Monday, 29 July 2013

Skye Saturday

Went to the Sligachan Hotel for a meal last night and I was so tired that I could hardly eat. I was in bed for 9.30pm but as I started to dropped off I began to cramp up! I eventually got to sleep only to be woken by a Tawny Owl calling on the roof of the cottage!


It was another early start as we had to vacate the cottage we had been in all week. We met Tony at 6.30am and we were on our way. We headed up the west slopes of Sgurr Dearg to the imposing ‘In Pin’ a blade of rock that looks stuck onto the side of the hill. We had to descend down scree slopes to the base of the ‘In Pin’ to begin our climb. Tony explain what to do, that was the easy bit. Anyway we were roped up and I was bringing up the rear.

Fortunately there were plenty of holds which was reassuring until we reached a very difficult move which a lack of holds there was a small ledge for a foot hold and a hand hold which involved a tremendous leap of faith. Anyway it was over in seconds and after a short climb we reached the first pitch (a ledge where you could stand up and more importantly hold on). Tony then told us that the most difficult bit was over, this was a easier angle. I remember his instructions “Concentrate on the rock, don’t look down, and don’t go left or right, there is no left or right. We then proceeded to climb a two foot wide ridge with a 3,000ft drop on either side! It was completely exhilarating. There then followed a 20 metre abseil off the west side of the ‘In Pin’. We all got down without any difficulty! Tony shocked us out of our elated state by pointing along the ridge and saying “You have got to walk all the way along there and then the fourth Munro is hidden from view – so you better get your heads round it!” Its the most I have ever paid for a bollocking!

It took us an hour to get to our next Munro – Sgurr na Banachdich, The third Munro of the day Sgurr a’ Ghreadaidh looked miles away, with a big drop in height and the added complication of an intermediate top in between and that looked steep! There was some serious exposed climbing involved with a hairy walk along the crest to the summit cairn. We were all knackered and the heat was taking its toll, Tony was brilliant, “You’ve not done it yet lads, concentrate” he was right we were thinking it was done but it was far from over. The descent took us to the col of An Dorus (The Door) where a path crossed the ridge. However, this involved climbing to get us down and climbing to get us back up to the slopes of the last Munro we needed to climb on Skye – Sgurr a Mhadaidh. We reached the summit with a real sense of achievement and I started to get a little emotional, it had been a tough ask, and I am not getting any younger, or thinner for that matter. The descent was not as steep as yesterday’s but by the time we got back to the car I was cream crackered. I had climbed 13 Munro’s in eight days and it felt like it.

On the bird front I had added only four species to my year list, Golden Eagle, Rock Dove, Whimbrel and Greenshank.

The second week, no one felt like walking, so we had a rest and I played a few rounds of golf. I was well choked when I found out there had been a Rock Thrush not too far away!
The ‘In Pin’ conquered

The summit of Sgurr na Banachdich

Sgurr a’ Ghreadaidh from Sgurr na Banachdich

The 11th and final Cullin Munro

Sgurr a Mhadaich the last one

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