After a pretty rainy Saturday on the Cuillin ridge, only a few of us wanted to go climbing again on Sunday. The forecast wasn’t positive, but we wanted to fully enjoy our trip on the Isle of Skye. We left the inn in the early morning, and with the mini van of the Strathclyde University Mountaineering Club we drove to the South of the island. We separated into two groups. One group was going hiking along the shore in the Strathaird area, while the other one was going to climb the mountain of Bla Bheinn (982m/3045ft). I was on the second team, with my two mates from France, and my friends from Czech Republic and Greece.
The weather was supposed to be bad, but we wanted to climb a mountain, whatever the conditions. We had exactly 6 hours to go and come back to the road to be picked up by the first team. That let us with 3 hours to climb, and 3 hours to go down. We weren’t sure to be able to walk that fast but the challenge made the day more exiting.
We started our walk far from the mountain. Soon, we’ve been caught in a heavy rain shower which seemed to be endless. Great! Luckily, and to everybody’s surprise, the cloud went away and the sun started to shine. In the end, we had an amazing weather all day long and the scenery was simply stunning.
Bla Bheinn is very particular. We climbed it from it’s south ridge. Its several false summits gave me the feeling of climbing a never-ending mountain. The walk was exhausting and the path steep at some points, but it was rather safe until the secondary summit. The only serious threat was a severe gale we could barely face when we were walking along the drop of the west side of the ridge (check out the video clip). Also, little exposed scrambling was needed to reach the primary summit, and the wet rock was rather slippery.
The view was worth the hike from the beginning until the end of the day. We first saw Bla Bheinn from far away on our right-hand side, the Cuillin in front of us, and Loch Scavaig and the island of Rum on our left-hand side. The ridge starts at a very low altitude until the top of the mountain. Therefore, during the whole ascent, we were able to see the Black Cuillin, the lochs, the valleys and the sea. As we were getting higher and higher, they seemed smaller and smaller, until the surrounding wilderness looked so ridiculously small that I felt like I was in an airplane. During the ascent, I had the hardly describable feeling of following a path that was leaving our planet to reach the sky. Well, I was in the sky!
– April 3 2011
Photos n vid
I took this video when I had almost reached the summit. I struggled not to shake because of the wind, I hope it doesn’t give you a headache. You can see the summit of Blaven, Loch An Athain, Sgurr Nan Gillean and the Cuillin ridge in the clouds, Loch Creitheach, Loch Scavaig, the Isle of Soay and the Isle of Rum, Loch Slapin and Loch Eishort. Yea, basically, everything’s in the vid!