Sunday, 25 April 2010

Skye - Day Two

If the weather held up today's plan was to go up to the Inaccessible Pinnacle of Sgurr Dearg but unfortunately Skye decided to show that only it was in charge of the weather and a second good day was not happening. Bad weather was putting anything fancy out of the question, but did not rule out the Cuillin altogether so a party of us headed up with the intention of going up Sgurr Nan Eag.

We left from the Glenbrittle y0uth hostel and made the long walk round to the foot of Coire a Ghrunnda. The rain persisted but we headed up the coire making a zig zag between soaking wet marsh and icy slick volcanic basalt slabs. The going was slow scrambling up through the rocks and waterfalls in the coire and the very low cloud and driving rain was making visibility non existant and navigation was proving tricky.

On reaching the Lochan at the top of the coire we had some lunch and then pushed for an assault on Sgurr Nan Eag and at this point the driving winds in the coire was sand blasting the water from the Lochan into us and it penetrated anywhere and everywhere rendering the term waterproof useless. We pushed on through some tricky navigation up the rocks and when we were nearly at the summit things apeared wrong and it was realised we had actually went up the wrong peak and were actually the summit of Sron na Ciche which appeared in the movie Highlander. Time was pushing late so we accepted the peak and went to the summit.

Looking at the map there was some easier ground back down which would bypass the coire completely so we aimed to get down. With the Cuillin rocks being magnetic compasses tend to misbehave and point in the wrong place so we would walk on a bearing only for the compass to change resuling in us getting lost somewhere on the massive west buttress. Every direction we went we ran into more boilerplate slabs which in dry weather would be no obstacle but at the moment were a death trap. Another hour or so of picking down gullies looking for an obvious decent to the easy ground proved fruitless but eventually we made it down to the grassy slopes below soaking wet and were relieved. Back to the car and then the pub.

The Cuillin in good weather is a dangerous place. Bad weather is just suicidal. We had an epic but our map reading skills and micronavigation pulled us out and we really enjoyed it.

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