The Stupendous Basteir Gorge

21 02 2015

On one of the days in August 2014 when I called off a walk with my guide into the Cuillin due to dreish weather in the morning (makes the rock lethally wet), I decided it was time Richard had a trip to the very spectacular Basteir Gorge. On my previous Am Basteir trip with the guide he was trying to get me to take photos of Gillean’s Pinnacle Ridge but I just couldn’t take my eyes off the gorge!

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click on photos for full size/resolution. Photos by me unless marked
Unfortunately for Richard on this walk, his first day out in the Scottish hills that year, he found that his Bradford Park walk hadn’t got him anywhere near fit enough and he suffered badly. I had to literally drag him up to the gorge even though it’s probably only three miles each way, on a great path and not very steep.

The scenery is great even in the early reaches of the walk…

Gillean Seat Shoulder (portrait)

Basteir Corrie Behind Cascades

Glamaig from Coire Basteir Path
Red Cuillin

After the first couple of miles poor Richard was stopping every 100 yards or so and pleading to be released from the walk. I insisted he must continue as he’d ‘never seen anything like the gorge’. He said he ‘could see it from here’ but I assured him what he could see was nothing to when you reached it.

Grumbling, he continued on bit by bit. At last we reached the flat section where I proposed to slither down the banking into the gorge…

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Richard’s photo so he can’t have been that tired!

We’d been heading for the the large boulder in the photo and as we neared it and looked down the gorge wall Richard took another photo (oh yes, and there’s the Pinnacle Ridge behind – not that I was looking there)…

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and I took this one showing the steep far wall…

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As soon as we’d slithered down the loose wall and hit the burnside at the foot of the gorge, two things happened… firstly, we were met with tempting-looking views up the gorge… and secondly, we started to be eaten alive by midges. Quite how the next photos came out as we danced around hitting ourselves around the head and smearing midges on our faces, I’m not really sure, but this is what we saw…

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Trying to ignore the voracious midges we clambered our way over rocks up the burnside towards the head of the gorge…

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In the end we couldn’t stand the itching any longer – Richard took this zoom and we vowed to come back out of ‘midge-season’ to have a crack at getting up out of the end if it is possible (it probably isn’t without a rope)…

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We went back further along the burn to find a less steep exit up the loose wall and found a slightly better route – we had a final look back…

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We then headed off back down. However, when I did Am Basteir with the guide on an earlier visit, I got these photos – the view of the gorge actually gets better as you head up above it…

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The approach to the gorge from above…

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And my favourite two photos from the descent of the rock band beside the gorge…

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What a fantastic place – well worth a half-day stroll! I’d be interested to know if anyone’s done it?

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12 responses

4 07 2015
Bernard Hylands

Looks very interesting, thanks for the tip. Reminds me of a fantastic gorge on the back side of An Teallach, above Loch na Sealga. That was one of those “this looks like fun, hope we can get out at the top” adventures. Fortunately we could, just…

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12 07 2015
mountaincoward

I keep looking at the (probably much easier) Skew Gill under Great End in the Lakes and wondering whether I should give that a go – but the exit looks awkward on that too. I think you have to climb up one of the sides.

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28 02 2015
EchoohcE

What a nice ravine, and nice photo’s of. I think I had a look at the place from the bottom a long time ago. Never made a through-trip but would be interested in going there and trying it, out of midge season – it’s no fun at all when your’e trying to concentrate and there’s fifty midges per second bouncing off your face.
Cheers, Mike

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28 02 2015
mountaincoward

They weren’t bouncing off, they were settling!

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23 02 2015
McEff

That’s great. I’ve found over the years that clattering about in gorges makes an interesting change from climbing to the tops of mountains. You get to see loads of stuff that most walkers miss. Great pictures, by the way.
Cheers, Alen

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23 02 2015
mountaincoward

I really wish it hadn’t been midgey and we could have had a proper explore. At least now though we know it’s worth a return journey 🙂

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23 02 2015
bob

Well done. I,’ve never thought of doing the gorge itself in its own right. Looks very impressive. Skye has so many great places to visit and is full of hidden gems tucked away.

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23 02 2015
mountaincoward

You’ll have to bring a rope and come with us next time then you can lead the exit at the far end 😉

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22 02 2015
fedup

Still got those 3 to do so when I eventually get round to them I’ll have a look. Great photos by the way 🙂 Looks a nice winter route.

Cheers Simon

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22 02 2015
mountaincoward

You can’t miss it if you’re going up to Coire a’ Bhasteir – if it’s misty though, make sure you do miss it – it’s a long drop into it!

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22 02 2015
smackedpentax

Wow! That’s an impressive gorge Carol

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22 02 2015
mountaincoward

I think it’s the most spectacular sight on Skye myself. We’ll certainly be back but not at the same time as the midgies!

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