This was the beginning of our week off work and we decided we could backpack along and through as many mountain routes as we could with the week ahead and decided we would finally take the plunge at an intro to climbing in Skye. Luckily for me, rolandtattiescone is absolutely brilliant at looking into walk reports, descriptions and alternative routes to incorporate different things he would like to do and had set his heart on the route
Arriving in Elgol on Sunday night, we parked up the car,packed our camping equipment and headed along the 3.1mile coastal route to Camasunary Bay. Now when i heard 'coastal route', I imprudently imagined a low level walk on a rough path around the skirts of some beaches or rocks However... this is a rough coastal track which at several times times comes precariously close to the cliff tops that plunge into the waters of the skye coastline below. With a fear of heights (which is easing due to hillwalking) I did freeze and panic a few times, but thanks to a huge deal of encouragement from rolandtattiescone, I eventually made it around in once piece. Iam so thankful that I didn't know how scary this would be for me as I wouldn't have done it if I did and I will admit, that this is probably up there with one of the most enjoyable non-mountainous walks I have done so far
Anyway - arriving at Camasunary bay was an absolute pleasure with the Cuillin range in full view rising straight out of the sea and BlaBheinn rising directly from Camasunary Bay. The new bothy which was funded by the estate owners is absolutely fantastic and has to be up there with the fanciest bothy I have stayed in - plenty of sleeping areas, a separate wee dining area with a metal plate for getting the stoves on! After pottering about and getting a bile on for the tea, we got some rest as we wanted to get down in decent time in the morning
I won't lie, I was pretty nervous about taking an alternative route up the mountain and one that I couldn't see a description for onwalkhighlands as it was not only my first time on Skye but I knew from pouring over walk reports to reach the true summit from the South Ridge that an awkward scramble was to be involved which I'd have to deal with However, as I'm learning more and more with hiking I'm capable of more than I believe myself to be and decided to just go ahead and take it on a chunk at a time and see what i could manage on the day.
We set off round the bay and uphill slightly to fill up our bottles for the day ahead as we'd used most of it at the Bothy the night before. We followed the landrover track just before a hairpin bend where a faint path headed west off of the track and headed through some heather to begin gaining some gradual height. After a discussion the day before about never seeing snakes in the wild, rolandtattiescone spotted not only one but two adders just off the path on some rocks and heather - some excitement for today already, but in the face of the excitement we forgot to take a picture
Anyway we continued on the path, looking for a good place to leave the path to follow the ridgeline when a wee cairn popped out of nowhere which had a path heading uphill so we decided to follow this up! We followed the path up as it zig-zagged to gain height before it then started to head east to contour round the hillside gradually gaining height before it took a sharp left turn to follow a short easy grassy gully-like area with a very well-worn path up to the main ridge line.
There is a clear path which follows the ridge up, however, if you wanted to add some excitement in you can definitely veer off slightly to the right of left at several points along the path and take some very easy scrambling options to regain the path higher up - I thought was great for getting to know the rocks and getting some practise in especially since I'd have to face an awkward scramble from the south to the north summit! The optional scrambling was absolutely great fun, I LOVED it and it wasn't exposed at all
In what felt like no time, we'd gained the South top and for the first time that day since we'd left the bothy came across some more people! We stoated around a bit taking some pictures then I decided it was time to get onto the true top and would rather get this done sooner rather than later as I felt a wee bit anxious to see what was in store. I did struggle as there is a bit of a feeling of exposure with some drops to either side and as I was doing the down-climb first which can be more difficult. Rolandtattiescone had taken an alternative route and got stuck as he'd come up to a ledge which there wasn't much room for error on. However, as I was struggling a little, a really kind man who had actually done his ML training came over and helped to guide me down the best line showing me the best hand and foot holds which got me down onto the path which rolandtattiescone decided to turn back and also come down this way (he still beat me down obviously because he is a natural!) so if you're the man who helped me and reading this, then thank you
Anyway... on over to the true summit for some well deserved pieces and a can of Irn-Bru. The views were absolutely breathtaking and I really did find it difficult to believe that I was in Scotland and not an Alpine based mountain range We actually spent ewll over an hour at the summits which is the most we've ever sat on any mountain for a rest to date. As we'd left our camping gear in the Bothy to save the extra weight, we did have to return up the scramble to the south summit and take the same return route. On the scramble back up to this, it was actually really enjoyable and found this a million times easier - myself and rolandtattiescone were actually able to help guide a group of 4 down the route we'd taken who we could see were struggling route finding and a couple of them seem a bit unnerved who were also genuinely thankful for the help - so it goes to show a random act of kindness from that one man on the hills that day really did go a long way as 6 people benefited that day and he has no idea
Once back to the top, back down we went to Camasunary to collect our stuff. With heavy packs back on, for the return route to Elgol I decided to head along the landrover track towards the parking spot at Kilmarie then follow the long 4 mile road from there to Elgol back to the car as I didn't fancy weary legs giving way on the coastal track above the cliffs...
I seriously cannot recommend the South-Ridge route up from Camasunary Bay and a stay at the Bothy as it was a really wonderful experience and probably is up there with one of my favourite couple of days spent in Scotland. I cannot wait to return and do this hill again with some friends
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