Yesterday we had a plan to go away fairly early and maybe plan a climb in the West and after much discussion and looks at the weather we headed for the west. Applecross is about two and a half hours away and we left at 0630 as Pete wanted to get back to vote for on the referendum, Dan and I had already done ours by postal vote. The weather was for rain after midday so we wanted a short day out. There were lots of people about as we passed the Polling stations all the way along the road.
The journey went well and we had a cup of tea at Tarvie and headed West. It rained a bit and we followed dark clouds and already busy roads, Bealach Na Ba is a popular place and all the time we saw a convoy of motor caravans and motor bikes. This is the place to be this summer by what we saw!
Visit Wester Ross – Bealach na Bà – Applecross
The Bealach is an unforgettable drive up, cycle along one of the most dramatic roads on mainland UK, rivalling many a Swiss mountain pass and with terrific views across much of Wester Ross, the whole of Skye, and the Islands of Rum and the Outer Hebrides. You will NOT forget this drive or cycle as long as you live!
It was decided to have a look at the classic Sword of Gideon and we parked up and had a short walk to the cliff. It is composed of rough sandstone on the South Face that rises steeply from the road but was a bit wet and that would make things a bit tricky higher up. I have done the route before once in the wet and found it a bit wild and Dan and Pete had been on it as well a few times. The route description says it gives easy delightful climbing up to the Base of the steep middle section which forms a clean steep reddish wall. When we were young it may have been!
At least there were no midges as it was windy and by now the road was busy and the roar of motorbikes was constant. The views were excellent and with the views to Loch Kishorn and the hills incredible and you are surrounded by cliffs, gullies and it is like being in Glencoe or Wales, I love this place. We were all pretty rusty on the rock but soon reached the steep wall that is the crux of the climb it was pretty damp.
We were soon on the ledge and found the peg on the big belay ledge the next pitch is completely different steep and foreboding and a lot more serious and poor Pete was sent up the damp recess and groove. I was in charge of photography and we had a great laugh as Pete struggled with the route. I was glad I am not a climber but loved being here with these two pals and the banter was good as was the decision-making.
It was windy and the clouds gathered and it was decided that enough was enough and Pete came down we would climb again another day. The damp rock was not the usual friendly place this can be in the sun, it was a great decision. In my mind.
Pete came down leaving a runner high up and it was a steep descent back to the car taking it easy on the wet grass and rock. We were soon down at the car the climbers were disappointed but I had enjoyed it and though we only climbed a little it was good to see how the body felt on the rock and the differing rounded sandstone on the wet is never easy. We took it easy on the descent it is easy to slip on the wet grass and rock and kept our helmets on. It is amazing how many put there helmets away at the top of the route then descend steep ground with a helmet in their bags?
It was time for food and a drink and then home along the busy roads but great views another tea and cake a Tarvie and home for mid afternoon. A few plans to get climbing again and now to get ready for the Celtman tomorrow. It will be an other trip to the West to Torridon today!
My mate Dan did a video on U Tube in 2007 ?