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Misty week on the Misty Isle late August 2011

31/08/11

For the first time this summer we’ve really had some traditional Skye mist clinging to the whole island but the mountains in particular. High winds on Monday kept us off the tops but the brief was teaching ropework for scrambling.

The Lochain Traverse between Loch Lagan and the foot of Eastern Buttress is a really fun Grade 3 expedition crossing the West Buttress of Sgumain.

Mel and Andy at the start of the Lochan Traverse which follows the obvious horizontal fault above Mel’s rucsac.


Although low in the grade some of the moves are quite tricky, especially in the wet. Lots of little steps no more than 10m in length are linked by easier but exposed traversing.

High along the Traverse

This is ideal for seeing how just the rope (with no slings or gear) can be used to add a high level of safety to the team. An ideal short option for a wet day!

Today dawned clear which caught me surprise. Gill brought her walking partner & friend Layne for a Cuillin christening and hopefully the Pinn. Mist rolled in all too soon and plans for showing the ladies my favourite part of the Ridge, An Stac Direct, faded fast. No small amount of talent coupled with enthusiasm despite damp rock raised my hopes and the mist cleared just as we reached the head of the An Stac screes. 400 feet of high adrenalin scrambling followed and gave a perfect rehearsal for the Pinn itself.

Happy scramblers on An Stac Direct (Grade 3) with Rum and Eigg behind

The queues had dissipated and we were able to just motor on up despite the mist drawing in around us once more.

Looking forward to the Pinn despite the damp.

Summer returns; 22-26 August

28/08/11

Last Sunday had heavy showers everywhere on the island apart from on the reliably dry crags at Neist. Phil Hall has escaped Reading and booked a refresher day for leading and belaying skills to use back on the crags in North-west of England. An intense day culminated in a fine lead of Tatties (Severe) which is the easiest of the trio- Haggis (HS), Neaps (VS) & Tatties (S).

TRAVERSE 22 & 23 AUGUST

Next day dawned infinitely better and rapid changes were made to Traverse plans with Gary Came. The boat eventually dropped us ashore beneath Gars-bheinn at midday leaving 9 hours to reach our bivvy. Just as he had promised me Gary turned out to be both very fit and very at home on the Ridge despite being a Cuillin virgin.

About to board the Bella Jane

 A man in his element on Gars-bheinn!

King’s Chimney

Sexy sunset out over Ghreadaidh

Day 1 Timings-

Boat to Gars-bheinn-1hr 45mins, to reach TD Gap-2hrs, to finish In Pinn-3hrs, to summit Ghreadaidh via water collection-2hrs.

Day 2 Summit Ghreadaidh 8am, Bealach na Glaic Moire 8-50am, Bealach Harta 9-45am, Bruach na Frithe 11am Gillean 1pm

Day 2 dawned cool and overcast; not great for photography but great conditions for moving fast. Naismiths Route was surprisingly damp. More disconcerting was a large hold missing just at the crux. I took a more cautious approach than normal using the large spike runner out to the right. Gathering ourselves together once more we cruised to Gillean in a total Ridge time of 12 hours. 

Gary looking back at where we’d come from!

After a days rest I teamed up with Seamus and Orii once more to finish their trip on a high. They were most surprised to find themselves climbing the In Pinn on what turned out to be the hottest day of the fortnight. After a spot of lunch they then did superbly to climb the short west end of the Pinn too.

Seamus abseiling with Coire Lagan behind.

Gillian was also guiding at the Pinn and Robert Carr looks a very happy chappy!

North South split this week; mid August.

18/08/11

Mike’s report.

A souwesterly airflow off the Atlantic has left peaks at the south end of the Cuillin shrouded in mist all this week while the north end has been clear pretty much the whole time. This split is not unusual and is always worth considering when deciding what to climb.

Jeremy romping up the Pinn in the mist on Monday which was wet on the windward side but dry in the lee

Someone has unearthed these museum pices from the rocks at the fot of the Great Stone Shoot!

Tuesday was a washout but Wednesday turned out fine once more. Showers were threatened so I hedged my bets. Eventually I decided it was going to stay dry and plunged Seamus & Orii straight in at the deep end by bringing them across the narrow arete on the West Ridge of Gillean. It’s one of those places where your eyes naturally get drawn to the yawning void below and is widely considered as more terrifying than ascending the In Pinn.

Seamus concentrating  (or is it praying?) intensely on the West Ridge.

Orii’s smile of genuine happiness; now list the reasons why!

