On Clach Ghlas Blabheinn traverse - Mike W
25th to 28th May 2018 - Camping TBC, TBC (Late May b/h)
Slap bang in the middle of one of the most prolonged dry summery spells I can recall, several folk turned up for the Skye meet with ambitious plans, to find that the heat was almost too unbearable! Ridiculously it had been so windy on Friday afternoon that folk had tents blown down; there was no sign of that when we arrived after a late departure from the lowlands, and only a lonely pair of midges came to greet us.
On Saturday Tim, Shireen, Nigel and David B (PNM) headed up to do a round of Coire a‘Ghrunnda: Sgurr nan Eag and Sgurr Dubh Mor went fine, and Shireen managed to persuade Nigel it would be a better idea to go for a swim in Loch Coire a’Ghrunnda than to go on to Sgurr Alasdair and down the Great Stone Chute. Tim apparently regrets not taking this advice, as his emails since then have referred to the Chute in CAPITALS. I gather it was a painful experience. Philip was on a separate trip in Coire a’Ghrunnda.
Fiona and Mike – who had been along the excellent Clach Glas-Blaven traverse on Friday - went to climb on Vulcan Wall and fitted in The Snake too; I climbed with Fiona M and Neil on Bastinado up to the Cioch for the traditional Highlander scene re-creation using the small plastic sword that’s kept up there for that reason. We continued up Cioch Nose and Wallwork’s Route to top out Cioch Buttress, glad to have been in the shade for most of the day! Helen and Brian were also climbing in the Coire but didn’t get down until after 9pm!
The usual shenanigans centred around our BBQ happened on Saturday evening; there were marshmallows on forks for those who didn’t fancy chicken wings. Ned popped round to say hi too; he was on holiday in Glenbrittle with his family.
Sunday saw Fiona M and Neil questing up Carn Liath in search of an allegedly three-star E1 route and finding loose rock and lichen instead. They beat a hasty retreat and mostly lay around in the sun in the afternoon. Fiona and Mike did Commando Crack, finishing on the summit of Sgurr Alastair and completing the traverse they’d intended to do the day before. Philip did something small in the morning so he could make the footy game in Portree later on. Unfortunately his team lost. I joined Nigel, Tim and David B on an attempt at the Clach Glas-Blaven traverse. Nigel had to pull out early on due to a dodgy yoghurt and the three of us continued largely on a short rope. Tim and I scrambled along the out-and-back to the Corbett Garbh Beinn from Sgurr nan Each too. It was a late finish that evening and Tim, David and Nigel couldn’t get back to Glenbrittle immediately as there were awful wildfires next to the road. I don’t think they were too upset at having to join Neil and I in the Slig for a pint and a hearty meal. Neil set off to attempt the Sligachan Horseshoe at midnight on Sunday; I accompanied him up Glamaig and had a lofty view of the fires from there but was delighted to find I didn’t need the torch on the scree descent due to the full moon!
On Monday, Helen B and Brian found a sheltered site on the mainland at Balmacara and climbed the other classic Cioch Nose (Beinn Bhann). Fiona and Mike did a walk in the furnace of Glen Shiel (Creag nan Damh and Sgurr na Sgine) via a bacon roll in Kyle; snow patches and springs kept them going. Elsie came up to join the now Sligachan Campsite party, and headed across the Clach Glas-Blaven traverse solo. A group of people who had spotted her from afar said they were about to call Mountain Rescue; I think for no reason other than she was on her own! The things women are capable of these days…! Neil ultimately made the (wise) decision to bail off the horseshoe: having gone strong through the night over the Red Cuillin, the Clach Glas-Blaven traverse, the “flat bit” at Camasunary/Sgurr na Stri and Coruisk and even the uncertain ascent of Gars-Beinn; the soaring temperatures were not conducive to a follow-up solo of the Cuillin ridge. A few cans of Irn Bru and some rest in the shade did him a world of good. I meanwhile had a lovely swim at the beach at Glenbrittle and a flat walk!
As always the Skye meet was a tremendously sociable affair and we were lucky to have such incredible weather with only limited midges! More of this, please!