The Cuillins of Skye
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The beautiful Isle of Skye is a place where the mountains come down to the sea. On a clear day, to the west you can see the Hebrides from Barra Head in the south to the northern tip of Lewis. Skye's peninsulas radiate from a mountainous centre dominated by the Cuillins, the rocky slopes of which provide some of the most dramatic mountain scenery in the UK. The mountains offer something for everyone, from very tough challenges to easy scrambling and walking. There are twelve Munros on the island, eleven on the Cuillin ridge plus Blà Bheinn.
Is this the course for me?
You've done some scrambling and/or easy rock climbing. You are very motivated and very fit, and you are not intimidated by steep drops and exposed places.
What level of fitness do I need?
Fitness level 2: you exercise regularly through the week – running, walking, cycling or playing sports. You can sustain a raised heart rate for a 45 minute run or a 2 hour bike ride. You can walk in the mountains or climb all day, but feel tired at the end.
Fitness level 3: you exercise regularly at a higher level, and you are able to push hard for extended periods. You can do a long 15-mile day in the mountains, and you can do this over consecutive days.
What does the course cover?
There are several options, all giving a fantastic mountain adventure.
1. One-Day Trips
Bla Bheinn and Clach Glas offer a great day out for a fit party. Max ratio 1:3
Pinnacle Ridge on Sgurr nan Gillean is a fantastic way right to the summit of this peak. With abseils and Diff grade climbing it has a bit of everything. Max ratio 1:2
Am Basteir from Sligachan. Max ratio 1:4 as a walking trip, 1:2 as a climbing day
The Dubhs Ridge from Loch Coruisk, accessed via the ferry, make a day to remember. How many times have you started a days climbing from a boat? The day can be done as a traverse to Glen Brittle or as a return trip to the ferry. Max ratio 1:3
2. The Cuillin Munros
Starting at the southern end of the ridge, the eleven Cuillin Munros can be completed in four days. You will need a good level of fitness, a head for heights, and some scrambling experience will be useful. We return to the valley at the end of each day. Max ratio 1:4
Day 1: Sgurr nan Eag, Sgurr Dubh Mor and Sgurr Alasdair
Day 2: Sgurr Mhic Choinnich, the Inaccessible Pinnacle and Sgurr na Banachdich
Day 3: Sgurr a’Ghreadaidh and Sgurr a’Mhadaidh
Day 4: Sgurr nan Gillean, Am Basteir and Bruach na Frithe
3. The Cuillin Ridge Traverse
The Cuillin ridge traverse is what a lot of people come to Skye for. It is a great undertaking, one of the greatest mountaineering challenges in the UK, and a fantastic achievement. The whole ridge is around 13km in length, plus 7km for the approach and descent. There are twenty peaks, including eleven Munros. The traverse involves sustained effort carrying a 10kg rucksack, considerable exposure, technical scrambling (some without a rope), and easy rock climbing and abseiling, so a high level of fitness is essential. It is best done south to north, over two days - 11km first day (around 13 hours) and 9km second day (around 9 hours). In good weather there is an overnight bivi on the ridge, so bivi kit must be carried, with food and water for the two days. The alternative for not-so-good weather is to descend to Glenbrittle after the first day, and to go back up to the ridge at the beginning of the second day. The ridge can be attempted in a single day, but only by individuals with very high levels of fitness, stamina and agility. May, early June, or September are best to avoid the notorious Scottish midges. Max ratio 1:2
What's the maximum ratio?