Glenelg Hills, 13 October 2019

The road sign at the entrance to Glenelg proclaiming that it is twinned with Glenelg, Mars always raises a smile as you head to the Skye Ferry or the Beinn Sgritheall hills.  
We were aiming for  a pair of sibling Corbetts – Beinn nan Caorach and Beinn na h-Eaglaise – which, it turned out had been visited before by only one of our party and then only Beinn nan Caorach had been climbed by your correspondent.  With that sketchy claim to local knowledge the party set off from Corran at the road end for the track into Coire Chorsalain to pick up the grassy east ridge of Beinn nan Caorach to the accompanying roaring of rutting stags on the hillside below.

Beinn na h-Eaglaise and Beinn Sgritheall from Beinn nan Caorach

The weather turned out much better than forecasts earlier in the week had led us to anticipate. Ascending the ridge and at the summit we had superb views of Knoydart and the Small Isles round to Skye, interrupted only by the looming bulk of Beinn Sgritheall, and then northwards to the Torridon hills.  The views eastwards gave a hint of building cloud and a chill in the wind prompted us to move on. We descended easily to the wide, grassy Bealach Dhruim nam Bo (“bealach of the ridge of the cows”). This was obviously popular country for cattle grazing, because apart from the bealach there was Druim nam Bo itself, two separate corries with that name and a burn named Allt Coire Dhruim nam Bo.  Although we had seen a fine herd of cattle in Glen Arnisdale, there were no sign of any this high on the hill.

A relaxed group on Beinn na h-Eaglaise overlooking Loch Hourn

The steep pull up the North East ridge of Beinn na h-Eaglaise soon had us on the airy summit, with even steeper slopes dropping away to Loch Hourn.  The breeze had dropped, and a spot just a little way south of the summit was a fine place to linger and drink in the views across Loch Hourn to Knoydart and across the Sound of Sleat to the Small Isles. The toughest bit of the day was the descent off, with my knees complaining about it even on the following day.  We headed off on the easiest ground to Beinn Bhuidhe, then picked our way down the steep, but nowhere difficult, ground back to the track up Glen Arnisdale.

It was altogether a very nice day in a special place.  The fairly long drive to Corran and the fact that we neither met nor saw anyone else all day added to the sense of remoteness of these hills. Participants: Dougie, Dan, Michael, Helen, Robin, Arthur.

Dun Flodigarry, Skye, 27-28 September 2019

A young lady in white trainers and pink jacket emerged out of the mist as she descended the muddy path from the summit of Meall na Suiramach. We felt distinctly over-dressed and over-equipped in our full hillwalking gear among the end of season tourists seeking out famous film locations on Skye.  Although we climbed past the Needle to the Table in the Quiraing we saw no sign of Macbeth, Snow White or the Huntsman. The photo above is looking south along the Trotternish Ridge to Cleat and Bioda Buidhe from the Quiraing path.
In truth, neither the visitors nor the midgies bothered us much on this weekend. On the Storr most visitors did not venture much beyond the Old Man, and on the Quiraing few folk ventured past the Prison. The lower slopes of the hills were no busier than Ben Lomond or Ben Nevis, and once past the main attractions we saw relatively few people.

Heading up to the Needle at the Quiraing

After some grumbling about paying for parking, Saturday saw most of the party head up past the Old Man of Storr across Coire Scamadal to the Storr summit and then on to Hartaval for a short day.  The completion of the new car parking, toilets and footpath should make significant and much needed improvements to the badly degraded route to the Old Man.  
A visit to look for Sauropod footprints at An Corran at Staffin completed our afternoon. The evening entertainment was provided by a school of porpoises feeding in Poldorais – “The bay of the burying place” – below the hostel between Skye mainland and Eilean Flodigarry.

View from the Table at the Quiraing

Sunday saw us approach the Quiraing from Loch Langaig rather than the usual parking place on the Staffin to Uig road. That approach, and a north to south traverse of Meall na Suiramach, kept us out of the crowd for a bit until our return via the main path from the car park through the Quiraing.  Again the number of visitors did not detract greatly from the tottering cliffs and pinnacles.  Most of the people we spoke to seemed to be from Europe or the United States – perhaps a reflection of the exchange rates. A really enjoyable meet was enhanced by the excellent Dun Flodigarry hostel.
Participants: John, Arthur, Michael, Robin, Wendell, Masoud, Rob (potential new member), Peter, Marion, Sarah, Jim.