Bla Bheinn [Blaven]
Area: Minginish and the Cuillin Hills
Munro: Bla Bheinn [Blaven]
Date walked: 11/07/2009
Time taken: 3 hours
Distance: 8 km
Bla Bheinn [Blaven] is a spectacular Munro on the island of Skye. On a good day the view to the more famous Cuillin hills to the West is incredible. This Munro is usually accessed from the car park at the head of loch Slapin and has a steep scramble to get to the summit.
This walk was an unexpected pleasure. I was up north for the weekend with Danny and Davey and we were camped near the Loch Cluannie Inn. We were hoping to get a Munro walk done over the weekend and were not sure which Munro to aim for. Since it was only an hour’s drive to Loch Slapin on Skye, Danny decided that Bla Bheinn [Blaven] would be an ideal choice. I hadn’t been to Skye before so this would be my first walk there and I was looking forward to getting my first view of the famous Cuillin on Skye in the flesh as it were
Not long after I started Munro bagging I heard about the Cuillin Hills on Skye. These hills are legendary in the hill walking community due to their sharp pointed peaks and degree of difficulty in climbing/walking them. Bla Bheinn [Blaven] is probably the easiest of the Skye Munro’s to walk, even though it is a bit steep and there are a few scrambly bits, and with the forecast glorious sunshine the promised views of the Cuillin were going to be awesome. We were not to be disappointed
We passed Eilean Donan castle on route so we stopped to take a picture or two and after crossing the famous Skye Bridge we were soon in the town of Broadford. We turn left here onto the small road to Torrin and then continue on and around the head of loch Slapin to the car park, arriving at the car park over the bridge at the west side of loch Slapin at about 0915. The sun was out and there was very little wind, which was perfect conditions for the walk, with the strong sunlight keeping the midges down. We were soon on our way and we set off on the walk at around 0940 ish.
Now three of us set off but after about an hour Davy decided that he would not be able to do the climb as he had an old back injury issue that was giving him problems on the ascent. He therefore opted to go back to the car park and walk the 7 fairly flat miles back to Broadford. At least this will give him a good workout.
Well the walk itself is quite short. We followed the path which takes you out of the car park, across the bridge and meanders West for 2.5km along the track and into Coire Uaigneich. From here its pretty much a direct steep scramble North West to the summit ascending 500m approximately. There are a number of tracks going up through the hillside and there are a couple of gullies that offer short scrambles so we chose one that looked the best to us.
There is some steep underfoot scree (hundreds small loose pebble sized stones that move as you walk over them) so care has to be taken and it doesn’t take us long to arrive at the summit.
The weather was fantastic and the views from the top were incredible. Looking North we see the peaks of Garbh Bheinn, Marsco, Beinn Dearg Mheadhonach, Beinn Dearg Mhor, and Glamaig and rest of the red Cuillin which have the most amasing crests on them of what I think is red sandstone. To the west you see the Black Cuillin with their rocky basalt and gabbro peaks. To the East and South there are great views back to the mainland and other islands. Looking down over the North ridge there are incredible pinnacles of rock protruding vertically.
The photographs don’t do it justice unfortunately so we stayed a while taking it all in. This truly was a great choice of Munro to walk today. However it was no time to head back down. We descended back down the route we came up and found it to be quite steep and slippery in places. Ascending steep slopes always seems easier than descending them. This would not be much fun in the rain and could even be classed as dangerous in poor weather conditions. But with no further ado we quickly descended down the hillside and onto the track back to the bridge.
A word of caution to all walkers. There are some nice waterfalls in the river as you walk along the path. At one particular point there is a waterfall approximately 20 feet below the path. The edge of the path looks like it has a grass verge. Please do not stand on the verge or you will plunge straight down to the waterfall. Danny almost suffered this fate.
We drove back to Broadford to find Davy sat on the seats taking in the scenic views of the bay. A quick pie and chips and then we were on our way back to the Loch Cluannie for some fishing
What a great day out on Skye with great weather and tremendous hills. I will be back for more.