BlogA blog of our mountain adventures in Scotland, hiking, biking, rock-scrambling and more !
Skye Munros10-13 May 2016
The first of our trips to Skye this year ! A magical place, and we were bagging the Munros on the Cuillin Ridge over 4 days. Ken Applegate and Guy Steven were leading the event and here's Ken's tale of the days...
Last week, Guy and I ran a Cuillin Munros Course on the Isle of Skye, the aims of the course are very straight forward: to summit the 11 Munros on the main Cuillin Ridge over 4 days.
With a near perfect weather forecast, and 7 enthusiastic and experienced hillgoers joining us for the course, it promised to be a great week.
We kicked things off with an ascent of the southern three Munros: Sgurr nan Eag, Sgurr Dubh Mor and the highest peak on the Isle of Skye, Sgurr Alasdair. Whilst on the move, the group practised their scrambling skills, and made short work of the first couple of Munros. With such good conditions, we also took in the summit of Sgurr Dubh na Da Bheinn en route to Sgurr Alasdair.
Having bagged the Munros, the descent of the Great Stone Shoot proved to be the trickiest part of the day, and so with a bit of coaching, everyone's technique improved as they gained the confidence required to tackle loose and awkward scree, of which there is plenty of on the Cuillin.
On Wednesday, our second day, our targets were Sgurr Mhic Choinnich, The Inaccessible and Sgurr na Banachdich and some 'moderate' climbing would be involved !
Aiming up from Coire Lagan, there is a rather subtle line of reasonable sized rocks in amongst the loose An Stac screes. Guy and myself know of this well-kept secret and we snuck our way up onto the crest between Sgurr Mhic Choinnich and the Inaccessible Pinnacle, affectionately known as the 'In-Pinn'. Some carefull footwork got us onto Sgurr Mhic Choinnich via it's west ridge. From there, we retraced our steps and ascended The Brown Ramp, which cuts beneath An Stac to gain the foot of one of the highlights of the ridge, the In-Pinn. The East Ridge of the In-Pinn, an awesomely exposed but never difficult climb, was pleasantly quiet. For many of the group, this was their first experience of pitched climbing, and what a great place for it ! After this, it was a fairly straightforward hike over to Sgurr na Banachdich in sunshine, from where we descended back to Glenbrittle passing the lovely waterfalls of Coire Ghreadaidh.
Going to plan, our third day is a slightly shorter one, suiting those with now slightly tired legs. Well, it's meant to be a shorter day with only Sgurr a' Mhadaidh and Sgurr a'Ghreadaidh being the two Munros aimed for. So we still had a full day, although with such good weather, about half of it was spent stationary basking in the sunshine on the summits of Sgurr a' Mhadaidh and Sgurr a'Ghreadaidh !
For our final day, we were up in the northern Cuillin, finishing off the Munros. From Sligachan we headed up into Choire a'Bhasteir to tackle Sgurr nan Gillean, Am Basteir and Bruach na Frithe. There was still a fair amount of snow lying in Choire a'Bhasteir, so having ice axes to hand proved reassuring. From the Bealach a'Bhasteir on the ridge, Guy and his team headed east to ascend the brilliant West Ridge of Sgurr nan Gillean, whilst I took my team up Am Basteir, before swapping routes. Our final leg took us over to our last Munro of the event, Bruach na Frithe and then back out via Fionn Choire.
Everyone did fantastically well, and it was great to see skills and confidence grow throughout the days. Make sure that you keep those developing mountaineering skills up !
Guy and I will be starting another Cuillin Munros Course tomorrow, fingers crossed for such good conditions!
More photos by Ken are here on Flickr.
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