So at the beginning of the year I set myself the goal of climbing the Inn Pin as a treat for my 50th birthday. Originally I had planned to go to Skye in May, but...well...we all know what happened then! So the earliest I could get up there again was last weekend in Sept. The weekend before was terrible weather according to the reports, gales, storms, a months rain in a couple of days. I thought had I missed my chance the autumnal weather had arrived! But fingers crossed I watched the daily reports...and the closer I got to my trip the weather improved day-by-day....I was hesitantly optomistic!
I hired a guide for 3 days - Stephen from who I kept in touch with throughout the year to iron out what I was looking to do over the 3 days. To keep costs down, another person Leslie who Stephen already knew was also interested in doing more scrambles, so she joined us for 2 of the days.
The plan was to do the Inn Pinn on the Friday, and then come up with some scrambling routes for sat and sun (the Spur on Sat, and Clach Glas traverse on sunday). I was a bit hesitant with exposure so thought I needed to cross this barrier once and for all by doing this trip. I explained to Stephen that I had avoided such routes because of the exposure, but he put my fears at ease and gave me the confidence to have a cracking weekend of scrambling.
The Inn Pin was my goal. The Friday the weather was fantastic, not a breath of wind, blue skies and sun.
Starting off from Glen Brittle Hut, we followed the track East which quickly started to climg up Window buttress. the ground became a bit of a scramble and then a traverse and after a couple of hours we could see the In Pinn.
A couple of groups were in front of us, so we chilled out in the sunshine watching them clambour up the moderate climb. We dropped the rucks off at the top of the ridge, and made the steep descent down to the bottom of the climb.
I tied myself in, Stephen explained we would do it in 3 pitches and explained the process of how we would do it. We gave the group ahead plenty of room and before long I was beginning the climb. Being on a rope, I wasnt frightented of the exposure at all. It was exhilirating and the climbing was easy with big handholds and steps all the way. During the pitches as Stephen tied me in while he progressed up, I got the chance to enjoy what a moment this was, and the stupendous views this peak and the ridge was offering me were unforgettable.
The group in fron had cut their finger, so I had to avoid the blood at various spots of the route, which made it interesting! And then i was at the top all too soon.
Totally enjoyable and such a thrill to tick this munro off in such conditions. We abseilled off the other side and climbed up to the rucksacks again, and had a well-deserved lunchbreak. We had a chat with the girls in the group and before us and glad to know her finger was patched up! Descending back down to the start, this was an unforgettable first day of scrambling and major Munro tick!....Done.
With Covid, the YHA was closed, so the closest I could get somewhere to stay was broadford. I drove back and had an enjoyable pint of Guinness to celebrate my achievement!
The 2nd day, we met up with Leslie at Glen brittle. After a quick chat and introductions, it was decided we would do a grade 2 scramble up the Spur (Sgurr an Fheadain), the peak in all the Fairy pool pictures.
We parked in the wood car park just north of the Fairy pools pay carpark and walked down the road, following the track east passing the Fairy Pools. It lead into Coire na Creiche and we could see the route ahead of us, of the shoulder ov Sgurr an Fheadain just north of Waterpipe Gully.
I looked at it in trepidation as from the road it looked unclimable. But when you got into it, the scrambling was relatively easy. It wasnt until we got nearer the top where I felt more exposed and required the rope for one section. Before long we had reached the top, again in glorious weather....what a day! At the top we dicided the options of which way to go. Given my fitness wasnt great with no hills all year, I wanted to keep my legs for the Clach glas traverse the following day. We all agreed to come off down into Coire a Mhadaidh and have a relatively short day and chill. The descent into the coire from the south face was hair raising and probably one of the most difficult things of the weekend. Pretty much a cliff with loose scree. so it was slow slow all the way down. Im glad Stephen was route finding as I would ahve had difficulty. When we got to the bottom we chilled for an hour and soaked up the rays. The walk back to the tourist trap of the fairy pools couldnt be avoided. Next time wear a sign " there are no more pools this way" I think we were asked 5 or 6 times! Still it couldnt dampen the thrill of another exciting day of scrambling.
The last day, my legs were feeling...well...unfresh is the word. The lack of fitness was taking its toll. The drive to Torrin was shorter from Broadford than to Glen Brittle, and I was blessed with another gorgeous day. We met up at the car park under Bla Bheinn and headed off up the trail west. We broke off to Sgurr Nan Each and made the slow ascent up its spur. The full view of the traverse was in front of us.
I had heard it was a classic scramble and shouldnt be missed. I followed up and down some routes I would never have dreamed of doing. I definately wouldnt consider doing this route myself. However at no point did I not feel safe. Stephen used a confidence rope for the both of us which did exactly what its name suggests.
I did find it incredible how a guide can walk up scrambles while we ...well...scrambled for want of a better word Descending the infamous "Imposter" wasnt so bad, and the climb to the "Matterhorn" of Skye was again exhilirating.
Throughtout this 7hr extravaganza of scrambling up and down, it was totally imerssive with awesome views of the cuillin ridge across the glen.
The final climb up the difficult rated chimney was the last climb of the day and again, looked worse that it was. It arrived at the trail to Bla Bheinn. Again, Spephen checked if we wanted to continue to the Munro. I had previously done it, and my legs were just about running on empty, so I was heading down no matter what!
We got back to the car park, and said our good byes....knowing that we had 3 fantastic days with the most perfect weather Skye has to offer.
Not a big trip for Munros but I learnt so much more, and look forward to taking those more tricky routes in future, and continuing my exploration of scrambling. My advice would be to get a guide on Skye to help with those fears and can fully recommend Stephen from Scottishrockandwater.com for keeping us safe, and understanding our goals. Cant wait to book my next trip back....Im sure I wont get the same weather again...who knows. fingers crossed!
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