Monday, 16 May 2011

More Highlands and Islands

Monday evening of that week I took my kids for a walk to the top of their first Scottish peak, Am Mam from where I took this picture of the clouds gathering over the Cuillins.

Cuillin Ridge from Am Mam

Another clear evening and I decided to try and head up onto Sgurr Alasdair, this meant climbing the great stone chute. I thought I had left myself plenty of time before the light faded but I was wrong, completely underestimating the severity of the scree slope. I was quite disappointed when I realised I wasn't going to make it to the top, right about where I took this picture:

Looking out over Glenbrittle beach from the slopes of the Great Stone Chute.

I'm afraid to admit I did lose my bottle briefly up there (I'm not on about my water bottle). I had been scrambling up crags to try and stay off the loose scree but when I rounded a corner and saw that there was still a very steep section before reaching the col leading up to the summit, foremost in my mind was how steep the terrain had been and I still had to get back down! I strayed too far right at one point coming back down and everywhere was very loose and steep, I couldn't see the route back the ground just seemed to drop off a cliff. Realising my mistake I headed left and could finally see the whiter stones of the path. I was a little fed up by that point, I hadn't enjoyed myself at all and felt that I had put myself in unnecessary danger just trying to tick off a summit.

I was making so much noise crashing back down through the scree, there were a few people on the ridge opposite - I think they were climbing the Inaccessible Pinnacle - must have thought I was a right vandal kicking all the stones around.

Sgurr Dearg opposite, where some climbers were on the Inn Pinn.

A nice consolation on the way back down was the view of the sunset over Glenbrittle bay.

 The day after was a little cloudier and I wanted to get a proper run done which didn't involve my hands touching rock, so I went from the Sligachan Hotel up onto Beinn Dearg Mheadhonach (I'm copying this from the map, don't ask me to pronounce it). Notice the Beinn instead of Sgurr, so not too rough and rocky.
Glen Sligachan with Marsco in the foreground and the Cuillin Ridge.

Looking north(ish).Beinn Dearg Mhor on the left with Loch Ainort and the Isle of Scalpay.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Highlands and Islands

 Just back after a week on the Isle of Skye where the weather was particularly kind. On the drive up we stopped off in Wasdale to pick up my eldest daughter, she had been staying with some friends of ours who farm in the valley. We dropped her off the week before, driving there after the event in Grasmere.

I took these pictures that evening:

This is the view from their front door...
...and this the view from the back.
As driving goes, you can't get much better than the drive up through Glencoe into the Highlands. I haven't been further north than Fort William before so found it very distracting seeing such a lovely part of the country for the first time.
I took this shot from the side of the road as we passed through GlenGarry

Skye, like the rest of the Highlands is a paradise for hill lovers. I was spoilt for choice while looking for routes on the map. The evening after we arrived I decided to go for a jog up towards the highest peak on the island to see what the Black Cuillins are like. I wasn't going to get to the top, I only set out at 8ish but I wanted to check out the only route up that doesn't (apparently!) need climbing skills. Looking at the map I was wondering why the names of all the peaks began with 'Sgurr' as opposed to 'Ben'. I found out that the Gaelic 'Sgurr' means 'rough, rocky peak', nowhere I have been has this been more apt than here.

Anyway I got as far as the small loch in the glacial corrie 'Coire Lagan' and took a couple of shots.
This was as far as I got, a small loch in Coire Lagan. I took this from the base of the Great Stone Chute. You can just about see the Isle of Rum on the horizon.
The view up to the top. I decided to head up the stone chute on the left the next time I headed out which turned out to be a mistake.
One more picture on the way back down of the sunset as I passed Loch An Fhir-Ballaich.

More pictures to come...