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by dbogosian » Sun Jul 29, 2018 7:12 am
Route description: Marsco from Sligachan
Grahams included on this walk: Marsco
Date walked: 05/06/2018
Time taken: 6 hours
Distance: 14 km
Ascent: 730m2 people think this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
The path begins at Sligachan and is quite heavily traveled. I do like walks where you are looking your target square in the eyes, so to speak, and Marsco is perfect in this regard as you are staring right at it from the get-go.
The stretch that follows Glen Sligachan went quickly and easily; little elevation is gained and the path is wide and easily followed. Eventually you reach the stream Allt na Measarroch which empties into the Sligachan river. At this point, you divert to the left, still looking straight at your goal.
But after this left turn, the path gets really difficult. Yes, it's boggy, but worse than that, it's very rough, very narrow (too narrow to allow use of sticks), often branches off into endless variations, and generally makes the going very very tough. You begin climbing, but because you are in a valley there is not much of a view. Looking at the map, the segment from Sligachan to the junction of the rivers seems to be about 3 km, whereas the bit from the junction on to where the real climb begins is only about 2 km. And yet, the second bit probably took me 50% longer than the first, just because the terrain was so rough. It was as unpleasant a stretch of walking as I dare say I've encountered thus far in Scotland.
Eventually, you get to the headwaters of that stream and climb out onto a bealach (whew) where you are no longer hemmed in. The path (what there was of it) rather peters out here, but now you have an excellent set of markers to follow: a set of iron fence posts, which are shown on the OS map as a fence but which have lost any wire. They became my dearest friends, as I just went from one to another in succession. They lead up the flanks of Marsco on its back side (the side away from Glen Sligachan). The climbing here is very steep and stony but never unmanageable.
After a hard slog up the hill, you then reach the ridge with the summit on your right, and here the view is magnificent. The entire valley opens up before you, quite spectacular. It is essentially the same view you will have from the summit, which is only about 100 m higher. (Good thing for that 100 m, it makes Marsco a Graham!)
After a good rest at this point, I pushed on to reach the actual summit, weary but very satisfied. There is a long sharp ridge that forms the summit, quite narrow but never uncomfortable. Funny, you don't usually see that ridge when you view the hill from below.
The views of Blaven are superb, as are the Cuillin. On this day, everything was gray and somber, but Blaven still looked terrific.
The midges were out big-time, so I didn't spend very long at the summit. I retraced my steps all the way back, heeding the route description's warning against trying to continue north along the ridge. As I was nearing the start, the clouds began to part and blue skies appeared, a fitting farewell to a Skye sojourn that left many deep impressions on this walker.
by The Rodmiester » Sun Jul 29, 2018 12:08 pm
by dbogosian » Sun Jul 29, 2018 8:07 pm
The Rodmiester wrote: the lower section adjacent to the burn is hard going and very wet...
Actually, I was there was during a warm dry spell, and squishy ground was a only minor annoyance. I can only imagine how much worse that section would be during a wet season. And with your tally of peaks, you definitely should tackle this one some day soon. A nice day, hopefully!
by Graeme D » Tue Jul 31, 2018 1:04 pm
by BlackPanther » Tue Jul 31, 2018 2:08 pm
The path by the stream has actually improved since our previous visit in 2010. I remember it was very indistinct, overgrown in places, now the decade of heavy traffic took its toll. Marsco is more popular than it used to be, which has bad and good sides. But maybe I'm biased, 'cause we had slightly better conditions: dry weather, sunny spells and no midges.
Isn't it wonderful?...
by dbogosian » Wed Aug 01, 2018 12:53 am
BlackPanther wrote: Marsco is more popular than it used to be
Really? Because the day I climbed it, I saw a grand total of 1 person. That's after taking the left at the burn; the main path along Glen Sligachan was very busy indeed. But Marsco itself was totally empty, and that's in early June so a pretty busy time for visitors.
But I agree, a fantastic place to get a panorama like that. You had a wee bit of blue sky there, I'm jealous!
by BlackPanther » Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:48 am
I guess the hill suffers from being close to Sligachan. All the tourists camping there see it and think, O, what a nice shapely lump, let's go up
Even Garb-bheinn and Belig don't seem to be so popular. We also visited them a couple of times in recent years and never met a single soul. Or were we just lucky to pick the right day?
Skye is such a fantastic place, anywhere you go, busy or not