Marhofn 196.11 - May 2009

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St Kilda, April 2009

Colin Crawford

The tiny summit of Boreray on a glittering spring day was a dream-like location, and I suspect that most of us could not believe our good fortune to be in such a place. There were eight of us: Rob Woodall, George Morl, Alan Holmes, Ian Teasdale, Richard Webb, Denise Mclellan, Richard Mclellan and myself. Following a week of unsettled weather the waiting game was finally over and we could enjoy the delicious sensation of success. The sea trip from Meabhaig was not such a delight. As the boat bucked in the thrashing waves, several of us succumbed to mal de mer. Landing was fairly easy in the minimal swell, but after that the broken slabs were covered liberally in guano, the horrid stuff almost knee deep in places. The steep grass of Sunadal allowed for a steady if laborious ascent. Arrival on the narrow grassy arete of the summit ridge was a true revelation, with cliffs plunging sharply to the sea. We all tiptoed along to the green pyramid of Mullach an Eilein and stared across to Hirta, but it was the nearby stacks that stole the show. Descent was remarkably easy, the grass tiered and offering just sufficient footholds for security. Back on the slabs, Ian's apposite comment was 'like abseiling through a farmyard'. Leaving was more tricky than arrival, but Murray demonstrated huge skill in manoeuvring the tender in and out to transport us all safely back to the boat. Our subsequent tour of the stacks and main island group was on a placid sea. We motored back to Meabhaig as the sun dipped below the horizon, St Kilda now invisible but Boreray a golden memory for us all.

Boreray summit party (photo: Colin Crawford)

Boreray summit party (photo: Colin Crawford)

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