walkhighlands

Share your personal walking route experiences in Scotland, and comment on other peoples' reports.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

Magnificent Marsco

Magnificent Marsco


Postby 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: 730m

2 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).

I had read some great things about Marsco, and driving around Skye for several days, one cannot help but be attracted by its unique and rugged profile. From the Sligachan Hotel, it certainly dominates the skyline, and is visible from many other places. I saved this walk for my last full day on the island, but unfortunately it turned out to be a day of heavy cloud; fortunately, the clouds were high enough that all the key summits were visible, so I went for it.

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.
s685.JPG
Marsco, near the start of the walk


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.
s686.JPG
Marsco again, from the Allt na Measarroch


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.
s687.JPG
Part way up the flank, looking back to Beinn Dearg Meadhonnach (note the iron fence posts)


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!)
s689.JPG
Blaven (left), Loch na Creatach, and off in the distance, the Elgol peninsula

s691.JPG
The full extent of the Cuillin ridge

s692.JPG
Sgurr nan Gillean, peering out from behind the flanks of Marsco (check that slope!)

s693.JPG
Looking forward to the summit...


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.
s694.JPG
On top at last!

s695.JPG
Marsco's summit ridge, looking back to Blaven


The views of Blaven are superb, as are the Cuillin. On this day, everything was gray and somber, but Blaven still looked terrific.
s697.JPG
Blaven

s698.JPG
Cuillin ridge (portion)


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.
s699.JPG
A farewell look at Marsco
User avatar
dbogosian
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 56
Munros:10   Corbetts:1
Grahams:2   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:2   Hewitts:2
Joined: Apr 22, 2015
Location: Glendale, California, USA

Re: Magnificent Marsco

Postby The Rodmiester » Sun Jul 29, 2018 12:08 pm

Nice one dbogosian, I've not done this one but have often looked up and longed to be on the summit. I've heard that the lower section adjacent to the burn is hard going and very wet but I'm sure you agree the summit views totally make up for the early efforts. Marsco although only a Graham dominates as does Glamaig nearby but both are hard climbs from the Slig Hotel. Well worth the effort, and I must climb it the next time I'm on Skye.
User avatar
The Rodmiester
Walker
 
Posts: 3390
Munros:107   Corbetts:196
Grahams:45   Donalds:13
Sub 2000:76   Hewitts:3
Wainwrights:1   Islands:16
Joined: Aug 15, 2012
Location: Carnoustie

Re: Magnificent Marsco

Postby 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! :wink:
User avatar
dbogosian
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 56
Munros:10   Corbetts:1
Grahams:2   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:2   Hewitts:2
Joined: Apr 22, 2015
Location: Glendale, California, USA

Re: Magnificent Marsco

Postby Graeme D » Tue Jul 31, 2018 1:04 pm

It is indeed a magnificent hill, in a splendid setting. 8) Nice one. :clap:
User avatar
Graeme D
 
Posts: 3632
Munros:225   Corbetts:107
Grahams:65   Donalds:22
Sub 2000:57   Hewitts:36
Wainwrights:27   Islands:6
Joined: Oct 17, 2008
Location: Perth

Re: Magnificent Marsco

Postby BlackPanther » Tue Jul 31, 2018 2:08 pm

We climbed Marsco a few days after you (I'm still behind with my reports). It was our second visit to this little mountain and so worth it every time! It's probably the best vantage point to Cuillin Ridge (maybe apart from Sgurr na Stri).
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. :D

Isn't it wonderful?...
Image
User avatar
BlackPanther
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 3533
Munros:260   Corbetts:165
Grahams:114   
Sub 2000:49   
Joined: Nov 2, 2010
Location: Beauly, Inverness-shire

Re: Magnificent Marsco

Postby 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! :)
User avatar
dbogosian
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 56
Munros:10   Corbetts:1
Grahams:2   Donalds:1
Sub 2000:2   Hewitts:2
Joined: Apr 22, 2015
Location: Glendale, California, USA

Re: Magnificent Marsco

Postby BlackPanther » Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:48 am

Well, it probably depends on the day. We were on the summit alone but that's because we started very early and were back down by 2pm. As soon as we began to descend, we passed a cue of people of all shapes and sizes, walking up the path. Each one smiled and asked questions like "how far to the summit yet?" and "is it steep higher up"? But it was Friday so maybe weekend rush?
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 :lol:
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 :D
User avatar
BlackPanther
Mountain Walker
 
Posts: 3533
Munros:260   Corbetts:165
Grahams:114   
Sub 2000:49   
Joined: Nov 2, 2010
Location: Beauly, Inverness-shire

2 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).



Walkhighlands community forum is advert free

We need help to keep the site online.
Can you help support Walkhighlands and the online community by setting up a monthly donation by direct debit?



Return to Walk reports - Scotland

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: martin1909 and 68 guests