Sunday, 13 November 2011

Observatory Ridge and the missing marker.

After a failed attempt at a day out on Skye yesterday Dave and I were keen to stretch our legs today so we decided on Observatory Ridge. The summit was clear of clouds first thing this morning but as we walked in the wind picked up and the cloud came in. The route was reasonably dry with just a few wet streaks in the lower part but as we gained height the rock became much greasier and had obviously picked up some moister from the clouds. We moved together placing runners or with hand coils for much of the route and only stopped and pitched a couple of times.

Looking down from high up on Observatory ridge.

The big yellow taxi just about to land on the summit.

Thankfully by the time we hit the summit the cloud had lifted and we were greeted with the kind of view that reminds you why you live in the Highlands, especially after the long wet summer. We were also treated to a fly-by by the big yellow taxi that was dropping some MRT guys off at the summit with some supplies.

Notice anything missing?

We decided to descend Ledge route and avoid the tourist track and I wanted to see if James Roddie's blog post was true. Sure enough it is. The No. 4 gully marker post has been removed. I know the John Muir Trust has spent a lot of time in consultation with the MCofS, Guides, Mountaineering Instructors and I'm sure many other people that use the mountain. I don't know the final outcome of this but I do know there was an overwhelming majority that believed the marker was a part of the mountains history and should remain.
I find it hard to believe that they would ignore this but I also can't imagine that they would remove the marker without publicising this decision. So what has happened to it? Maybe they have removed the bent old flag and plan to replace it with something more substantial than an aluminium pole shoved into a pile of boulders or maybe someone has decided it would look good on the wall of their living room. Whatever the answer I'm sure we'll find out soon enough.

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