Archive for Skye

Skye, Two Small Steps Towards the Cuillins

Posted in Hiking, Hills with tags , , , , , , on January 23, 2013 by Jinja Coo

Two great walks on Skye, first a walk from Glen Brittle round to the lower, first tier of Coir’ a’ Ghrunnda which pretty much coincided with the snow line. The day started clear and dry but grayed over the course of our walk with the sun and cloud cover working together to cast interesting light on the crags above us and out on the sea around the islands of Canna and Rum. We also experienced an odd illusion of the higher, white portion of the Cuillin mountains above us appearing much smaller in scale yet at the same time closer to us than we knew them to be, almost within reach.

Coire Lagan

Coire Lagan

IMG_8144

Soay with Eigg (left) and Rum (right) behind

Soay with Eigg (centre) and Rum (right) behind

Coir' a' Ghrunnda

Coir’ a’ Ghrunnda

Soay and Rum

Soay, Eigg and Rum

Rubh an Dunain and Canna beyond

Rubh an Dunain and Canna beyond

Second walk was a wintry ascent of Bla Bheinn, my second by the same route. Icy paths from the start and we had our crampons on from the corrie floor. A very white scene in our immediate surroundings was countered by more colour in the sky and sea and in the various shades of brown on the ground below the snow line, stunning views in all directions with hills near and far showing a fairly consistent winter covering. The islands of Soay, Eigg, Muck and Rum and the sun’s changing light on and round them drew our attention out to the west but soon, on reaching a certain height, the landscape of the Red Cuillin off to the north and stretching beyond to the Storr became more of a focus. The best was kept right to the end when, on reaching the summit trig point, the jagged ridge of the Black Cuillin came in to view. If only we had longer to linger and take in the fine detail highlighted by the contrast of the snow and black rock.

Bla Bheinn (left) and Clach Glass (right)

Bla Bheinn (left) and Clach Glass (right)

IMG_8218

IMG_8220

Red Cuillin

Red Cuillin

Black Cuillin

Black Cuillin

These two walks have re-ignited an interest in spending a lot of time in and around the hills of both the Red and Black Cuillin and are hopefully the start of a lot of wandering and scrambling in the area this year and beyond.

Advertisements

2nd January, 2010 – Rubha Hunish, Skye

Posted in Hiking with tags on January 2, 2010 by Jinja Coo

A walk out to Skye’s northernmost headland, Rubha Hunish, to burn off some calories consumed over the New Year festivities.

25th April to 2nd May, 2009 – A Week in and Around Plockton

Posted in Photography, Trips, Wildlife with tags , on April 26, 2009 by Jinja Coo

Sunday – Sea Eagle Boat Trip, Portree

23rd to 25th March, 2009 – Sea Kayak Instruction on Skye

Posted in Kayak, Paddling, Sea Kayak with tags on March 25, 2009 by Jinja Coo

Three days sea kayak instruction with Gordon Brown of Skyak Adventures on Skye and I was joined by the three guys who I had paddled here with last spring and another couple of guys who made up the remainder of the group. We had all come on since last time and obviously the bug has bitten as we each had our own kayak and gear this time too.

Day 1 was work on paddling in surf and we headed over to Kyleakin to launch and paddle out towards the Skye Bridge where the strong northern wind was meeting the tide head on to produce large swell. Taking shelter in an eddy by the otter sanctuary, we discussed what to do and then proceeded to traverse out to the rapidly growing swell and paddle about, forwards, backwards, turning, surfing etc – all great fun and felt very on edge at first but soon we were having a great time and becoming more confident. Next, we headed over towards Kyle of Lochalsh and the adjacent skerries to get some longer surfing lines in and also to work on negotiating obstacles with surf making things hard. After lunch, more of this followed and it wasn’t long before I rolled (and lost my sun glasses) and shortly afterwards I did again but was glad to see my roll working with no problem, it was the prevention that was the problem for me and this proved to be the case for the whole three days, still, if you are not trying hard….

A rescue ended up taking place as someone swam and was getting a bit too close to rocks for comfort then unfortunately his volunteering rescuer ended up in too so a more complicated rescue than expected ensued but it was all good practice and once the ‘casualty’ was warmed up, we headed back over to the bridge with now even stronger winds – one gust even pushed me over – three rolls in day one! Shortly after this on taking shelter from the surf, I almost paddled in to an otter; I’m not sure who was more surprised to see who.

Day 2, we did some theory on tidal calculations then headed to Kylerhea to deal with the strong tidal stream there. I still cannot get my head round how fast the conditions changed there when the tide turned and what had been easy paddling along the coast, back and forth hugging the coastline, quickly became a fight to make any progress in one direction at all. On arrival, we had crossed the narrows at the start in a straight line but perhaps only an hour later on returning we traversed across in a much more skewed line traveling backwards whilst paddling forwards! The flow calculated for the day was 6kn (about 12 kmph), which is twice the speed one can paddle at for any length of time in a kayak so no headway is possible except in the eddies at the side of the narrows. Work on breaking in and out of eddies into and from the main flow and attempting to surf on a standing wave were the activities following lunch – more rolls for me too – another three out of three.

Day 3 started with a review of tidal theory and then a shorter day of paddling but we were all pretty tired from the previous days hard conditions and given that the subject of the day was refining paddle strokes and rescue / roll work, a short session was perfect as the time in the cold water was pretty exhausting.

All in, a great three days and looking forward to taking what I learned forward and building on it Great too to be challenged in conditions I would not have previously thought possible for me to paddle in as it gives a bit of re-assurance for future jaunts I will go on which will be less extreme. However, it will be good to know when conditions deteriorate, there is no need to be concerned unduly as I have managed okay before.

31st January and 1st February, 2009 – A Trip to Skye

Posted in Hiking, Hills, Trips with tags on February 1, 2009 by Jinja Coo

Sunday

Next day was like spring rather than winter, cloud free skies in all directions and only a slight breeze. We headed up to The Storr for a walk passing the funky pinnacles and formations at its base including the Old Man of Storr itself.

This was a bit more exciting than expected due to the amount of snow blocking our way at times and we even had some hands-on sections along the way. Views in all directions were stunning; east across the Island of Raasay to the mountains of Torridon, up to Inverpolly (though faint with some haze making it hard to get a decent picture), west to the Outer Hebrides and south to the Cuillins.

After this we headed up to Kilt Rock, again for Scott’s sight seeing benefit, where a small burn drops a few hundred feet straight down a cliff on to the beach below. Some fearless sheep were pushing their luck with their chosen spot for a spot of lunch and despite acres of grass behind, were perched on the edge facing down whilst munching away. Not pleasant to watch!