Ben Tianavaig, Skye

27 11 2014

Recently, a fellow blogger and friend, Bob of Blue Sky Scotland, mentioned that he and his co-blogger, Alex, had a quick trip to Skye and debated about doing this hill after they’d tired themselves out on Glamaig the day before. They decided against it so I’m now writing about it and showing them the photos to tell them what a great, easy day they missed! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Photos are a mix of Richard’s digital and my film camera – click on for full size/resolution
The weather at the start of every day during my August trip to Skye wasn’t suitable for my aim of bagging Cuillin Munro Tops but always cleared up by around mid afternoon. Very frustrating but it meant we got to do a lot of other, less stressful stuff including this hill which I’d wanted to do for absolutely ages. One of the reason for this was that our accommodation, being at Sconser, looked across to Ben Tianavaig and a superbly interesting hill it always looked!

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Ben Tianavaig as seen from the evening walk to the Sconser pub ๐Ÿ˜‰

We drove around to the Braes road which turns off just before Portree and followed that until the left turn for Camastianavaig. This small settlement seems to be largely unoccupied second homes but it would be a lovely spot to live full-time. As we drove along the high road before the junction, I noted what looked like a grassy track heading straight up the side of the hill. We took a clockwise route around the village loop and soon saw where the track set off between two cottages.

The owners of one cottage were out in the garden and I asked them if there was any access up the track to the hill. They confirmed there was and, very handily, there was parking just opposite for several cars although I don’t think anyone else uses this track for the hill. We parked up, booted up and were off up the short track.

The track ended at the fenceline at the end of the fields below the hill and only sketchy paths went up the hillside. The going was reasonable though and we made extremely quick progress towards the ridge. By now, in contrast to the dull, damp and claggy morning, it was quite a nice, sunny day.

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The short pathless section to the ridge

Just before the ridge we reached the path that everyone else uses which comes up from Tianavaig Bay. Things are always much easier once you’re on a path!

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(Richard’s digi-photos to here)

There were nice views back across the sea towards Braes, Sconser and the Red Cuillin hills…

Across the sea from Tianavaig

Now, this hill consists of huge landslips down the coastal side and these I was very keen to see so, immediately on reaching the ridgeline, I was over to the edge to look and photograph what was over there…

Ben Tianavaig Ascent1

It was very vertiginous below and the next part of the mountain was a long way below. Above the coastline there were pinnacles and more steep, landslipped ground – a fascinating place.

Ben Tianavaig Ascent2

Ben Tianavaig Ascent3

I commented on two superb pinnacles hanging over the coastline and also a pinnacle further up the slope which I said looked rather phallic – Richard kindly took a zoom of them for me as his zoom is much better than mine…

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We then continued up the very interesting ridge which, as you could see in the third photo, rose in terraces. To surmount each rise onto a terrace you could either just follow the easy path or you could clamber up the rockier sections near the edge – I went for the rocky bits… This photo of Richard’s shows the ascent well…

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Richard takes many more photos than I do (the difference between film and digital photography) and he took quite a few more detailed shots over the edge…

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His close-up of the back of the pinnacles makes them look climbable – next time…

He captured a nice lochan in front of the summit…

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And then he headed into a nice hollow below the peak for a cuppa out of the cruel wind (my photo)…

Ben Tianavaig Ascent5

Which had great views of the crags (my photo first, then Richard’s)

Ben Tianavaig Ascent6

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Looking back the other way from our hollow, Richard took this photo of a pinnacle which looks like the back of a young, fluffy eagle to me!

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We then soldiered on up the final pull to the summit – my turn to lag behind today!

