New Heights of Laziness – Raasay summit camp. October 2013.

Date: Saturday-Sunday 12th-13th October 2013
Distance: 14.5km + 3km
Ascent: 900m +0m

It was fairly obvious for the whole week that Saturday night would suit a high camp – just the minor matter of where to be sorted. The ‘Gorms held the prospect of snow and a chance of inversion, while the NW had the prospect of untrammelled sunshine.

The front runner throughout was a visit to Raasay – Dun Caan has caught our eye for a while.

A long drive in the dark to arrive on Skye as dawn broke – the first ferry from Sconser is at 0825. Took the car across to allow us the chance to explore the island. The ferry gives rather nice views of Glamaig, Beinn Tianavaig and the Storr.

Glamaig and Gillean:

Drove the 10 miles or so north along the island – the road is fairly sporting – certainly not one where the driver can do any distracted ogling of the views.

Parked up at Arnish – space for several cars here – a friendly wave and greeting from the farmer on his ATV.

There’s a fairly good track from Arnish north to An Caol, it runs initially down around Loch Arnish.

The loch was full of porpoises – an amazing number, probably above 100. The air was still enough that we could hear the sound of them exhaling as they breached the surface.

Just to get in on the act an otter was fishing just off the shore. Rough vegetation prevented us getting close enough for a decent piccie.

We were making slow progress – it was quite difficult to turn our backs on the show and carry on. Eventually we did.

The track heads uphill under the 201m crag north towards Beinn na h-Iolaire.

View S to Dun Caan:

Junctions are signposted, we followed the track heading for An Caol to NG 601 499 before turning N off track to the summit of Beinn na h-Iolaire.

This is a splendid viewpoint – with open views E to Applecross, N to Lewis and W to the Trotternish.





South to Raasay:

Kylerrhea Grahams over the Crowlin Islands:

Spent a good 30 minutes drinking in the vistas.

Retracing our steps to the track we then carried on N to An Caol, shadowed by a couple of ravens.

The track becomes a little indistinct and soupy before the shielings, we decided to have lunch on the west side here, this bay also containing a number of porpoises.

Nice view of the Storr.

With day lengths already shortening we decided to head back – wanted to be up Dun Caan a couple of hours before sunset.

Ruined cottage at An Caol:

Retraced our path back to Arnish – a very pleasant walk.

The area at Loch Arnish has a fair mix of deciduous trees including Hazels.

Back at the car we swapped over gear and rucksacks to our camping kit before driving south to the Dun Caan car park.

Stopped to take a picture of the Storr.

A large flapping bird caught our attention – a sub-adult Sea Eagle.

Parked up at the car park (space for several cars) at NG 561 406 and set off on the good path uphill – a 45 minute walk to the summit.

Dun Caan’s summit is raised a crucial 100m or so above the upland which makes it a splendid viewpoint.

Arrived at the summit and got into our insulation and wandered around just enjoying the views.

SW to Southern Skye:

The Skye Bridge and the 5 Sisters:

The view of the hills of south Skye draw the eye – but Torridon, Applecross and the Trotternish compete.

North to Rona:

With its long wings Skye makes up 180 degrees of the vista.

Got the tent up and cooked tea while watching the light change.

Syrupy evening light lit the views orange with long shadows:

The sun set just to the left of Beinn Mhor on S Uist:

The evening sky faded through oranges and reds with deep dark blue giving way to black – a great show.

Sat in the tent door and watched it all before getting our heads down.

Got up at 0130 – after moonset. The starscape was not as stunning as Rum a fortnight before. Not sure if there was high cloud or whether the lights of Portree and Broadford were enough to blunt it. We spot and identify the lighthouses, our usual game on west coast summit camps.

Up at 0645 to watch the light change and the sun rise.

The reverse colour show to the evening played out.

5 Sisters:

Sunrise over Ceathreamhnan:

A 1000hr ferry meant we couldn’t loiter for hours but we enjoyed the first 40 minutes of the day on the summit.

Quite spectacular views of southern Skye and the Trotternish.

The morning gave us our best distant views – Cruachan Dearg on Mull to the south and Foinaven to the north – more than 130km.

Eventually we headed downhill for the car – Loch na Meilich was showing a mirror surface.

A wee lochan reflected the top of Dun Caan.

A 45 minute wander had us back at the car and a 12 minute drive got us back to the pier with about 15 minutes to spare.

The 25 minute sail was full of views – Calmac has provided us with a fantastic series of jaunts this year.

With a 5 hour drive ahead we decided to meander home via the Glen Elg ferry and a spot of lunch looking from the Arnisdale road to Skye, Rum and Eigg.

A rather untaxing effort – Dun Caan made a really sublime pitch site – one we’d do again.


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