Eagles on Gillean; 29th April


CORRECTION AND UPDATE- I originally misidentified the eagles as Golden eagles but was corrected by Bob Macmillan who runs Skye 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!!!!!