Sgurr Dearg – The InPin

In 2007 Frank and I had been acting under the delusion of being able to summit the Inaccessible Pinnacle on our own when we had first visited the Sgurr Dearg summit area. But we soon had realized that climbing the Pinnacle without professional help would be foolhardy to say the least. So on 7 June 2017 we met our friendly guide Ian at the Glen Brittle Memorial Hut (why is it called ‘Memorial’ Hut?). Ian handed us our climbing gear (harness and helmet) and soon we were on our way on the path that leads up towards the Eas Mor and the west ridge of Sgurr Dearg.

After a short test of our stamina and fitness on behalf of Ian, who stormed up the path like a torpedo, we settled into a more leisurely speed suited to our limited energies and lower lung capacities. Anyhow, we made good progress on the excellent path and soon left the grass behind. The lower part of the ridge between Coire na Banachdich and Coire Laggan is quite steep and in the middle of the ascent a chimney of sorts catered for some very mild scrambling in order to avoid an alternative path in the unpleasantly steep scree slope. Soon we topped out on a slightly flatter section of the ridge and continued on the obvious path towards Sgurr Dearg. Ian pointed out the highest source of fresh water in the Cuillins, a little spring where cold water was merrily dripping from one of the rocks. Delicious. The views into the corries below and out towards the sea were stupendous! Only the summits hid in the clouds on this otherwise sunny day.

Then we were getting close to the rocky upper section of Sgurr Dearg’s ante summit(s). Due to the traffic on the ridge and the possibility of someone above […]

2017-09-19T14:14:55+00:00June 9th, 2017|2007, 2017, 2017 - 2010, The Islands|

Beinn Dorain

Frank and me had said Goodbye to our cottage on Skye early in the morning in order to drive south and catch our planes back home the next day. Our initial plan had been to climb two hills on the South Glen Shiel ridge but when we got to the glen we found out that the weather had not improved one bit from what Skye had had on offer that morning: rain, sleet, snow. We soon decided that the West Highlands offered no positive prospects for us that day. So we headed on to do another hill on the way to Glasgow.

Arriving in Bridge of Orchy a look at the sky told us that it was either now or never. We parked the car at the bridge of Orchy train station, threw the necessary gear into our rucksacks and hiked up the broad path leading into Corrie an Dothaidh. I had been up this path up to the beallach between Beinn an Dothaid and Beinn Dorain in 2001. Being alone, then, I turned back at the beallach because of the strong wind and drifting snow I had encountered there. We made good progress, but the path was rather boggy in some places and spongy in others. Alas, finally the upper part of the corrie and the beallach were finally gained. There a pause and a look a the Glen Lyon hills helped us regain our strength.

Then, we headed due south following the very obvious path up the broad shoulder of Beinn Dorain. Some clouds descended upon us when we got to the final steepening before the summit ridge flattens out. At some point Frank, being behind me a few steps, opted for the path which outflanks the first, lower summit of the hill, while I chose the path along that ridge. We […]

2017-09-19T14:17:49+00:00May 26th, 2007|2007, 2009 - 2000, The River Tay to Rannoch Moor|

Sgurr Mhic Choinnich

On a dry day in May 2007 the two valiant hill-walkers set out to climb the Inaccessible Pinnacle and Sgurr Mhic Choinnich in one outing. Alas, it was not to be (in its entirety, d’you see?). But let’s start at the beginning. From Glen Brittle House we climbed the path leading to the Eas Mor and once past the waterfall we branched right in the direction of Loch an Fhir-bhallaich.

Half-way to the loch another path branches off to the left and approaches the steep west ridge of Sgurr Dearg. Gaining height quite quickly the view soon opened up and Corrie na Bachachdich impressed with its great scenery. At about 750 m the clouds finally won and we climbed up the final steep, slabby and stoney steps of the ridge before reaching the summit of Sgurr Dearg. There the Inaccessible Pinnacle finally became visible through the clouds. Nice piece of rock. We slithered to the basis of the pinnacle and checked the start of the climb. Other groups of climbers made their way up the Inaccessible Pinnacle while we watched. Finally we started our climb – without using the rope.

