Wild Moment: Robert Coupe

Published: 11th October 2016

"There was a shallow standing pool from which I drank gratefully - until I noticed brown pellets sitting in the depths..."

It was a beautiful day in early summer, with only a few white clouds in an otherwise blue sky. I parked the car at the start of the trail, which begins by the west shore of Loch Torrin, giving access to Blaven.

This trail climbs steadily with a stream on the left until it starts to level out, at which point the glen to the east of Blaven comes into sight. Also, about this point, a heather-covered hillside rises to one’s right and eventually joins with a slope descending from the summit of Sgurr nan Eighe.

I left the trail here and followed the slope up to the hill. This grassy expanse, close cropped enough for a respectable football ground, must have tempted a half-grown sheep at some point. Its corpse now lay half-way up the slope, perhaps caught by a late spring storm.

At the top of the slope lies a notch between it and the summit which involves some scrambling down a rocky incline. Anyone who has traversed Clach Glas or the main Cuillin ridge would think nothing of it, but it might give an inexperienced hiker momentary pause.

From the summit of Sgurr nan Eighe I could have turned left and repeated the traverse of Clach Glas, but I had already done that. Instead I absorbed the view of the Black Cuillin and then turned right and followed the ridge to Glaven. From that summit one can follow the east face down and eventually arrive at the col between it and Belig and thence climb Belig itself.

By this time I had run out of water and had seen none on the route until I started the ascent of Belig. Lo! There was a shallow standing pool from which I drank gratefully - until I noticed brown pellets sitting in the depths.

Sheep droppings... Fortunately, I did not later suffer from liver fluke or any of the other ailments which sheep are heir to.

Belig is one of the Red Cuillin and does not offer the exhilaration of the rocky traverses of the Black Cuillin, but the descent from its summit to the head of Loch Torrin has its own charm. It consists of a series of rock outcrops alternating with gently sloping grassy swards.

A trudge along the road to the car ended another perfect day on Skye. 

Blaven - Philip MacLeod Coupe

^ Watercolour study of Blaven by Philip MacLeod Coupe

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