Dodging between some pretty awful rain showers for the past week but had a great day out with regulars Lisa & Vickie on Wednesday.
Narrowest section of Sgurr a’ Ghreadaidh
and relaxing the muscles afterwards
The weekend forecast improved enough to allow a Traverse attempt.
Rehen, Catherine & I took a ride in with Alex on the AquaXplore RIB on an increasingly choppy sea.
By the time we reached Gars-bheinn the tops were cloud covered once more and the winds were strong enough to knock us right over. Progress was slow & hard work as we battled to keep our feet along the “easy” section of the Ridge.
Overnighting in Coir’ a’ Ghrunnda we went to bed early hoping to wake in the perfect weather that was forecast but mist still clung heavily at 6am. The rocks were only slightly greasy on the rise up Alasdair but the exposed crest was soaking and treacherous to the Stone Shoot. We resisited the temptation to run away and made good progress to reach the Pinn at 11am.
Mist swirls around on An Stac Direct
The mists were finally clearing the tops and all those who had been lost finally seemed to home in on the Pinn. We got up just ahead of the mighty crowd and were briefly joined by Dave on his penultimate Munro.
The visibility and views continued to improve as we headed north and my Canadian guests were finally able to see the beauty of the Cuillin. Their previous summit was Mount Everest back in May and it was fascinating listening to their tales but also good to see and hear how much they appreciated the climbing and scenery in our wonderful wee mountains.
Catherine and Rehen with everything they had climbed in the Cuillin layed out behind them.
We descended from An Dorus as black clouds drew in from the south and got down just before the heavens opened.
There’s a weather pattern just now of overnight mists with the odd heavy shower chucked in. Through the day these are burning off in some very hot sunshine only for the clouds to build up again late evenings. With a good strong breeze chucked in to keep the midgies at bay we really couldn’t ask for a better summer set-up; long may it last! Here’s today’s selection-
Guy & Nick on South top of Ghreadaidh; Pinn behind.
Francis looking back at his first Cuillin peaks
For the second day on the trot we couldn’t resist the beautiful looking pools.
The water is a positively pleasant temperature
Guy also found some shallow-water-soloing to entertain us-
Good day with regulars Hazel, Dunc, Connor & Holly yesterday.
It was a busy day so we avoided queuing for the Pinn by starting on Mhicchoinnich with an ascent of King’s Chimney.
All rounded off with a great scree-run descent and wonderful evening light out to Rum
Heavy precipitation meeting cold air gave the predicted blanket of snow today. Thanks to Gillian for this wintry picture.
Ingrid, Gordon & Caley at the Bla Bheinn trig point
CORRECTION AND UPDATE- I originally misidentified the eagles as Golden eagles but was corrected by Bob Macmillan who runs Skye Birds.com. The birds were acually White-tailed Sea Eagles. On a personal note I am very disappointed that the Sea Eagles are increasing so dramatically in numbers at the apparent expense of the native Golden Eagle. Bob informed me that the larger Sea eagles have now been seen to have taken over the eyries and territory of at least 3 pairs of Golden onm Skye in the past couple of years. The RSPB official line is that there is no impact but I can certainly vouch for seeing far fewer Golden in the past 5 years or so. Prior to this numbers certainly seemed to be on the increase. The reason for further reintroductions is cited as neccesary to prevent too much inbreeding but I think the priority should be given to the Golden, the true native bird of the Highlands.
My old friend Ann-Marie has climbed Gillean on many occasions and it was a privelidge for Chris & me to join her today. The real reason for her visit is to watch the derby match with me tomorrow and, if today’s luck is anything to go by, it’ll be a red night tomorrow:-)
Firstly the weather was immaculate, an effect that was enhanced by A-M’s friends texting all day about heavy rain south of the border, shame. But most impressive was the way A-M communicates with nature- “I’d love to see an eagle now”, “you’ll be bloody lucky” said I. Less than 2 minutes later a huge eagle with great hearing seemed to fill the sky just 50m above our heads…
We watched it soar up and out of sight around Pinnacle Ridge before we set off again. “Whats going on now Mike?” demanded A-M 5 minutes later and there above us was now a train of 3 eagles flying over the top of the first pinnacle.
A poor shot but easy to spot the 3 eagles.
“Flocking Eagle” I’ve never seen that before, said I.
The day continued in a similar vein of high quality; t-shirt weather, views to the Ben 75 miles away & bone-dry rock.
A-M lovin being on top of her fave mountain
Chris wasn’t the biggest fan of the airy summit of A-M’s fave mountain but was fine once we started moving again.
Not a forced grin at all eh Chris?
There were dozens out enjoying every peak today; we hope the chopper was doing some practice rather than a real rescue on Ghreadaidh
Looking west to folk on Am Basteir & Bruach na Frithe
We descended the West Ridge by a new variation (for me) that stayed on the south side of the window so we avoided the icy hard snow on the north face. The walls at the abseil section were stripped of the ice flutings that were there just 3 days ago.
Sunny walls instead of the ice from 3-days ago
Looking up the Bhasteir Gorge to Sgurr nan Gillean
The happiest woman in the world who’ll be happier still if Man United win tomorrow; C’mon the Reds!!!!!