Today is a first for me on XC weather with zero wind predicted. The midgies are definitely on the increase at last but nowhere near the worst I’ve ever seen. Even considering a swim in the marble pools I’d spotted on Friday would have been unthinkable in some summers gone by. We did 2 pools; the first was a narrow deep channel with a marvelous jacuzzi effect and the second had a beautiful deep smooth white clean bowl sweeping out below the fall.

Marble pool in Allt Aigean near Torrin

The jacuzzi channel


Wet but wonderful windows; Friday 12th

12/08/11

Mike’s report.

I’ve been for a play with a friend Ian who I’ve not seen since school in Carlisle. Introducing him to the Cuillin and showing him what I do was a pleasure although he may not have been so impressed if the weather hadn’t laid on such a great “windows in the mist” display. The rain had become pretty intense and we opted for Sgur nan Each rather than Clach Glas once we hit the ridge. 20 minutes of exciting scrambling led to the summit where we paused for lunch and a giggle about the view inside the cloud. As we stood up to leave I pretty much yelped for Ian to turn around as a tiny window of view appeared over his shoulder. For the next 10 minutes we were treated to an ever-changing 360 degree vista that almost made you dizzy.

Ian Brown gets the reward

Looking back along where we had come from

The other noticable effect was the feeling of going from black and white to colour.

The Main Ridge stayed firmly cloaked with the exception of Sgurr na h-Uamha. Eigg, Mallaig, Knoydart, Beinn Sgreithall, Red Cuillin, Plockton, Applecross, Torridon and Raasay all popped out nicely.

At the East Top an eagle swooped past us close on the tail of a very scared (presumably) raven and was floating over Belig just seconds later. We indulged in one of the finest remaining scree runs I know to descend north into Coire Aigean, the Deep corrie.

Scree run into Coire Aigean with Belig behind

The major attraction in this rough desolate glen is the river with its stunning marble pools; I must come back and swim these soon before the first snows arrive.

Marble pools in Allt Aigean

Many thanks to Skye for laying on the display and to Ian for such great company; hope the 3 Chimneys lays on the quality for you tonight.

Quality quote

11/08/11

The Isle of Skye:

Conclusive proof that sometimes God is just showing off…”

Many thanks to The Skye Guide- http://www.theskyeguide.com

Raasay viewed from Luib; photo Jennie Lates

Neist Rock School; 8 August

07/08/11

Mike’s report.

Gill and I had a great day introducing Jack and Alia to outdoor climbing at Neist on Monday. Showers and strong winds would have stopped play almost anywhere else across the island but the driest place in Skye proved its worth again.

Jack on the sheltered nameless Severe just right of Sonamara

Alia tops out on Baywatch (HS 4b) with a stunning view behind

Alia on her first abseil.


On Tuesday I was out with Jack again, this time with parents Heather & Dan. The brief was a classic introduction to scrambling. An ascent of Sgurr an Fheadain involves only 40 minutes of approach to over 500m of continuous scrambling ascent by a route known as “The Spur”.

As skiers they all took to the scree-running descent well. Plans for ‘next time’ discussed on descent were of a step up in level and possibly an ascent of the Cioch.

Bull’s Eye. New route on Sgurr nan Gillean, 27 July

27/07/11

Mike’s report.

Big buzz from another long-term project today. I had spotted an unclimbed crack line on the Bhasteir Face of Gillean about 5 years ago and finally had the combination of dry rock and willing climbing partner to give it a go. Lucy and I were a bit jaded by yesterday’s efforts but reached the foot of the face while it was still in the cool shade.

Bull’s Eye, 90m; E1 5a,4c,5a,4b. X marks the belays. Forked Chimney is the fault-line to the right.

The climbing needed full-on concentration with a combination of route finding, cleaning gear placements and superb moves.

Pitch 1 complete after an hour of head games; carry on or run away?

Lucy reaches the end of pitch 2


Pitch 3; Lucy exiting the steep chimney before the exposed slabby arete

From the top of pitch 3 it would have been possible to escape and descend north back to 4/5 Gully and would be my recommendation. We continued directly for a final 20m pitch; the climbing was good but the rock really not justifiable. Above a huge bowl of agglomerate gave a scary escape before traversing out to the West Ridge and descent.

Possibly the crux right at the top of the 3rd pitch

Grading and giving stars for new routes is always hard I find. I’ve gone for E1 but it may be closer to HVS. Although only 5a technically finding good gear took patience and some run-outs were quite bold.  For quality I’m going for 2 star but 3 stars wouldn’t be too much of an exaggeration with 3 pitches of quality climbing at a very consistent technical difficulty. There was some loose rock but only dangerous for one tiny easy section.

Too late for the imminent guidebook this will have to wait until the next generation; shame but not for Lucy or me!

