31st July 2016
The Black Cuillin was the area of Skye we were all most excited to visit, where we planned the climax of our trip; saving the best for last. We left our midge filled camp by the river, and drove back out to the main road before heading south, almost to the point we arrived on the island days before. We kept going till we met the sea, to the coastal village of Elgol, where we readied ourselves for the walk ahead. Dividing our necessities between the three of us, we had everything we needed for the afternoon’s walk to Camasunary Bothy, and overnight stay, before a long second day walking the Cuillin.
As mentioned before, we made this trip without really having a plan of exactly what we were doing. We knew we wanted to make it to the Bothy, but the route there we weren’t set on. We passed the original place we aimed to depart from a few miles back, which involved a short walk over lowlands, instead opting to park in Elgol and walk the longer coastal path. This proved to be a very visually lucrative decision, as we were able to experience some of the best views of the Cuillin from further south, that would have been hidden from the alternative path.
ISO 200, 15mm, ƒ2.8, 1/80s. 2603 frames, 60fps.
The coastal path to Camasunary is one of the best trails I’ve ever walked. With hardly any elevation change, that’s a bold statement to make, but the views from this path were simply stunning. It rode along the steep coastline for 5 kilometres, winding through small outcrops of trees, and aside 100ft drops to the stoney beach below. Halfway along the trail we descended to a pebble beach, and paused for a moment to rest. By this point the clouds that accompanied us throughout the morning’s drive had completely cleared, and we were graced with some warming sunshine.
45 minutes later we rounded the final headland and got our first sight of Camasunary Bothy, which rests on a kilometre long stone beach, surrounded by the tall and menacing Cuillin. Inside we dropped off our packs, and, after a brief rest, set out along the shore gathering driftwood to build our fire for the evening.
One of the reasons I love the outdoors is the real sense of wild you get. You can feel one with nature, cleansing your mind and getting back to the simple things in life. Here in this isolated bay, with some of the best views Britain has to offer, that should have been a guaranteed. But the greed of mankind has made it impression on the landscape, tainting its beauty and natural existence. The amount of rubbish along the beach was sickening, and although it must be accredited to an unfortunate tidal current, the entire beach was littered with bottles, gloves, shoes, rope, and just about anything else light enough not to sink into the ocean.
We all walked the beach alone, spread out to scavenge for wood, and all felt the same nauseating guilt in the debris that lined the shore. It’s a real shame that somewhere so beautiful can be tarnished by the waste caused hundreds of miles away. Discarded rubbish – out of sight, out of mind, until you come to somewhere as remote as this.
Returning with our arms laden with wood, and after a meal cooked inside the Bothy, we set about making our fire on the pebbled ground below our accommodation. The sun was getting low in the sky, painting the clouds a sweet pink and orange, illuminating them as the rolled over and stroked the mountain tops. To our right a herd of wild deer were grazing in the heather above the beach, and as it darkened sea eagles we heard circling above. With night creeping in, a blazing fire warming our mood, and a bottle of the Co-ops finest Port we lost ourselves in conversation, willing the night to last forever