The best day, at least weather-wise, was also the last day of the 2016 holiday in Scotland. After five days of fog, two days of wind and rain and one further beautiful day this hike was the saving grace of an otherwise rather viewless bagging season.
Knowing the weather would be very good we had decided to climb Blaven via its south ridge since this would afford us marvellous views of the Black Cuillins on the way up. Like quite a few other walkers we started the hike from the parking south of Kilmarie where a Landrover track crosses the Strathaird peninsula. The track undulates a bit but then rises to its highest point (Am Mam) and drops again on its way towards Camasunary. Shortly before the next sharp bend in the track a path leads off towards the foot of the south ridge of Blaven. In due time this path crosses a small burn. A few metres past the burn the path leading up the steep grass slopes of the mountain’s south ridge branches off at an altitude of approximately 100m.
We climbed this very steep slope on the good path which further up outflanks the first bands of rock to the right before it leads up a steep gully filled with scree. Then at about 380m the path suddenly reaches the crest of the ridge and the complete Black Cuillin ridge springs into view. I took a break there and enjoyed the views which really were to die for.
From this spot onwards there is not much grass left underfoot as slabs of rock, small boulders and scree form the ground your boots tread on. The way forward was marked by cairns though and route-finding was not a problem. Over several steps in the ridge – which gave opportunity for some mild scrambling – the path follows the crest of the ridge or uses easier terrain on the east side of the hill. Further up the mountain it was not so easy to discern a path or rather the right path anymore since there were several options available: Thousands of walkers before us had created faint tracks in the scree, grassy spots or on the rocks (scratch marks of crampons). When it all got too confusing I just climbed up to the crest of the ridge and – voila – there a distinct path appeared which soon delivered me to the south summit of Blaven where Frank was waiting for me while taking photos of the hill and the Black Cuillins. Breath-taking views!
We continued towards the real (i.e. north) summit of Blaven descending an uneasy earth gully and re-ascending maybe 20 metres on the other side of the dip between the summits. Once at the north summit we took a longer break and enjoyed the 360∞ views form this great hill in the company of maybe a dozen fellow climbers: Black Cuillins, Red Cuillins, the sea, the islands. Ach, it was a pity we had to leave the summit again. We […]