Overnight photography trip on Blaven, 23 July

24/07/11

Mike’s report.

I enjoyed an indulgent feast of Cuillin views from an unusual bivvy site on the south top of Bla Bheinn last night with Danish friends Pernille and Thomas.

Sun playing on the mists that flew past on strong northerly winds.

Looking across the seas of mist to the Main Ridge; Gars-bheinn on the left and Alasdair on the right.

Out to the south and east the clear skies were glowing…

 Rum floats between the purple sea and the pink skies.

We had a leisurely morning as the mists took a long time to lift. Eventually we were treated to Brocken Spectres.

Catching the spectres was hard today with the speed the mists were moving..

We descended the classic South Ridge which gives a long but technically easy descent towards Elgol. The Main Ridge nearly cleared in its entirety with only Am Basteir steadfastly refused to appear.

 Thomas & Pernille taking in the amazing vista

Gillian’s Rock report; 23/24 July.

24/07/11

After 2 weeks in the climbing in the Ecrins massif in southern France Gillian has returned to the complete bonus scenario of time off work and beautiful dry rock to climb on Skye. Yesterday she climbed Bastinado on Sron na Ciche and today enjoyed some of the sundrenched rock delights at Elgol.

Bastinado E1, 4c,5b,5c,4b; The first Cuillin extreme was climbed by John Cunningham of the Creag Dhu Club in 1956.

Rich Parker just below the crux of the very fine Altar Ego, E1 5b. It turns the huge roof at the top by an outrageous 4b pitch.  

21 June; Fine weather forecast to remain and guides available..

21/07/11

Mike’s report.

Summer continues up here but a national forecast for poor weather seems to be keeping the hills very quiet. Matt and I have been busy this last week; Gillian has been in the Alps and Francis & Alex have been on MIA asssessments. With north and easterly winds set to remain until at least mid-week it’s a fine time to achieve some long-held ambitions. We have availability for anything from Ridge Traverses to Rock climbing.

Evening sun on Eas Mor, Glen Brittle

Yesterday I did a big day from Sgurr nan Fheadain to Gillian with the Bennett boys Greg & John.

Today the equally fit docs from Drumbuie, Lynn & Andy, romped around Coire Lagan in fine style & fantastic weather.

First success on the Pinn with the corrie round laid out behind.

Lynn & Andy on Mhicchoinnich with Thearlaich & Alasdair, still to come, behind.

Negotiating my least favourite section of Collie’s Ledge

Admiring the route after descending the Great Stone Shoot to Coire Lagan

Costa del Elgol; 18th July

18/07/11

Mike’s report.

Looking across the bay from the practice crag to the main cliff at Suidhe Biorach

Yesterdays rediculously heavy rain cleared through by dawn and hot sunshine burnt away the clouds by lunch again today. Most importantly the hot sun even burnt away the midges that would have otherwise made our sheltered crag pretty unbearable.

The result was a perfect day for an introduction to outdoor climbing for Finlay, Sean and his Dad Mike.

Team pic with the practice crag behind

Finn pulls through the overhangs

Today’s really low tide allowed us to wander across the beach and a rare chance to step back and study the crag from below.

1. Rum Doodle, E2 5c. 2. Angel of Sharkness, HVS 5a. 3. Fertility Right, Severe.

4. Mother’s Pride, E4 5c. All starrred (recommended) and about 30m long.

We climbed the classic Fertility Right.

Sean nearing the top.

All the guys seemed to find it pretty exciting with dad “telling it how it was” (as opposed to the cooler teenage version) in the post match analysis.

Mike’s recovery position doesn’t get any sympathy 🙂

A “Don’t believe the forecast” week; 11-16 July

17/07/11

Last Friday had most forecasts predicting a gruesome week of weather ahead for the whole UK. It’s a good rule of thumb that Skye gets the opposite weather to the rest of the country and, sure enough, the clouds were lifting off the tops by Sunday afternoon.

I started the week with a couple of excellent long days with a D of E group from Tiffin School in Kingston walking through Strath Beag to Torrin and over a shoulder of Blaven down to Camasunary on the first day and then through Glen Sligachan before crossing Bealach a Mhaim into Glen Brittle.

Looking in awe at the view of Camasunary bay after descending from Blaven

 Camasunary Bay

On Thursday I went to Ruabh Huinish at the very top of Skye with a Carpe Diem group from Norway. I also discovered a brand new path has been built that makes the approach wonderfully easy under foot.

Carpe Diem set off with the Quiraing in the background.

Lena looks down the huge cliffs below the ruins of Duntulm Castle; how did they build it?

On my way back I joined the triumphant team of Bill and Iain who had just finished a successful Ridge Traverse with Matt as guide. Following on from very fast times in the Glamaig hill race on Saturday and climbing the In Pinn themselves on the Monday I think it’s fair to say the guys had made the most of the first week of their holiday; fine effort!

On Friday and Saturday it was back to the Cuillin with Ben Thurnhill on his first visit. He has good climbing genes however with a grandfather who was the photographer at 28,000ft taking the photo of Hilary and Tensing setting off for the summit of Everest in 1953!! We”stole” Sgurr nan Gillean before the first big front drew in.

Ben on Gillean; he is wearing the old-style helmet as the only one we have that is large enough!

Very heavy overnight rain dictated a relaxed start. We waited until it cleared up about midday and then scrambled on dry rock right around Coire a’ Ghreadaidh.

Impressive waterfalls in Coire a’ Ghreadaidha after the heavy overnight rain.

 Ben concentrating over the narrow crest on Ghreadaidh as the mist clears behind him.

I even found time to tackle a new scrambling line I spied many moons ago; it takes the Coruisk side of the hill to Banachdaich from a ramp-line in Bealach Thormaid and finishing up the false gully near the summit that some Ridge parties start to descend by mistake in the mist. To simply describe the line as a 200m Grade 2 scramble doesn’t really tell the whole story. Heaps of untouched rubble & scree perched above the void and not knowing if I was going to have to reverse back down them gave the most realistic insight into how the pioneers first found the Cuillin that I have ever had; peverse but very exciting!

 My experimental line onto Banachdaich viewed from Sgurr Thormaid.

Selection of last weeks outings.

04/07/11

Mike’s report.

Intro to outdoor rock at Elgol; 27 June.

“Hi Mike, it’s Katrin and Jens from Hamburg. We’re just returned home.. to our boring indoor walls… 🙂 We just want to thank you again for the great experience of climbing the cliffs; we enjoyed it very much.”

Katrin at the top of her first ever abseil!

….and climbing back up the corner of Fertility Right using excellent camming (bridging in English)

Last Cuillin Munros; 29 June

Robbie is close to finishing and has made 4 trips to Skye to climb the Cuillin including the snowy ascent of Basteir reported here back in mid-may. Damp rock on Mhicchoinnich led to very slow progress and made it look like another trip would be needed but the rain stopped, rocks dried quickly and we both dug deep for a physical 3 hour trip to reach Sgurr a’ Ghreadaidh and a late finish.

Robbie on Sgurr Mhicchoinnich

In Pinn- first Cuillin Munro; 1 July

Watching the weather and making a last minute call paid off for Hugh & Masie. The result was in doubt with heavy rain overnight and mist clinging throughout the ascent but the clouds parted to reveal all the views (and drops!) just as we reached the Pinn. Our rapid ascent was followed just as quickly by the mists rolling in and the rocks soaking wet before we all finished abseiling; perfect timing and a perfect result!

“Don’t know what all the fuss is about” says Masie as the Pinn rears into view.

Red Cuillin Solitude; 4th of July

04/07/11

Mike’s report.

An excellent change to the routine today with Phillip from Belgium requesting a good safe walk with sons Louis (14) and Alexander (19). The Red Cuillin Horseshoe was an obvious objective standing at Sligachan this morning with stunning views guaranteed.

Black Cuillin backdrop

We reached Beinn Dearg Mheadhonach (651m) in about 2 hours for a lunch of bread and Brussel’s pate!

View to Loch Ainort, Scalpay and the mainland from Beinn Dearg Mheadhonach

Descent was in order so we aimed south toward Mam a Phobuil before dropping to Glen Sligachan. The screes were pretty rough but the reward was a dip in the cool pools beneath Marsco.

We were entertained with fly-by displays from a couple of huge dragon-flies that were also good enough to sit still for photos. I’ll try to identify him but e-mail help is always welcome- mike@skyeguides.co.uk

Golden-ringed Dragonfly with 4” body and 3” wingspan.

I’m now pretty sure this is the Golden-ringed Dragonfly. Wikepedia say they eat midgies; magic! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden-ringed_Dragonfly

Ridge Traverse

25/06/11

Matt’s Report

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

Making Hay; Mid-June 2011

24/06/11

Mike’s report.

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

The Ridge and the Spar Cave

20/06/11

Matt’s Report

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!

Warning passed on 13 June.

13/06/11

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.

1hour later;

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.”

The Remote North-West

13/06/11

Matt’s Report

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.

