Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Trotternish Traverse Day 2

Tuesday 5th June

Distance: 13km; Ascent: 800m; Sunny; with Mark and Shona

I slept soundly and was woken by Mark shouting across to me from his tent at 6:25am; somehow I had slept through my alarm!  However I was soon up and enjoying the early morning sunshine, whilst packing up my tent.  As Shona and Mark had been up since 6am, it was clear that they were going to be ready before me, so I suggested that they made a head start and I'd catch them up at some point.

My rucksack was packed by 7:20am, and I was soon underway.  The first climb of the day was only 30m up to the small hill of Druim na Coille.  As per yesterday the views were excellent and they continued to improve as I made a steep ascent up towards our first major summit of their day.  Eventually the ground eased and I found myself wandering alone across the moorland admiring the views, whilst being serenaded by countless birds - what a wonderful way to start the day!

Looking north from Bealach nan Coisichean
Looking towards The Quiraing from Biodha Buidhe
Soon I reached the summit of Biodhe Buidhe (Marilyn), perched above yet another precipice with fantastic views in all directions.  I spied two figures heading for the road below and concluded that I had better get a move on if I was going to catch them up.  I found them waiting for me on the edge of the bealach carpark, and waiting for me was a bacon roll that Shona had kindly bought from the hot food van.  Clearly this carpark must get much busier later in the day in order to sustain the van, for at the moment we were its only customers!

Looking south from near The Quiraing
We followed the heavily eroded path up the steep slopes to the north before heading over to the edge of the escarpment to admire the fantastic views down to the weird rock architecture of the Quiraing.  This is indeed a fascinating place, with a raised horizontal platform of grass called The Table at the centre of The Prison, which is the area enclosed by all the various towers and pinnacles.

The Quiraing
The Table
We briefly left the cliff top to nip over to the trig point and nearby summit rock of Meall na Suiramach (Marilyn, Highland Five), our final hill of the trip.  The air was again very clear so the views across to the Western Isles and south to the Cuillin and Rum were fantastic.  There was some high cloud out to the east; perhaps a sign that a change in the weather was on the way?

On the summit of Meall na Suiramach
High level cloud
We returned to the cliff top and headed north along a clear path.  Soon afterwards we took stock of the time and Mark decided to run ahead in at attempt to catch the bus!  Shona and I continued walking northwards, before doubling back on ourselves at a stile and picking up a path that dropped down southwards below the cliffs.  Here we began to meet a few more people as we admired the rocky towers from below, but unfortunately due to lack of time we were unable to scramble up into The Prison for a closer look; although we had already had excellent views of this area from above.

The Quiraing from below
After following the good path around the Quiraing, I found an easy descent down to the south before picking a route across the moorland down to the road below the bealach.  We followed this road east to the road junction to find Mark waiting for us with the car soon after midday; he had clearly made the bus!  A quick drive to the south brought us to Kilt Rock, where we had lunch before an extremely long journey home during the afternoon and evening.  It had been four excellent days on Skye and we had clearly been very lucky with the weather :)

Kilt Rock
More photos and route map to follow in next few days... (Update 30/06/12 - photos and route map added to post)

Mobile phone photo of The Quiraing (uploaded whilst on walk)
Update 02/07/12: Post date updated to actual date of this walk (N.B. originally posted on 07/06/12)

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