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Skye at its Best - Red to Black and Blue to Grey

Skye at its Best - Red to Black and Blue to Grey


Postby wilkiemurray » Thu Dec 28, 2017 11:03 am

Route description: Garbh Bheinn and Belig

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

Grahams included on this walk: Belig

Date walked: 14/12/2017

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Video of adventure:



Garbh Bheinn

The Cuillin in Skye have always captured my attention, whether Red or Black the combination of mountain and sea creates a magical spectacle and a visit to Sky always fills me with excitement! The northerly winds had brought snow to the northern half of Scotland and now a low pressure system was hovering over the northwest highlands! The day before on the drive through I had stopped in Glen Shiel and walked up Sgurr Mhic Bharraich, wading through drifts on the top and catching a little sun light between hefty showers!
I spent the night in Broadford contemplating what to do the following day… The forecast was varying between the different weather websites, with some stating the afternoon would be better and others indicating that the morning would be better! I had my eye on Garbh Bheinn, a Corbett in the Black Cuillin, not far from Clach Ghlas and Blabheinn, which I hadn’t been up before, however I didn’t fancy heading up in a white out!

A short evening walk along the shores of Broadford Bay revealed a starry sky and I looked skyward in the hope of catching some of the meteor shower… I saw two shooting stars and made my wish!

Breakfast as at 0730am at the hotel and I was up early to see which forecast was right! Stepping outside and everything sparkled- a deep frost had descended overnight and cloaked everything in ice! Anticipation was growing, although the stars shone here with the clear sky, it didn’t mean the mountains along the road would be clear! I set off and to my delight the skies remained clear as I drove the short distance to my start point near the waterfall at the head of Loch Ainort, the dawn light was revealing a white blanket coating the Cuillin Hills- to say I was happy would be the understatement of the year! I really couldn’t have asked for a better morning, the heavy snows of the prior days had left the Red and Black Cuillin decidedly white! The sky was blue, the mountains were white ad nobody else was on the hill, solitude seemed a little unfair however I was enjoying it all! The shooting star and wish the night before had held true;)

ImageGarbh Bheinn Moon by Scotland's Mountains, on Flickr

I made my way up the Druim Eadar Da Choire, all the while trying to make steady progress and not stopping every two steps to pick my jaw off the floor! Marsco was dominating the skyline ahead and to my right, the other Red Cuillin stood behind me watching my progress and all the while Garbh Bheinn was waiting to the southern horizon!

ImageThe Red Cuillin by Scotland's Mountains, on Flickr

These views were amazing but as I reached the top of the shoulder (489m), the Black Cuillin Ridge came into view- what a sight! I was lucky enough to summit camp on Sgurr na Stri when snow covered the Cuillin previously, however on that occasion the blanket was only half on – today the blanket was almost down to sea level.

ImageBlack Cuillin Ridge by Scotland's Mountains, on Flickr

ImageSGURR NAN GILLEAN by Scotland's Mountains, on Flickr

I spent a bit of time enjoying the view at the shoulder top and would’ve of been happy to turn and go home here – however I now had to cross from the Red to the Black and get my mountaineering head on! Garbh Bheinn, in comparison to other Black Cuillin peaks may be less technical and in the summer a easy scramble, however under a coating of deep, soft powdery, unconsolidated snow, I knew I was going to have to concentrate and perhaps not summit her today…. No one was on the mountain and a simple slip would have consequences- especially on the summit ridge where I knew the narrow ridge would test me….

Crampons on – ice axe out, I now headed up steep ground with some steepening sections. The snow made everything look so festive but foot placements gave some surprises. The deep snow hid rock and scree and the fact that the snow was so powdery meant I had to take my time. Up I went and the views got better and better! Behind me and looking north I could see the weather was rapidly changing, the low sun to the south was still illuminating the white hills but the northern horizon behind grew darker and darker with the approaching weather!

ImageIsle of Skye by Scotland's Mountains, on Flickr

ImageMarsco Light by Scotland's Mountains, on Flickr

Soon, I was about to gain the summit ridge! Pulling myself onto the final ridge before turning east and a new view came into sight as Blabheinn appeared in all its glory! I sat and enjoyed it, but not for too long – Galmaig and its neighbours had now been engulfed with the storm clouds and were disappearing from view- I needed to crack on! Probably a hop, skip and a jump in summer conditions, the final ridge was now a sharp snowy arête, the knife edge crest of snow hiding the rocks under the coating. Probing my way along slowly I had to circumvent a few small steps the axe a necessity ! Exhilarating and lofty it certainly was! Soon I reached the summit and the blue above was now replaced by grey as white flakes started to fall! Half way! The same amount of concentration was needed to retrace my steps and soon I stopped heading west and was headed north towards the car. The hills and mountains that had caught my gaze all the way up had now disappeared and a sheet of dark grey enveloped everything. The wind had increased dramatically and heavy snow now fell from the sky stinging my exposed skin! The blizzard raged around me as I descended! My plans (had the weather remained perfect) were to continue to Marsco, that was no binned as I fought my way back to the car! It wasn’t until I set foot back on the Red Cuillin that the snow started to ease so a couple of snaps and piece to camera before descent on the red part of the walk! The snow eventually turned to rain as I reached the car and a quick change into civilian uniform;)! On to the Sligachan and a soon I was tucking into a festive dinner in front of a roaring fire, trying to take in my day’s adventure – what a day, what a mountain – what a place….. Not sure I will have such a good day on the hill for some time……..

