Skye and Knoydart – 14th to 19th of June 2024

In her continuing quest for compleation of the Munro's Dolly, along with Dave M and Keith H, who is a good friend, headed north to Skye and across to Knoydart to summit five elusive peaks. This was Dolly's fifth attempt to bag the Inaccesible Pinnacle, all previous attempts having been thwarted due to weather. During this trip there were four summits to be gained on Skye and one in Knoydart.

The weather over the period was set to be unsettled but to the optimistic there was a glimmer of hope that conditions would improve at the right time. On arrival early on Friday evening at Glen Brittle Campsite the rain had cleared and fair weather was setting in for a long day on the Cuillin Ridge. On Saturday morning a 4am start was planned to give the best chance of achieving all four summits before any showers might spoil the day.

Steady progress was made in perfect conditions. The first test of character was the Great Stone Chute from Coire Lagan up to the ridge. This relentless, loose and steep scree slope was a difficult prospect but gave direct access to the ridge and the first Munro of Sgurr Alasdair. Despite much meandering, blaspheming and choice language the col was gained and the subsequent, short scramble up to the highest summit of the day took very short time.

Down-climbing to the col to retrieve rucksacks and from there looking ahead to continue northwards along the ridge revealed to Dolly that there were numerous tests of character yet to come. Harnesses were donned and rope deployed for the scramble over Sgurr Thearlaich to reach the second Munro of Sgurr Mhic Choinnich. Navigation was not a problem, significantly helped by fantastic weather and prior route-study. From Bealach Mhic Choinnich the pair were equipped to climb up the Kings Chimney(VDiff) to the summit, however, Collie's Ledge was chosen as a simpler and quicker route traversing the west side of the summit and doubling back, south up the ridge.

Heading north now towards the Inaccessible Pinnacle a few other people appeared on the ridge. The prevailing weather forecast had deterred the masses and it was wonderful to be almost alone on the route. At the base of An Stac we met with Keith at a pre-arranged rendezvous after he had directly ascended the scree slope there. The summit of An Stac was bypassed to the west, taking the simpler route to reach the start of the climb of the Inaccessible Pinnacle where there was perfectly clear weather, no wind, dry rock and no people. The planets had all lined up. The climb was done in two piches and Dolly was lowered off from the summit before Dave abseiled the western ridge.

Keith had kindly carried the rucksacks around to the western end of the pinnacle where we repacked all climbing gear and prepared for the less technical walk to the fourth Munro, Sgurr na Banachdaich. This section of the ridge was relatively straight forward although the path was not easy to follow when nearer to the summit.

The descent route was via the Bealach Coire na Banachdaich. The path was not obvious and sometimes difficult to follow with short sections of down-climbing in places. As the gradient eased the path became better defined and after such a long and tiring fourteen hour day it was considered safer and easier to follow the path all the way to the Glen Brittle Hut before taking the road back to the campsite. Achieving all four Munro's in one day gave an opportunity for a sight-seeing tour around Skye on Sunday which had been a planned spare day.

Monday was a travel day. A car ferry was booked from Armadale to Mallaig and then a further ferry across to Inverie where we spent two nights in the campsite beside the beach. The single Munro objective for Knoydart was Ladhar Bheinn and although overcast and raining above 700m the conditions were perfectly reasonable by any Munroists standards.

The 15 mile circular walk was most interesting. It's a shame that we couldn't see a great deal along the ridge but it may be worth going again when the weather is better. One day.

The trip was another successful one. All intended objectives were achieved and the weather for Skye helped to make it as near to perfect as possible. Our journey home started with a short ferry crossing to return to Mallaig where a pod of dolphins came to meet us on a flat, calm Loch Nevis. Then a big breakfast when in harbour set us up nicely for our long drive to Yorkshire. What could be better?

Thanks Keith, thanks Dolly for another grand trip.

Dave M

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