Friday, 15 October 2010

Cuillin Ridge Isle of Skye

Just got back from an incredible trip to the Cuillin Ridge on Skye, with perfect weather and conditions giving us a fantastic experience on these spectacular mountains. I was accompanying Jon Lipsey from Mens Fitness Magazine - who are running a series of articles on adventurous challenges - the Cuillin traverse being one of them.
As Jon hadn't done anything like this before, I was pleased he experienced the ridge at its best, and hopefully the article will enhance the reputation of Skye as being of one of the world's beautiful places.
We travelled to Skye on Monday and used the afternoon and evening to take food and water up to the ridge and introduce Jon to the terrain.
An early start Tuesday saw us at Ghars Bhein by dawn and an impressive sun rise and beautiful views - easy walking in warm sunshine took us to the start of the difficulties at the Thearlaich Dhu Gap - but the warm rock and good friction allowed us to progress without too much stress, onto the sharp ridge of Sgurr Thearlaich, followed by a short abseil and scramble to the start of the King's chimney on Sgurr Mhic Choinnich - a delightful climb in the perfect conditions, more scrambling to An Stac, where we skirted the loose rock and headed up to the Inaccessible Pinnacle - surrounded by incredible views, with only a handful of teams out making the most of the weather - we even had the InPin to ourselves - a rare thing nowadays. An abseil to Sgurr Dearg and descent to our water stash ended the day's climbing - replaced by a night under the stars.

We awoke to a spectacular sunrise above low lying mist - impossible to convey in any photograph.
Banacich and  Thormaid followed , but things were beginning to change, and by the time we reached  Greadaidh a cold wind had blown up, bringing with it a thick wetting mist and chances of completing the traverse slipping away. We decided not to push our luck and descended to Coire An Dorus and a return to civilisation. A huge experience for Jon and a memorable trip for both of us.
Video of thetrip on

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