Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Saturday 30 May - Beinn nan Carn (Marilyn) and a visit to the cleared village of Boreraig

It was cloudy (as usual) as we set off from our parking spot but there was hope that the sun would at last make more than a fleeting appearance.

The path leads to Boreraig but our first objective was the Marilyn lying above Loch Lonachan. We made quick progress spurned on by the cold and a late-ish start. At a stile a notice informed us that we were entering Beinn nan Carn Woodland established between January and May 2000 under the Government Assisted Woodland Grant Scheme. The gross area of the woodland is 275 hectares and has been designed to mimic native woodland distribution patterns. The 240,000 trees which have been planted - birch, rowan, alder, willow, ash, oak, hazel, aspen and holly - were grown from seed gathered from existing native woodlands on Skye.

Heartening to read, and the young trees were in evidence. Meanwhile the community at Ose on north Skye has welcomed approval for a wind farm in Glen Ullinish with 14 turbines. Guess where I won't be visiting again.

A surprisingly large cairn marked the 301m summit of Beinn nan Carn which was easily reached from the track, although the lower terrain provided ample opportunity to plunge feet into deep boggy holes. This we managed to avoid - until on the way down.

Once back on the track we continued southwards in the sun. It is truly a delightful walk by the Allt na Pairte. Loch Eishort sparkled, on its shores the lush fields and sad ruins of Boreraig. Here in the mid-19th century Lord Macdonald evicted the people in mid-winter - men, women and children. The are many ruins here
and I found it easy to imagine the plight of those who had their homes destroyed, left to the mercy of the elements. I felt both angry and sad.

Reluctantly we turned away from this beautiful place and made our way back to Strath Suardal. Bla Bheinn was looking magnificent; Ladhar Bheinn was topped with fresh snow. There really is no where like Skye on such a day.

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Friday, 29 May 2015

Thursday 28 May - Glas Bheinn Mhor (Marilyn)

Rain, wind, hail and, yes some sunshine. That was the mix on 570m Glas Bheinn Mhor with only the predicted thunder being absent. All this 'weather' is keeping the midges away though.

At the Luib 'carpark', flasks of Lapsang Souchong were made, sandwiches prepared, ginger bread cut, biscuits selected. The sun appeared.

We quickly abandoned the path (RoW) through Strath Mor to Torrin on Loch Slapin and took to the sodden hillside, aiming for the well defined north ridge and drier ground. The bright conditions didn't last long as rain swept over the Cuillin and headed our way; we had waterproofs on just in time to avoid a drubbing.

The rain eased as we reached the start of a wall which Lynne aptly described as resembling a 'trail of gun powder' (first photo). A short descent eastwards gave a view of Loch na Sguabaidh and Lochain Stratha Mhoir looking dark and wild in the gloomy weather.

Apparently, one should stick to the path through this Strath because sink holes lie in wait, though exactly where I have no idea. We didn't notice any or, obviously, fall into one, when we did Beinn na Cro all those years ago. Sometimes it's best not to know about these things.

Some pics were taken while trying to keep the camera dry then our thoughts turned to food. The perfect spot revealed itself just as the sun returned - and stayed for the remainder of the day. We heard a cuckoo, stopped to say hello to two tiny ponies (smaller than Shetlands) and made a short diversion to check that the Folk Museum really had gone (now a ruin).

Glas Bheinn Mhor is well worth a visit and a longer trip can be made by continuing to Belig and Garbh-bheinn, a Marilyn and Corbett respectively - though those are their least important features.

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Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Wednesday 27 May - The wet, wet west

This is the wettest day so far and yet the place is busy. I would have predicted a clear-out given the preceding five days and the weather forecast for the rest of the week.

We are back at the motorvan parked at Eilean Donan Castle after a walk by the River Glennan, dry for part of the time then wet. Very wet. At least we can get things dry.

Neither of us can remember May weather like this in, what, forty years? Yes about that. Neither can the locals. And yet, the pull of the west is strong and any urge to escape east (think Cairngorms or thereabouts) is tempered by our love of the hill-sea combination. It's not that much better elsewhere in Scotland anyway.

(Now back at the site so time it's time for a beer)

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Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Monday 25 May - Luib and a very easy day

We pulled into the small car park at Luib just off the 'new' A97 which hugs the shores of Loch Ainort.

By contrast the old road skirts the southern slopes of Am Meall giving fine views of Strath Mor before descending to the Allt Strollamus. Strath Mor had been our route into the hills many moons ago when heading for Beinn na Cro and others. Luib still had a cafe and a Folk Museum then.

We stopped above Strollamus had some tea and munchies, as Conrad would say - - then decided to climb the small hill immediately above us, Glas Bheinn Bheag, a mere bump on the way to Beinn na Cro. From its cairn, Bla Bheinn dominated the scene to the south, and the north ridge of Beinn na Caillich looked a worthwhile alternative to the usual (and excellent) approach from Strath Suardal.

