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Brilliant Belig to Magnificent Marsco - 8 years later!

Brilliant Belig to Magnificent Marsco - 8 years later!


Postby Graeme D » Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:50 pm

Corbetts included on this walk: Garbh-bheinn (Skye)

Grahams included on this walk: Belig, Marsco

Date walked: 20/07/2017

Time taken: 7.1 hours

Distance: 12.5 km

Ascent: 1620m

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For some reason, this report has sat largely finished in my draft folder for months and I just couldn't seem to find the will to finish it. Very odd considering it was arguably my 2017 hill day highlight! I figured I should probably post it before the 8 years mentioned in the title gets mistaken for how long it took me to get round to posting it! :shock:

After a three part opening day of my Summer 2017 "tour", I awoke on the Thursday to a promising looking weather situation. At least it was promising out to the west, towards Kyle of Lochalsh and Skye beyond. Less promising was the view back east towards the Kintail, Quoich and Affric hills, a situation that seems to have been confirmed by the experience of JimboJim that day on Gleouraich and Spidean Mialach.

I had been doubtful about actually making it as far as Skye in the course of the four days I had a pass for, what with there being so many other hills en route that were winking at me! But the skies made the decision for me this morning - I was heading over the bridge!

The drive along to Kyle of Lochalsh gave me a taste of the road conditions I was about to experience on Skye itself - long lines of campervans and foreign plates, mostly French, Belgian and Dutch. I had heard a lot of tales recently from various sources about how busy Skye was with tourists these days, particularly during the summer months.

As I drove in convoy towards and through Broadford, it seemed that every third or fourth car coming towards me had foreign plates. There was precious little overtaking opportunity, so I had to bide my time and remain patient until I got to my start point.

I had settled on the Graham of Belig and the neighbouring Corbett of Garbh Bheinn, hoping to include the Graham of Marsco in the round as well. I initially attempted to park in the long layby on the right hand side of the road at the bottom of the straight climb up the Bruach nam Bo at the head of Loch Ainort, but it was rammed and crawling with tourists running about taking photographs of a waterfall and paying no heed to the traffic. I extracted myself from the mayhem as quickly and as calmly as I could and drove back down the road a few hundred yards to a gravelled area on the other side of the road next to the bridge where a landrover was already parked up.

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The Red Hills from the start

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Belig and Garbh Bheinn from the bridge over the Abhainn Ceann Loch Ainort

Quickly suited and booted, I was off along the east side of the Abhainn Ceann Loch Ainort and across the tributary flowing out of Coire Choinnich, towards the long, narrow north ridge of Belig. It was 8 years since I had last walked on Skye, if one discounts the walking (or should that be wading) I did between the bunkhouse and the pub at the ill fated Sligachan WH meet of August 2013, when even the meet organisers thought it unwise to attend and absconded to Canada instead! :lol: That (far more fruitful) two day visit back in May 2009 had yielded a couple of fine days on Blabheinn and Sgurr na Banachdaich and it felt great to be back! No Munros today for me but a route and some hills that I have long admired the look of.

The ascent of the north ridge of Belig is a bit of a slow burner but boy, it kicks in eventually and well and truly sets the tone for the day. It was clear it was going to be a fabulous day on the weather front and the route was going to more than live up to expectations as well.

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Red Hills and Sound of Raasay from the north ridge of Belig

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The Cuillin ridge across Marsco and the north ridge of Garbh Bheinn

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Belig and Garbh Bheinn with Bla Bheinn beyond Sgurr nan Each

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Garbh Bheinn with the north ridge connecting towards Marsco and the Cuillin behind

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The Broadford Grahams and the Inner Sound

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Back down the north ridge of Belig with Raasay prominent beyond

If I still had had any doubts about making the right choice of route today (which I didn't!), they would have been totally blown away when I sauntered onto the compact summit of Belig and clocked my onward route down the broken wall to the Bealach na Beiste and on up the broad, shattered eastern ridge of Garbh Bheinn.

Not only that, but there were the wider views west over the Corbett and Glen Sligachan and Strath na Creitheach to the curving, saw tooth ridge of the Black Cuillin, north to the northern Red Cuillin hills lying between Lochs Sligachan and Ainort, with the Sound of Raasay beyond, east over the Reds above Broadford, and south across the bristling ridge of Sgurr na Each to the brooding mass of Blabheinn.

