Monday, 6 August 2007

Final two Tops on Skye are 'buggers'!

'Buggers' was used by a guy who, with his companion, had just completed the traverse of the Black Cuillins, to describe the SMC for making Knights Peak a Top in their last revision! They had left their heavy rucsacs at Bealach a' Bhasteir while they more easily did the E ridge of Am Basteir and the W ridge of Sgurr nan Gillean. I met them as they returned for the sacs. I sat by them eating my lunch on Monday 30 July 2007 having still not found the route to Bhasteir Tooth! One of the guys showed me 'Skye Scrambles' and I saw that I had, in fact, found the start of the gully/ledge route earlier in the morning and even started up it before traversing round the base of Am Basteir to the bealach.
On Mon 30 July, I climbed Sgurr a Bhasteir (898), stumbled across the start of the scramble up to the Tooth and looked down on the bad step that bars the way, on the E ridge to the summit of Am Basteir. Although I recorded, at the time, this Munro as having being climbed on the 25 May 1994, I cannot remember anything about the climb and find it difficult to believe that I did it then! I can remember I was getting help from other climbers, at times, but I don't remember anything about this Munro from May 1994. I can recall that, with this last Top (Tooth) I was not wanting to push my luck and I did not ask the two guys that I was with to take me up this Top. And they did not offer! So it was left until my first attempt in May of this year. I've now had 3.5 days getting nearer, on each visit, to the summit of Bhasteir Tooth - and, by now, I'm pretty familiar with the area!
I also discovered that Knight's Peak is the 4th on Pinnacle Ridge looking from the W, from Coire a' Bhasteir. The 4K march in from Sligachan takes two hours from sea level to 450m.
On Tuesday, 31 July 2007 I got within about 15m or 50 feet of the summit, I guess but did not drop down to the nick that I later read is what I had to do. The weather was worsening with more rain and the thick cloud made route finding without the guide - human or book - uncertain! I was satisfied with what I had achieved in getting so far up the gullies, ramp and chimneys in those conditions. By the evening, I heard that at least one tent had blown down at the camp site and when I drove past in the morning, there were a good fewer tents! My short walk back from Sligachan Inn to the car was the windiest I have ever had at sea level and the battering the car took was the worst! Such was the wind rocketing through the ventilation ducts that the inside of the windscreen did not get steamed up!

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