ImageApporaching storm - Red Cuillin Skye by Scotland's Mountains, on Flickr
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wilkiemurray
 
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Re: Skye at its Best - Red to Black and Blue to Grey

Postby steviesea » Fri Dec 29, 2017 12:39 am

Absolutely stunning as always :clap: Not sure if I could have coped with that ridge where you wrote "care required" In my case it would have been more like new trousers required :lol: It's great that you capture those scenes with such clarity as I've been cursed with clag on my 2 Skye outings and watching your film is next best thing so thanks for sharing
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Re: Skye at its Best - Red to Black and Blue to Grey

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Fri Dec 29, 2017 1:24 pm

Fabulous video and pics, a joy to watch :clap: :clap:
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johnkaysleftleg
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Re: Skye at its Best - Red to Black and Blue to Grey

Postby Jaxter » Sat Dec 30, 2017 9:03 pm

Wonderful stuff as always :clap: :clap: :clap:

I had a fabulous day on these hills although they look like a different proposition in winter :shock: What a viewpoint though 8)
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Jaxter
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Re: Skye at its Best - Red to Black and Blue to Grey

Postby Alteknacker » Sat Dec 30, 2017 9:23 pm

I'm really lost for superlatives: the best place in the world under the best possible conditions! Words fail absolutely.

Lucky lucky you!

Fabulous pics :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Alteknacker
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Re: Skye at its Best - Red to Black and Blue to Grey

Postby malky_c » Sat Dec 30, 2017 10:08 pm

Nice 8) .
Those photos looking down to Marsco are stunning.
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Re: Skye at its Best - Red to Black and Blue to Grey

Postby dogplodder » Sat Dec 30, 2017 10:35 pm

Absolutely stunning..... and just saw you on TV with Paul Murton! :D
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Re: Skye at its Best - Red to Black and Blue to Grey

Postby spiderwebb » Mon Jan 01, 2018 4:35 pm

Brilliant and stunning photos there WM :clap: :clap:
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Re: Skye at its Best - Red to Black and Blue to Grey

Postby Anne C » Mon Jan 01, 2018 10:10 pm

Absolutely brilliant video and photos - in fact, those photos are something else! Wow. What a day you had up there. :clap: :clap:
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Re: Skye at its Best - Red to Black and Blue to Grey

Postby wilkiemurray » Sat Jan 06, 2018 10:10 am

steviesea wrote:Absolutely stunning as always :clap: Not sure if I could have coped with that ridge where you wrote "care required" In my case it would have been more like new trousers required :lol: It's great that you capture those scenes with such clarity as I've been cursed with clag on my 2 Skye outings and watching your film is next best thing so thanks for sharing


Thank You

didnt have a spare set of trousers so was definetely careful ! lol

ATB

Murray
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Re: Skye at its Best - Red to Black and Blue to Grey

Postby wilkiemurray » Sat Jan 06, 2018 10:11 am

johnkaysleftleg wrote:Fabulous video and pics, a joy to watch :clap: :clap:


Thanks John - much appreciated :)

ATB

Murray
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Re: Skye at its Best - Red to Black and Blue to Grey

Postby wilkiemurray » Sat Jan 06, 2018 10:12 am

Jaxter wrote:Wonderful stuff as always :clap: :clap: :clap:

I had a fabulous day on these hills although they look like a different proposition in winter :shock: What a viewpoint though 8)


Thanks Jaxter - its a special place isn't it :) Cant wait to go back

ATB

Murray
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Re: Skye at its Best - Red to Black and Blue to Grey

Postby wilkiemurray » Sat Jan 06, 2018 10:12 am

Alteknacker wrote:I'm really lost for superlatives: the best place in the world under the best possible conditions! Words fail absolutely.

Lucky lucky you!

Fabulous pics :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:


Absolutely agree - I got lucky on this day or sure!

ATB

M
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Re: Skye at its Best - Red to Black and Blue to Grey

Postby wilkiemurray » Sat Jan 06, 2018 10:13 am

malky_c wrote:Nice 8) .
Those photos looking down to Marsco are stunning.


Thank Malky - just got it at the right moment as the storm clouds were rolling in and the last of the sunshine hit the mountains :)

ATB

Murray
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Re: Skye at its Best - Red to Black and Blue to Grey

Postby wilkiemurray » Sat Jan 06, 2018 10:14 am

dogplodder wrote:Absolutely stunning..... and just saw you on TV with Paul Murton! :D


Thank you- much appreciated :) - yeah - got my 4 minuts of fame with Paul M :) Apparently I am a photographer too (never been called that beofre - but I'll takeit ;)

ATB

Murray
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