Sgurr na Stri
It was a warm June evening and the first day of my annual leave from work which meant I had three weeks of freedom to go wherever I wanted. As I sat poring over maps and books, looking for inspiration my attention was drawn to the Isle of Skye, more specifically the Black Cuillin.
I was very keen to do a summit camp somewhere with the aim of capturing some good photographs. After a couple of hours of indecision and procrastination I came across a small hill to the south-east of the Cuillin ridge called Sgurr na Stri.
With my mind made up, I downloaded the GPS route and began my planning and packing for the trip itself. This involved checking the mountain forecast for the Cuillin area which was nothing short of perfect - the sun was to be out all day for the two days that I would be away and with very little wind. However, this also made the perfect recipe for midges. I told myself that this would only be a slight drawback...
I left home at 11am with the aim of starting the walk by 3:30pm. The route starts at Sligachan and follows an excellent path through the Glen for about 10km before reaching a fork where you can either go left towards Camasunary Bay or right towards Sgurr na Stri.
It was one of the warmest days of the year so far with the temperatures sitting at around 25/26 degrees. This made the walk feel like an unrelenting slog, especially with a heavy pack on my back. However, I had prepared for this with an extra bottle of water.
Sgurr na Stri is only 494m high but the long walk in from the car park meant that I was already exhausted before even starting the climb.
As I trudged my way towards the summit, the views of the rocky Cuillin pinnacles began to appear - a small taster of what was in store for me later. I now had a huge grin on my face and some fresh motivation to reach the summit where the views would eventually reach their fullest.
The last 100m of ascent was the steepest and hardest part of the entire walk but the view that I was greeted with was mesmerizing.
Absolutely exhausted, I threw my bag to the ground and took a seat on the cliff edge where I would spend the next half hour just staring at the unbelievable view in front of me. As the sun got slightly lower and a small cloud made its way across its path, the potential for an incredible image grew.
Usually taking a picture of a back lit subject directly into the sun wouldn't make for a very good photo at all. However, the small cloud managed this perfectly by spreading rays of light all over the mountains below.
As much as I couldn't be bothered, it was time to pitch my tent. Sgurr na Stri has a very rocky summit which made the task of finding a pitch quite difficult. I opted for a very exposed cliff side pitch on the north-west flank of the summit which offered tremendous views from my tent.
Camp spot at sunrise
As always, all good things must come to an end and it was time to pack up and begin the long slog back to the car. As you can imagine, I was far from enthusiastic about this!
It was another hot day and the midday sun was beating down relentlessly. It was so warm that I ended up taking a dip in one of the few streams running off of the nearby Munro Bla Bheinn. Soaking my clothes worked very well in keeping me cool for the remainder of the walk.
Here are a couple more images of the Cuillin. One at sunset and one at sunrise the next morning.
Sgurr na Stri proved to be one of the finest viewpoints I have ever visited and I fully intend to revisit at some point in the not-too-distant future. I am especially looking forward to going back at a time when I am not joined by billions of midges!