The fine spell of weather we have been enjoying on the west coast of Scotland finally broke down slightly yesterday, but not until Derek and I reached all the Munros on Skye and their subsidiary 3000' tops over three days. In the last 30 years or so Derek's hit rate on the Munros dropped to one per year on average so this was a coordinated hit to raise his tally and complete everything on Skye on his first ever trip there. Thankfully the weather helped us along the way.
We started out by warming up on Clach Glas and Blabheinn. I have only ever done this once before and it was misty so I did not get the full experience. On Monday we could see for a few hundred miles in all directions and the traverse is a stunner. The complex and narrow ridge is brilliant and made for a perfect warm up for us to get used the nature of the scrambling in The Cuillin. We made sure to reach both summits of Blabheinn too.
One of the subsidiary tops in the main Cuillin ridge is Knights Peak on Pinnacle Ridge of Sgurr nan Gillean. If we were to make the full traverse from south to north as is common, the thought of descending to Knights Peak after two long days did not appeal. So we started at Sligachan and went up Pinnacle Ridge before traversing from north to south. What finer way to start the best ridge traverse in the country than by one of its finest ridge climbs?
The weather could not have been better for us. The wind dropped to a very gentle breeze and the sun was shining but without it being too hot. Derek and I made great progress all the way down past Sgurr a'Greadaidh to a bivi at the Three Teeth. We enjoyed 360 degrees of stunning views all evening with the sun setting and clouds billowing on one side, the full moon rising and shadows reaching out on the other. It stayed dry over night as well which is a really important thing. Waking up in the wet and getting going again in the morning is very hard so it was great that we had a dry start.
It was cloudy though and the route finding was made more difficult by the misty conditions. The cloud turned to a bracing dampness then a gentle drizzle and finally to light rain. Climbing the Inaccessible Pinnacle was fine, the rocks were still just about dry there, but the ground was wet by the time we got to Sgurr Alasdair. We past a team of two trying the full traverse in a day - hopefully it stayed dry enough for them and they got along in good time.
The rain did not put us off or indeed slow us down that much either. The ground eases off the further south you go on the ridge and the last peak of Shurr nan Eag is simple enough. We made sure to go over to Sgurr Sgumain since this is a subsidiary top as well and a first for me on the summit of this peak!
Derek did an amazing job and we made it down in very good time, before the rain came in for the evening. Reaching all the Munros in the Cuillin Ridge is a big enough job for most and throwing in the tops as well certainly adds an extra couple of hours of work. For a first time trip to Skye, completing all this was a fine achievement. However, make sure you go back to Skye Derek, there's lots more to do!
Self reliance is a fundamental principle of mountaineering. By participating we accept this and take responsibility for the decisions we make. These blog posts and conditions reports are intended to help you make good decisions. They do not remove the need for you to make your own judgements when out in the hills.