Last week, Guy and I ran a Cuillin Munros Course on the Isle of Skye, something West Coast Mountain Guides have been delivering for a number of years on behalf of Steve Fallon. 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 Alisdair. 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 Alisdair. 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, we tackled Sgurr Mhic Choinnich, The Inn Pinn and Sgurr na Banachdich. There is a rather subtle line of reasonable sized rocks in amongst the loose An Stac screes that we snuck our way up, before we summited Sgurr Mhic Choinnich via it’s west ridge. From here, 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 Inn Pinn. The East Ridge of The Inn 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!
With slightly tired legs, we opted for a shorter day on Thursday, well, it’s meant to be a shorter day, but with such good weather, basking in the sunshine on both the summits of Sgurr a’ Mhadaidh and Sgurr a’Ghreadaidh seemed to be of high priority, and so we still had a full day, although about half of it was spent stationary!
For our final day, there was nothing for it, but to finish off the Munros on the Cuillin, by heading into Choire a’Bhasteir to tackle Sgurr nan Gillean, Am Basteir and Bruach na Frithe. There was still quite a bit of snow lying in Choire a’Bhasteir, so having ice axes to hand proved reassuring. From the Bealach, 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 final Munro, Bruach na Frithe and then back via Fionn Choire.
Everyone did fantastically well, and it was great to see everyone’s skills and confidence grow throughout the week. 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!