Skye holiday 2013 report
On day 1 we decided to visit the Old Man of Storr; one of the most spectacular sites on Skye. This gives a good, fairly short walk, ideal to get us into the swing of things on the first day, especially given the less than perfect weather forecast. For those that wanted it, it also allowed for the option of a more energetic walk up The Storr (719m).
As it turned out the weather was even worse than the forecast with low cloud, rain and wind. As we emerged from the shelter of a hill at the high point of our walk a particularly strong gust of wind blew several of the party off their feet, and it became clear that continuing up The Storr was not an option! So, after a short but surprisingly adventurous walk, we called it a day and headed to the Edinbane Inn to dry off and enjoy their superb folk session, detouring to admire the Mealt Waterfall at Kilt Rocks en-route.
The mood was for a longer walk today and we decided upon Marsco (736m). Marsco is one of the Red Cuillin and a peak that we had had our eye on since the previous year’s holiday. The wind had dropped since Sunday and was now merely very strong. Marsco gave us the chance of getting in a great summit while staying out of the worst of the wind for most of the approach, and hopefully being well on the way back to the car by the time that heavy rain was forecast.
This proved to be the case, with our walk down Glen Sligachan and approach up Coire Dubh Measarroch being pleasantly sheltered. Things were a little more exciting on the summit ridge where there was no shelter from the wind. Luckily the skies were clear enough to give us some good views and we were able to pick out the lochans in the valley below which mark what was the centre of the Skye ice cap 12,000 years ago, when Marsco’s summit itself was beneath the ice.
We made our descent and while we didn’t manage to get to the car before the sleet and hail hit us, we didn’t have too far left to go. A satisfying day.
No trip to Skye is complete without walking some of its coastline. Today’s walk took in the ruins of the villages Boreraig and Suisnish, both forcibly evicted in the 1850s during the ‘highland clearances’.
The walk was followed by a visit to the spar cave on the Strathaird peninsula. This coastal cave can only be approached with a scramble at low tide. Its Gaelic name is Slochd Altrimen which translates as ‘cave of the nursling’. Various accounts exist to explain this name, all involving a child being hidden there to ensure its survival.
Sgurr na Stri and Glen Sligachan.
We split into two groups to do two different walks. The largest group headed to Sgurr na Stri, a fairly small but superbly situated peak with some of the best views of the Black Cuillin to be had. We approached it down Glen Sligachan and walked back by the same route. We had wanted a long day and this was what we got; in total we covered about 24 kilometres. The Black Cuillin remained shrouded in cloud depriving us of the classic view, but the rays of sunshine and momentary parting of the clouds, when we reached our summit, gave us atmospheric glimpses of the steep rock of the Black Cuillin, with the water of Loch Coruisk in the foreground.
Meanwhile the other group had visited the Quiraing for a shorter walk on the some of the most dramatic terrain on the island.
It was time to head into the Black Cuillin. Our choice was Sgurr na Banachdich (965m), a Munro on the famous Cuillin Ridge. We set off from Glen Brittle Youth Hostel and walked up Coir an Eich. Above the coir we made our way to the summit through snow and cloud before descending by the same route.
The walk for the last day was Sgurr Alasdair; the highest peak on the Cuillin Ridge, and on Skye as a whole.
After 5 days of weather which had ranged from mixed to downright terrible, we were finally treated to warm sun and clear blue skies. This was one of those truly great days to be in the mountains, made all the better by having ‘earned it’ after the weather of the last few days.
We walked from Glen Brittle into Coire Lagan and scrambled up to the lochan in the upper coire. From here we continued up the Great Stone Chute, with towering cliffs on either side, blue skies above and patches of snow on the ground.
At the top of the chute we stopped in the sun for lunch, and then made our way along the short, but very exposed, ridge to the summit, before making our way down by the same route. A fine finale for the week.
That evening, after dinner, we went out for our traditional evening of otter watching followed by a drink in the Pier Hotel on the harbour.