Rum Meet Day 1 – Barkeval and Coire nan Grunnd. May 2014.

Date: Saturday 10th May 2014
Distance: 14.2km
Ascent: 855m

The Shills Rum Meet – a long time in coming – was here at last. Embarked on MV Loch Nevis at Mallaig at 0715 with a sizeable crowd of familiar faces for once.

A dreich start to the trip with fingers crossed that the weather wouldn’t put a dampener on the affair.

Despite the rain a fair number of SHillers were on deck looking out for the sights.

Baggage was collected by the hostel staff and we were able to unpack and assess the day. Various SHillers headed off in a variety of directions.

Our shopping list had Barkeval and Kilmory at the top of the list with various other odd points under consideration.

Left the hostel as the rain was stopping planning to go to Kilmory……..and changed our minds.

Headed up the Coire Dubh track to explore Barkeval instead. A reasonable view to the mainland.

The Coire Dubh track splits at about NM 389 979 with branches heading up Cnapan Breaca and to the bealach between Meall Breac and Barkeval. Headed up the latter.

Supervisory wheatear:

Pleasant walking conditions – little wind and comfortable temperatures.

Got to the bealach under Meall Breac and realised how good the air clarity was with the views out to the Western Isles.

Oireabhal and Tiorga Mor on Harris were visible over Skye in the gap between Duirinish and Waternish (115km).

Neist Point and N Uist:

Wandered up Barkeval – easy terrain here peppered with clusters of primrose.

Watched 2 Golden Eagles circling to the north, then not long after 2 adult Sea Eagles flew across the island from the NW across past Hallival.

The ground towards Bealach Mhic Neill and Mam Tuath looks interesting – if a little gnarly.

Wended uphill in our usual Rum style – distracted.

Fionchra, Canna and out to Beinn Mhor on S. Uist:

Headed out to the west top of Barkeval, just missing the fleeing Ed and El as started a rather steep descent of the west side of Barkeval.

Atmospheric at the top we had a break.

Headed back to Bealach Bairc Mheall – dramatic views across Atlantic Corrie:

Nearly trod on a Golden Plover nest:

The skies began to clear a bit as we approached Hallival with reasonable views to the mainland:

Morar, Loch Morar, An Stac and Sgurr nan Coireachan:

We’d looked at a route skirting Hallival on its west side – started at the knight rock.

There’s a reasonable route round at about 520m to the Hallival-Askival bealach:

Oigh-sgeir always catches our attention from Rum – Barra behind:

On the bealach a partly obscured An Sgurr ridge with the mimic ridge of Ben Hiant to the right:

The Askival pinnacle:

Descended very steeply east from the bealach on a grassy slope towards Coire nan Grunnd – another point of interest to us.

Hallival:

Loch Coire nan Grunnd:

This coire is scattered with rocks of varying sizes and composition that have tumbled off the rock layer cake that is Hallival:

Had a wander round the loch – an infinity pool for the mainland:

…..with a nice population of newts:

Aware that we were cooking tea for 4 we tore ourselves away and wandered back towards Kinloch, descending over a few viewpoint nubbins to the track below and east.

Skye hills including a very deceptively bland looking Sgurr na Stri:

The 2 (An Cruachan and An Sgurr) arms of Eigg – little appreciated from many angles:

The day just kept clearing – in truth a 3pm start and a 10pm finish would have been perfect.

Skye:

?Wildflower Vetch:

Moody Bla Bheinn:

The weekend saw a lot of first sightings of various spring flowers for us.

Lousewort:

Back to Kinloch for tea and a natter with a fairly happy crew. Good start.

A fun little loop – Barkeval will probably get a revisit, spotted a nice pitch site near the west top.

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