9-13 May 2019
“Squirrel Suits, Cheese Rolling and the Gulasch-und-Strudel Wagen….”
The trip to Skye always generates extra excitement and so Friday was duly exchanged for Bank Holiday Monday, and six of us managed – after about 300 emails – to coordinate two cars to travel up on Thursday eve. Anton offered to drive and like me has a Skoda with many miles under its belt, however when he suggested we could fit 5 plus bikes I was a bit sceptical…. I duly arrived to witness roofbox being loaded with goodies, including food for the Sat night, and bike rack – no problems! A quick diversion to get Sylwia with a second bike, then north, Anton being mainly concerned the bikes were secure, whereas I was wondering if any unplanned heavy braking would result in 5kg of Gulasch cascading down the windscreen, not to mention the fate of the Apple Strudel balancing on the back seat… Needn’t have worried however, and the food on Sat night was superb!!
Arriving Sligachan campsite just before midnight exposed the ‘hard’ truth of what had been forgotten this time, in mycase a Thermarest, substituted instead by an uncoiled 60m rope and a borrowed blanket. At least I remembered a sleeping bag and a tent…
Friday saw 10 of us head off up Coire na Banachdich, conscious that some were making their first visit to the Cuillin, and we’d just had a very cold week with lots of fresh snow further east. A showery day full of ‘atmosphere’, some of the atmosphere consisting of hail and snow, it didn’t last, but added a bit of extra spice, when you can’t quite trust the gabbro 100%. Everyone made the top of Sg na Banachdich, a real achievement given the conditions, and 8 of us managed to press on to An Dorus via Sg a Ghreadaidh, a fleeting Broken Spectre one of the highlights. Simon & Phelim had other ideas, exploring/getting lost in the dripping recesses of Sron na Ciche – didn’t we do this last year as well?? Some cracking photos though.
The now traditional DMC weather arrived for Sat along with the Friday nighters (i.e clear and sunny – whoever arranges this every year deserves a medal), and we had several people on the Inn Pinn, Ghreadaidh, Banachdich, a visit to Raasay, and a group of 7 aiming for the northern 3 Cuillin Munro’s, Bruach na Frithe by the NW ridge, Am Bhasteir including the ‘bad step’, and the West ridge of Gillean. The summit of Am Bhasteir is one of those places where the exposure is absolute and has a great feeling of ‘space’. You can understand (if briefly) the attraction of Base Jumping with a Squirrel Suit…. casual Google search reveals:-
“squirrel.ws” – base jumping equipment, www.wingsuitfly.com – how to start Wingsuit flying!, closely followed by “wingsuit / ebay.com”, then “Wikipedia: list of fatalities due to Wingsuit flying….”
Staying firmly on the ground we pushed on up Gillean, roping up for the tricky bit and revelling in the fantastic situations. It’s a long way down the (very much tongue in cheek) “Tourist route” to the pub however (quicker with a squirrel suit ).
Sun saw a whole heap of different things accomplished, running the Trotternish ridge (Dom&Amy and Lu), running some of the Skye trail down to Portree (Andrew, Berenice, Villo and Simon), Cycling down to Talisker Bay and round to Glen Brittle (all from Sligachan) Anton and Sylwia, plenty of folk headed off to do Blaven, and I, well I resorted to the Red Cuillin, there being a Graham and Corbett as yet unclimbed. Worth it for the experience, great views but the descent off Glamaig is an unrelenting 600m 40deg nightmare of loose scree and grass…. and they run up and down here every year…? The record I believe is 44mins – by one Finlay Wild, he of Cuillin ridge in 2h59m22s fame, not only that, he took 32 mins to get up, and 12 MINS to get down…!!! The only comparable thing which springs to mind is the carnage unleashed by the annual Cheese Rolling in Gloucestershire.. maybe that’s why these Cuillin are red…
Report by Iain
More photos can be seen on yogile album here