Another dig deep into the memory about this trip. Was time to head for Skye for first trip hillwalking/mountaineering, along with buddy, Steve and some of his acquaintance’s from work. Had high hopes to tackle the In-Pin and maybe one, or two of it’s neighbour’s, but was going to be very reliant for his knowledge, climbing skills and support.
Arrived on the Friday evening to stay at the bunkhouse at Sligachan, which we had more, or less to ourselves. Felt a bit awkward in the new company, as many of them seemed well skilled and out to do big things themselves. Enjoyed a nice meal made by Steve and Co., then a few nice pints in the Sligachan Hotel after
Naturally, weather was the big topic on everyone’s lips and where and what would you be doing? Had looked a bit hopeful for a while, but with every passing hour, things just seemed to get worse. Possible targets for us (me), became more and more limited. I hoped I wasn’t holding Steve back from greater things, but he seemed reasonably content to watch out for me and let the others go for the harder hills, with their guide, or a minibus trip round the Quirang.
Our choice of “easier,” hills soon focussed on Bruach na Frithe or, Sgurr na Banachdich, the former being just about on the doorstep, was our choice for Saturday morning. I think we had breakfast and were underway by about 8.30am, but before long the wind was getting up and spots of rain steadily beginning to fall, as the mist soon swallowed up Am Basteir and Sgurr nan Gillean.
Steve had been keeping open, the option of going up, or coming back via the NW ridge, but the ever increasing wind put paid to that idea. Visibility was poor as we moved into Fionn Choire and the rain got worse. Moving into the upper slopes, took us onto the snow on steep slopes, which was quite slippy. Think the ice axe’s were called upon. Eventually found our way to the Bealach na Lice, though it wasn’t easy. Even the superfit, Steve was puffing a bit
It says, “the Bealach na Lice has a complex layout and is confusing in mist.” I would agree! Got a glimpse of something pointy, but couldn’t be sure if it was the Basteir Tooth. We headed off to the right, having to make some awkward downclimbs and probably upclimbs, as we had to basically feel our way along the ridge, retreating from anything looking too scary. Eventually made it to the summit, but it was no place to stop long for any photo’s, take in views, or indulge in celebrations, in what was probably a force 5/6 and driving rain.
I think we managed the way back to the bealach a bit better, though progress was always tentative. It may have been a bit clearer going down through the snow, as we moved along more confidently. The route back down the corrie became much clearer and the trip back was relatively uneventful, other than trying to take a few more pics, as things brightened up considerably. Typical! Nevertheless, I was still thrilled to have done my first Skye Munro, especially in such trying conditions. Hopefully the evening would bring more fun and anticipation of a better day on Sunday, or would it?
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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.