CORUISK, SKYE - SGURR NA STRI and MARSCO

On Friday morning, I set off on a Club trip to Coruisk. Setting off from home at 5.00am allowed plenty of time to reach Elgol to catch the Early bird AquaXplore RIB to Coruisk.

View from Elgol:


Crossing by RIB was brilliant, a really fast boat .

Aboard the AquaXplore RIB:


The crossing took around 20 minutes including a stop en-route to admire the seals.

Heading for Coruisk aboard the RIB:


During the crossing, we got good views of our first intended hill, Sgurr na Stri.

Sgurr na Stri:


It was great to get close to the basking seals.

Sunbathing seals, near Coruisk:


Seals and Shag, near Coruisk:


After disembarking from the RIB at the landing steps, we walked the hundred or so metres to the Coruisk Hut. After opening up the hut and leaving our provisions for the weekend, Dave, Bob and I set out for Sgurr na Stri.

Coruisk Hut:


Unfortunately, the Cuillin were capped in cloud during most of the walk .  I have therefore only posted a few photos from this walk as the views weren’t as good as they could have been.

It was nice to get my first ever view of the Dubh Ridge. It looks steeper than I imagined it would be. I hope to do this route at some point in the future.

Dubh Ridge:


We made our ascent towards the monument and then up the ridge towards the twin tops of Sgurr na Stri.

Dubh Ridge and start of Druim nan Ramh ridge:

Bob and I visited the west-top first while Dave visited the east-top, then myself and Bob visited the east-top while Dave visited the west-top .

Optional scrambling to west-top of Sgurr na Stri:


Dave at east-top of Sgurr na Stri:


The views from the summit were still pretty-good despite the cloud but was this really the best view in Scotland?
To answer this, I definitely need to come back to find out.

View to Camusunary from summit of Sgurr na Stri:


Loch na Cuilce from summit of Sgurr na Stri:


Loch na Cuilce and Loch Coruisk from the summit of Sgurr na Stri:


We returned to the Coruisk Hut via the same route before spending our first night in the hut.

Inside the Coruisk Hut:


Inside the Coruisk Hut:


The next day, Bob, Cliff, Deirdre and I set off for Marsco. Elsie and Dave accompanied us as far as the bealach and Catriona accompanied us to the base of Marsco.

Hill: Marsco (from Coruisk)
Date: Saturday 4th June 2011
Company: Myself, Bob, Deirdre, Cliff
Time: 10 Hours


Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

Saturday turned out to be a much nicer day than Friday . We set off from the Coruisk Hut towards the stepping stones across the Scavaig River.

Dave and Deirdre crossing the Stepping Stones:


Bob, Catriona and Cliff crossing the Stepping Stones:


Beyond the stepping stones, we followed the same route as per the day previous towards the bealach between Druim Hain and Sgurr Hain.

Loch Coruisk:


Start of Druim nan Ramh ridge from ascent towards bealach:


As we started our ascent, I noticed evidence of a large rockfall below Sgurr nan Eag. I couldn’t recall seeing this rockfall the day previous. I checked my camera for the photos I had taken the day previous and confirmed this rockfall was not there the day before. Bob and I had heard what we thought was a strange aeroplane noise at 8:15 that morning, turns out it was this rockfall. Chris had left before us on Saturday morning and witnessed and photographed this rockfall taking place.

Large rockfall below Sgurr nan Eag:


Photo by Chris of the rockfall taking place:


Looking back towards the starting point:


As we ascended towards the bealach, I particularly enjoyed the view towards Sgurr na h-Uamha. Sgurr na h-Uamha looks a fine pointy peak when seen from the South.

Loch a’ Choire Riabhach with shapely Sgurr na h-Uamha in background:


The views across to the Cuillin were pretty-good and they were to get even better as the day went on.

Cuillin Ridge (Stitched Panorama):

On reaching the bealach, it was great to get our first view of Marsco. It was still some way off!

Marsco and Ruadh Stac:


As we started our descent towards Srath na Creitheach, I came up with the idea of undertaking a circuit i.e. going back via Camusunary and the “Bad Step” instead of returning the same way. Bob and Deirdre were also up for this .

