Beinn Tianavaig and a Rubha nan Dunan camp. March 2014.

Date: Saturday 29th March 2014
Distance: 7.2 + 6.1 + 7.1km
Ascent: 540 + 190 + 160m

Initial optimism of an impending high pressure early in the week was rather blunted by the prospect of eastern gloom and brisk winds for the weekend.

The NW highlands looked a better prospect so we headed that way with the tent.

A hill that has been on our to-do list for some time is Ben Tianavaig, part of the rather awesome north-eastern seaboard of Skye with its eastern facing clifflines running up the Trotternish.

Parked at the picnic area at Camustianavaig. We’d been aiming to head around the headland to explore the eastern aspect of the hill. Having done no research we simply headed over the rocky shoreline to outflank the houses and fences and pick up a sheep-track round the corner.

This little path runs round the crag line and just above the shore, running north underneath the cliffs of Tianavaig.

Slow progress – we were quickly watching a pair of Golden Eagles cruising back and forth along the cliffs, occasionally harried by ravens.

It’s a couple of km to a large flat area at NG 520 402 – lazy beds indicate previous habitation. Would make a nice camp site.

Headed up the slope on a line for McQueens Loch – the lower crag line towers above:

With eagles in attendance:

Fairly typical geomorphology for the area – dramatic:

Plowtered through some deeper heather at the loch before heading up to the lower crags.

The first flowers of spring – purple saxifrage:

The lower crags:

Supervisory raven:

More crags:

There’s an easy line flanking the top cliff to its north allowing access to the top ridge from here. Hazy views to Sidhean Bhealaich Cumhaing and The Storr:

One of the eagles was hanging on the breeze looking at us and then scanning the ground:

Sat for a while at the summit, the cliffline breaking the easterly. The views were exceptionally hazy – the Cuillin was scarcely visible, despite being cloud-free and only 16km away. Still a nice view down the Sound of Raasay.

Set off south along the cliff line to complete the walk. Nice views back along the cliffs as we descended.

Watched one of the eagles performing its sharp climbs and precipitous stoops out over the water:

Another cliffline photo:

Back at the car for about 1400 having frittered a very enjoyable few hours away.

We’d picked a camp site south of Glen Brittle – Rubha an Dunain. It’s a rather interesting promontory 6km SW of the Glen Brittle campsite.

There’s a large track running about 4.5km out on the S shore of Loch Brittle – develops some nice views of the Cuillin.

The track peeters out just past Slochd Dubh (and an old cleared village). A bit marshy for the remainder of the walk to the point.

The voice of spring:

Fascinating stuff on the point itself – Loch na h-Airde has a little canal linking it to the sea of unknown age (perhaps Viking).

There’s also a substantial Dun wall here (1st millennium B.C.).

The breeze was rather stiff, found a nice spot at NG 394 160 which had a bit of shelter.

Pitched the tent and got tea cooked as the sun set behind a cloud bank.

A broken night’s sleep – rather windy. Little in the way of stars to see and only a couple of lighthouses.

Up to a rather grey, blowy day. Not quite the sunshine that had been suggested. Breakfast and striking camp was leisurely.

Took a wander round the headland, a few seals here and there. The rather stellar views to the Small Isles were hazed out.

The Cuillin provided a looming viewpoint:

Loch na h-Airde:

Past the chambered cairn and on towards the track. Wandered up a rather noticeable rock band visible both ways for a distance:

Then back to the track for a wander back to the car. Bird life is now noticeably active. Saw plovers, larks, wheatears and stonechats active and noisy. Great to see.

I’d imagine both Ben Tianavaig and Rubha an Dunain might be visited again.

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