Monday, 7 June 2010

Our last day in the Hebrides

Our Last Day in the Hebrides

We are now in Skye. We’d both planned our little “epics”. I’m going to do a walk we did last year, up the divide between the Red Cuillins and the Black Cuillins of Skye, to the top of Sgurr na Stri to look into the Cuillin Cauldron, and down onto Loch Coruisk. Ian planned to do an unfettered cycle ride. So up early and off. Mobile phone packed, plenty of food and water for about 8 hours walking, compass and map, although even I couldn’t get lost with one way in and one way out!!
It takes a good 3 hours to get anywhere near Sgurr na Stri but with plenty of daylight and good weather, for a change, who’s rushing?! Two visits to Skye and pretty good weather both times. The day is becoming brighter and the views are breath-taking- huge, sweeping smooth sides of the Red Cuillins to my left, and the jagged peaks of Sgurr Alasdair, and nan Gilean to my right. Lots of stops to take photos and video with our pocket-size camera, practising for when Col and I do the Coast to Coast in Sept. Saw no-one for 3 hours, and as it turned out only two small groups in 8 hours!
Runrig, Sigur Ros and Jose Gonzalez kept me company on the i-pod!
The last 2 miles to the top rises sharply uphill and contouring around over rough ground soaks up the time!!
After 4 hours, I reach the top, and am ready for some food! I overlook superb views, yachts anchored up in the bay below. I remember why I love this walk so much. It’s a long walk with lots of time to become absorbed in the magnificent glen, and when you reach the top of this underwhelming hill, you have 360deg views of sea, mainland, other small islands, the Cuillin cauldron, and down into the glen. The mist swirls around the tops of the Cuillin ridge, and it really does look like a boiling cauldron. On returning home later, we discover that Stan Bradshaw, the father of Clayton-le-Moors Harriers Fell Running Club, has died at 97yrs, and it is recorded that he walked the Cuillin Ridge when he was 71. Amazing fella and such a nice chap. I remember when I did my first fell-race, and he popped in to see how I’d done. Most importantly, he wanted to know if I had enjoyed it.
Right, I really will have to get a shake on!! No more photo stops, a bit of downhill jogging and snacking on the move! Eventually arrive back, sore knees, ankles, feet, after about seven and a half hours, about the same as last time to do about 18miles.
I rang Ian to let him know I’m nearby and he’s not long been back. Oh dear, I think someone may have over-done it!!!
Turns out he’s been about 85miles in 6 hours!! Thank God they’ve got lovely hot showers on this otherwise basic camp-site. What am I on about “basic”- it’s got hot showers, stands in a stunning landscape, and best of all it’s right next to the Sligachan Hotel, beloved by mountaineers and climbers through the centuries, as the old photos of gentlemen in tweed, no doubt soaked and weighing a ton, show. In’t goretex BRILLIANT!!!
Off to the pub for a hearty fish and chips, great beer and a shot of whisky!

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