Bla Bheinn (Blaven) is one of the most spectacular hikes on the Isle of Skye, if not all of Scotland. From the summit, hikers have 360° views along the Cuillin Ridge and over the Isle of Skye. It was a hike that we were all really looking forward to.
But things would not work out for us. We spent three days on the Isle of Skye, of which it rained the majority of the time. Sure, we got lucky with breaks in the rain, and overall had a fantastic experience. But for a hike like this, clear skies are not only ideal but necessary.
Here is our attempt up Bla Bheinn
As we approached the start of the hike, low clouds hung over the Cuillin Ridge. These dark mountains are beautiful, even in the rain. This hike would take us to the summit of one of these mountains, having us bag our first Munro in Scotland.
A Munro is any mountain in Scotland over 3,000 ft. There are 282 Munros in Scotland. So far, over 5,000 people have bagged all of the Munros.
Even though we could not see the summit, we decided to start the hike. Maybe we would get lucky and the skies would magically clear! Even if we could go part of the way, it would still be an adventure.
The view of Bla Bheinn from across Loch Slapin
Start of the Hike
The hike starts from a car park on Loch Slapin. The first portion of the hike is a gentle climb through a wooded forest and then through fields of heath. The path is easy to follow but during and after a rain, it can be quite boggy. Make sure you have waterproof hiking shoes!!
Along the way, Allt na Dunaiche, a river, is to your left. The waterfall with Bla Bheinn in the background looks wonderful, even in the rain.
View from the hike
Crossing Allt na Dunaiche
We hit our first obstacle when it came time to cross the Allt na Dunaiche. There is a bridge of stepping stones across the stream. The only problem was that with all of the rain during the past several days, the stream was now a river and this stepping stone bridge was no longer adequate. Even though we were already soaked from walking through the wet heath, none of us were interested in wading through the water to the other side.
For ten minutes the four of us wandered upstream, looking for a narrower section to cross the river. The ground was marshy and very muddy. Meanwhile, the midges, small, mosquito-like insects, found us and were starting to feast on us.
Tim found a narrow section and with stones on the riverbank, completed the path across the water. By now, all of us were literally getting attacked by the midges. These annoying bugs swarm your face, climb in your hair, and down into your clothing. For days all four of us would be scratching at bites we got while hiking up Bla Bheinn.
Once across the river, we picked up the path again, and started the real ascent up the mountain. By now, it was raining steadily. This was not fun anymore.
Still, we kept going.
Calling it Quits
Tyler was not happy, and soon I no longer saw any reason why we should continue. With the rain, the summit was completely hidden in the clouds. The whole point of doing this hike are the views from the top. In photos I saw, the view truly is phenomenal. If we got to the top, all we would see are more clouds.
It was at this point that we decided to call it quits. It’s one of the only times we never completed a hike, and it was disappointing. But it turned out to be for the best. For the next hour, as we hiked back to our car, the rain was relentless. Those skies were not going to magically clear up for us.
Plus, we had dinner reservations at The Granary in Portree. Let me tell you, it was worth getting back to Portree in time for dinner. The Granary is awesome!!
About Hiking Bla Bheinn
The hike is 5 miles long with just under 1000 meters of climbing. Allow five to six hours to complete the hike.
Getting to the Hike. There is a small car park on B8083 near Loch Slapin. From Portree, drive south on A87. In Broadford, turn right onto B8083. After winding around Loch Slapin, cross the bridge over Allt na Dunaiche, and then turn right into the car park.
Directions to the Trailhead. From the car park, turn left onto B8083, walk over the bridge and Allt na Dunaiche. The trailhead is just to the left. Off in the distance you can see Bla Bheinn.
For full details on hiking Bla Bheinn, visit the Walk Highlands website.
Make sure you bring waterproof hiking shoes, a rain jacket, water, and snacks.
Bla Bheinn on a Clear Day
Here is Bla Bheinn and views from the summit on a clear day. Hopefully, you will be luckier than us!
About Our Visit: We visited the Isle of Skye and Scotland in July 2016.
If you hiked Bla Bheinn, or plan on doing so, share your experience with us by commenting below!
More Information for Your Trip to Scotland:
- The Complete Isle of Skye Travel Guide
- Hiking to the Old Man of Storr
- 12 Must-Have Experiences on the Isle of Skye
- Hiking the Kintail Saddle in the Highlands of Scotland
- Edinburgh, Scotland: 2 Day Itinerary
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