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Broadford hills and Loch Slapin from the summit of Belig

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The vista north from Belig

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Bla Bheinn, Sgurr nan Each and Garbh Bheinn from Belig

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Summit self timer effort

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The Cuillin across the north ridge of Garbh Bheinn and Marsco

I eventually pulled myself away from Belig and started the descent down the old broken down wall towards the bealach. There was something about it (the weather, the terrain) that transported me back to another epic July hill day last year in Wales and the descent off Tryfan to the foot of Bristly Ridge. It was one of those days where voices seem to carry for miles on the air and reverberate off the rocks all around - there was no sign of anybody but there were definitely voices! As I began to climb again onto the north east ridge of Garbh Bheinn, I began to make out a few figures and the sources of the voices up on Sgurr nan Each away to my left.

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Descending the wall to the Bealach na Beiste

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Gotcha! - some big bird riding the thermals

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Marsco

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Sgurr nan Each

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Marsco and Gillean from the Bealach na Beiste

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The Red Hills

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The Broadford hills and Loch Slapin beyond the nose of Sgurr nan Each

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Back to Belig

Hunger pangs were now beginning to kick in and this seemed like a more than acceptable lunch spot with views!

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Nice spot for lunch

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Glad I reached the top of Belig when I did!

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Marsco, I'm coming for you!

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Clach Glas and Bla Bheinn from the ascent of Garbh Bheinn

I pulled myself away from my comfy seat and continued the pull up the broken slopes to the Corbett summit. The views became more and more sublime with each step until I finally topped out on Garbh Bheinn and had my breath taken away. It surely doesn't matter how regularly or how often one comes to Skye and the heart of the Cuillin - it always takes the breath away.

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Belig across the Bealach na Beiste

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The start of the walk looking a long way away

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Marsco and the Glamaig group

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The north ridge of Garbh Bheinn with the Cuillin and Marsco behind

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Down the north coire of Garbh Bheinn

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Sgurr nan Each

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Bla Bheinn and Loch na Creitheach with Sgurr na Stri, Soay and Rum beyond

I hadn't been 100% committed to the idea of tagging Marsco on but as I stood there on Garbh Bheinn and looked at it, there was absolutely no chance of me not doing it.

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Sgurr nan Each and Clach Glas from the summit of Garbh Bheinn

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The Cuillin ridge and Marsco from the summit of Garbh Bheinn

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Marsco and the Glamaig group

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The Cuillin across Lochs na Creitheach and an Athain

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Belig and the Broadford hills

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Garbh Bheinn summit selfie

After a few gulps of water and a handful of wine gums, I was off down the north ridge towards Druim Eadar Da Choire. This is an absolutely fantastic part of the walk with Gillian, Marsco and the Sligachan hills staring you in the face as you meander your way down the broad rocky slopes towards the grassy bealach below Marsco's southern slopes.

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Starting the descent down the north ridge of Garbh Bheinn

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Clach Glas and Blaven

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Marsco from the north ridge of Garbh Bheinn

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Marsco and the Glamaig group

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Marsco from Druim Eadar da Choire

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Belig across Coire na Selig

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Looking back up the north ridge of Garbh Bheinn

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Garbh Bheinn and Bla Bheinn from the 489m spot height

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Beinn Dearg Mheadhonach and Beinn Dearg Mhor from the bealach..........

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........ and again from the ascent of the south ridge of Marsco

Then it was off to bag Marsco, a hill I had often admired in the past from Sligachan to the north, via it's south ridge, before the long, sore, tired but elated walk back out to the car and the end of another day that will live long in the memory.

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Bla Bheinn behind Garbh Bheinn and Ruadh Stac

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Marsco south ridge

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Approaching the summit of Marsco

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The tiny, airy perch at the summit of Marsco, looking towards Bla Bheinn and surely two of the finest Sub2K hills in the land

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South from Marsco to Belig, Garbh Bheinn and Bla Bheinn

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The Cuillin ridge from Marsco

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Just about space for a seat

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Descent into Coire nam Bruadaran, Loch Ainort between Ciche na Beinne Deirge and Glas Bheinn Mor

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Back at the car - Marsco from the north east


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Graeme D
 
Posts: 3632
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Re: Brilliant Belig to Magnificent Marsco - 8 years later!

Postby gaffr » Tue Dec 19, 2017 6:22 pm

Hello, A grand wee corner of the Skye hills and an enjoyable combination. Clach Glas looks very fine in your images viewed from Garbh-bheinn. :)
We went the other way on this round and on to the CG way to finish on Blaven. Such a fine day out that we went back again to these hills. Our visit to Marsco was from Sligachan.
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gaffr
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Posts: 1881
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Joined: Oct 25, 2009
Location: Highland.

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