Hills: Bla Bheinn
Date: Friday 31st August 2018
Company: Myself and Adele
Distance: 8km, Ascent: 940m
Time: 5Hrs 10Mins

On Thursday afternoon, I drove from home to Broadford (Skye) where I had some fish and chips before meeting up with my friend Adele. We then both drove round to Elgol. It was fantastic to just relax and chill outside with a beer for a couple of hours, especially sitting out on the pier where there were fewer midge.

We were not disappointed with the beautiful sunset in what is a stunning location.

Watching the sunset at Elgol:

A beer on the pier:

Elgol sunset:

Elgol panorama:

Before it got completely dark, Adele pitched her tent in a stunning location looking out to sea and across to the Cuillin while I made us some hot chocolate in my van. Once Adele's tent was pitched we sat watching the Cuillin until we couldn't see them anymore and also looked up to the stars where the Milky Way was quite prominent. Adele then retired to her tent and I familiarised myself with the route for Bla Bheinn before also retiring for the night.

In the morning, I awoke to a lovely view out the van window; definitely a room with a view. After having some breakfast, and getting my rucksack ready, I chatted with a lass from just outside Paris who was touring Scotland for a few days after  working at the Edinburgh Fringe. Soon thereafter, Adele and I both drove round to the Bla Bheinn car park to commence our ascent of Bla Bheinn. We set off walking around 08:50.

Nice view to wake up to:

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

My only prior ascent of Bla Bheinn was in October 2003 on a day of minimal visibility with no summit views. It was therefore good to come back and ascend Bla Bheinn to hopefully get some views. On my previous ascent, I ascended the SW Top first before also ascending the main summit. This time we would be taking a different route, ascending directly to the main summit.

From the car park we followed the car park track back to the road, crossed the bridge over the Allt na Dunaiche, and then commenced our walk along the excellent path leading towards Bla Bheinn. The path follows the burn which has some lovely waterfalls and pools some of which were tempting for a dip.

Bla Bheinn and Clach Glas from Allt na Dunaiche waterfall:

Crossing the Allt na Dunaiche:

Once across the Allt na Dunaiche the path steepened as it led up to Coire Uaigneich. We followed this path to a height of circa 430m before turning off to take the path leading towards Bla Bheinn's South-East ridge.

Ascent leading to scree gully:

The ascent of the scree was not pleasant but to be fair ascending scree gullies is never pleasant. During the ascent of the scree it is important on reaching a vertical wall to ascend the scree slope to the left of the vertical wall. After a hundred metres or so of ascending scree the gradient eases off and it is an easy walk thereafter.

Looking back from above the scree gully:

On reaching the gap in the rocks, marked with a large cairn, we stopped to take some photos.

At a viewpoint cairn:

Loch Slapin:

Clach Glas and Red Cuillin:

We then made our way up towards the rocky section where we ascended the gully in the centre of the next photo. The ascent is much easier than it looks with only one awkward scrambling move which is probably easier if you are tall.

Approaching the rocky section:

Beyond the one-move-wonder scramble it was just a case of follow the path to the summit. You literally get no views of the Cuillin ridge until reaching the summit. Unfortunately, the Cuillin were capped in a thin layer of cloud but on the plus side they still looked great! We were getting summit views while anyone atop the southern end of Cuillin ridge was in cloud and zero visibility.

At the summit of Bla Bheinn:

View from the summit of Bla Bheinn:

At the summit of Bla Bheinn:

As the wind was very strong up top, with quite ferocious gusts, we were not fussed about also ascending the SW Top of Bla Bheinn, which I had ascended previously anyway. Instead we decided to head back down out of the wind before stopping to have something to eat and drink.

Adele at the summit of Bla Bheinn:

We returned to the van and car via the same route. My knees felt their age and decades of abuse during the descent; walking poles are invaluable.

Unfortunately, I subsequently had to cut my Skye trip short and return home due to van problems - a repair on Skye was not possible as none of the garages stocked the parts needed and I would likely be waiting until the middle of next week before any parts arrived! I am therefore back home, following a tediously slow drive, awaiting a repair on Monday and hoping my friends are all having a good time . Massively enjoyed my evening at Elgol and day on Bla Bheinn though. Thanks Adele.