Many will know of my love of Skye not just the great Cuillin peaks but also the lesser known areas of this wonderful Island. Over the years I have built a love for not one of the classic peaks but possibly the best viewpoint on Skye Sgurr Na Stri ( The hill of Strife) Many years ago in 1982 I was the leader of a Mountain Rescue Team from RAF Kinloss in Morayshire it was mid December. We had an epic in awful weather trying to find an aircraft an American F111 that crashed on Sgurr Na Stri sadly killing both crew.I have written a lot on that epic night in my blog. I was on the mountain with the Board of Enquiry for a week and got to love this place. On many occasions before I stayed in the Camasunary Bothy on traverses of the mountains and long walks from West to East of Scotland. The bothy and its situation were unique with the sea and the great mountains so close. It was a place to enjoy even after the hardest of hill days and place to in later years recharge the batteries and enjoy the views and solitude.
I believe the bothy it was originally built as a salmon-watcher’s house, and featured in one of Lillian Beckwith’s books, when a family lived there. During the Second World War it was the billet for air crew who flew Catalina Flying Boats out over the Minch and Western Approaches, fighting the German U-boats
Camasunary is a small bay on the Strathaird peninsula of the Isle of Skye Camasunary is the Scots form of the Gaelic name Camas Fhionnairigh, and means “Bay of the White Shieling”. The Camasunary Fault is a geological subsurface feature underlying a portion of the Isle of Skye extending under the Sea of the Hebrides.
I also walked in many times, nowadays when possible I take the boat in the summer and enjoy the mystery and fun of not just the mountain but scrambling round the coast. Over the years I have noticed the huge rise in plastics in the many Geos that are round the coast and the rubbish left by walkers near the bothy.
The old bothy was taken back by its owners from the MBA and a new one is now a mile away. The MBA are very grateful to the owner, Alan Johnson, without whose generosity there would now have been no basic accommodation available in the area, and to 59 Commando Squadron Royal Engineers who constructed the building as a community project. The bothy was fitted out in memory of Neil (Bell) Mackenzie who lost his life in 2015 on Joffre Peak in Canada. They also thank all the MBA volunteers who turned out, sometimes in horrendous weather conditions, to prepare the site and fit out the building.
Beauty And The Beast or Camasunary R.I.P.
I have been given permission to copy this piece from” All things Cuillin” on Facebook it is a wonderful insight into the Magic Of Skye Adrian thanks.
From Facebook “All things Cuillin” by Adrian Trendall thanks for the use of the words and photos.
“Bridgette Blackmore and I have a long connection with and love of Camasunary, the bay, the bothy, the wildlife but our visit yesterday was a mix of stunning beauty and sadness at man’s despoilation of the environment.
On a positive note, we had a fantastic day, some quality time together and saw a wealth of wildlife including a pair of Golden Plovers and a herd of 27 deer peacefully grazing near the old bothy.
Sadly though the old bothy is falling seriously into a state of disrepair with nothing seeming to have been done to it for years. True, the roof has been partially replaced but the windows are mostly boarded up, the slates falling off above the bay window, downpipes falling off and not connected to gutters.
Not only is it falling apart but passing visitors are using the entrance porch area as a dumping ground for rubbish. Thus there is a rapidly growing pile of empty gas cylinders, dehydrated meal packets, tins, plastic bottles and the like.
From afar the bothy and environment still looks beautiful but close up it’s a microcosm for the wider world we inhabit and should be responsible for.
I have visited Camasunary for well over a decade and can honestly say that I have never seen the beach in a worse state. It looks like there has been a recent beach clearance with great piles of rubbish on the grass but unfortunately this needs collecting as the elements are rapidly redistributing the debris.
Despite the clean up, the beach is littered with plastic rubbish. This looks to be mostly associated with fishing and marine items so loads of nets, cord, buoys but also some more general waste, plastic bottles, shoe, general litter. This is all tangled up with seaweed, buried amongst the gravel and presumably being gradually broken down into micro particles soon to be digested by a variety of sea life and so enter the food chain.
Normally we will pick up some litter but yesterday the whole scale of the task was too daunting to contemplate and it’s hard to imagine the amount of energy that would be needed to clean up this wonderful bay.
We rounded off the day with fish and chips in Broadford but at the back of our mind was what had the fish actually ingested before arriving on our plate.
From Adrian / Of course you can use the photos, David Whalley. Feel free to share the whole post if you want or I can send you photos if that’s better. We walked along to the Bad Step and all the geos were full of rubbish, not just plastic but fridges, large gas cylinders, boat and fish farm parts. As to the old bothy..desecration is the right word. Not just standing there and being left to fall apart but the entrance stuffed with rubbish obviously largely left by walkers/hill goers.
Any comments welcome but lots on” All things Cuillin” on Facebook.
There is a good book about aircraft crashes on the Islands that feature the F111 crash.