Top 5 Scottish Winter Walks: Glen Sligachan
Posted on Jan 14, 2016 by Alex Kendall
Nicknamed the misty isle, the black gabbro peaks of the Cuillin on the Isle of Skye dominate the striking views on this easy winter walk.
For those of us without great winter mountaineering skills, they’re best viewed from the mighty Glen Sligachan. Even from here they still have the ability to scare the bejeezus out of most people.
Running north to south, the glen divides the main Cuillin ridge from the outliers of Marsco and Blàbheinn. From here it finally becomes the Srath na Crèitheach, which reaches the sea at Loch Scavaig. It is wild and remote. Even if the peaks are in cloud it’s still a special place. You can guess at the rocky heights above and watch the mountain streams cascading into the glen.
There is not much chance to make this a circular walk. The best way to approach the route is to start at the Sligachan Hotel and head south on the path to wherever you feel happy to turn around. A suitable objective might be the base of Blàbheinn. As the path is low down and snow less likely to lie as deep as on other routes in this list, this could be a great target.
The path is easy to follow, just make sure you take the right turn after the initial bridge to head down the glen. After half a dozen fords and passing Marsco on the left, you’ll reach the twin pools of Lochan Dubha. This is the head of Glen Sligachan and the highest point of the route south, at barely 70m above sea level. The path is slightly higher at 85m, and from here heads downhill into the Srath na Crèitheach.
Up to this point the path has been following the River Sligachan, which flows north. For the last section it follows the Abhainn Camas Fhionnairigh, which flows south to Loch Scavaig.
The path divides again. Take the left fork to stay within the glen. At Loch an Athain, Blàbheinn is visible ahead. A monstrous tower of black rock reaching impossibly above you. Snow may well hang around the slopes in winter. Despite this, it’s easy to appreciate that these mountains used to be the insides of a giant volcanic magma chamber.
To return, simply retrace your steps back along the glen. Despite re-walking the same ground, the view is completely different. Instead of the view ahead being one of looming peaks and a narrowing valley, it is now more open. Opening out to the Sligachan Hotel along the widening glen.
Disclaimer: All walks are undertaken at your own risk, as walking can be a dangerous activity if the appropriate precautions are not taken. Wilderness Scotland does not guarantee full-accuracy of the information given and does not accept responsibility or liability. Winter walking is incredibly rewarding, but attention must be paid to your equipment even if staying at a low level, as even low level walks can be remote. It is your own responsibility to check the information with other resources, to know your own capability and to check weather conditions. Attention must be paid to your equipment; plan for the worst weather, carry a detailed map, compass, warm clothing, waterproofs, plenty of food and drink to last you the day and a head torch. If heading up high, take an ice axe and crampons and know how to use them, and always be prepared to turn back. Remember that a route description and a map are no use unless you can navigate with a map and compass. A GPS unit and the GPX route are a good back up but should be used as a guide rather than as a main navigational tool.
Other winter walks in this series:
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