I had been asked by my friend Kalie to come on a “Last Munro party” of one of her pals to Arnisdale to climb Beinn Sgritheall. It’s a big hill that dominates the village and from here you can see the magnificent Knoydart Munros across Loch Hourn.
This hill is a place of many memories it was my second day on the hill with the RAF Kinloss MRT in Feb 1972 when we did a directisima from the road. I was just a young 18 year old and then about 12 of us had tea with “Willie the Post” after the hill. He is a great character even then and now just reaching 90 I met him this weekend . I will never forget his kindness and help on Rescues over the years. He was with the local Glenelg Mountain Rescue team and always helping us.
Beinn Sgritheall Is a grand mountain it dominates the village and I climbed it several time’s in winter and on my West to East in winter 1978. It was a long walk from Broadford on Skye after crossing from the wee ferry at Glenelg and heading into the big hills and the snow. We were young then and had little idea of what we had taken on.
It’s a viewpoint of excellence and has a myriad of flowers on the hill.
On the way there I stopped near Loch Clunnie at Clunnie to clean a wee memorial just above to main road to a young student John Sandeman who lost his life at New year in 1960. It’s a sad tale as he was not located for months later far from his point last seen. My blog has a big piece on the tragedy.
Kintail always excites me it’s so green just now and the hills rise steeply from the road. My first view in Feb 72,was in darkness travelling in the back of an open 4 tonner with the team. It was freezing pitch dark but next day we awoke to the hills plastered with snow and the Sailing Ship in the bay.
From Kintail it’s a great drive over the Ratagan pass to Glenelg and Arnisdale. I also walked back in the 70’s from Glenelg from a Ceilidh just getting back for breakfast and a big hill day. This is a place of huge memories.
From Walk Highlands “Our hill Beinn Sgritheall gives a steep and punishing ascent; the effort is well worthwhile however as this is one of the finest viewpoints in the Highlands, with a fantastic outlook over dramatic Loch Hourn to Knoydart and the Cuillin of Skye.
The summit of Beinn Sgritheall has a triangulation pillar that is now at a strange angle at 974 metres, and on a clear day has one of the most magnificent panoramas you’ll ever see to me. The view of Loch Hourn now being matched by a fabulous outlook over Skye and the Cuillin ridge. If the weather permits, you’ll want to linger here and drink it all in. Most guide books recommend the descent down the west ridge of the mountain. This is rocky at the top but not difficult, and has a couple of easier sections to relieve the general steepness. Continue along the ridge to the small lochan at NG816126. From here a steep path takes you through ferns and trees to the road. It’s hard on the knees after a day on the hill. So we had a plan now and could see the hill from our accommodation.
I did not sleep to well maybe I had eaten too many cherries but we met some of the group at Arnisdale for a slow walk. We hoped to be ahead of the ultra runners and fitter members of the group that were coming. They had camped near the Clunnie for the night.
The path for our Munro starts in the village and is unrelenting, winding it’s way up to the “ Beallach of pain. “ from sea level it’s a big pull.
I was aware it’s very steep sided and I remember in winter being wary of how steep it is snow covered.
We met Lorraine a friend of Kalies at the village and a few others including Mum and Dad of the Munro Queen. It was so laid back but look and a few others arrived and we set off and steadily gained height. It was warm but no midges. We stopped a few times for drinks but all were going well and near the Beleach we saw the runners and others coming. It was great seeing folk happy to be out on the hills on such a day the weather was magnificent. Many had not seen each other since the lockdown so there was much chatter. What a group so many runners, lovers of the hills and so much chatter a bunch of friends enjoying their day.
From the Beallach the path is steep and full of scree it does look intimidating but we wound our way up slowly and we could now see the Kintail hills and the islands. It was a going to be a grand day. I took many photos of the views and the group.
On the first summit we had a break met up and had some food. It was perfect weather. One of the group even got his stove out and had fried “tattie scones” a first for me to see on a summit .
From here it’s a lovely ridge walk to the Munro where we waited just before for the “Munro Queen” Alex to the summit. Her Mum, Dad and all those who could manage were with her it was a special occasion.
What views we had all day. Ever changing it was one of these days.
It was then a party on the summit with lots going on. Perfect weather, company and a superb mountain.
The sea the Islands and the hills made it so worth the effort.
The usual photos were taken and everyone was happy. Myself and Kalie went ahead on the way off as not to rush yet we could have stayed on the summit for ever. We missed another group with someone else completing their Munro’s and a few stayed to share their day.
We came down the West ridge ahead of the group getting overtaken by a few runners and Lorraine who was working next and had to get back. We ambled down looking down the steep sides at the gullies screes and steep gullies.
It’s a scramble down the road the path muddy and slippy in places but no midges. As Kalie says an easy walk along the road but it was very hot back to Arnisdale.I wish I had left my bike here though.
Looking back ; What a fun day I met so many lovely folk congratulation to Alex on completion and to all the many characters. I usually like going on the hill in a small group or myself but this was magic.
Today’s tip : make sure you rehydrate on the hill I got cramp as we stopped for a coffee and cake with Kalies pals in Arnisdale. A Bannana is good to prevent this as is a bit of salt. I slept well that night and the wind kept the midges away.
What a day it was ! One not to forget.