We soon realised that the climb was not really difficult but quite exposed. And since we had not really expected the need for using the rope for other purposes than abseiling we decided to be wise and go back and to leave the In Pinn for another day. I explored the summit of An Stac before Frank and I contoured around its basis on the scree-strewn slanting path leading to the broadish (by Skye standards at least) Beallach Corrie Laggan. About here the visibility improved dramatically and the views were stupendous later. From the beallach we followed the trace of a path that leads up to Sgurr Mhic Choinnich. This part of our hike […]

2017-09-19T14:17:50+00:00May 25th, 2007|2007, 2009 - 2000, The Islands|

Sgurr Alasdair

The climb up this hill proved to be a test of endurance under conditions of bad visibility, wind and rain. Let’s begin at the start, though. We set off one morning from Glen Brittle House and headed across the moor on the path that rises more or less gently towards Corrie Laggan. Once past the Eas Mor we reached the base of the clouds and were soon engulfed by the white and increasingly moist stuff. The path climbed steadily past Loch an Fhir-bhallaich, levelled off a bit and then we met the path coming up from the Glen Brittle Campsite.

We continued uphill, climbed up some scree-covered rock slabs and arrived at Loch Coire Laggan soon. Once at the outflow of the Loch we stuck to the south shore until we reached the point were the Great Stone Shoot ends among boulders. Due to the bad visibiity we were not 100% sure at first that we climbed the right scree slope but further up it became obvious that many other climbers had suffered on this ascent before. For suffer we did, too, since it was more or less a matter of two steps forward and one and a half backwards again. The scree was very steep, unstable and climbing it was extremely exhausting. But then we reached the part of the shoot were the walls of Sgurr Alasdair and Sgurr Thearlaich move togehter closer and the gap between the two summit was becoming visible further up. The wind picked up once we got close to the beallach. We sat in a sheltered spot and rested for a few moments. Then we tackled the final 30 or 40 metres of the summit ridge which was quite slippery under these wet and windy conditions. On the way up we met a group of Englishmen we already […]

2017-09-19T14:17:50+00:00May 23rd, 2007|2007, 2009 - 2000, The Islands|

Creag a’Mhaim

The day before Frank and I walked Creag a’Mhaim we had arrived in Scotland. Our journey had taken us from Glasgow via Crianlarich, Ballachulish, Fort William and Spean Bridge to the Glengarry Hotel. There we had spent a good evening and had slept off the effects of the pints consumed. The next day, 19 May 2007, we left the hotel and drove to Loch Cluanie at the west end of which we parked our car close to the Cluanie Inn.

The rain was coming down at us in the form of curtains and blustery showers, very much depending on whether there was a lull in the wind or whether it was gusting. The mood was not too enthusiastic but at least we managed to put on our raingear without getting drenched. So, finally, we left the Inn and headed for the bridge spanning the River Cluanie. From there we followed the road which leads to the pass between Glen Cluanie and Glen Loyne. The going was good on the tarmac and gravel surface and we continuously made progress reaching the flat beallach in due time. At the foot of the southeast ridge of Creag a’Mhaim we located the path leading up the hill without any problem. Soon we were climbing up the very good path gaining height quickly. The wind had picked up again and the rain was getting stronger. It was a rather squishy climb and the earth was slippery in places. Then, we reached the more exposed summit ridge of Creag a’Mhaim and were battered by wind and sleet.

It was definitely not an outing for great views on an easy stroll – Sir, No, Sir. We touched the summit cairn of Munro No. 1 of our 2007 holiday and headed on to Druim Shionach over the broad ridge connecting the two […]

2017-09-19T14:17:50+00:00May 22nd, 2007|2007, 2009 - 2000, Loch Eil to Glen Shiel|

Sgurr a’Chaorachain

Ah Skye, you beautiful island. And Cuillin, you great range of towering spires. But the weather sucked. Very much so. So we decided to let island be island and Cuillin be Cuillin. Instead we headed for Glen Carron where some more or less remote munros waited for us.

