Archive for September, 2012

Knight’s Peak & Tooth 16th September


Heavy overnight rain cleared through to leave a beautiful and spectacular walk-in for David & I today.

Bagging the northern Munro Tops of Knight’s Peak and the Basteir Tooth is never easy and, at times, some hefty showers kept us more on our butts than our toes! There are 2 tops on Knight’s Peak that each looks higher than the other when you’re on them so we did both to be sure.

We’d approached by the 1st pinnacle but then skirted below the 3rd & 4th on the east side before regaining Pinnacle Ridge.

The light & effects made for another memorable day of rainbows & golden shimmering seas.






There was one particularly heavy shower coming down the West Ridge but I was excited to see the first snow flakes 🙂






The wind and rain died down as we climbed Am Bastier before the sharp descent and the Basteir Tooth. Mission accomplished, not! The descent involves a very awkward drop down into King’s Cave Chimney and then an equally awkward abseil that starts straight over an overhang.


David coped admirably and maintained a broad grin just as he had all day; congratulations!

Always sunny at Elgol, 12th September


Great to get back to some rock climbing in the sunshine today with Fyona & Alistair at Elgol. We’d been blown off the crags at Staffin last week which added extra pressure to my brief to convince these climbing virgins that rock climbing is for them.

After an hour of training on the wall in Luib we headed down to sunny Elgol and the wonderfully user-friendly practice slab at the east side of the bay. Consisting of sandstone ribbed with horizontal breaks its’ a great place to learn the importance of foot work. The right hand side then has some big jugs leading through an overhanging section giving a great opportunity to realise that leaning back on your arms isn’t as difficult as it looks.

Mission accomplished

The quality of light today was astounding with the earlier showers having cleared any haziness away.

Looking out to the island of Rum





Pinn Joy 7th September


My Bangor Uni mate Julian with wife Bizzie and friends Ian, Gary and Chris hit lucky on the first day of their week with the first dry day on the Pinn all week. Early drizzle lifted in spectacular style giving us broken spectres and cloud-bows.

The brief glory wasn’t forecast to last and damp mist was steaming up the specs before we reached the top but the holds stayed dry just long enough.

We cracked on to Mhiccoinnich too and were descending the An Stac screes before the real rain arrived. Good snatch against the odds again. 🙂

A classic round of Coir’ a’ Bhasteir, 5th September


My friend Geoff lives at the foot of the Rockies in Canada and wanted to see what all the fuss was about with these Cuillin. Time to show the youth some “sick” stuff 🙂

Sgurr nan Gillean was favourite to stay dry on a day when the damp mists were still swirling and duly obliged with the exception of one short shower.

We had a brief snack in the emergency shelter then emerged to reap the effects of sunshine and showers….

We romped up Pinnacle Ridge to lunch on the summit and then some posing on an obelisk just below.

We headed over to the Basteir Tooth to give Geoff a play on Naismith’s Route. Damp mist was clinging so I just dropped him down the greasy face and top-roped him back up.










From here the awkward abseil down King’s Cave Chimney dropped us back on terra firma and Geoff was suitably impressed with so many “sick” challenges. Not one to shirk at another he happily stripped down for a plunge in the pools on the way out.

We headed home on Geoff’s motor bike in time to collect oysters from the beach and a suitable start to an evening of partying at the Old Inn…

Marsco 2nd September


There’s a series of fronts sweeping off the Atlantic just now and cloaking the first mountains they hit. Luckily the Red Cuillin above Loch Ainort are shadowed by the Black Cuillin so are frequently the first, or only, tops to be clear. Armed with this knowledge and my fingers crossed I plummed for an ascent of Marsco despite the pouring rain at Sligachan. The best approach is from  the hairpins in Druim na Cleochd and across Bruach nam Bo. Within 10 minutes of starting the rain stopped and our objective showed in beautiful technicolour ahead….

Marsco appears ahead


An hour of rough but near horizontal walking leads to the foot of Coire nan Laogh.

Looking backto Loch Ainort where we came from

Time for a snack


From here the well beaten track follows an old fence-line steadily up to the crest of Marsco in about 3/4 of an hour. As the clouds cleared further the views through to the eastern Black Cuillin were fantastic

Garbh-bheinn, Clach Glas and Blaven just appearing out of the clouds


After lunch we braced ourselves against the stiff breeze and the final 10 minute rise to the tiny summit cairn. Although grassy the exposure on the final 100m is quite something. The eye gets drawn down all 736m back to the floor of Glen Sligachan on one side and the steep north face on the other.

Just concentrate on your feet!


Taking in the summit views

Sgurr nan Gillean showed its head briefly and impressively but clouds soon began to gather again and the race was on to beat the rain on the next weather front. Descending by the same route light rain caught us for the final 10 minutes but nobody was complaining and I can’t deny feeling quite smug at snatching a good 6-hour walk from the misty mouth of the Atlantic.