I was back down the Kinloch Hourn road with Valerie today hoping to climb Sgurr a’Mhaoraich. The forecast was to be windy and possibly better the closer to Isle of Skye you went so just maybe we would be in the right place?
As we were driving along the clouds were indeed scudding over the summits at speed though the sun was also shining on Sgurr a’Mhaoraich so we decided to head straight up the south ridge and see if we could find enough shelter to let us reach the summit. We met a chap at the bottom who told us his friend had gone on up the ridge, but he had turned back with a sore leg so we knew we wouldn’t be on our own. Heading up the old path and the striking up towards the ridge took us out of the wind and we were soon warm on the climb. Once on the ridge it was much fresher with the wind though still quite warm when walking. It’s a lovely ridge with lots of rocky outcrops and knolls so we could find a relatively sheltered route on the climb as well as dodging the snow patches lower down.
We were starting to wonder where the other walker was when we were suddenly right next to him coming round a rocky knoll. It proved a useful encounter as Jim said it was wild up the ridge, but there was some very welcome shelter right by the summit as we had been hoping there would be. After letting him know his friend was back at the car safely and a wee bit of banter we continued our climb in the strengthening winds. It got much snowier the closer to the top we were though a thawing snow pack, but with the winds and the information Jim had shared we put the crampons on and got out ice axes out. It instantly made the going easier as the wind didn’t catch us too badly and the odd icier patch of neve didn’t catch us out on the final pull to the summit of Sgurr a’Mhaoraich. It was stunning with sunshine and almost dead calm at the cairn so we opted for lunch at the top because we could and so often you can’t!
The descent was wonderful with the snow cushioning our legs letting us fly down with confidence until we could no longer follow the snow. We stowed the ironmongery and enjoyed a blowy walk back down to the ridge in the sun all the way to the car. It was very windy at the car and on our drive back it didn’t take long until we were on wetter roads. Our plan had paid off and another memorable day on Sgurr a’Mhaoraich!