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The Dubh Ridge

The Dubh Ridge


Postby Benaden887 » Fri Sep 08, 2017 9:48 pm

Munros included on this walk: Sgurr Dubh Mor

Date walked: 21/06/1997

Time taken: 8.5 hours

Distance: 20.5 km

Ascent: 1690m

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The Dubhs Ridge Grade 4 scramble 20.5km 1700m 8.5h 21/06/1997

The KMC were at Skyewalkers for the island meet. The weather claggy and damp.
Members were mostly heading for various ends the Cuillin ridge, I already had my own gameplan, the Dubhs ridge from Strathaird with a pickup later in Glen Brittle. A cadged lift from Rachel and Claire (Blaven bound) dropped me at Kilmarie, Loch Slapen. A ROW goes uphill past the remains of sheilings to crest the hill for the isles of Rum Canna and Soay on a gray loch Scavaig. The cloudbase of 400m runs from the Cuillin to Slat Bheinn, not what I`d hope for nor the weather forecast. So decision time. I could skirt Gars beinn for Glen brittle, walk to Slighan, or go take a looksee. Down to Camasunary, the bothy is vacant. Seals lying on the beach have gone, the foreshore has debris. I meet two walkers coming from Slighan, chat then cross the river at a wide shallow bit for the far side. Sgurr na Stri is a magnificent viewpoint for the whole ridge but not today - we`re clag blind - nowt to see. A path hugs the shore to rise on the W side in a rock band for “The bad step”. It isnt a problem. In 1968 the Army having bulldozed the ROW to the bothy, offered to blow this obstacle up to the hopes of tourists and horror of the Purists. The Purists won after a public outcry and the “step” remains today to the delight of many and a deterrent to the masses. It would be like chipping a handhold on a hard rock route. The shortest river in Scotland lies here between Lochs Coruisk and Scavaig. Its stepping stones were underwater as I crossed to look at the JMCS memorial hut above Loch na Cuilce, the most remote in Scotland. I would stay there twice with the club and repeat the ridge again in better weather with Kenny Rachel and Moira. A most memorable day. To return, I walk the shoreline for 1.5km and reach the overhang of the boiler plate slabs that goes up for 700m. Yeah. A dozen step ups, then a mantleshelf gains the long sloping gabbro and I`m away. Easy padding for the first 400m to reach a grassy rake with great views of the lochs beneath a lowering cloud. Here a detour path winds its way around the S side of Sgurr Dubh Beag, and the clag beckons. The climb becomes steeper, still on wet gabbro but great friction to reach the stony top of Beag. A 8m down step W shows slings tied around rocks - an absail point. The mist swirls around me and hides the drop. Discretion wins the day and I return to the grassy rake. From here W, I pass the base of Beag and climb over ledges and cracks on the S side, up a chimney for the top of Sgurr Dubh Mor. Now, relief. I know where I am, having climbed the South end of the ridge in 94. Although I can see little the familiar sound of running water from Loch Coire `a Ghrunnda dropping to the glen below brings a smile. Down climb from here using crampon scratches as a guideline reaches the col between Mor and Sgurr Dubh na Da Bheinn. Skirt NW here to reach the main ridge proper and continue N for another rise and look into a wet TD gap. I don`t have the energy to climb this so, return to Bealach Coir an lochan down W to reach scree at the top of Corrie. Then the waters of the Lochan and I`m out of the clag. A rest and wash, then over massive boulders to the outflow, down the R side of the stream on a scree path with the odd cairn to grass and the narrow gap to open views of Glen Brittle,and the moorland beyond . The walk out past the campsite, farm to the P/O and call for my pickup was uneventful. So not as good a day as I`d hope for. Pleased I`d made it, despite the odd qualms. interesting but really a damp trek. Saw no one on the hills - no surprise there, Sheep deer birds and seals. Then birds cows and sheep. When I called Phil to come get me, moments of panic when he said he was too drunk to drive. However gales of laughter gave the game away and all it cost me was a couple of pints.
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Benaden887
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Re: The Dubh Ridge

Postby gaffr » Sat Sep 09, 2017 10:00 am

Even where I was a lad when going to the Skye hills I always carried a rope.....kind-of speeds things up when reaching places like the immediate descent after Sgurr Dubh Beag. :) ...even using a classic abseil :(
The controversy, as I recall it, was over the bridge that the Army folks constructed over the Camasunary burn that had many of the SMC folks jumping up and down....destruction of the wilderness and all that The first time that we went that way in '65 your had to wade the burn still the same later on .....the bridge had been chopped. :(
I hadn't heard anything about the plans to 'blow-up' the Bad step?
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gaffr
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Re: The Dubh Ridge

Postby Benaden887 » Sat Sep 09, 2017 10:48 am

gaffr wrote:Even where I was a lad when going to the Skye hills I always carried a rope.....kind-of speeds things up when reaching places like the immediate descent after Sgurr Dubh Beag. :) ...even using a classic abseil :(
The controversy, as I recall it, was over the bridge that the Army folks constructed over the Camasunary burn that had many of the SMC folks jumping up and down....destruction of the wilderness and all that The first time that we went that way in '65 your had to wade the burn still the same later on .....the bridge had been chopped. :(
I hadn't heard anything about the plans to 'blow-up' the Bad step?


Could be I`m quoting folktales about the step, my own munroist notes flag it up. Re rope, yes if route climbing, otherwise I carry a length of paracord, sling and lockin crab. just in case.
Benaden887
Mountaineer
 
Posts: 137
Munros:282   Corbetts:222
Grahams:143   Donalds:89
Sub 2000:7   Hewitts:46
Wainwrights:39   
Joined: Apr 8, 2012

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