Snow Stac

Sun, Oct 28, 2018

Sgurr nan Each and Belig

I really should have been bivvying on the hill last night. A night of long moon and washed out starlight glinting on the Cuillin snow fields. This morning was stunningly clear and cold with snow patches lingering in the garden as we headed round to the Blaven car park for a bimble up An Stac.

The John Muir Trust have just announced they have permission to revamp the car park, doubling its capacity and putting in two composting toilets. How the world changes with all these people around. This morning it was quiet although the Elgol road still had late season tourists holding the traffic up as they crawled towards the low winter sun. I shall miss the sporting entrance to the car park. I shall not look forward to smooth surfaced progress.

As we bimbled up the path the moon sank slowly and very largely behind the Clach Glas ridge, making it look like the rough gabbro skyline was scraping new craters from the bright and no doubt tired satellite after a long night of shining on the white world below.

The moon above Clach Glas, Isle of Skye

The John Muir Trust have made a superb job of dealing with the increasing erosion on the path up into the corrie, with easy steps that should hold the masses in check and stop the ever widening mess as folk try to bypass the worst of the wear although it’s still wild and rugged in the middle where the big landslide washed out a long section of track. I looked longingly at the gash of the long gully, reputedly a very good Grade II winter route.

A left turn at the lunch stone and we headed up the wonderful wee ridge to the top, crunching across early season snow to the best wee summit on Skye with its wonderful views of Banrìgh an Eilein Sgiathanaich, Queen of the Winged Isle, Blà Bheinn.

Blaven from An Stac

Not forgetting the wide open vistas across the Red Cuillin to the white wilds of Knoydart and Glen Shiel and up the rugged north west coast, where wild lands of seldom visited mountains sit and sing their siren songs to the watching uraisg.

The Red Cuillin from An Stac

I love to lie here, looking across to the cliff-girt amphitheatre across the grassy corrie, today rumbling with the rack and clack of rockfall as the night’s ice released its grip on the vertiginous rock. In the dazzling light the heights were exaggerated to Alpine proportions, with the sounds to go with them but still with that quintessential wild land noise of mountain burns tumbling boisterously from the heights. Sheer bliss.

Blaven from An Stac

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