A simple day. If there had still been a cafe at Luib we could have finished with tea in best Conrad tradition.

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Monday, 25 May 2015

Morar Motors, Kyle

On our way to Skye on Saturday a front indicator bulb failed so on Sunday we dropped into Morar Motors in Kyle of Lochalsh. They were extremely pleasant and fitted a new bulb on the spot and charged £1 - the cost of the bulb. In fact I couldn't have bought one from the local shops for that price. I offered to pay more, but no, £1 it was. OK, it wasn't a big job but when was the last time you were only charged a pound at a garage or for that matter anywhere? Thanks again to Morar Motors.

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Sunday, 24 May 2015

Saturday 23 May - Ben Lee (Marilyn)

Sligachan camp site was a busy, bleak, windy place and happy smiling campers were in short supply. The Cuillin had more or less disappeared smothered in the ever thickening clag; rain threatened and Ben Lee didn't look a particularly inviting prospect.

Not far from the camp site a young couple were returning along the boggy, skittery path their faces a picture of utter misery. Skye magic wasn't working for them, at least not today.

We crossed a burn, me taking a route that ensured wet feet, Lynne sensibly crossing dry-shod a few metres away. The path on Loch Sligachan's north shore improves beyond the Allt an t-Sithein but here we took to the hillside, realising after twenty minutes that we were on the wrong side of the burn for the best route up. Now the Allt was out of sight and well below us in its deep gorge, seemingly impossible to reach let alone cross. Was it going to be 'one of those days'? A quick descent brought us back to the obvious crossing place which we'd ignored a short time before and soon we were on our way up again.

Glamaig looked superb across the loch, a sharp peak thrusting skyward. Our little Ben Lee seemed very ordinary by comparison, an impression which would prove as unfounded as the forecast of heavy rain.

As many of you will know, Ben Lee, only 444m, is famous. In 1882 Lord Macdonald tried to remove the right of the crofters of Braes (Peinchorran, Balmeanach and Gedintailor) to use the common grazings on Ben Lee, but the crofters went ahead and grazed their stock anyway. Some refused to pay rent to Lord Macdonald until their grazing rights were restored so a sheriff's officer from Portree was sent to issue an eviction order. The crofters forced the officer to burn the document. To quell this uprising fifty policemen from Glasgow were despatched to force eviction but they were met by a hundred men, women and children armed with sticks and stones. What followed became known as the Battle of the Braes.

The government set up a commission of enquiry (The Napier Commission) and in 1885 the Crofters Act was passed giving crofters security of tenure and various other rights. A cairn on the road to Peinchorran commemorates the battle:

"Near this cairn, on the 19 April 1882 ended the battle fought by the people of Braes on behalf of the crofters of Gaeldom"

That, in brief, is the story.

We had previously toyed with the idea of descending to see the cairn and returning to Sligachan via the path but decided to leave the visit for another day.

The summit gave a real sense of spaciousness and, appropriately, sheep grazed nearby. On a good day the views would be very fine and even today they weren't bad. Below we witnessed that most west highland of scenes: a ferry making its way to an island, in this case, Raasay. Southwards to Glen Sligachan, Marsco was all but clear of cloud and even snow patches in Coire a' Bhasteir were visible as the cloud started to lift, temporarily as it turned out. To the north though, all was murk. A few photos, then we departed, our mission to find shelter for lunch.

There was no respite from the wind, the open ground allowing it free play. Eventually we found a hollow by the Eas Ruadh where we spent a quiet forty minutes or so. An impressive gorge lay further upstream.

Nearly down and as we re-crossed the Allt an t-Sithein we heard then saw an ambulance; then another arrived at Sligachan. Traffic from all directions ground to a halt and we resigned ourselves to a long wait before we could escape the Sligachan car park. Sooner than expected, things began to stir and as we crossed the bridge we could see a completely wrecked motorbike and damaged helmets. We couldn't imagine anyone surviving. Hope we were wrong.

Rain arrived as we rolled onto the camp site. Our timing had been, for once, perfect.


The photographs are from the BlackBerry. I may try posting using BlogPress in the future and thus be able to use pics from the Sony RX100. However, Highland Wi-Fi might not allow such big files to be uploaded. We'll see.

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Friday, 22 May 2015


We are now at a pleasant spot not far from Skye enjoying the sunshine and a glass of wine. A few Marilyns are on our list of hills to climb with Ben Lee likely for tomorrow. More on this after the deed is done.

Photo shows Beinn na Caillich on Skye.

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Sunday, 17 May 2015

Keen Arroyo II Sandal

Keen footwear and my feet get on well together so when Lynne spotted these sandals in Tiso's last week I was persuaded to buy.

I like them, but can you spot the somewhat flawed reasoning in the design?

Click to enlarge