Munro Adventure 2015 Day 77 – July 16 Sgurr Na Gillean (964, Munro 191) “Peak of the Young Men or Gullies” Blaven (928, Munro,255) “Blue Hill”

DAY 77 ( 16th JULY )

Penny Sgurr na Gillean

Penny Sgurr na Gillean

A Sunny Skye Day

Sgurr Na Gillean (964, Munro 191) “Peak of the Young Men or Gullies”

Blaven (928, Munro,255) “Blue Hill”

Parked up for the night at the fairy pools car park in Glen Brittle and got a superb sunset and the Cuillins glowing red, it looked like it was looking good for tomorrow. I just had 2 of the Cuillins left to do so was pleased when the sun was shining when I awoke this morning, after breakfast I drove round to Sligachan and parked beside the mountain rescue centre. Sgurr nan Gillean isn’t the easiest of hills especially if one has to get his canine companion up there. The last part of the ridge had a few hard bits of scrambling on it and the last time I was there I got a hand from some of the MMC to help, but today I was on my own . I had got Penny a harness with a lifting handle for this occasion ,
she didn’t like it when I put it on her and wouldn’t move so I had to put on her lead to get going .
I took the tourist path following the stream so far then another which headed up into the corrie which became rougher as it ascended up onto the summit ridge, there were walkers well behind me and if I struggled I’m sure they would have helped me out. Penny was now off the lead and accepted the harness was there to stay , I soon came to the crux or the route and if wasn’t for that handle to lift her I defiantly would have been stuck , the summit is along a short very exposed section of ridge but that didn’t cause any problems . The views today were superb with all of the main summits climbed clear as was the afternoon’s objective to the left Bla Bheinn. On the way back down Penny’s handle worked even better as there is some big drops to get back down to safer ground, just as well it worked as the walkers behind me were only about half way up when I passed them on my way back , I would have had a long wait. Back to the van had lunch then a pleasant drive on this sunny warm day down the scenic Elgol road passing the superb 2 red Cuillin Graham’s then the stunning view of Bla Bheinn and Clach Glas appears as you descend into Torrin and a big looping drive around the bay to the car park . Set off at 2pm up the path following the Stream which has narrow gorges waterfalls and pools of crystal clear water, soon it was back onto the rough track again and then the scree ascent to the bealach above. The final ridge was a mixture of grass gabbro and scree to the west top , down the steep narrow gully and back up onto Bla Bheinn . This must be one of the best summit viewpoints in Scotland the whole Cuillin ridge, the lochs below, and the islands out to sea .

Penny Blaven

Penny Blaven

I now had the descent to do unfortunately I decided to go down the steep scree filled gully not really a short cut as I soon found out , eventually got back onto the track and down by the stream again . On the way up I had spotted this lovely deep pool and I couldn’t resist a dook on the way back and very refreshing it was to , by the time I returned to van I had basically dried off.



That’s now all the Cuillin hills climbed with a view from 11 out of 12 summits and section 17 complete.

Skye No More – great news for the Penny Machine!

Skye is such a Mecca for the mountaineer and I try to get over a few times every year, I was very pleased a few years ago to read that a sculpture is being built over looking the Skye Ridge a short distance from the Sligachan Inn by the Collie and Mackenzie Sculpture Group.

complete certificate

Collie and Mackenzie Sculpture GroupThe aim is to commemorate the achievements of Sconser man John Mackenzie and his internationally renowned climbing companion Norman Collie.The certificate below is received when you donate to the sculpture and is a grand idea to my mind.

Donate some bronze

An unique fundraising scheme has now been launched which gives everyone the opportunity to donate to the project, while at the same time obtaining a gift for friends or relatives

John Mackenzie was born at Sconser on the Isle of Skye, about three miles from Sligachan, which has been the centre for mountaineers and other visitors to the island. When he was 10, Mackenzie climbed Sgurr nan Gillean,and when he was 14, he was with a Mr Tribe on the first recorded ascent of Sgurr a’Ghreadaigh.

In 1874, with Alexander Nicolson, he made the first ascent of Sgurr Dubh. In due course Mackenzie,Known locally as Morton,became a professional guide, the first native Scot to do so.

Mackenzie’s greatest client, and later life -long friend was Norman Collie, who was described as one of the four greatest mountaineers of his time.
Together they were the first to climb another unique piece of rock on Skye – the Cioch, a pinnacle which juts out from the cliffs of Sron na Ciche. Mackenzie has a Cuillin peak named after him – Sgurr Mhic Coinnich,or Mackenzies peak. In 1887 he was a member of the first ascent party.His friend Collie also has a peak named after him – Sgurr Thormaid – Normans peak.Their friendship lasted until Mackenzies death in 1933.He was buried in Struan cemetery on the west coast of Skye. Collie was later laid to rest in the lair beside his life long friend. Two great men and it will be wonderful when the statue is finished.  Whenever I get a birthday I donate a wee bit to the fundraising by getting a  wee piece of the monument. I have had so much fun in Skye I look forward to the day when it is complete.

About heavywhalley.MBE

After dinner speaker Lecturer and Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 36 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 4 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer and loves the wild places.
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