Sunday, August 16, 2009

Isle of Skye, Scotland

Black Cuillin
Originally uploaded by .s.s.
I fancied some boulders in the Black Cuillin mountains, next to the sea and Glen Brittle. But as I approached the boulders, my mind had already wandered away from them.

I was excitedly watching the jagged, rocky peaks above appear and disappear with each passing cloud. I didn't even stop to touch the boulders as I passed by.

I walked higher. Past streams, waterfalls, and lochs. The grass, sheep, and wildflowers gave way to bare rock. I climbed scree, sliding with every step, until I reached a buttress of ledgy slabs.

The Gabro rock was very, very grippy. I scrambled towards the ridge above. Climbing the ledges was a succession of easy boulder problems that lead me into the clouds. Each passing cloud bringing a temporary white-out.

I mantled onto the famous Cuillin ridge and let out a gasp. The misty black and white world of the windward slope gave way to the technicolor world of the leeward side. The vivid blues and greens of the lochs, turf, and clear sky below were fresh. The exposure was invigorating.

I followed the ridge north over Charlie's Peak and up Sgurr Alisdair, the tallest mountain on the Isle of Skye. At one point I encountered a fully-equipped (harnesses, ropes, helmets, boots, rucksack) guided party of four that was being belayed down a steep section. They gave quite a look when they saw me rocking my slip on Vans, Dabtronics tote, and repping the Brooklyn hat! I smiled as I downclimbed through.

The climbing was V0 minus-minus-minus (5.5 tops). But moving over alpine rock completely unburdened of gear made me feel like a kid in a candy store. Alas, the Cuillin are such a civilized size that by nightfall I was just another adult in the pub.


EM said...

A pint of eighty-bob, please.

Puffy Green said...

haha nice s.s.

CHL said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CHL said...

a charming yarn, boyo.

has me chuffed to wander the hills and valleys.