Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Stuc a' Chroin and Ben Vorich

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Lake District - a home from home

Harry Griffin: Inside the Real Lakeland; Still the Real Lakeland; In Mountain Lakeland; The Roof of England. Taking these volumes off the bookshelf is guaranteed to get us in the mood for a visit to the Lakes and, lucky for us, that's just where we are headed next week. A day at the Beatrix Potter International Study Conference to meet old friends and listen to a couple of talks (Lynne isn't involved this year, so can relax and enjoy) then ten days on the fells.

We're looking forward to this trip - and to some good English beer.

Friday, 22 June 2012

That's fine say the RSPB and SNH

The RSPB and SNH have dropped objections to a proposed wind farm on Lewis following Lewis Wind Power's decision to reduce the number of turbines from 42 to 36. This reduction apparently significantly reduces the threat to golden eagles and red throated divers. Really? One of the best decisons I ever made was to stop my membership of the RSPB. The article is here

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Poems of the Scottish Hills - An Anthology by Hamish Brown

We came across this volume (published 1982) in a second hand bookshop after two weeks of atrocious weather in the west finally drove us east for the third and last week of our holiday. That was back in 1993 and it's been a great source of pleasure ever since. There is something in this anthology for everyone and Brown tells us that we should "Come to it as we do to the hill, with rambling opportunism". Here is one of my favourites, written in Scots. It always make me long to be on the hill; when I reach the second last verse, it's the western hills I want, wet or not.


 Hae ye smelt the tang o heather
  And the rich pitch pine,
    Or the bracken bristled yellow wi the sun?
O the moon abune the lochan
  Hae ye seen the siller shine
    Looming eerie through the drift upon the dun?

He ye traiked it up Glen Ogle
  By your lane, sane sel?
    Hae crossed the Moor o Rannoch in the mist?
Were ye boggit to the buttocks?
    Did ye hear the eagles yell?
      Were ye frichted by the adders when they hissed?

Hae ye whupped the whurling eddies
  By the brow’d, loud linn?
    Hae ye tracked the tired buck upon the brae?
When ye crouched it in the heather
   Were ye chittered by the win?
      Hae ye waukened in the mist at skreigh o day?

An the Islands, hae ye seen em
   In the wet, wet west?
     Wi the kelp a-clinging crisp abune the tide?
Hae ye heard the girning gullies?
  Seen the singing seals at rest?
    Hae ye raced the ocean stallions when they ride?

Gin ye kenna what’s ma meaning,
   Gin ye think my havers daft,
     Ach, I’d liefer blaw ma breath upon the breeze!
Ye’ve no quaffed the quaich o Living
  In a steep, deep draught-
    Never lipped the wine o Living to the lees!

Matt Marshall

Note: If I am in breach of copyright, I'll remove this post on request.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Olympic Torch

The Olympic Torch passed through the village this morning.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Knoydart photographs

Photographs of the Knoydart trip are now here for anyone interested and can be viewed as a slideshow or individually. Inevitably there is some repetition but I've tried to limit this. 

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Clearing up

Loch Bhraomisaig with Inverie below
 Back home just in time to miss the poor weather that's forecasted. It's been a great trip with Knoydart the highlight, although Skye is always special. We're hoping to get away again soon with a trip to Rum if we are lucky (somewhere else if not). Meantime the garden etc has to be sorted and photos uploaded to SmugMug.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Tuesday 5 June - Ben Suardal

I often find views from low hills superior to those from their higher brethern. Certainly the prospect of Bla Bheinn from diminutive Ben Suardal was exceptional today, the view across Strath Suardal to the rounded granite hills of Beinn na Caillich, Beinn Dearg Mhor and Beinn Dearg Bheag no less so.

Orchids, mountain aven, tormentil, dog violet, butterwort, birdsfoot- trefoil, tufted vetch and moss campion were all spotted (by Lynne mainly) on our way to the summit. Ben Suardal has the biggest expanse of Durness Limestone in Britain and some 63 million years ago molten volcanic rock combined with it to form Skye Marble, mined locally for 200 years.

A short descent brought us to Cill Chriosd where Lynne indulged her interest in such things before we walked the Marble Railway Path back to the motorcaravan. Next time on Skye, when the weather is a bit indifferent, we'll take the path to Boreraig and Suisnish on Loch Eishort, an area brutally cleared in the mid-19th century by Lord MacDonald's factors.

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Monday, 4 June 2012

Sunday 3 June - Healabhal Bheag

We set off on foot from the site taking the minor road which skirts Loch Follart then crossed the moor, dry for once, to Cnoc-na-Sgath. From here we followed a wandering line over the bumps of Beinn Bhuidhe and An Cruachan until below the steep SE slopes of Healabhal Bheag. At the top of these slopes a grassy gully exits west of the rock prow, which is in view for most of the approach, then a short walk leads to the trig point.

Today we could just make out St Kilda; the Cuillin across wild Loch Bracadale filled the view south;
the Outer Hebrides were crystal clear; that towards Trotternish was degraded by turbines. An occasional cloud cover and strong NE wind combined to make the western end of the small plateau a cold place for a lunch stop, but it was as good as any.

MacLeod's Tables, Healabhal Mhor (469m) and Healabhal Bheag (488m) ,named not in accordance with height but size, make an enjoyable circuit amid some of the most varied scenery on Skye. I spent thirty years during which Skye meant only one thing: The Cuillin. A belated visit to Struan in 2001, visiting the graves of those great Cuillin pioneers Norman Collie and John MacKenzie, introduced me to the wild and dramatic north west corner of this magical island. Don't make the same mistake by waiting so long.

Alan R - excellent post. This brought back memories (though not of the kilted fellow) even though we did Corserine in winter. Same cold wind! Sounds a grand day out - and no midges. Enjoy the rest of your trip. It's a lot quieter than Skye which is packed.

Phil R - sorry BB won't allow me to comment directly on your blog. What a fabulous day to climb such a peak as your first Munro and first Scottish hill. You'll remember this day when you 'compleat' and register with the SMC! Save an equally good one for last.

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Friday, 1 June 2012

Friday 1 June - Skye

Now on Skye for a few days.

The Cuillin are looking magnificent but, being a bank holiday weekend,they'll be busy so we won't be treading their summits for a few days yet, if at all.

Instead there are headlands to walk, the odd lower hill to explore and sea cliffs to visit. I'm also hopeful that the beautiful yacht, 'Sleat Lady', which I covet in my dreams, anchors in the loch tonight!

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