Apologises for the late blog but I am just back from Assynt and thought I would catch up with my last hill day on Skye with the Moray Mountaineering Club. We were all tired after a late night the rest had been on the Dubhs and two had fun on a wintry ridge getting off at 2300.
It was a later start at the Coruisk hut and I was feeling a bit like the “tin man” as I got out of my tent but it was a lovely day and a couple of the girls wanted to visit the USA F111 crash site on Sgur Na Stri that I was involved in. Jennie and Ellen had a hard day on the Dubhs and I think they thought that the Sgur Na Stri would be an easy day?
It was great that Ray wanted to come as well and I needed some more photos of the area for my research. This is not an easy hill and it starts with a bit of a scramble along the coast by the famous ” Bad Step” it was windy and we had to take care. The girls enjoyed the climbing and thought it was interesting.
From the coast after 20 minutes we followed the ramp lines passing wreckage from the crash all over the mountain and then as we gained height it became more exposed and with the wind we had to be careful.
Even though it was only two days before me and Ray had been here it was easy to wander different ways and I was looking for new routes and wreckage. It got interesting in places and at one point I took a wrong turn added to a big wind a rope may have helped. It was then the two tales to the girls: “First the Bad news I forgot the rope then the good news you’re not going to fall, Ray is here.”
We managed to get along a ledge that would take us out the wind but there was a couple of moves in the wind that were not for a lightweight so we went back and up another way. Poor Jenny was a bit thoughtful here and you have to take care. The girls found my wee route on Sgur Na Stri interesting one said it was harder than the Dubhs!
There was plenty to see and once out of the wind we were all a lot happier this is a serious wee hill even in a good day and what an adventure we had.
There is debris all over at about 1000 feet where the impact point is and it a grim reminder to this spot where two young men died.
From here we picked a line through the cliffs that guard the summit and if you go left you can avoid them and we were soon out of the wind and into the gully that comes up to the twin summits.
We headed up the gully and saw another party of our group who had come up from the “Bad Step” they continued round to the South East Buttress a grade 2/3 scramble and a great way to the summit of this great mountain.
The President Simon and his party enjoyed this route and I had done it in the past it was a lovely way up this great wee hill. This shows the route up on to the South – South East Buttress that borders the big gully that splits the mountain and was part of the way we went up on that wild night in 1982.
We had a great break at the top it is one of the finest viewpoints in Scotland and it was great to see the others we took so many photos and enjoyed the sun on the top. It was great just to have an easy descent in the sun, the wind has gone and we enjoyed the views of a sunny Skye.
The lovely ridge that Simon enjoyed is in the book of “Skye scrambles” a wonderful insight into new ways up these hills. These hills hold so many various ways up them you will never be disappointed and the Skye Guide just adds more. It is a great buy.
What a walk of in the sun a couple went for a swim and the rest just took it easy we sat on the slabs in the sun what an end to a day.
The girls stayed high up and we all wandered all off down to the Loch and the river. It had been a great day and the rest had a great wander around and even a swim. Most of us were outside after a day on the hills it was warm out of the breeze and magic. This was our last day as the ferry was coming tomorrow so we had a big tidy up and an easy night. I was still not feeling great my dicky tummy again but the 3 days on these hills were magic and with no rain or midges this was wonderful.
It was a dry night and the weather again superb and I packed a dry tent for once, after breakfast I went for a walk and saw the Heron fishing and then took my bags to the jetty, The seals were still chasing fish in the loch.
We got an early ferry thanks to the Bella Jane our boat back to Elgol and as we left a strange person emerged from his tent. Could he be a “Holy man” on a pilgrimage any comments? Crazy man.
The trip back was magic the sun was out and the waves splashing against the bows as the hills and the loch got further away the views got better. The ridge and Sgur na Stri dominate and the journey was so short to a busy Elgol full of visitors and the tiny road busy. It was a slow drive home 4 hours and I was exhausted after 4 days in the wilds of Skye and I was glad of the company of Ray on the way home.
It was a sort out and wash the gear and a bath and a check for sheep ticks and yes they are about and I found one be aware please. I was tired but happy now to get ready for my trip to Assynt with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to the Anson Crash near Inchnadampth. Note to self I must slow down.
Skye a place of great memories and if you get the chance go you will not be disappointed.