Back to The Quiraing – the last of the good weather. December 2015.

Date: Tuesday 15th December 2015
Distance: 9.2km
Ascent: 550m

Our holiday was a lesson in ever-decreasing circles….how little can you do and still use up a whole day.
If I say so myself this is a skill we are developing to a finely tuned art. 😉

So – probably the last fine day of the holiday. 4 days on the trot in December was, if not beyond our wildest dreams then beyond our expectations.

The forecast suggested the north of Skye looked best so we decided to head back up to the Quiraing.

Icy roads and a rather nervous dive from Staffin to the Quiraing bealach car park saw us parked up 20 minutes before dawn

Unfortunately a band of cloud obscured dawn (and went on to expand depriving us of direct sunshine most of the day.

Still – dry with cloud free tops was great any way.

Once again Torridon looked tasty.

Beinn Alligin over Staffin:

…and the lochans near Cleat were reflecting the dawn sky.

Dawn sky in lochan:

The Quiraing and south along the Trotternish are, of course, rather remarkable in appearance.

The Quiraing:

South to Cleat:

A hoodie seemed to be appreciating Torridon too.

Crow and Alligin:

The cloud cover built in a slightly deflating manner – especially with Torridon and Fisherfield glowing white.

South along Trotternish:

There was the odd dramatic shaft of sun.

Bit of a sunrise glow:

Difficult local photography – most of these needed HDR.

Trotternish:

No such jiggery-pokery needed to the east.

Gairloch and An Teallach:

Nice to be back poking around the Quiraing regardless.

Quiraing architecture:

Still, the seaboard view of the big NW hills suggested hints of why the seafaring Gaels named them as they did.

The Spear looking dramatic:

The Forge even more so:

We bypassed The Table this time – unlikely to have the awesome views we got back in October (just 8weeks? Seems a long time now).

Headed out this time to Sron Vorluinn.

On towards Sron Vorluinn:

We’d spotted an adult Golden Eagle cruising the cliffline near The Table. As we headed towards Sron Vorluinn it was circling Leac nan Fionn.

As we headed for the summit of Sron Vorluinn it passed by only 10m away…enough time to watch in awe, but not time for photos. The closest fly-past I’ve ever had, close enough to really see the detail. 
It settled on the cliffs of Leac nan Fionn and I settled for a distant silhouette.

Eagle:

Sat and had some food on Sron Vorluinn. Off to the north MV Loch Seaforth was steaming out of Ullapool for Stornoway.

Rubha Reidhe, MV Seaforth and Quinag:

To the south the dramatic rock structures remained difficult to photograph.

Meall na Suiramach from Sron Vorluinn:

The Spear was still steaming.

Slioch:

What really had us smiling was the view to Harris…..I’ve never seen it look so near to Skye. We could nearly see the cottage we’ve rented at Tarbert for the last 2 years and most of the hills were now nameable.

Out to Harris:

Headed out to the tip of Sron Vorluinn with some sunshine at our backs.

Heading out to Sron Vorluinn:

A clear spot for the eastern panorama.

Eastern view pano:

Link to larger.

Could see Stornoway and the Lewis hills too.

Lewis Hills:

Back to the summit we had a last look north….

Sron Vorluinn and Harris:

…before turning south to head up Meall na Suiramach.

SE from Sron Vorluinn:

Cliffs of The Quiraing:

A quick plod up 200m to the summit of Meall na Suiramach. Still lots to look at.

Harris from Meall na Suiramach:

Sron Vorluinn and Leac nan Fionn from Meall na Suiramach:

One of the best views from this S2K is the view down to The Table. Worth the ascent for this alone.

The Table:



The view south down the Trotternish Ridge to The Storr is pretty good too.

South to the Storr:

Went up to the summit and looked wistfully at Harris – back in 2016 we hope.

Harris close enough to touch:

Outer Hebrides pano:

Link to larger.

Descended south back to the car.

Cleat and the Trotternish:

We still had a bit of daylight left and if the skies had played ball we’d have headed up Bioda Buidhe for sunset. That, however, was a wish too far so we headed back to Broadford for another evening of good company and a roaring fire instead.

Best December holiday for several years!

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