Hill: Sgaoth Aird
Date: Sunday 1st May 2011
Company: Just myself

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

On Sunday morning, I set off to ascend C Buttress on Gillival Dubh with "I", "A" and "J".

From the car park, the buttresses looked intimidating. We ascended 150m or so to the base of the scramble before scrambling up the steep slabs.

Buttresses of Gillaval Dubh from the start:

Looking along Skeaudale River towards Bealach Garbh:

"J" on slabs below start of C Buttress:

I ascended the section shown in the next photo and then perhaps 20m above that before deciding I wasn't happy to continue given the amount of wet vegetation and the fact we didn't have a rope.

Ascending C Buttress:

Highland Scrambles North suggests this is a “sustained Grade 3 scramble on perfect gneiss” and it gives the route three stars.
Sorry SMC, perfect gneiss and three stars - my arse! There is as much soaking wet vegetation as there is rock. Very few positive handholds and one I did find in the initial section come away in my hand.

Had I been roped-up I’d have been happy to continue but un-roped ‘scrambling’ on wet vegetation was not for me - I’m a wimp !

Respect to "I", "A" and "J" who did carry on … and even more respect to "I", "A" and "D" who ascended a 4-pitch HVS on Sron Ulladale the day previous .

Ascending “C” Buttress (zoomed):

I descended back to the Skeaudale River and then started a rising ascent up the lower slopes of Sgaoth Iosal.

Gillaval Dubh and Loch Bun Abhainn Eadarra:

The ascent was nice and easy up grassy slopes. I then continued up to the summit of Sgaoth Aird.

Looking towards summit of Sgaoth Aird:

Gillval Dubh and Giolabhal Glas:

Looking towards Skye

Large summit shelter and cairn on Sgaoth Aird:

The views from the summit were really good – the photos don’t do the views justice. I could see the whole of Skye including the Red and Black Cuillin. I could make out a hazy Rum behind Skye. Beyond Harris I could make out North and South Uist. The Shiant Islands looked really close and out to sea, on the opposite side, I could just make out three of the islands of St. Kilda.

North Harris hills from summit:


Next, I opted to descend to Bealach Garbh and then follow the Skeaudale River back out to the starting point.

Descending to Bealach Garbh:

Shiant Islands:

Descending alongside the Skeaudale River:

After returning to the hostel, a group of us set out for Luskentyre beach. Lovely way to spend the afternoon – lazing around at the beach .

On Luskentyre beach:

North Harris hills from Luskentyre beach: