Skye and the Cuillin

Mountaineering and climbing on the Isle of Skye and in Northwest Scotland.

The Cuillin of Skye is perhaps the jewel in the crown of British mountaineering. The Gabro mountains shoot straight out of the sea, and extend along a 12km chain, from Gars-bheinn in the south, to Sgurr nan Gillean in the north. The full ridge traverse, first completed by Leslie Shabolt and Alastair McLaren, in 1911, is one of the finest climbing objectives anywhere.
Whilst some might enjoy racing across in ridge, tackling all difficulties direct, in one (long) day, others might prefer to drink it all in over two days, including a majestic ridge top bivouac. However it should not be forgotten that there is more to the Cuillin than the ridge, and there is more to Skye than the Cuillin. Spending five days completing the islands twelve Munros is a stunning and memorable experience. Equally if you are pushed for time the Inaccessible Pinnacle is a simply outrageous mountain, it is the only Munro that requires rock climbing to reach its summit, by even its easiest way.
There is also a plethora of fantastic rock climbing on Skye, which although not as famous as the ridge, and the In Pinn, are of at least equal quality. This also has the advantage that they are often quieter too. Hard Rock ticks like Bla Bheinn’s Great Prow or Vulcan Wall in Sron nan Ciche are fantastic objectives. Whilst, Classic Rock routes like Integrity, Cioch Direct (the scene of Sean Connery’s famous sword fight in Highlander), and Arrow Route are superb, mellower options.
The sea cliff climbing on Skye, despite being little known, is some of the best and most varied in the UK. Staffin, Elgol, Niest Point, and Kilt Rock are all fantastic, and are great options for tired legs after a few big days in the Cuillin.
Close by on the mainland are the Northern Highlands, every bit as beautiful and wild as Skye. Often when guiding on Skye I will mix things up, and head over the bridge for a day or two, especially as dry rock can often be found when the Cuillin is rain lashed. The Torridonian giants -Beinn Alligin, Liathach, and Being Eighe - as well the Cioch Nose, a classic rock climb near the Bealach na Ba - are favourite options.

Nikki and Laura with the Inaccessible Pinnacle behind.

Still stuck for inspiration, below are some of my favourite days out on Skye and in Northwest Scotland:

Emma atop Sgurr MhicChoinnich.
Abby enjoying the Cioch Nose at Applecross, despite the weather.
Rob and Dave climbing out of the TD Gap.
Myself and John Murray at the end of a one day Cuillin Traverse.
Simon enjoying Hairy Mary at Elgol.
Laura and Nikki on an early season ascent of An Stac.
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I am always happy to chat about your guiding aims and aspirations, or just climbing and skiing in general.

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