An unexpected trip to The Cuillins

The Club outing to the Merrick was not well subscribed, and Ian had invited me to join him and a friend on the Lowther Hills instead.  A good offer, but the weather forecast was fine and I was keen to climb something more substantial and take advantage of the long daylight hours.   My luck was in – I was unexpectedly offered a lift to Skye – and Saturday found me travelling up the A82.

After an overnight stay at Broadford Hostel, where at 5.30am I was the only person left in the dormitory, we set out from Sligachan on a very hot Sunday morning.   I don’t often carry a lot of fluid, but I had a 1.5 litre bottle of water in my pack as well as a flask and some juice – and it was needed.   The sun shone high in the sky as we toiled up into Coire a’Bhasteir. 

Am Basteir from the core

Am Basteir from the core

On top of the world – Am Basteir at any rate! 

On top of the world – Am Basteir at any rate! 

After lunch in a sheltered spot we struggled on up through the screes and eventually reached the bealach.  The hills were busy: everyone was enjoying the superb conditions, though perhaps finding it a bit too hot.  We were fortunate to meet someone who kindly offered a top rope to steady our descent of the bad step and after a short scramble up the remainder of the ridge we reached the top.   It was exhilarating to sit there and gaze at the surrounding peaks – everywhere the stark rock was outlined in bright blue and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.

A helping hand on the Bad Step 

A helping hand on the Bad Step 

It seemed a long way back down into the corrie and across the moor – and that pint in the Inn just slid down...

Glenbrittle YH provided beds for Sunday night and in the morning we set off for Coire Ghrunnda and the scramble up beside the Caisteal a Garbh Choire onto Sgurr nan Eag. 

Tiny little patches of bright flowers were tucked in the most unlikely corners, and these and the call of a sandpiper beside the loch reminded me that even in such an apparently inhospitable place there was life. 

I didn’t quite make it to the top, but sat on the ridge in the sunshine and took in the grandeur of the scene.   From my airy perch the climbers on Sgurr Alasdair and scramblers on the Dubhs looked like so many ants and their conversation echoed around the hills.  When a couple of jets flew over the whole place seemed to reverberate.

It was a long and tiring walk back to Glenbrittle and then a very long drive home, but what a superb trip – and I just can’t wait to go back to Skye!