away from these hotspots that will always be quiet.

I wanted to make some sort of joke about the "2 weirdos....and some hills" but that would be rude to you so I won't :lol:
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Re: Panther unleashed on Trotternish Ridge

Postby Sgurr » Thu Jun 29, 2017 1:14 pm

When we climbed Biodha Buidhe there was a sort of a cairn, namely two rocks put together, but someone could easily have hurled them over the edge. I think you have to visit this part of the world at least twice, once in the sunshine and once to get the magical effect of clouds swirling round them, though an in-betweeny day is best for both :wink:

Hope you are now fully recovered.
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Re: Panther unleashed on Trotternish Ridge

Postby dogplodder » Thu Jun 29, 2017 1:23 pm

Loved this ridge when we spent a week at Valtos last year in similar weather to this. Good to see it again! :D
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Re: Panther unleashed on Trotternish Ridge

Postby BlackPanther » Fri Jun 30, 2017 10:48 am

Thx everyone :D This corner of Skye has been on "to-do" list for ages, at last we managed to explore it :D Trotternish ridge really looks good covered in mist. It is a different world indeed, I almost expected to see a shadow of pterodactyl passing over...

I must admit I feel like a weirdo sometimes :lol: :lol: In positive sense, of course... At school I was nicknamed "Alien", mainly because other kids thought I was too clever to be of this planet :lol: :lol:

There was an interesting article about Skye on bbc last week, about parking problems, lack of public toilets, tourists relieving themselves outside... Having seen the havoc in Quiraing car park on a weekday in June, I can imagine how bad it would be on a weekend day or in July-August, peak of the season!
Worth having a look here:

Off to write the next TR :D
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