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Day 61-65 Skye

June 2 2023 - Day 61

On coming out of Kinloch Hourn, the commander was fortunate to see pine martens, two different animals in separate locations on the narrow road out. They bobbed at the verge before diving into the dense ferns at the roadside. Eat your hearts out, Chris Packham and the excitable Michaela Strachan who present Spring Watch and have the benefit of a crew of observers to look out for elusive species. Cr282 saw these creatures by chance but to be fair on a road less travelled to say the least. The route to Glenelg involved going from Sheilbridge over Mam Ratagan, 1100ft, to the rendezvous at Arnisdale. The effort to get there along this tortuous road is worth the effort since you can look back at Loch Duich and the 5 sisters – of more much later – and to look forward to the Sound of Sleat. The road was a drover’s road – the drovers took their cattle across the water which Euan would kayak across. The drove road was used by Thomas Telford for a military road especially to the nearby Bernera Barracks.

Cr282 could have a relaxed start to the day from Moly campsite since the Glenelg Ferry didn’t start until 10.00am and there were no mountains to climb that day and only a long cycle ride to meet Bob Thomas, Euan’s guide for the traverse of the Cuillins. Leaving the Moly campsite with a tankful of “brownish” water – hopefully it was due to peat and not Pete’s. Cr282 had been washed a few days previously and was lucky to negotiate the many bits of business which the cow’s walk had deposited on the road although in the very hot weather it was mainly dry matter. (The level of detail which the commander includes is often in the category – “too much information” – The Editor)

Arriving at Glenelg, there was a queue at the ferry point but Cr282 was not in a rush. Savouring a quick cup of coffee at the community café, Euan and the commander watched the ferry leave and return without disturbing the seals plundering the waters for fish. Sea eagles are also a common sight here. Euan launched his kayak with the commander able to give him some inexpert assistance. Euan was quickly swept downstream but he manged to stay firmly in control and made the other side, initially west of the pier. He able to land and wait for the van to arrive by ferry. Before leaving the mainland, Euan quoted a local saying. “If you see Skye, it’s going to rain, if you cannot see Skye, it is raining.” Fortunately, this proved not to be the case and the present weather and the forecast was ideal. Euan had another mantra to suit – “Ration your sweat, not your water.” With no or little water available on the ridge, this was going to be a difficult principle to adhere to. Bob Thomas, however, had stashed supplies along the ridge in preparation for the traverse.

With a warm farewell from the ferry crew, Euan on his cycle and the van made their way to Broadford for a quick lunch stop. Euan was annoyed by two motorists who did not adhere to the recent or any road rules with regard to giving cyclists space especially on narrow roads. He was “cut up” by these dangerous road users.

The next meeting place was Amy’s Place – a café and gift shop at Torrin - close to the Bla Bheinn, the single but magnificent Munro mountain out with the Cuillins. At Amy’s Place where they serve great coffee and cake and much else besides, Cr282 would meet Bob Thomas, guide at Contour Outdoors, who has a detailed knowledge and experience of the Cuillins and was to be of great help to Euan in what was to be the most technical climb of the challenge. On hearing about Ch282, the owners of Amy’s Place donated generously to the van’s donation box and gave a free pot of tea! Thank you. A night in the carpark underneath this mountain would be a slightly anxious but exciting one in anticipation of what lay ahead.

June 3 2023 - Day 62

Cr282 hosted a early very breakfast at 5.00am so that Euan and Bob Thomas could prepare with a nutritious first meal of the day. Bob prepared with several cups of tea which the commander enjoyed as well from his “maggot” – affectionate van term for a sleeping bag. Before readers think that this was rather decadent of the commander to be served tea like some Roman emperor, the confined space in Cr282 meant that this was the most convenient spot for him. To be honest, Bob and Euan were already up and seated before he became aware that breakfast was being served. He also had been in a deep sleep dreaming of impending home comforts.

By 5.30am, the two went off to tackle Bla Bheinn, the only Munro out with the Cuillin range but decidedly not to be underestimated. The fine, clear weather would certainly help but most Munroists would certainly not climb Bla Bheinn and then link it to the challenging climb along the Cuillin ridge. This would entail a 38k traverse taking in 9 Munros. Coupled with the 3 remaining Munros on the next day, the Munro total has reached a tantalising 199.

Bla Bheinn – Blue Mountain

Sgurr nan Eag – Peak of the Notches

Sgurr Dubh Mor – Big Black Peak

Sgurr na Banachdich – Smallpox or Milkmaid Peak

Sgurr Dearg- Inaccessible Pinnacle – Red Peak

Sgurr a Ghreadaidh – Peak of Torment or Anxiety

Sgurr a Mhadaidh – Peak of the Fox

Sgurr Mhic Choinnich – McKenzie’s Peak

Sgurr Alasdair – Alexander’s Peak

Day's stats - 14hrs 45mins, 38.3km, 3,183m assent, 47,458 steps and 5662 calories

4 June – Day 63

Bruach na Frithe – Slope of the Deer Forest

Am Basteir – Unknown but not the Executioner

Sgurr nan Gillean – Peak of the Young Men

Followers of the Gaelic/Norse hill names will see Bla Bheinn follows the Norse order – adjective before noun, hence “blue mountain”. You will see a few other obvious ones – notches because it has them and black and red because they are. The intriguing Sgurr na Banachdich – smallpox or milkmaid? The accepted view is the corries under this mountain had shielings which were used by milkmaids and not smallpox because of the pitted appearance of the rocks on it. Neither the death of young men tackling a mountain nor an execution on another are given much credence, interesting though they might be. “Mhic Choinnich” is named after the Cuillins guide, John MacKenzie and “Alasdair” after its first recorded ascent by Sherriff Alexander Nicolson in 1873.

This was the last day for the commander before he took a week’s leave. Josh would assume temporary charge of all things Cr282 and much else besides. Having met Josh at the planned changeover at Invergarry, the commander was sure that he left the van in very good hands. A limited blog will be posted during the week but remember you can follow Euan’s progress via Instagram, zero6zero tracking or the website, That’s what the commander will be doing!

Big bad Bob...

June 5/6 – 2023 Days 64-65

Day 64

To leave Skye and reach the starting point on the mainland for the next Munros, Euan had to complete a 72k cycle – not a misprint 72k. Not surprisingly, he did not tackle any mountains that day having previously completed an epic and successful traverse of the Cuillins.

Day 65

Another famous mountain was bagged today – An Diolland – the Saddle. Appropriately it would be Euan’s 200th Munro.

An Diolland – the Saddle

Sgurr na Sgine – Peak of the Knife

Total Munros – 201


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