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Reaching the summit yielded yet more interesting views including a lovely ridge around to the coast, further pinnacles below on another landslip, and a nice lochan (my photo)…

Ben Tianavaig Summit View

Richard’s photos now for the rest of the post – looking towards the Old Man of Storr…

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He went a little way down towards the side ridge to take this photo of the summit while I sat in the sun – the people on the summit were a German family and the only other people we saw on the hill all day…

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After sitting admiring the view for a while in all directions, we then headed off back down the ridge and Richard took this photo looking back the summit…

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Looking across to the pinnacles again…

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and more weird, crumbly pinnacles on the edge of our ridge…

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We soon passed our outward path and continued along the ridge as we wanted to see the ‘normal’ route up from Tianavaig Bay and also whether it would be possible to get around the coastline under the steep landslips. We are considering next time going down into the valley between the main ridge and the landslip with the pinnacles and hoping to walk back around the coast. The beach is a very long way down from here!

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But a tiny path contours across these horribly steep and high slopes to the beach if you’re feeling brave! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

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The flora was nice on this section…

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Scotland’s thistle – I made Richard lie on the floor to take this one ๐Ÿ˜‰

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The path then headed around the south end of the hill above more dramatic cliffs…

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After rounding the southern end, sometimes on paths which seemed a bit close to the steep slopes, we descended below this rounded peak and the path contoured across easier ground through bracken to descend to the edge of the bay.

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After a quick explore of the bay and the beach, it was a short walk back uphill to our parking place. The whole walk had only taken around 2.5 hours, even with all the loafing around we did. A superbly interesting hill and definitely recommended – we’ll certainly be exploring it more. As it’s quite a low hill, you could do it in weather which is unfavourable for the higher hills.

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15 responses

5 12 2014
chrissiedixie

Looked really interesting that, Carol.

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5 12 2014
mountaincoward

And very restful and relaxing for a change! ๐Ÿ™‚

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1 12 2014
bob

A great selection of photographs Carol. The fractured ground looks very similar to Dun Cann on Raasay which may have been part of the same fault line before moving slightly to become more of an island. Just a wild guess but probably not true as I’m no geologist :o)
We could have forced ourselves to do it but would not have enjoyed it fully. There’s always next year… God willing.

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1 12 2014
mountaincoward

Yeah – there’s always next year – we’ll be doing it again then ๐Ÿ™‚

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29 11 2014
fedup

Looks good ๐Ÿ™‚ another one for the cloudy day list (which seems to be the only list I’m successfully working my way through!!!) Handy start info too.

Love the Islands ๐Ÿ˜€

Cheers Simon

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29 11 2014
mountaincoward

The islands are great aren’t they – far more variety. It’s definitely good to have a cloudy day list ๐Ÿ™‚

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28 11 2014
razzah

Sounds and looks a great hill to explore. I think I would be tempted if I saw that view from Sconser too.

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28 11 2014
mountaincoward

It’s superb – and the best thing is that it’s such an easy walk ๐Ÿ™‚

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28 11 2014
McEff

It’s good to get off the beaten track and explore the less sought-after areas. They can be much more rewarding than the popular walking destinations at times, and you have the added bonus of the quiet and solitude.
That’s a nice walk, that, and through interesting countryside. It would be interesting to know if those landslips occurred suddenly or the process took thousands of years. It always amazes me how our landscape is constantly changing, but we don’t notice it because what we see is a snapshot in time.
Cheers, Alen

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28 11 2014
Paul Shorrock

Looks like a pleasant little hill Carol – another one for the tick list then ๐Ÿ˜‰

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28 11 2014
mountaincoward

There’s a lot of pleasant little hills on the islands – there’s a lot of little hills on Mull I have my eye on too…

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28 11 2014
underswansea

It looks like an interesting hike with fantastic views. It also looks like a place you wouldn’t want to be if a fog rolled in. Some steep drop-offs along the way. Has that ever happened to you? Thanks for taking me along, I feel like I’m getting to know the country my grandparents inhabited. Film sure has a distinct look to it. Take care.

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28 11 2014
mountaincoward

You’d be alright in a fog (and yes, they can roll in very quickly here too) as you’d just use the edge for a ‘handrail’

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27 11 2014
Paul Sammonds

A fine wee hill with fantastic views, plenty of little corners to explore and a good variety of flora and fauna to enjoy.

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27 11 2014
mountaincoward

It certainly is and we’ll definitely be back there next time we’re on Skye next year ๐Ÿ™‚

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