The Isle of Skye has always held an attraction to UK climbers and mountaineers, it’s landscape of mountains and sea, weather and history provide an atmosphere with a world class reputation for it’s challenge and charm, with the Traverse of the Black Cuillin as one of the most sought after mountaineering expeditions in the British Isles. I have been lucky enough to complete the traverse in it’s many different moods, often accompanied by clients who have shared with me the challenge and rewards this unique mountain adventure has to offer.
Itineraries usually follow a three or four day schedule:
Day one is used as an introduction, with a kit check, a short introduction to the terrain whilst stocking the overnight camp and a briefing for the expedition.
Day two has an early start to attain the summit of Gars-bheinn at first light, travelling North along the ridge to visit the main tops via some of the best known features – Thearlaich Dubh Gap, Squrr Alasdair, Kings Chimney, Inaccessible Pinnacle etc. After picking up our supplies from the previous day we continue northwards along the ridge to find a suitable ‘Bivvi’ spot for a well earned meal and rest under the stars.
Day three will hopefully dawn with inspiring views over mountains and sea, out to the Western Isles and beyond. The ridge curves around to the North East following some complicated mountain architecture, including climbs, scrambles and abseils and passing spectacular mountain features on the way to the ridge’s end at Sgurr Nan Gillean. The walk out, following and crossing the Allt Dearg Beag as it cascades amongst the boulders is a fitting end to the expedition with the comforts of the Sligachan Hotel at the road head.
Day four is held either as a reserve day in case of poor weather or to recover the camp equipment.
Most trips take advantage of the long daylight hours and better weather of May and June although good conditions can exist at other times – please see the calendar for scheduled trips or drop me a line if you have suggestions of your own.
I supply all technical equipment including ‘bivvi’ bags and stove – although you are welcome to bring your own.
What you need:
- Waterproof Jacket – full weight breathable model preferred
- Base Layer
- Light fleece jackets + heavy fleece jacket or softshell or insulated jacket
- Trousers and waterproof overtrousers or salopettes
- Hat / sun hat
- Gloves ( leather calfskin gardening gloves are good )
- Socks – calf length, loop stitched with high wool content.
- Lightweight mountaineering boots with high ankle support
- Climbing Helmet
- Rucsac 35-45 litres
- Mug / spoon
- Sleeping bag
- Sleeping mat
- Bivvi bag
- Personal medications + blister kit
- Packed lunch for the mountain days.
What is supplied:
Technical equipment – harness, helmet, slings, etc.
I have a selection of other equipment available including sleeping mats and bivvi bags – Please let me know if you need anything – especially if you are intending to buy any equipment for the trip.
If you already have any personal equipment, bring it along – this will help with familiarity with your gear.
Although I have Public Liability insurance to the value of £ 5M, you may wish to purchase personal accident, and travel insurance as you think necessary ! Packages which include insurance for climbing and other mountain activities are available from: www.thebmc.co.uk
Cuillin traverse information
The trip itinerary is based on 3 or 4 days, with one day as an introduction to mountaineering on the ridge / stocking of the overnight camp, a two day traverse and for the 4 day traverse, one day held in reserve for poor weather or recovery of the camp equipment. Local transport and all technical equipment is included in the course fee.
Our meeting point is at the Sligachan Hotel Isle of Skye, although transport from Fort William can be arranged. Trains to Fort William can be found at: http://www.directrail.com/trains_to_fort_william.html
and coach travel to Fort William or The Isle of Skye via:
http://www.nationalexpress.com and http://www.citylink.co.uk/index.php
After an introduction and kit check, we will travel to Glenbrittle for quick access to the ridge to familiarise you with the terrain and stock the overnight camp. An early night is recommended as day two involves a very early start. We should reach the stocked camp by early evening, allowing us a relaxed bivvi high on the ridge. Day three again starts early to leave us enough time to complete the traverse and return to Sligachan or Glenbrittle.
As a popular tourist destination, the Isle of Skye has many options for accommodation to suit all tastes and pockets including good campsites, chalets, bunkhouses, Youth Hostels, B&B’s, self catering cottages and hotels, all can be found on :
Although to keep logistics as simple as possible I often make use of Glenbrittle YHA, Sligachan Hotel, Sligachan Bunkhouse or the Old Bridge Inn Carbost.
There a great many sources of information covering the traverse of the Cuillins, I would recommend the following
Skye & the Western Isles: Scottish Islands – James Penrith – ISBN-10: 1854583700
Rucksack Guide – Alpine Climbing by Alun Richardson – ISBN-10: 0713686855
Skye Scrambles – Noel Williams – ISBN-10: 0907521991
Scrambles in Skye – J.Wilson Parker – ISBN-10: 0902363387
Online sources include : http://www.ukclimbing.co.uk
or drop me a line if you have any queries: firstname.lastname@example.org