As recommended by the books we parked our car at Craig, enjoyed the only rainfall of the day (lucky us – the clouds lifted the longer the day wore on), crossed the railway line and the river and followed the landrover track high above the Allt a’Chonais. After an hour or so we reached the plain stretch of valley where the Allt a’Chonais meanders through the grass and Sgurr nan Ceannaichean’s craggy west face rises on the right side of the track.

At the point where the track veers to the left we crossed the Allt, by the wire bridge (Frank) and by wading the rivulet (me), and then hit the well-engineered path leading up to the Beallach Bhearnais. This was a pleasant climb. Below the col we felt the effect of the wind which was really quite strong, coming from south-westerly directions. We donned all the gear we had to protect us from the wind chill. From the Beallach Bhearnais we plodded and scrambled up the west ridge of Frank’s last two-digit munro – his 99th – Sgurr Choinnch.

On the climb we paused and took in the views of Cheesecake and Lurgh Mhor: two hills requiring considerably more effort than the present tour. They looked nice though. We’ll be back (Austrian accent :-)). At the summit we ate our lunch sitting on some grassy ledges on the north side of the hill which provided some respite from the wind. Photos, tea, sandwiches. And on to Sgurr a’Chaorachain we headed, half pushed forward and half […]

2017-09-19T14:17:50+00:00May 21st, 2007|2007, 2009 - 2000, Glen Cannich to Glen Carron|

Sgurr Choinnich

Ah Skye, you beautiful island. And Cuillin, you great range of towering spires. But the weather sucked. Very much so. So we decided to let island be island and Cuillin be Cuillin. Instead we headed for Glen Carron where some more or less remote munros waited for us.

As recommended by the books we parked our car at Craig, enjoyed the only rainfall of the day (lucky us – the clouds lifted the longer the day wore on), crossed the railway line and the river and followed the landrover track high above the Allt a’Chonais. After an hour or so we reached the plain stretch of valley where the Allt a’Chonais meanders through the grass and Sgurr nan Ceannaichean’s craggy west face rises on the right side of the track. WirebridgeAt the point where the track veers to the left we crossed the Allt, by the wire bridge (Frank) and by wading the rivulet (me), and then hit the well-engineered path leading up to the Beallach Bhearnais. This was a pleasant climb. Below the col we felt the effect of the wind which was really quite strong, coming from south-westerly directions. We donned all the gear we had to protect us from the wind chill. From the Beallach Bhearnais we plodded and scrambled up the west ridge of Frank’s last two-digit munro – his 99th – Sgurr Choinnch. On the climb we paused and took in the views of Cheesecake and Lurgh Mhor: two hills requiring considerably more effort than the present tour. They looked nice though. We’ll be back (Austrian accent :-)).

At the summit we ate our lunch sitting on some grassy ledges on the north side of the hill which provided some respite from the wind. Photos, tea, sandwiches. And on to […]

2017-09-19T14:17:50+00:00May 21st, 2007|2007, 2009 - 2000, Glen Cannich to Glen Carron|

Sgurr na Banachdich

The first day of hiking on Skye in 2007 saw Frank and me tackling the three Munros of Corrie a’Ghreadaidh. From the Youth Hostel in Glen Brittle we walked up the path into the corrie, just as Mike and me had done four and a half years earlier (life’s ticking away, pal). After a mile or so we located the junction with the return path coming out of Corrie an Eich. We continued on the main path, however, later crossed the Allt a’ Choire Ghreadaidh and climbed into the upper corrie. From the flat section of this magnificent arena we watched a group of hikers tackling the northwest ridge of Sgurr a’Mhadaidh – certainly an entertainig scramble.

