Sgurr na Feartaig

In Winter I have visited the north facing corrie a number of times, mostly in murky conditions. A number of very fine ice climbs are here. However I have never been up to the summit nor really seen the views to the wilderness to the South. The last trip to the area had been with Garry in June (here –, and the cloud had been down, but it had given me the idea.
After the path leaves the fine estate track it follows a really nice stalkers route, fairly dry, all the way to the foretop before descending slightly and bypassing the large summit cairn. After a quick break it was onwards along the undulating summit ridge with excellent running terrain, smooth grass and mossy. The path then descends in long zigs and zags and meets the other path coming up from Achnashellach. This descent, as I had remembered from Winter, is not a good path. It has fallen into disrepair and is boggy and deeply rutted, not ideal for a quick run down. But once back in the valley it is an easy jog back to Craig.

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Bealach na Sgairne and Gleann Lichd

With my brother, Willie. I was keen to go out on an adventure with Willie, him on his MTB and me on foot running. I had heard it was possible to bike this route but not really knowing how Willie would get on because we hadnt done this kind of trip before.
We walked up the big climb, Willie carrying his bike mostly, so that was fine, and I promised him the rest was ‘easy’ and downhill. And so it was the next few KM passed quickly once the boggy area had been passed. Then a punchure, and a 20 minute delay. Also the path was relentless for Willie with large drain ‘gaps’ too big to hop over, and the fear of another punchure.
We reached the bridge near Alltbeithe and got onto a better track, all the way to Camban where we had a look inside. Both agreed it was a good bothy. Then relentless ups and downs and rough pathage again slowing down the MTB.
A pause for photos before the final drop into Glen Lichd, we walked down about 100M or so then Willie mounted his bike and got a good descent in, then it was an easy 7km back along the flats to the start.

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Land of the Lost and Found

After a long wet Summer of false starts and dreich days, I finally got the chance to re-visit Skull Buttress on Quinag, a hugely exposed overhanging prow of rock. Home to Guy Robertson on many occasions through the year as he scoped and cleaned the lines. I had missed out on the July trip when Jurassic Spark, (E7) was climbed. However I had my doubts about today because of the massive winds swirling round the mountain. It was very chilly, however Guy and Adam battled discomfort and numb fingers to both lead and succeed in their new route – Land of the Lost and Found E7 6a.6b/c.

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The Great Mountain Crags of Scotland, launch night video.

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Best day of the Summer

On paper, Fuar Tholl, Sgorr Rhuadh and Beinn Liath Mhor, looked like a 4 hour circuit, jogging the flats and descents. In retrospect perhaps in reverse might have been closer to the mark. I had been here both in Summer and Winter on many occasions but never as a full traverse of the three. Once before over Beinn Liath Mhor, in snow, masking the cruel quartzite.
The route of ascent up Fuar Tholl, the way I chose, takes rough hinterland, chest deep heather masking sunken boulder-pits. Although after 400M or so height I managed to get onto the famous slabs, which were amazing and take you right up to about 700M. A short ridge with a narrowing leads easily to the Summit. All around surrounded by the cloud inversion. Skye like a sawtooth in the distance, to the East-clear.
So 40 mins behind schedule already I tried to make up time on the descent to the lochans, running into a band of rough quartzite near the bottom, a taste of what was to come. A stop at the loch for water and fuel and I was lifted by the easy and quick climb to Sgorr Rhuadh. Ah hour and a quarter on my timing to go, mmmm 15 mins to the col, then 30 mins to traverse Beinn Liath Mhor, 30 descent, it could be done…..
1 hour and 15 mins later, only just on top of Beinn Liath Mhor. So much rougher and so much steeper than I had remembered. Impossible to run at speed now that I was so warm/worn. Final pull to the last top on the ridge was heavy. What a view though, Torridon to the North, over the lochans. ‘I’m going to be a bit late’ call made, I gingerly made my descent firstly over a field of quartzite, then more quickly once sandstone had been reached.
Still all in all, 5 hours 50 mins. So rough.

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View from the North

Some telephoto images from Saturday’s trip to Quinag.

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Circuit of Bla Bheinn

A wee project that looked good on paper. Starting from Loch Slapin and following the normal route up towards Bla Bheinn, crossing the bealach to the South of the South Summit towards Camasunary, along into Glen Sligachan and climbing to the col just to the North of Clach Glas and back to the road again.
There were many waterfalls marked on the map and they did not disappoint after some heavy rain the night before. I did find it interesting that the glen/coire to the South of Bla Bheinn has no name on my map, curious?
Also it has no path, but plenty of tall ‘dog eating’ heather and grass. The path becomes better round into Glen Sligachan and I managed to get a better pace here, albeit a tad wet.
Finally a 600M ascent back up Coire Dubh to the col to the North of Clach Glas. A stunningly wild and remote part of the Cuillin, fantastic water features, gullies and no path of course. A bit of scrambling and then its all downhill again to meet the Bla Bheinn path again.


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