Looking West

Above Treasure Island Walls


Oldshoremore Bay

Many thanks to John Bennett who sent through these panaroma shots of the Cuillin from his visit at t

13/06/11

Many thanks to John Bennett who sent through these panaroma shots of the Cuillin from his visit at the start of May.

Centenary of the 1st ever Traverse; 10 June 2011.

10/06/11

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.

First seal pups seen on Coruisk boat trip; 8 June 2011

10/06/11

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.

Film Location research, June 6th

07/06/11

Mike’s report.

After landing in Inverness at lunch James arrived as the clouds parted so we headed up for a late stint on the Cuillin. James is working on a big screen blockbuster as location manager and the director wants some more “Mordor” style landscape for the action scenes. Happy to oblige with the Cuillin often being labelled as Tolkeinesque.

James is a climber so loved being up on the top of the Ridge between the more “crew friendly” sections.

Doing the bold step on An Caisteal with a 20m drop beneath his feet!

We went from Sgurr a Bhasteir to Glaic Moire and back to Sligachan in time for last orders.

Mhadaidh and Ghreadaidh

06/06/11

Matt’s Report

I was out with Kate and Penny today on the first day of a five day Munro course. We went up to An Dorus and climbed Ghreadaidh and Mhaidaidh. Some people say that the crux of these two peaks is pronouncing their names correctly!

Sgurr a Ghreadaidh: “Skoor a Hreeta”-translates as Peak of the Mighty Winds and Sgurr a Mhadaidh: “Skoor a Vatty”-translates as Foxes Peak. (Thanks to Gordon Stainforths book for the pronunciations)

The clarity of the views today was astounding and we saw St. Kilda and Boreray quite clearly beyond the Outer Hebrides. (St Kilda is about 75 miles from Glen Brittle)

Climbing out of the Ghreadaidh side of An Dorus

Penny and Kate posing near the top of Mhadaidh

Looking into Coruisk

St Kilda is out there somewhere!

In Pinn

04/06/11

Matts Report

A classic day on the In Pinn with Sherry, Gillian and Matthew today. The weather was lovely, the company was good and the rock was dry! An excellent day in the Cuillin.

Approaching along the west ridge of Sgurr Dearg

Climbing the first part of the east ridge

Matthew trying to find out if the Coruisk side of the In Pinn really has an overhanging and infinite drop!

The classic Pinn shot!

Mike’s Ridge report, 2/3 June.

04/06/11

Particularly chuffed with this success because it looked like the weather was conspiring against us with thick wet mist blowing in off the Atlantic on Thursday morning. All gloom lifted on reaching Sligachan however with the north end clearly dry & nearly cloud free. Plans for a long damp approach to the south end were binned and starting by Pinnacle Ridge (which I had never done for a Traverse) was the highly attractive alternative.

North End at 10am Thursday

Taking it all in from the top of Gillean

We traversed over to the Bhasteir Tooth where we found Gillian with her clients, Kate & John Forbes, abseiling out of King’s Cave Chimney

Kate gets ready to go….

….down there!

After borrowing their ropes we headed south over Bruach na Frithe with the mist lifting off the Ridge just ahead of us all the time. Odd damp corners made some of the climbing (out of Tairnilear & onto Bidean) interesting but there was no urgency.

The rest of the Ridge was finally clear by about 5-30pm

A very happy Beck.


We collected 10 litres of water from a tiny but flowing source in An Dorus using the syphon from a Platypus before making one final long hard rise to a popular bivvy ledge on the top of Sgurr a Ghreadaidh.

 Collecting water for overnight and next day.


Dinner of Thai chicken & beef curry was accompanied by some of the most magnificent light effects and views you could ever hope for.

Sunset with Sgurr Thuilm foreground.

Dawn was glorious but sadly the mists rolled in just as we left the bivvy at 7-30am next morning.

Beck sleeping soundly through the sunny dawn

It never rained and there was only a touch of dampness but I was glad to know the way in the pea-souper. On a positive side it meant no queuing for the Pinn and little need for water. In fact the first views we got all day were in the final 20 seconds before reaching the southern most peak of Gars-bheinn.

From here we headed down the East Ridge directly to catch the last boat out of Loch Scavaig and a celebratory Talisker. Slainte!!!

From the Top! Thursday 2 June

02/06/11

Mike is enduring(!) a bivvy above the clouds tonight as he and Beck are half way through a Traverse. They started by Pinnacle Ridge and have spent the day overlooking a cloud inversion. The whole ridge has been clear this evening and there is now some beautiful brockenspectre action as the cloud moves in and out. They should complete the traverse tomorrow and hopefully bring some more good pics. Jealous Matt!

Phone-camera shot with a broken spectre behind the bivvy ledge on Ghreadaidh