At the end of 2011, I set myself the goal of ascending 100 Marilyns during 2012. However during 2012, I did not find it easy to reach 100 Marilyns owing to also enjoying numerous second-round Munros and Corbetts, New Donalds, Hewitts, Wainwrights as well as a handful of 4000m Alpine peaks.

By 30th December, I had only reached a total of 97. I needed another three Marilyns on the 31st December to achieve this goal. Therefore, prior to attending my Club’s New Year meet, I set off from home at 04:00 to the Sleat peninsula, on Skye, to attempt an ascent of Sgurr nan Caorach, Sgurr na h-Iolaire and Sgorach Breac.

On reaching Skye, I drove to the road-end at Aird on the Sleat peninsula.

Hill: Sgurr nan Caorach
Date: Monday 31st December 2012
Company: Just myself
Distance: 7.8km, Ascent: 280m
Time: 2Hrs 30Mins

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

At the start of the walk, there is a sign advising of grazing sheep, cattle and a bull. After walking for only a couple of minutes, I could see numerous cattle standing on the track ahead. I therefore left the track and took to the hillside to avoid the cattle.

Start of track from Aird car park:

Given all the recent rain, it was fairly wet underfoot.

Looking towards Sgurr nan Caorach:

The views were somewhat limited owing to low cloud and rain. I think these hills would be superb viewpoints on a good day.

Atmospheric view across to Mallaig and Arisaig:

Mallaig across the Sound of Sleat (zoom):

Isle of Rum from slopes of Sgurr nan Caorach:

Prior to making my way to the summit, I decided to visit the trig point located at what used to be considered the summit. There is only 1m height difference, so worth visiting both!

Heading towards the trig point on Sgurr nan Caorach:

Un-named lochan near the trig point on Sgurr nan Caorach:

Isle of Eigg from Sgurr nan Caorach:

I was particularly impressed with the view across to the Cuillin from this hill.

View towards the Black and Red Cuillin from trig point:

View towards Black Cuillin and Sgurr na Stri:

After taking a number of photos at the trig point, I made my way towards the actual summit.

Cuillin from half-way between trig point and summit:

Blabheinn and Red Cuillin:

The Black Cuillin ridge and Blabheinn:

On reaching the summit of Sgurr nan Caorach, I continued on without a stop as I was conscious of the time and requirement to ascend a further two Marilyns.

Looking towards the Cuillin from the summit of Sgurr nan Caorach:

Descent towards another un-named lochan:

On getting back to the car, I drove a short distance to reach the starting point of Sgurr na h-Iolaire. I initially parked at the outflow of Loch Dhughaill with a view to crossing the outflow and ascending the hill from the West of Loch Dhughaill. However, due to spate I abandoned this route. I got back in the car and drove to the high-point of the road to the East of Loch Dhughaill.

Hill: Sgurr na h-Iolaire
Date: Monday 31st December 2012
Company: Just myself
Distance: 3.7km, Ascent: 260m
Time: 1Hr 20Mins

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

There were several downsides to my ‘plan B’ - prior to gaining any height, I had to descend circa 70m, I had to climb over a barbed-wire fence and had to cross the very fast-flowing Allt Loch nan Uamh.

Loch Dhughaill from near start of walk:

During the walk, it was nice to get some views across to the Cuillin, particularly the view across to Pinnacle Ridge of Sgurr nan Gillean.

Northern Cuillin (zoom):

Looking towards Sgurr na h-Iolaire:

After spending circa five minutes finding a stable section of fence to climb over, I spent another five minutes looking for a safe way across the Allt Loch nan Uamh. I found a section that was only six feet across which I managed to jump successfully.

Ascending Sgurr na h-Iolaire:

Once across the Allt Loch nan Uamh, it was a very quick and easy ascent to the summit.

Approaching the summit of Sgurr na h-Iolaire:

The view across to Blabheinn was possibly my favourite view of the day.

Blabheinn across Loch Slapin:

After visiting the summit trig point, I also visited a nearby knoll which looked about the same height, before returning to the car via approximately the same route.

Looking back to the summit trig point from another high-point:

Descending back towards Loch Dhughaill and the car:

On reaching the car, again I drove a short distance to the starting point of my third and final Marilyn of the day Sgorach Breac.

Hill: Sgorach Breac
Date: Monday 31st December 2012
Company: Just myself
Distance: 3.6km, Ascent: 260m
Time: 1Hr 15Mins

I had intended parking at the road high-point (113m). This plan was scuppered as the small parking area was full of cattle. Instead, I parked just under one kilometre away below An Cruachan.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

I set off a short distance up An Cruachan before skirting round the side of it to reach the Allt a’Ghasgain.

Looking back to the car from the slopes of An Cruachan:

The Allt a’Ghasgain was also in spate and required another long jump.

Looking across the Allt a’Ghasgain to Sgorach Breac:

It didn’t take long to reach the summit trig point.

Approaching the summit trig point:

The weather was deteriorating by the time I reached the summit and it was starting to get dark so I didn’t hang around for long.

View from the summit of Sgorach Breac:

View from the summit of Sgorach Breac:

On returning to the car I made my way back towards Kintail for the start of a fantastic New Year meet with lots of food, drink and walking.

Club meet, Hogmanay:

Good banter (photo courtesy of Dan):