Sensational Skye

Skye is a funny one.  For some reason, it has passed me by as I use it as a stepping stone to get somewhere further afar.  Apart from a trip a few years ago, I’ve not actually spent much time there. I think the size puts me off; it’s easy to forget you’re on an island with some of the driving distances involved.  Yet, as soon as you arrive the islandisms are there. People have time for a blether, wave as you pass in the car, and are really helpful.

We drove up on the Friday night to Armadale and had a severe case of deer dodging.  I’ve never encountered so many close to the road and there were a few near misses. One of the things I love is arriving in the dark, not knowing what lies outside your window/tent and discovering a lovely surprise like the views over to the mountains guarding Loch Nevis.

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After a look round the Christmas craft fair and stocking up with goodies from the Isle of Skye Baking Company, we drove round towards Glen Brittle for a visit to the fairy pools.  Perfect timing as we arrived in the car park and a double rainbow showed us the route

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walk in to fairy pools

We’d left it a bit late so there wasn’t much time for ‘proper’ photography. We scouted out the best fairy pool jumping spots, changed into our wetsuits and had a little something to warm us up before taking the leap

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fairy pool

A collection of the jumps can be found here http://vimeo.com/80510389

Tracy’s stylish take off

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It was quite exhilarating – a combination of the cold hitting your head and the jump itself.  I was slightly concerned I’d damage my body further when Gill touched the bottom from the high jump.  She is about 3 stone lighter but I think her perfect technique sent her through the water like a spear whereas my less so perfect style created some drag.

We had a great feast (courtesy of head chef Tracy) and enjoyed being back in our cosy lodge with some whisky for company

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The plan for Sunday was to tackle the Sgurr na Banachdaich part of the Cuillin Ridge.  We left the car opposite the Glen Brittle hut and walked up towards the Eas Mor waterfall. I’d forgotten I’d been there on another trip when we took the right fork to Sgurr Dearg.  It’s pretty dramatic

waterfall

We had a steady climb before a steeper ascent into the Bealach Coire na Banachdich.  The snow was deep in places and it felt like the start of a good adventure.  When we reached the Bealach it was time to refuel before heading north west along the ridge.

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We had amazing views and the crisp air was still. There were quite a lot of up and downs as we weaved our way along the ridge.  At one point, the confidence rope made an appearance for a steeper descent. We were all feeling pumped by the time we reached the summit although I was a bit concerned that there wasn’t much daylight left and didn’t know how much scrambling the descent from the top would involve.  It was really straight forward but tiredness had kicked in and towards the bottom there were a few slips and nosedives as we lost our footing.

Cuillin

Absolutely cracking day and once again Tracy cooked up a feast. Still can’t believe I ate a whole pack of halloumi cheese while the others devoured a roast chicken.

An adventure weekend really needs to involve a ferry so we took the boat to Mallaig.  We had considered a wee kayaking trip around Arisaig but decided we’d had plenty of adventure and took an easy drive back.  We had a lovely bonus as we emerged from Glencoe to catch the end of a wonderful sunset.

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