Bla Bheinn is a mountain in the Cuillin standing in immense isolation, surrounding by ocean and mountains. Before this day I knew it would be a really good mountain. In truth, it's so much better than I expected. It's absolutely stunning, the ultimate, and a fantastic introduction to Skye.
I did this with Liam and Neil after a drawn-out rendezvous in Broadford. Despite finding the Mamores almost easy the day before, I was pretty zombied this morning, so Bla Bheinn was the immediate choice. We didn't rush: about three visits to Co-op and a visit to the Broadford reptile centre later, we parked up below Bla Bheinn and took the path up.
The east face of this mountain really is humbling. It's just black cliffs, and pinnacles and crazy drops, everywhere. The amount of map reading required to get up was surprising. Like all of the Cuillin, repeat visits repay in familiarity. You can't entirely read these mountains off a map. Route-finding skills and a familiarity with rock climbing come in extremely useful in dealing with the rock, scree, false paths and huge exposure.
Bla Bheinn has two great buttresses split by a great gully in the centre. All of these features provide feasible routes of ascent, although you wouldn't think it by looking at them. And thus in drifting (high pressure) mist we followed a rough path up into the unknown and scrambled up little steps and walls toward the South Top of Bla Bheinn.
Near the top, we came out the top of the cloud, and looked out over the west coast of Scotland, draped in blankets of low cloud, the sun above us splitting the deep blue sky. A perfect day in every way.
To come over the top of Bla Bheinn and see the whole Cuillin spread before you is a special thing to witness. A thin cloud layer was piled up behind the Cuillin on the Atlantic side, spilling over the mountain saddles like waves. I think this view blew everyone's minds, and gave a sobering reminder of the immense task still to come. I've been on the Cuillin before, but they are by no means a known quantity for me. Shocked and humbled by the scenery, we continued to the main summit of Bla Bheinn, down a rock step and up to the cairn.
Typical of the Cuillin in the sun, it wasn't a place to be moving fast. The Cuillin simply make you stand and gawp, and then get back to the task in hand of climbing and clambering. Steve might be getting worried about us, but we didn't rush in leaving the summit of that magnificent mountain. One of the best of the entire Round, so far.
A pounding descent followed, and Steve was indeed wondering where we'd got to. But all was fine, and we headed around to Glen Brittle, with a stop at Broadford on the way. Another day I wish I could get pics on my blog: I will soon enough though!