Yeah yeah I know, you’re telling me I’m losing days.
Ok, Elgol was day 4.
Day 2 was my first taste of the Black Cuillin, but after a glorious start to the day at 5am I was photographically hampered by cloud by the time I hit the ridge – and I redid the route in clearer conditions on day 6. So watch this space.
Day 3 was a washout, not only endless rain but high winds making it tricky to keep lenses dry and clear even for a couple of token waterfall shots. Most of the day was spent on tent TLC, deciding whether the wind was stronger from the glen or the loch, whether to repitch, and generally making sure it was still in one piece at the end of the day…
Day 5 dawned another bright, clear and sunny day. Or at least I assume it did, I belatedly stumbled out of the tent at 7.30 in such conditions and headed straight down for Glen Sligachan in search of a view I’d wanted to stand and witness first hand ever since I’d first seen it in print/pixels….
In fact it’s probably the view I came to Skye for this time. You’ve seen it now because it’ll appear at the top of this post. The one from the summit of Sgurr na Stri looking over the shimmering jewel of Loch Coruisk into the fearsome amphitheatre of the entire Black Cuillin range – probably the finest mountain ridge in the UK.
I touched on accessibility of views in the last post, and it being a factor in how well photographed a scene can be, despite the relative merits of the view.
I was in no doubt as to the merits of this viewpoint, but unlike Elgol this wasn’t a case of parking the car/getting off the bus and falling onto the shore.
It’s a 7 mile walk along Glen Sligachan before you begin to climb Sgurr na Stri, which has that unmistakeable Scottish hill trait of feeling higher, wilder and more ruggedly handsome than anything of equivalent size in the Lake District – altitude wise it’s not a significantly more lofty perch than Cat Bells.
Mind you as 7 mile valley walks go it’s pretty grand. The views begin to change once you pass out of the shadow of Marsco. The towering crags of Blabheinn appear above the (on this day) sulking grey surface of Loch na Creitheach.
Once you begin to finally ascend Drum Hain and out of the glen, the foreboding spires of the remainder of the Black Cuillin really begin to dominate the view; and eventually Loch Coruisk and the turquoise shores of Loch nan Leachd and Loch na Cuilce provide a serene and beautiful counterpoint.
By the time I reached the (narrower than I’d expected) summit, the skies were grey and the light was flat, but it didn’t disappoint. I think it held me in raptures for about an hour before the midges drove me away.
For the sake of sanity and mitigating blood loss, maximum standing still time had been about 7 seconds until that point.
It’s always nice to run into deer in Scotland, and run into these three I almost did on the way back….
The return route is exactly the same as the run in, making for a full day out. And you can see the pub for about the last 5 miles. And it takes its time getting closer I can tell you…