Walk 2589 - printer friendly version
Marsco from the Sligachan Hotel, Isle of Skye Walk
Author - Paul Gasson
Length - 9.0 miles / 14.6 km
Ascent - 2430 feet / 736 metres
Grade - moderate
Start - OS grid reference NG485299
Lat 57.290229 + Long -6.1756556
Postcode IV47 8SW (approx. location only)
The start of the walk is at the Sligachan Hotel (Grid ref. NG485299), on the A87, more or less half way between Broadford and the island's capital of Portree.
Close to the old bridge across the Sligachan River a signpost indicates Loch Coruisk. Take this clear, rough path for some 2 miles along the magnificent Glen Sligachan, crossing numerous small streams, until you come to a river, the Allt na Measarroch, and the remains of an old deer fence. This is the March Fence marking the limit of Lord MacDonald's forest.
Leave the Coruisk path here, turning east and then southeast to follow the burn across the moor, avoiding, if you can, the boggier parts. Climbing slowly, a shallow ravine is reached, from where a steep pull up brings you to the col, Mam a Phobuill, between Marsco and the Beinn Dearg tops. This is a good spot to admire the views across Glen Sligachan to Sgurr nan Gillean, the most pinnacled peak in Scotland, and in the opposite direction, to the mainland.
The climb now begins in earnest, with a faint path following the line of the dilapidated deer fence southwards up to the ridge. As you breast the ridge you are met by an almost overwhelming spectacle! To your left, across the Am Fraoch-choire lies the rocky outlier of Ruadh Stac, with, behind it, the magnificence of Blaven, the dramatic, jagged ridge of Clach Glas, Garbh Beinn and Belig. Straight ahead are the southern peaks of the Main Cuillin Ridge, with Sgurr Alisdair and Sgurr Thearlaich prominent in the centre. Far below are the diminutive Dubh Lochs in Glen Sligachan, and, a little further South, Loch Creitheach and Camasunary.
From here, easy angled slopes lead up to the true summit ridge, a short but knife edged ridge akin to walking along the ridge of a house, with the valley floor 2000ft. below, leading to the tiny summit at 2,412ft. The views in every direction are magnificent, and this is a good spot to try and spot a Golden Eagle soaring high over the glen.
When the time comes to head home, do not be tempted to continue northwest along a broad, easy angled ridge. This leads to dangerously steep ground and crags. Return the way you came up, though an alternative is to descend into Coire nan Laogh from the point where you crested the ridge, then regain your outward path below the col.
Make your way back along the glen to the Sligachan Hotel, where you can enjoy a well earned drink in the welcoming bar and reflect on a memorable walk in magnificent surroundings.