Hills: Giur-bheinn and Sgarbh Breac
Date: Monday 30th April 2018
Company: Just myself
Distance: 16.4km Ascent: 750m
Time: 5Hrs 45Mins

I set off this morning from my overnight parking spot near Bridgend to the Bunnahabhain Distillery for an ascent of Giur-bheinn and Sgarbh Breac. On arriving at the distillery, I parked in a small parking area next to the coast.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

Bunnahabhain Distillery:

Once suited and booted, I walked a short distance back along the road before making my way towards the forest. On entering the forest, I hoped to find a firebreak beyond the end of the track marked on the map to gain access to the open hillside.

Following the track up through the forest:

On reaching the end of the track I turned right and then followed a horizontal firebreak before finding a nice wide one leading to the open hillside. The terrain in the firebreaks was not fantastic. At the edge of the forest I came to a rusty six-foot deer fence. I decided to follow the fenceline hoping to find a gate or section of fence I could crawl under. I found neither but did eventually come to a section with wood on top instead of just wire. It's been a while since I climbed a six-foot deer fence!

Firebreak leading to open hillside:

Once onto the open hillside, I made my way towards Giur-bheinn skirting round the end of Loch Giur-bheinn.

Loch Giur-bheinn and Giur-bheinn:

Loch Giur-bheinn:

I stopped a couple of times during the final ascent of Giur-bheinn as I was feeling the heat.

Ascending Giur-bheinn:

I initially visited the featureless summit, 60m away from the large cairn, before also visiting the cairn.

Looking towards the cairn from the featureless summit:

Seeing Sgarbh Breac so far off, I was now in two minds as to whether or not to also ascend it or to head back to the car. On checking my watch I noticed it was only 09:30. I had loads of time and it was a stunning day so I decided to give it a go.

Distant Sgarbh Breac from the cairn on Giur-bheinn:

View towards the Paps of Jura from the cairn on Giur-bheinn:

The descent from Giur-bheinn was arguably a little steeper than the OS Landranger map suggests.

Looking back to Giur-bheinn:

On reaching the base of Giur-bheinn I commenced my ascent of Creagan Corr's East Top.

Looking back to Giur-bheinn:

Looking back to Giur-bheinn:

There were several ups and downs to come as I progressed towards Sgarbh Breac. The underfoot conditions were however mostly good.

The Paps of Jura:

As I approached Loch Mhurchaidh, Sgurr Breac was now closer than Giur-bheinn. I was slowly getting there!

Loch Mhurchaidh and Sgarbh Breac:

Loch Mhurchaidh:

Looking back to now distant Giur-bheinn:

I saw lots of deer on and around Sgarbh Breac. I also found a nice antler.

Startled deer:

Sgarbh Breac getting closer:

It was nice to walk towards the Paps of Jura seeing them get closer and closer as I progressed from Giur-bheinn to Sgarbh Breac.

The Paps of Jura:

A full two hours after leaving the summit of Giur-bheinn, I reached the base of Sgarbh Breac.

Approaching the base of Sgarbh Breac:

The ascent of Sgarbh Breac was straightforward. There is a fair bit of quartzite near the summit similar to what coats the Paps of Jura.

Approaching the quartzite top of Sgarbh Breac:

Quartzite top of Sgarbh Breac:

It was great to reach the summit of Sgarbh Breac. I stopped for a quick drink only before starting my descent towards the distillery.

At the summit of Sgarbh Breac:

View from the summit of Sgarbh Breac:

Descent towards Bunnahabhain Distillery:

During the descent, as well as spotting lots more deer, I also spotted numerous feral goats.

Feral goats:

The descent towards the distillery was easy. During the descent I spotted several ticks waiting atop long grass. I used my pole to thrash any sections of long grass in front of me and tried to stick to the short grass wherever possible. I hate ticks!

Bunnahabhain Distillery:

During the descent I picked up a track which I followed out to the distillery.

The Paps of Jura beyond the Margadale River:

Approaching the distillery and my van:

The Paps of Jura across the Sound of Islay:

Another beautiful day on Islay.

After getting back to the van, I spent the afternoon in Bowmore and then went for a coastal walk near Bridgend. As I had been working on EarthDay, I took a refuse sack with me on the coastal walk which I completely filled with plastic. There was only one drinking straw and only one plastic bottle. The majority of plastic was plastic bags and nylon from fishing nets. Lots of plastic can be found even on fairly pristine beaches on Scottish islands .