Skye Meet, December 2022

Skye Meet – December 2022

A meet in December on the Isle of Skye: you must be mad! The December turned out to be the cold snap that plunged Glasgow into temperatures down to -8 °C, so where better to go than one of the most fantastic places in Scotland. The group of five of us headed to the Glen Brittle memorial hut at the foot of the Cuillin ridge. The weather was looking good, but we didn’t know how good it was going to be.

Waking up on Saturday morning the sky was dark, but we would see there was clear air up on the ridge. The objective for Saturday would be the Northwest ridge of Bruach na Frithe, a grade I/II winter accent up a rocky ridge line to the summit the lies in the north of the Cuillin. The walk in from the Fairy Pools carpark was a little boggy and frozen over in parts. Then we spotted the ridge: heavily covered in snow and looking a lot steeper in places than we expected. At the base we turned onto the ridge and began our accent through deep snow with the wind beginning to gust. There was some tricky ground to cover but nothing too challenging. As we were still early in the season the snow was soft and tiresome to climb through.

Reaching up the ridge narrowed and became rockier, crampons and harnesses were donned for this more technical part of the accent as roped up into a team of 2 and a team of 3, ready and eager to go. For the most part we were able to stick to the ridge line, there was some big drops to both sides. The wind had abated, and this was an enjoyable accent with enough tricky sections to make it interesting. We summited Bruach na Frithe in cloud but were joyous with the climb we had made. After a short break we descended into the col heading to Am Basteir, we could look back on the ridge behind us and there was a fantastic moment when the peaks appeared as the cloud briefly parted. We worked our way back through the glen to the path, reaching the car in the dark. The evening was a brief celebration and making of meals to recover from a pretty full-on day.

Sunday, we headed to Glamaig, a Corbett just east of the Cuillin and importantly a little way along the drive home. It was a leisurely start as we cleared out the hut and packed our kit, much of it from the warmth of the drying room from the snowy adventure the day before. We started from the roadside up the steep east ridge, again the views were great as we walked along the wide ridge between the east peak and the main summit. We disappeared into the cloud at the top of the climb but was well worth the walk up. We descended back via the col between Beinn Derag Mhor and returned home.

So, Skye in December? If the weather is right, then certainly!