I have been on the ridge with Petra and Jurgen enjoying perfect weather for the last two days. We had an extremely enjoyable time climbing all the classic bits of the ridge and the bonus of a warm, dry bivvy tucked away from the cold winds in a luxurious cave! Petra and Jurgen are from Innsbruck and thought that the Cuillin Ridge compared well with the Alpine routes they are more familiar with. They did comment that the TD Gap seemed harder than its grade, perhaps due to the polished nature of the rock from generations of scrabbling climbers?! The exposure of Naismith’s route also left a big impression and it was the only time I heard a word of complaint or two!
Ascending the grassy slopes of Gars-bheinn
Climbing the TD Gap
Early morning view of the ridge
Lovely climbing on the second top of Mhadaidh
Enjoying the exposed Naismith’s Route
The up-turn in weather has left all our guides very busy over the last wee while. Pictures speak louder etc etc so below are a few of days out I’ve had recently.
Congratulations to Nicola Wright (with Gillian) and Jurgen & Petra (with Matt) on successful Traverses this week.
Elgol Gala boats all decked out for the race
Angel of Sharkness (E1) at Elgol with Pieter from Belgium
Western Drainpipe Ridge, the Cioch and Elgol with the Cool Kings!
In Pinn with Izzie & Kevin Macdonald
Round of Coire na Creiche with Helen Gower
Rope skills, Pinn and Pinnacle Ridge with Dave & Angus
I had a hard day at the office today flying with the film crew making preparations and managing to take pics of Skye Guides and their clients at the same time.
Parked up below the Old Man of Storr
Matt finishing his Traverse with Petra & Jurgen, from Austria (they’re just under the nose of the Tooth starting Naismith’s Route)
Francis about to start the Pinn with Charlie Ross
Apologies for the lack of entries recently. We have all been very busy enjoying lots more sunshine and dry rock over the last week. I have been out on the ridge with Nick and Mike for the last five days. We found time for some rock climbing and a quick visit to the Spar Cave as well. The Spar Cave was a great attraction in Victorian times, sadly they also liked taking stalagtites as souvenirs but the cave is still well worth a visit-just make sure you get your tide-times right! You can find out more details of getting into the cave via this link: http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/skye/sparcave.shtml
Looking back to the entrance
Deeper in the cave…
Beautiful rock formations
The results of our glow stick in the dark experiment!
I’ve just had a warning from Tony Hanly through the rescue team about a block that has fallen off on An Caisteal that will affect those on a Traverse.
The block concerned is apparently the entire lump that James is touching?
On Friday, just 4 days after I took this shot, it sounds like a climber repeated this manouvre and took it with him down into the deep slot below. Miraculously he was stopped by a wedged boulder and walked away! Anyone familiar with this feature will be both shocked & amazed.
Thinking a bit more it seems more possible/likely that it was the slot 100m further south along the crest of An Caisteal, usually crossed about 10m down on the Glen Brittle side. There is/was a block far more undercut & worrying here and survivng a tumble into the slot seems a bit more possible. Mike
THIS HAS BEEN CONFIRMED by Steven Crummay, the lucky/unlucky chap who gave the following advice-
“Lessons from it I would say are always carry a 1st aid kit ( I had one), always take a rope on the Cuillin if you are going on anything more than a walk ( we had one and it proved invaluable) don’t assume that everything is solid – Donald must have been standing where I fell just seconds before without anything happening and finally try to make sure that you are not on ground beyond your skill/experience level. We were lucky in that we fairly easily could get ourselves out of the predicament on the top of the ridge and had the right gear to get ourselves down safely, have a hot cup of tea and something to eat and take care of my minor injuries, it is easy to see that without the right gear in the pack and experience it could have been horrendous.”
I just had a long weekend of sea-cliff climbing at Sheigra. This is an amazing collection of Geo’s composed of immaculate Lewisian Gneiss located about 10 miles south of Cape Wrath.
The best Scottish Guidebook (Apart from the upcoming Skye Cuillin Guide….obviously!)
Lewisian Gneiss is though to have formed about 2500 million years ago (compared to the Cuillin which are mere youths at a sprightly 60 million years old). Gneiss is known as basement rock due to its great age, but of more relevance to the climber is its solid nature, good friction and provision of beautiful cracks and pockets that were designed to provide holds and protection opportunities!
“Cracking Corner” VS 4c
These amazing crags should be visited by every climber because there are brilliant routes at every grade from V Diff to E6.
“In the Pink” V Diff
The climbing is made even more special by the scenery which is superlative and the wildlife which really flourishes up here: the highlight of our weekend was seeing a small pod of Killer Whales, including a calf, swim right past the cliffs.
Above Treasure Island Walls
Many thanks to John Bennett who sent through these panaroma shots of the Cuillin from his visit at t
Many thanks to John Bennett who sent through these panaroma shots of the Cuillin from his visit at the start of May.
An article arising from much publicised rock-falls in the Cuillin has been written by Dave Hewitt (of Angry Corrie fame) for the Caledonian Mercury on-line newspaper and contains much of Mike’s advice and opinions on the subject. Click this link-
Probably the most famous of all Cuillin achievements happened exactly a century ago; in fact Mssrs MacLaren and Shadbolt were probably just settling down with a fine whisky to celebrate at this very moment. I would loved to have made a celebratory Traverse myself but am starting one tomorrow with Heather & Rob; I felt that “slipping in” a quick crossing today would not have left enough in my tank. I look forward to heaing from anyone who did succeed today. Night, Mike
Cuillin Ridge view.
Traversng Sgurr ’ Ghreadaidh in 2010.
The location work with James culminated with a trip into Coruisk and good explore of a new 2km section of the Cuillin for myself; probably the biggest new area to me in well over a decade. The direct start to the Druim nan Ramh raised the adrenalin for a couple of exciting moves and we found some great bouldering on the way down (crucial to James’ research obviously).
Direct start to Druim nan Ramh (the ridge of oars)
Lesser spotted cold-water swimmer
The trip was also quite a wildlife bonanza. The first common seal pup of the season had been born overnight and got Alex the Aqua-explore boat skipper quite excited.
Scavaig seals sunbathing.
The arctic terns were screeching as we arrived; they unusually nest on an island in the fresh-waters of Loch Coruisk and fly out to fish in the sea-water of Loch Scavaig. The large and beautiful golden plovers were equally vocal on the top of the ridge as they tried to attract us away from their nest or fledglings.
A poor zoomed shot of Golden Plover but the bold markings show well
And finally we found a tiny lizard soaking up the sun on some hot gabbro; not sure of the species so please e-mail me if you know.
The June edition of our Newsletter is available through the link below. Happy reading!