Cuillin Ridge from Bruach na Frithe to Pinnacle Ridge of Sgurr nan Gillean:


During the descent, I got a great view of Pinnacle Ridge. I had a great day out on this route in 2009: click here.

Zoom of Pinnacle Ridge of Sgurr nan Gillean:


Looking back towards descent from bealach:


Cuillin Ridge, An Stac to Pinnacle Ridge of Sgurr nan Gillean:


After walking a kilometre or so along the track towards Sligachan, we began our ascent of Marsco, initially alongside the Allt nam Fraoch-choire.

The Skye Scrambles book mentions a walk up the South-East ridge. Instead of heading for the start of this ridge, once past the gorge, we ascended steep grass skirting diagonally to reach the South-East ridge at a height of around 500m.

Marsco:


The views during the ascent of Marsco were quite superb.

Garbh Bheinn, Clach Glas, Bla-Bheinn and Ruadh Stac:


I had a good look at Bla-Bheinn and Clach Glas during the ascent. It looks a scary traverse!

Zoom of Clach Glas :


Sgurr na Stri between Eigg and Rum:


Cuillin from steep slopes of Marsco:


We eventually reached a line of fence-posts which we followed towards the summit.

Following the fence posts up Marsco:


On reaching the ridge, the views just got better and better. Instead of just seeing the Cuillin, we also got views across to Raasay, Torridon, Knoydart, the Skye Bridge, etc. After such a steep knee-busting ascent, it was nice to reach the gentle grassy section.

Ridge to summit of Marsco:


View from approach to summit of Marsco:


Looking back along Marsco’s ridge:


Final section of ridge to summit of Marsco:


There isn’t much room at the summit so we traversed back a couple of hundred metres for a late-lunch stop.

Summit of Marsco:


Cuillin from summit of Marsco:


After our lunch stop, we descended via the same route towards the Allt nam Fraoch-choire. We then began the long walk out to Camusunary. This was a really nice walk with fine views of Ruadh Stac (Marilyn) and Bla-Bheinn.

Bla-Bheinn from Loch an Athain:


Ruadh Stac:


Approaching Loch na Creitheach:


Approaching Camusunary, with Eigg and Rum in background:


Looking back towards a now distant Marsco:


We stopped to drink the last of our water at Camusunary and then made our way over to the bothy for a look inside.

Having a rest at Camusunary:


Camusunary bothy is really nice. Edit (2016): this building is no longer a bothy.

Inside Camusunary bothy:


After visiting the bothy, we set out along the track from Camusunary to Coruisk via what is known as the “Bad Step”. After crossing the river, which for me resulted in one wet foot, we followed the track.

Looking back to bothy across river:


The coastal walk is lovely and worth a walk whether hillwalking or not.

Coastal path from Camasunary to Coruisk:


Coastal path from Camasunary to Coruisk:


Nice view from coastal path:


Cuillin from coastal path:


Eventually, a few hundred metres from Coruisk, we reached the Bad Step.

I wasn’t sure just how bad this Bad Step was going to be. Would it be like the Bad Step on Am Bastier, which is a step only if you have 20 foot-long legs? It didn’t turn out to be bad at all. Grade 1 or 2 scramble yes, but it is short with really good hand and foot holds.

Approaching the Bad Step:


Bob about to step round onto Bad Step:


Myself on the Bad Step (Photo by Bob):


Myself and Deirdre coming off the Bad Step (Photo by Bob):


After tackling the Bad Step, we soon reached the stepping stones and then the Coruisk Hut where we spent another pleasant evening.

The next day, we caught the Bella Jane boat from Coruisk back to Elgol. Great to get a cup of coffee and a piece of shortbread on board, but being honest I much preferred the fast RIB .

Looking back to Coruisk Hut from Bella Jane boat:


Shags:


View from Bella Jane, Gars-bheinn to Sgurr na Stri:


View from Bella Jane, Sgurr na Stri to Bla-Bheinn:


This was my first visit to Coruisk. It will certainly not be my last. Can't wait to go back .