For us, however, it was up the stone shoot and rocky terrain to the An Dorus col. From the col we climbed up to the summit of Sgurr a’Mhadaidh in five minutes. Instead of enjoying the views we put on our protective plastic as it started to rain. Sleat was beating down on us. Luckily this was only a short shower. The clouds and fog stayed with us for the rest of the day, though. Blimey! So it was back to an Dorus – the last few metres being quite slippery after the shower. Then we climbed the entertaining north ridge of Sgurr a’Ghreadaidh, passed the deep cleft and The Wart and touched the summit cairn(-let) of our second Munro of the day. No views but also no wind. You have to be content with what The Cuillins give you :-).

The continuation along the southwest ridge was an exceptionally interesting climb – at least for hikers like us. Constant handwork, some minor difficulties and loads of fun. Then the ridge widened, the fun was over and we soon we passed the three teeth of Sgurr Thormaid and climbed […]

2017-09-19T14:17:50+00:00May 20th, 2007|2007, 2009 - 2000, The Islands|

Sgurr a’Mhadaidh – South-west Peak

The first day of hiking on Skye in 2007 saw Frank and me tackling the three Munros of Corrie a’Ghreadaidh. From the Youth Hostel in Glen Brittle we walked up the path into the corrie, just as Mike and me had done four and a half years earlier (life’s ticking away, pal). After a mile or so we located the junction with the return path coming out of Corrie an Eich. We continued on the main path, however, later crossed the Allt a’ Choire Ghreadaidh and climbed into the upper corrie. From the flat section of this magnificent arena we watched a group of hikers tackling the northwest ridge of Sgurr a’Mhadaidh – certainly an entertainig scramble. For us, however, it was up the stone shoot and rocky terrain to the An Dorus col.

From the col we climbed up to the summit of Sgurr a’Mhadaidh in five minutes. Instead of enjoying the views we put on our protective plastic as it started to rain. Sleat was beating down on us. Luckily this was only a short shower. The clouds and fog stayed with us for the rest of the day, though. Blimey! So it was back to an Dorus – the last few metres being quite slippery after the shower. Then we climbed the entertaining north ridge of Sgurr a’Ghreadaidh, passed the deep cleft and The Wart and touched the summit cairn(-let) of our second Munro of the day. No views but also no wind. You have to be content with what The Cuillins give you :-).

The continuation along the southwest ridge was an exceptionally interesting climb – at least for hikers like us. Constant handwork, some minor difficulties and loads of fun. Then the ridge widened, the fun was over and we soon we passed the three teeth of Sgurr Thormaid […]

2017-09-19T14:17:50+00:00May 20th, 2007|2007, 2009 - 2000, The Islands|

Sgurr a’Ghreadaidh

The first day of hiking on Skye in 2007 saw Frank and me tackling the three Munros of Corrie a’Ghreadaidh. From the Youth Hostel in Glen Brittle we walked up the path into the corrie, just as Mike and me had done four and a half years earlier (life’s ticking away, pal).

After a mile or so we located the junction with the return path coming out of Corrie an Eich. We continued on the main path, however, later crossed the Allt a’ Choire Ghreadaidh and climbed into the upper corrie. From the flat section of this magnificent arena we watched a group of hikers tackling the northwest ridge of Sgurr a’Mhadaidh – certainly an entertainig scramble. For us, however, it was up the stone shoot and rocky terrain to the An Dorus col. From the col we climbed up to the summit of Sgurr a’Mhadaidh in five minutes. Instead of enjoying the views we put on our protective plastic as it started to rain. Sleat was beating down on us. Luckily this was only a short shower.

The clouds and fog stayed with us for the rest of the day, though. Blimey! So it was back to an Dorus – the last few metres being quite slippery after the shower. Then we climbed the entertaining north ridge of Sgurr a’Ghreadaidh, passed the deep cleft and The Wart and touched the summit cairn(-let) of our second Munro of the day. No views but also no wind. You have to be content with what The Cuillins give you :-). The continuation along the southwest ridge was an exceptionally interesting climb – at least for hikers like us. Constant handwork, some minor difficulties and loads of fun. Then the ridge widened, the fun was over and we soon we passed the three teeth of Sgurr Thormaid […]

2018-11-13T02:45:53+00:00May 20th, 2007|2007, 2009 - 2000, The Islands|