An Unforgettable Day on the Isle of Skye, Scotland

Classic Scottish scenery. Rainfalls over Kirkibost.     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.

Bla Bheinn, the Cuillin ridge and Loch Scavaig.

Bla Bheinn, the Cuillin ridge and Loch Scavaig.

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.

Loch An Athain and Sgurr Nan Gillean from the secondary summit of Bla Bheinn.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!

Photos

bla bheinn skye scotland

After a heavy rain shower in the early morning.

Sgurr nan Gillean and Loch Creitheach

Sgurr nan Gillean and Loch Creitheach from the bottom of the valley

Bla Bheinn, the Cuillin ridge and Loch Scavaig.

Bla Bheinn, the Cuillin ridge and Loch Scavaig.

sgurr nan gillean cuillin ridge

Sgurr nan Gillean

shore loch scavaig skye scotland and soay

Loch Scavaig and the Isles of Soay and Rum from the Isle of Skye.

On the Bla Bheinn ridge. One of the many false summits right ahead.

On the Bla Bheinn ridge. One of the many false summits right ahead.

The Cuillin ridge from Bla Bheinn.

The Cuillin ridge from Bla Bheinn.

Loch Scavaig and the Isle of Soay

Loch Scavaig and the Isle of Soay from the ridge of Bla Bheinn.

bla bheinn ridge skye

Scrambling to the false summit.

bla bheinn ridge skye scotland

On the ridge of Bla Bheinn, looking toward Loch Scavaig and the Isle of Soay. Loch Creitheach is on the right hand side of the photo.

bla bheinn summit 1

Because of its many false summits, I can’t even remember if this is the actual summit or not. The ascent of Bla Bheinn seemed endless.

Loch Slapin, Loch Eishort and the Sound of Sleat in the far background.

Loch Slapin, Loch Eishort and the Sound of Sleat in the far background.

bla bheinn summit scotland

On the top of the Munro.

Loch An Athain and Sgurr Nan Gillean from the secondary summit of Bla Bheinn.

Loch An Athain and Sgurr Nan Gillean from the secondary summit of Bla Bheinn.

to the first summit of bla bheinn

Some exposed scrambling on our way to the summit of Bla Bheinn.

Ruadh Stac from the top of Bla Bheinn.

Ruadh Stac from the top of Bla Bheinn.

Gharb Bheinn from the top of Bla Bheinn.

Gharb Bheinn from the top of Bla Bheinn.

Classic Scottish scenery. Rainfalls over Kirkibost.

Classic Scottish scenery. Rainfalls over Kirkibost.

The bridge of Skye

Chased by a storm on our way back to the mainland. Photograph taken from the bridge of Skye.

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30 Responses to An Unforgettable Day on the Isle of Skye, Scotland

  1. Brett says:

    Beautiful scenery! Thanks for sharing the images and the trip details.

  2. foinaven says:

    Outstanding photos. Bla Bheinn is one of my favourite walks / scrambles. You’re right about the false summits! They seem to go on for ever. Also love the shots across to the Black Cuillin – captured the atmosphere beautifully. I actually prefer to see the Cuillin in not so nice weather, great for atmospheric shots. Nice one!

  3. beingouthere says:

    The “exposed scrambling” pic is pure adventure!!! Loved all your photos, job well done!

  4. Hey, great stuff! I wanna go there.

  5. adventures says:

    As always, your blog is a delight! I love the pictures and living vicariously through your adventures :-) I nominated you for the Beautiful Blogger’s Award. The information is here: http://chrissyadventures.wordpress.com/2012/05/02/beautiful-blogger-award/

  6. smallartuk says:

    Thanks for dropping by my blog, appreciated. I have been to Skye just the once and that was by no means sufficient…..there is so much to see. Unfortunately my knees will no longer allow me to ascend such heights (but I’m OK on the flat!), so I leave it to the younger ones and will be content to enjoy the lower slopes. Your photos capture exactly the essence of the place.

  7. Magnifiques photos qui donnent envie de découvrir les lieux. Merci pour le partage.
    Val

  8. Jo Woolf says:

    Wow, what an amazing experience. You did very well to climb that and get down in 6 hours! Your photos are just spectacular. We were looking at the Cuillins from across the Sound of Sleat only last week.

  9. Burpz says:

    what a nice review of the place, unfortunately we don’t have such stuff in Singapore!

  10. elizabeth says:

    Orel, this is the only way I’ll ever experience these stunning places. Thank you for being such a wonderful photographer and sharing your journey’s with us. Loved the video especially. :)

  11. Absolutely spectacular. This had a little of everything. If I go to Scotland and have a chance to do this, dang, I will. Great pics!

  12. I did some hiking there a few years ago, and loved it. It is such a beautiful place.

    • I can only agree. Even when it rains, it’s beautiful. I had never seen so many rainbows in my entire life. At some point there were maybe 1 rainbow every 5 minutes for 1 hour!

  13. Jake says:

    Lovely photos! I would really like to see this for myself one day! Some of the scenery reminds me of places in the Yukon (Canada) that I saw.

  14. Impressive, makes me want to go there NOW!! Thank heavens for cameras, they give us an excuse to take a breather when climbing mountains!

  15. Great post Orel, with super images!

    Well done!

  16. Idun says:

    Skye is awesome! Or well, the Scottish highlands in general are pretty cool to be honest. Did you go anywhere else than Skye?

    • Hello Idun :). Yes Skye is great. I went to the Cuillin but the weather was bad. I went to the beach of Loch Brittle, the Talisker Bay, Carbost, Portree, Broadford, The Old Man of Storr, the Kilt rock and Uig. What about you? I wish I could have seen more.

      • Idun says:

        Sounds nice! I’ve been there twice, but only for a day each time, so didn’t get to see that much. Been in Portree, Kilt Rock, Uig and various other places I don’t know the name of. I did go for a hike in the hills there, somewhere near Uig I think, but only a few hours, so nothing like you did. I’d really like to go again, and go on a longer hike, but I don’t think I’ll have the opportunity anytime soon.

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